This is hands down my favorite recipe for muffins & quick breads! It is naturally dairy free and can easily be made gluten free.
Vegetable haters in your house? Do NOT tell them there is sweet potato in this recipe. They will see green zucchini flecks in the recipe, but the grated sweet potato just melts into the muffin and you will not even know that it is there – except for its awesome health benefits!
This muffin contains a powerhouse of healthy ingredients:
- sweet potatoes
- whole grains
- dried cranberries (see the last podcast episode for cranberry benefits)
Having said all that, it is dessert – just one that contains antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, whole grains and some fiber!! If you are looking for a healthier vegetable muffin, we have developed several, both savory and sweet. Links for all of them are at this podcast episode.
Allergens / Ingredient Substitutions
- walnuts – omit if nut allergic. Substitute another nut – I especially enjoy pecans. If you avoid all tree nuts, try pepitas for crunch
- eggs – I would use aquafaba or flax eggs
- flour – I have successfully substituted King Arthur’s Measure for Measure gluten free flour blend, but any should work as long as it contains xanthan gum
- whole wheat flour (for my friends sensitive to whole wheat – use all white flour)
- bread or all purpose flour – when I began to make this recipe using part whole wheat flour, I began to use bread flour which has just a little more protein in it for better structure (if you are using a gluten free flour blend, that is what the xanthan gum & combination of flours is for!!). All purpose works just fine.
- spices: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg Feel free to substitute here – I have used various combinations over the years – one note I made said: 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon each allspice and cardamom.
- sweet potato, finely grated*
- zucchini, grated*
- dried cranberries (I have used dried cherries, cut in half, with great success. Other dried fruit should work fine. I love the tart flavors of cherries and cranberries in this recipe.
- leavening (baking powder & soda)
* Don’t stress too much about exact amounts with the sweet potato and zucchini. Use a smallish sweet potato and a medium zucchini and call it good. Using a little more or less will be just fine. I have included both cup measures and gram weights, but use these as guidelines.
The most time consuming part of this recipe is grating the sweet potato. I use the smaller side of my box grater. It takes a little more elbow grease than the zucchini so I recommend you start with the sweet potato. If your box grater is old, it may be time for an upgrade.
I sometimes do my grating the day or two before I bake the muffins. Just wrap the sweet potato and zucchini in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator until ready to bake. I don’t recommend more than two days in the fridge.
Coarsely chop your walnuts and cut dried fruit in to smaller pieces if using cherries or larger fruit. If using cranberries, measure and separate big clumps.
Combine flour, spices, salt and leavening. Whisk or stir to combine thoroughly.
Put your eggs in a mixer bowl, or large bowl if you are mixing by hand. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until well combined. If you are not using a mixer, beat the eggs; add the oil & beat well. Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined and a little lighter in color.
Add the grated vegetable and mix well.
Add the flour – all at once if using a mixer or in batches if stirring by hand. I almost always make a double recipe and then I add the dry ingredients in two batches even with my mixer. While you do not want to over mix, it is just fine to mix until well combined.
Add the nuts and dried fruit, stirring to combine.
Bake muffins in a well greased pan or muffin liners for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or an instant read thermometer (over 200 degrees F). I use a muffin scoop (1/4 cup) for uniform sized muffins that bake evenly.
If your oven is like mine with hot spots, rotate the pans after about 12-15 minutes.
You can also make bite sized mini muffins! Bake for about 10 minutes.
I test for doneness with a toothpick.
Can I make loaves?
Yes! In my house we almost always make muffins into loaves or mini loaves. We find we usually like the texture better, there is less waste than using cupcake liners and better portion control.
I usually double this recipe and bake these in 1 long (11.5 inch by 4 inch tea loaf for 45 minutes – can use 9×5 for 60 minutes) and four little loaf pans for about 40 minutes.
I freeze mine with great success. Place muffins in a freezer bag or other storage container. For loaves I slice, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze in a freezer bag.
Muffins will stay for 2-3 days at room temperature if stored in plastic or airtight container.
Reducing the sugar and fat
These muffins taste great and have a wonderful texture. This is NOT a low sugar or low fat recipe, although I have lowered both over the years. This is a luscious velvety textured baked good. If you want a no added sugar, all whole grain muffin – use the savory or sweet vegetables recipes on the blog!! This link will take you to all your choices.
Sweet Potato Zucchini Muffins
- sharp box grater
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat flour
- 1 cup bread or all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspooon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅜ cups sugar (275 grams)
- ⅔ cup oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini
- 1 ½ cups grated sweet potato
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
- Grate the sweet potato & zucchini using the small side of a box grater. *
- Coarsely chop your walnuts and cut dried fruit in to smaller pieces if using cherries or larger fruit. If using cranberries, measure and separate big clumps.
- Combine flour, spices, salt and leavening. Whisk or stir to combine thoroughly.
- Put your eggs in a mixer bowl, or large bowl if you are mixing by hand. Add eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat for a couple of minutes until well combined. If you are not using a mixer, beat the eggs; add the oil & beat well. Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until well combined and a little lighter in color.
- Add the grated vegetable and mix well.
- Add the flour - all at once if using a mixer or in batches if stirring by hand. While you do not want to over mix, it is just fine to mix until well combined.
- Add the nuts and dried fruit, stirring to combine.
- Bake muffins in a well greased pan or muffin liners for about 20 minutes. I use a muffin scoop (1/4 cup) for uniform sized muffins that bake evenly.
- Check for doneness with a toothpick or an instant read thermometer (over 200 degrees F).
- You can also make bite sized mini muffins! Bake for about 10 minutes.
- Or you can bake in loaves, which is what I usually do - either 4 small or 1 large loaf. Bake 9x5 loaf about 60 minutes.