Our new favorite red beet and poppy seed muffins

It all began when we came home with a handful of baby beets we harvested from our community garden.

“Let’s go pick the remaining beets before they pull everything out” said Karen who is an avid gardener and whose mother heads our community garden project. She didn’t have to tell me twice. The children and I headed to the garden five minutes later with our market basket and the excitement of a meal to come.

We walked by rows of carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, kale, lettuces, eggplants, peppers, and more. Miren ran around in circles while trying to eat every cherry tomato she encountered.

“Only pull the ones that are already peeking” I instructed Jon who carefully examined all the beets and enlisted Miren in the task.

“So red!” Jon shouted as he helped wash the beets. A stream of bright red color had pigmented our sink.

“That is how natural red food coloring is made” I explained to them.

And just like that they had me making muffins.

These red beet and poppy seed muffins are earthy and nutty with a mixture of brown rice, almond, and quinoa flour. Moist thanks to the muscovado sugar and coconut oil, and warm with a million specs of vanilla seeds. And I may add that they are gluten and dairy free.


I have made these muffins several times now and they disappear as quickly as I make them.

We even took them on a beach picnic this weekend. It was the perfect snack on that cool and sunny afternoon. Oh yes, I will have to tell you about the beach picnic too. It was a productive one.

Also, just a quick reminder that this Wednesday February 15th at 9:00am EST, we will open registration for my food styling and photography retreat in Whistler, British Columbia. For more workshop details and registration, visit Ritchie Ace Camps.

I cannot wait.

Gluten and Dairy Free Beet and Poppy Seed Muffins

makes 9 muffins

1 medium red beet
1/2 cup (125 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup (70 g) superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup (50 g) almond flour
1/4 cup (35 g) quinoa flour
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 g) light muscovado or brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1/4 cup (60 ml) melted coconut oil

In a small pan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add the beet, cover the pan, reduce heat to medium, and cook until a knife can be inserted in the center. Time will vary depending on the size of the beet. Drain the water and let the beet cool enough to handle. Peel it and cut it into chunks. Puree in the food processor. Measure out 1/4 cup (60 g) beet puree and reserve. You can freeze the rest for another time.

Meanwhile pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).

Mix the coconut milk and lemon juice in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the superfine brown rice flour, almond flour, quinoa flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, muscovado sugar, vanilla seeds, coconut milk mixture, coconut oil, and beet puree. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk to combine.

Scoop the batter into muffin pan lined with baking papers. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack.

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87 Responses to “Our new favorite red beet and poppy seed muffins”

  1. These are absolutely beautiful!! Love this!

  2. Could I use all-purpose flour if I’m not making it gluten-free? Would it replace both the quinoa and the brown rice flours directly? This sounds delicious! I want to make it immediately :)

  3. Amrita- yes, add the weight amounts of brown rice flour and quinoa flour and use ap wheat flour. I recommend still using almond flour because it adds a lot of texture and moisture. Hope you like them!

  4. My Valentine’s day treat for my Hubby for sure!! :-)
    Thank you!!

  5. I love the vibrant color…It looks delicious! =)

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a amazing blog… I’m in love… So cute… Tks!!!
    Angie from Brazil

  7. oh my, look that that gorgeous vibrant colour! I love it, can’t wait to make them soon I love experimenting with flavours and flours, especially almond meal, it makes everything so delightfully moist (she says as she bites into an orange poppyseed friand :))

  8. Such an interesting flavor combo! I would love to try them.

  9. I love how vibrant the colour is! Gorgeous photos as always.

  10. What a beautiful dish right at this time of year. I have been making for gluten-free stuff so I really appreciate this dish and will be sharing it with my wheat intolerant niece. Thanks. xo.

