Green Monster Muffins Recipe

It’s heeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrreeeeeeee!!!!!!!


Green Monster Muffins batch #1 came out dry, but this time I think I’ve got it!

As a reminder, I loved the idea of using a vegetable in sweet muffins/breads when I made zucchini bread recently. What other veggie is often used in sweet recipes? Spinach – the main ingredient in the very popular Green Monster smoothies! Inspired by the Cooking Light zucchini bread, I worked hard to develop a recipe that would work with spinach.

Here are a couple things to note with the recipe.



#1 – when you measure the cup of packed spinach, make sure you pack the spinach is real good. I mean press down on it really hard in your measuring cup. You want it to be about 1 cup after you process it, not before.

In fact, my spinach was bursting out of the top just a bit.


#2 – when you process your spinach it will start out looking like quite a bit of spinach.


See – after you process it, it reduces in size quite a bit. And pretty much you process it till the food processor stops chopping the spinach. At some point, the blade really doesn’t chop the spinach any more size the volume is so reduced.


And in case you’re curious, here’s about what the texture of the spinach looks like when it’s done processing.

#3 – Don’t skip the lemon zest (unless you just don’t like the flavor of lemon)! I feel like I often skip zest on recipes because I don’t think you’ll be able to taste it, but you totally do and the zest adds great flavor!


In my recipe, I suggest stirring walnuts into the batter, but since I had someone with a walnut allergy taste-testing later I only added some to the top of half my muffins.





Last time, the muffin was dry, but this time it was quite most! I may tinker with adding a wee bit more flour to see what happens, but I’m happy enough with it to share the recipe this time.

PS Next up I’m going to work on vegan and gluten-free versions so everyone can try them! :)

5.0 from 2 reviews
Green Monster Muffins Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is the original green monster muffin recipe! Most spinach muffins are savory but these are sweet! Forget artificial colors, these muffins are naturally a beautiful, vibrant green color thanks to the surprise ingredient - spinach! Sneak vegetables into your loved ones eats with this easy muffin recipe. The green color makes these great for Halloween or St. Patrick's Day!

Click here for the Vegan Green Monster Muffin Recipe
Serves: 12
Dry Ingredients:
  • ¾ cup oat flour (note: you could probably sub flours of do 1½ cups total of a single flour, instead of 2, if you'd like)
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 single serving applesauce (or ½ cup)
  • 1 cup PACKED, triple washed baby spinach, chopped by food processor into small bits (see photos above)
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ - 1 tsp lemon zest (depending on how lemon-y you want it)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, plus extra for topping, optional ingredient
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. Add dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Whisk to beat egg and sugar together till light (I did this by hand for just a couple minutes).
  4. Whisk in the rest of the wet ingredients.
  5. Pour dry ingredient mixture into the wet ingredient mixture, add ¼ cup walnuts if desired, and stir gently just to combine - do not over-mix.
  6. Pour muffin batter into muffin tin cups - about ¾ full each. If using walnuts, sprinkle walnuts on top of each muffin.
  7. Bake for 14-17 minutes until centers set or a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Cool until safe to touch and enjoy!
Check the comments below for some great mixin and substitution ideas by readers! My favorite suggestion is to add blueberries. Yum!

Don't skip the lemon zest for the best flavor!



Sneaky way to get the kids to eat their greens, no?

I actually think these muffins look really pretty because of the vibrant green color

Plus, these would be super festive for either Halloween or St. Patrick’s Day!! :)

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  1. says

    Just found your blog through KERF – so many of your recipes, including this one, look SO tasty. I can’t wait to try this out – love the fact that they’re sweet but also pack veg & nutrients.

  2. says

    I have some spinach I have to use so I may try making these. I take things like these to the guys (boys) at work and make them be my guinea pigs!!! LOL!!

  3. Karen says

    I made these today for three 10yearold boys. They scarfed them up — needless to say I didn’t let on that there is spinach in them – just called them Green Monster cupcakes and they were thrilled. Also, used gluten free baking mix for the wheat flour and it worked out great.
    Thanks for thinking these up!! Sure to become a household favorite for us.