  11. Nisha says:

    Love the color, love the muffins, love the photos!
    I can’t think of egg substitute for this recipe … baking soda + lemon juice will help it rise? and there’s milk so liquid to add moistness? so I’m guessing the job of egg here is to bind? I’m still learning … :)
    I’d like to make this, plus I want to understand the function & right substitute of egg.
    I can’t cook with eggs at home. What do you think will work best? Thanks Aran…

  12. Looks so delish — i love that you made this gluten free with healthy ingredients :)

  13. Mak Wardah says:

    Nice combination on colours, gud combination of clolours, I like it.

  14. They look wonderful. So so so enticing.
    Love the beetroot and poppyseed combination – I bet that it’s absolutely delicious.

  15. tinajo says:

    Fantastic color, I love them! :-)

  16. Th’s a pretty color! Those muffins are wonderful.



  17. really, really pretty… but… and the strawberry picking?

  18. Nisha- although I haven’t tested this, I think you could substitute the egg with the following. Mix 1 tbs of ground flaxseeds with 3 tbs boiling water. Let it thicken and cool slightly before adding to the batter. Also increase baking powder to 1 tsp. Let me know if it works.

    Thank you!

  19. Anita says:

    This is so beautiful! love the color!!!! Your photography skills has the WOW factor!

  20. Su says:

    This will go straight to my TO DO recipes list! They look wonderfull and delicious!
    And those pictures… amazinga :D
    Big kiss

  21. Wow, not only do these look beautiful, I can imagine that they taste heavenly as well! I cannot wait to make these soon :)

  22. clémence says:

    rho j’en ai bien envie, là tout de suite maintenant! quelle belle couleur…

  23. Seanna Lea says:

    I love that this recipe only uses one beet. There were so many times from last year’s CSA that I had only 1 or 2 of something and would have to scratch my head to come up with good ideas.

  24. Supriya says:

    Hi these look lovely. On quick ques: What can I substitute for quinoa flour?

  25. Alexandra says:

    I can’t wait to make these. They look incredible! As usual, the pics are a delight.
    Question: do you use canned coconut milk or the one in cartons? I find they are very different in texture. Which one do you recommend?
    Also, re: egg substitution, I have a suggestion: 2 teaspoons of ground chia seed (you can grind it in a coffee grinder) mixed with 3 tablespoons water. It works better than anything else I’ve tried.
    Many thanks for the gorgeous post!

  26. ileana says:

    Love this. Such beautiful pictures. I saw baby beets at the market the other day… is there any difference in flavor versus regular beets?

  27. Supriya- you could use another gliten-free flour available. You could use all brown rice, millet, amaranth… buckwheat might be nice too. Just darker and it’s also earthy like quinoa.

    Alexandra- i use canned unsweetened coconut milk (not light version either). I like its consistency much better. And thank you for the suggestion about chia seeds. I use them quite often myself and even in my book there are several recipes that use chia seeds.

    Thank you all!

    Ileana- Baby beets tend to be more tender and cook faster but as far as flavor, not sure… I really cannot tell and for this recipe, it really makes no difference which ones you use.

  28. erica says:

    So cute! I love the styling, and the color, of course, is perfect for Valentine’s Day! Happy Valentine’s Day to you! :)

  29. Love the colors! Perfect for Valentine’s!!

  30. shelby says:

    A perfect recipe for Valentine’s Day! So creative and beautifully captured as always.. thank you and Happy Valentine’s Day!

  31. MikeVFMK says:

    I’ll admit it. For the longest time I stayed clear of beets. Recently I gave them a chance and I’m glad I did. Love baking with them and love this recipe, Aran. So colourful.

  32. Isn’t amazing what mother nature can do when it comes to color? I hear you talk about going to the beach and I have to admit, I’m a tad jealous. I can’t complain as Vancouver’s weather hasn’t been too bad but I can do without the rain and would drop everything to go to the beach. Better yet, enjoy those yummy treats! Happy Valentine’s Day Aran!

  33. Marloes says:

    I sooooo love your pictures! All of them! Thanks for sharing!

  34. Sini says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am. That color! Have to make these asap.

  35. Unknown says:

    What would you consider a “medium” beet? I’ve had beets that I thought were medium in comparison to the others I’ve had, but I get the sense they might actually be large! (or huge!)