  4. Marilou Garon says

    If I understand correctly, you first chop the spinach in the food processor, and only then do you mesure out one cup of chopped spinach? I mesured one cup of spinach, chopped it, and then added that to the muffin batter and they didn’t turn out very green… thanks for the info! Will try again.

    • says

      Hey Marilou, Hmm…good question! Perhaps you didn’t pack the spinach enough when you were measuring it? When I was measuring my spinach, I was pressing down really, REALLY hard on the spinach and jamming it into the measuring cup because if you just measure it loosely, it won’t be enough. It should be closer to 1 cup (though I don’t know the exact amount because I didn’t measure it after) after you chop it up. Perhaps try it again and next time when you add the spinach to the measuring cup press down extra hard to ensure it’s packed in tightly? Happy baking! :) And let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Anne says

    I finally made these this morning and they were DEEEELISH! My veggie-phobic 5 year old inhaled two of them!
    I replaced the egg with chia seeds, and it worked perfectly. :) Also used a mixture of half whole wheat, half spelt flour.
    Thanks Diana!!

  6. says

    your right about the lemon zest, it does add so much flavor! I am getting into savory muffins, yours do look good, and I love the colour the spinach gives them!

  7. Erin says

    I just made these, and they are wonderful. I was doubtful about the lemon zest, but it really made the recipe.

  8. Marion says

    Looks nice!!!! I have some spinach to finish in the fridge, we’ll try your recipe.
    What could i use instead of the applesauce? Yogurt? Thanks!!!

  9. says

    Made these today!!!! LOVED them. I made some plain, some with blueberries and some with blueberries and chocolate chips. Just blueberries mixed in was the definite winner!

  10. Margaret says

    I tried this. I added coconut and semi-sweet chocolate chips to mine to make them dessert for our family. They were good. My 10 year old said he wants me to make them again without the coconut. My 2year old is eating his and telling the dog he won’t share. Thanks for the recipe. I’m going to try it with other veggies too.

    • says

      “My 2year old is eating his and telling the dog he won’t share.” – hahahaha LOVE that! Thanks for sharing. So glad to hear the recipe turned out a winner for you guys! Let me know how your other experiments with it go! :)

  11. says

    Wow, when I saw the picture of these on Photograzing I thought you had used matcha green tea powder which is becoming popular for “green” baking. But spinach! How cool. I’ll have to try these soon.

    • says

      Hey Matthew! Thanks for checking out my site! I do want to make matcha green tea cupcakes really badly, but I am procrastinating ordering the matcha tea online. lol

      Hope you like the muffins! :)

  12. Vivian says

    I was looking for a way to get my toddler to eat some veggies and these are perfect. I couldn’t find applesauce here in Hiroshima so I substituted yogurt. I really packed in the spinach and I love the color they turned out!

  13. ROSARIO says


  14. says

    Hey Diana! I just tried out a version of these muffins only as mini-loafs and with the addition of banana. They were tasty- thanks for the inspiration. Check it out if you get a second :)

  15. says

    I am so happy right now! I am in charge of my son’s class snack for St. Patrick’s day and just found your site. I just stuck a batch of these in the oven and can’t wait to try them – thanks for saving me – and thanks for healthy options! :)

  16. Christine says

    Hi! Stumbled upon your blog and love it! I would like to make these muffins…they look great. Did you ever replace the sugar with maple syrup or agave? Just wondering what the accurate measurements would be….

    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Christine! So glad you found my blog. :) I would think an equal substitution of either would work okay. I believe agave is considered more sweet if you compare (by the same measurement amount), so maybe it would be better to do 1/2 cup of agave. I’ve actually made these muffins with only 1/2 cup of sugar, so I’m willing to bet only 1/2 cup of agave or maple syrup would work well, also. So long story short, I think anywhere between 1/2 – 3/4 cup of either agave or maple syrup would work. Hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out. Happy baking! :)

  17. Christine says

    These were so great!!! I did a little less than 1/2 cup maple syrup and it tasted great (sweet but not too sweet!) Really great recipe – i think next time I may even add more spinach :)
    Thank you!

  18. Jen says

    I’m just curious if anyone has tried with frozen spinach???? I’ve got some in my freezer and trying to come up with some economical ways to get healthy food in the kiddos… Thanks!

  19. says

    Hi! Just tried these muffins and they are de-lish! I made a few modifications however …
    * used chopped frozen spinach – ( thawed & squeezed liquid out – used half of a 10 oz square pkg) and DID NOT put in food processor as I didn’t want to wake my napping 1 yr old :-)
    * added 1/4 t nutmeg (love nutmeg + spinach flavor combo)
    * used apple-peach flavored applesauce because that’s all I had
    They are awesome and I will definitely make them again! My kids like spinach, so they don’t mind seeing it in the muffin 😉 I would imagine pureeing the spinach increases the spinach flavor as well. In any case, this is the best spinach muffin recipe I’ve ever tried!!!! Kudos to you Diana!!!! Thanks!

  20. Laura says

    I also just made these a few days ago. The nutmeg suggestion above sounds fantastic!

    I took earlier commenters’ advice and tried making some with blueberries, and those are delicious, as are the ones with walnuts mixed in.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • says

      Yum! So many possibilities with the mix-ins! Glad to hear you liked the blueberry version. I’m thinking of trying a chocolate chip version sometime! 😉

  21. Shannon says

    Just ran across this recipe, and since today is St. Patrick’s Day (there SO GREEN!) and I have an abundance of spinach in my refrigerator I think today is perfect for making these. Thank you for having such a cool idea for spinach : )

  22. Menaka says

    I made these muffins a couple of days ago and boy oh boy, they were very good! Everyone was shocked when I said I used spinach; they just couldn’t believe it. Lol.
    I told myself I will be making them again whenever there’s potlucks, get togethers etc. And of course for my kids to snack on.
    Thank you so very much for this wonderful recipe.

  23. Lori says

    I found your recipe while looking for some muffins to make for my son (age 3) who loves the color green. He loved them, so I made them for his preschool class (all 3 and 4 year olds) and the kids said it was the best snack they’d ever had! Little do they know how healthy they are! Thanks so much!

    • says

      Get outta here! That’s so cool to hear! I’m so happy to hear the muffins were a hit with not only your son but for his classmates, as well! Thank you so much for sharing, Lori. :)

  24. says

    These are so good! I approached the recipe with some trepidation; “spinach muffins?” but they just came out of the oven, and… I have no idea where 3 of them have gotten to…
    Instead of lemon zest I used 1/4 t. lemon extract, as well as 1.5 c. white AP flour. Also– I used a 10 oz (defrosted & drained) container of frozen spinach rather than fresh, which seemed to work out fine. Great recipe, I will certainly be making these again soon as they are far from a monstrosity :)

  25. Sandy Wiemers says

    I could kiss you for this recipe! My 3 year old is devouring them as he exclaims “I LOVE Shrek muffins!” :) (Anything green is “Shrek …”)

  26. says

    I made these last night for my kiddos. I have a horrible food processor so the spinach wasn’t as chopped up as I wanted it to be (so needless to say I was nervous). I substituted chocolate chips for the nuts. My kids LOVED them this morning :)

    • says

      Hi Lacie! I’ve been meaning to post a modification to the preparation – you can put your liquid ingredients into a blender to chop up the spinach, too! Glad to hear they still turned out great and that your kids liked them! :)

  27. Cecily says

    My husband and kids love this.
    I just added blueberry to the spinach when I put them on the food processor.
    But according to them this is their favourite muffin now.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Cecily says

      By the way I forgot to add that I gave some to my friends because they were intrigued with the spinach and blueberry and they love it. They are asking me to bake more and make plenty.

      • says

        Aww thanks for the sweet comment, Cecily! You made my day! Stories like this keep me blogging and trying to come up with new recipe ideas. So glad to hear your family and friends enjoyed the muffins! :) Thanks for stopping by!

        • Cecily says

          I hope you could help. The first time I did it I cooked it with just wholemeal cake flour because I have no oat flour.
          Now for the 2nd time I keep not getting it right with the homemade oat flour. I used 3/4c homemade oat flour but there’s more air inside and it does not cook the inside of my muffin. :-(( I’m feeling really frustrated because every time I make it my 3yr and 1 yr old boys are so excited to eat them. Is there a different measurement for a home made oat flour instead of just 3/4cup?…
          Hope to hear from you soon.
          Thank you.

      • says

        Hi Cecily, Did you measure the oat flour before or after you processed it? It sounds like maybe it’s not equivalent to the other flour for some reason. Maybe you measured the oats and then processed them? And maybe after they’re processed, they take up less capacity? Sorry you had trouble with the other batches! :(

  28. says

    Good Morning,
    I’ve been making these for my kiddos and they love them. This time around I subbed out the oil for more applesauce and they turned out great. I was wondering if anyone has subbed out the egg for a flax egg and how did they taste?

  29. Theresa says

    I’m curious, could you use lemon juice instead of the zest? And if so, how much? It’s hard to get organic lemons and I really would rather use those that non organic for the zest. Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Theresa, Since the juice would add more liquid to the mix, I’m thinking it could potentially throw off the liquid to dry proportion. If you only used a tablespoon, maybe it wouldn’t be noticeable? Or you could replace some of the other liquid portion with lemon juice? The zest has a stronger flavor, so I think it will make the muffins more lemony. But juice may work, too. Let me know what you end up trying and how it turns out. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  30. Laura says

    Oh my goodness. These were delicious! The lemon zest MADE them. Thank you for the delicious, clean recipe. Thank you!

  31. Jenny P says

    I love these. I just made them tonight. I used GF oat flour and GF flour as subs and coconut oil instead of canola. I also added a tsp of apple cider vinegar to help the GF stuff rise. I guess I did use Gf parking bowser too. Soooooo yummy. Probably my favorite muffin recipe yet!! And it’s so yummy for you. Thanks for the recipe.

  32. Kathryn says

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I got a veggie-phobic 5 year old to eat spinach for the first time, EVER! I don’t think she has touched veggies since the jared baby food she ate years ago, and she gobbled these up! I thought she would be turned off of the green colour, as anything “new” or “different” to her is scary and she won’t eat or even touch it. But once I started calling these “cupcakes” and told her that they were MONSTER cupcakes, she giggled, and was totally hooked and so excited to make them. She asked me what made them green, and I just sort of avoided that conversation haha. And I prepped the spinach before I let her help make them, as she loves helping bake, and even when she saw me putting the chopped spinach in, she just loved the colour that the batter turned. Thank you! Now I need to find more recipes that include veggies! Also, we had company over that same evening, and everyone gobbled them up, it’s hard to believe there’s spinach in them. I also made them in mini muffin form, and they were perfect bite sized portions which made them go faster!

    • says

      Hi Kathryn! What a cute story! I’m so glad to hear your family and friends like the muffins so much! Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s comments like these that keep me blogging. Have a great weekend! :) Diana

  33. Kathryn says

    Hey Diana, so I’ve made this a number of times since I left my last comment about veggie-phobic-5-year old (and no that hasn’t changed) and she still loves these muffins. But I was wondering if I doubled or tripled this recipe would I be able to make it in a pan or a loaf instead to slice it and serve instead of muffins? Any thoughts or ideas would be helpful thanks! It’s always such a hit with everyone, I just want to serve it differently and make a lot more at one time.

  34. Sharice says

    These is my favorite spinach muffin recipe! I’ve tried two other recies besides this one, and while those other two were good, to me this was the best one. My fave things about it is the lemon zest (I actually put in about 2 tsp lemon zest!) and the walnuts. I’ve always just made plain spinach muffins (with no add-ins), but when this recipe called for some chopped walnuts I decided to put them in and I’m glad I did! I really liked the flavor and texture in there. This was a really great recipe! Besides the extra lemon zest, I also added extra spinach! And, I decided to cut the sugar down a little bit to 2/3 cup instead of 3/4 cup. Even with my slight modifications, this was a wonderful recipe. Will make again!

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