  36. jen laceda says:

    Love these gluten free cupcakes / muffins. I just recently made a banana bread with a mix of quinoa, chickpea, and brown rice flours. It tastes the same as the “regular” kind, only a bit more “sandy” in texture, but it’s not a problem at all for me! Thanks for providing new ideas for gluten-free baking. I want to slowly switch to gluten-free, not by necessity or illness, but just by choice and option :)

  37. The specific size doesnt matter because you will need 1/4 cup of pureed beet. So pick one that you think will give you enough puree.


  38. Beautiful, as usual. I love the colors. The muffins look like raspberry sorbet. YUM.

  39. Melissa says:

    So pretty and delicate. Can’t wait to try these muffins. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  40. You had me with the color. They are the perfect little jewels, especially for Valentine’s Day!

  41. che delizia golosa hai realizzato, complimenti! Un bacio :)

  42. Waht a mixture!!! Will def try them out…. :-)

  43. I absolutely love these beet & poppy seed muffins! Also your photography is amazing, I so wish I could take one of your photography seminars. Any plans for NYC?! Cheers, Sara

  44. Mollie says:

    I made these tonight! Just the perfect hint of garden flavor and perfectly sweet. Mine did not end up nearly as red as yours…only the very tiniest pink. Delicious all the same! Any idea why though? I substituted ground flax in place of the almond flour (Whole Foods was sold out) and added 1/2 tsp almond extract, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly.

    PS- The substitution of ground flaxseed for almond flour worked perfectly, good to know for those wondering!

  45. Sara- unfortunately no plans for NYC. I will be announcing another workshop soon and it is the closest to NYC. Stay tuned!

    Mollie- I baked three batches of the muffins and they all turned out red, some a bit lighter, but red. The inside ends up being a bit lighter, almost orange (just like the last photo). It’s probably because of the color of the beets you were using. Some are not as pigmented as others. In fact I am making a beet tart right now and the red beets I got at the market have more white in them than the other ones.

    Glad you liked them!

  46. These sound so amazing. Thank you for sharing! Happy weekend.

  47. I LOVE these muffins! Just made them the other night but used a gluten free flour mix instead. Loved the flavor but next time I’m definitely going to use the flours that you recommended so I can experience the full effect.

  48. Foodie says:

    Your images are magical! Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful weekend.

  49. Maria says:

    What a beautiful colour! I can’t even begin to imagine what they taste like…

    Maria xx

  50. Super super super et encore super!

  51. Hanna says:

    Wow! Your muffins look amazing. I have to say, I tend to forget beets in my cooking. Thanks for reminding me of them, I’ll definitely try this recipe. Great photos as well!

  52. Marita says:

    Okay, made them again but I couldn’t find quinoa flour but used barley flour instead. They turned out perfect! My family and I LOVE these muffins. Thanks again for the recipe.

  53. Oooh, these are so pretty! Just found your site via The Kitchn – it’s beautiful!! Looking forward to snooping around :)

  54. Sini says:

    Made a patch yesterday and we enjoyed them with a cup of hot chocolate after our sledding trip. They turned out tasty and moist. I had the same “problem” as some of the others: they didn’t turn out as red as yours. But who cares really as they were so delicious! Definitely a keeper.

  55. Mélissa says:

    Hi Aran!

    I’ve bought everything to make the muffins but couldn’t find the coconut oil (in Mauritius we use it for suntanning, don’t think it’s recommended for this purpose ;-)!)
    What do you suggest?

    BTW, I’ve been a reader for about two years now. Your blog is so “comfy”, I really like the soft atmosphere and the colours!
    Keep up!


  56. Melissa- excellent! you can substitute with melted butter, vegetable oil or melted ghee. Whatever you have handy. Hope you like them!

  57. sproutsmama says:

    These really are delicious! I baked them with my little girl, and she loved them. I’m glad to see the comment about subbing ground flax in these–that will allow me to send one in her lunchbox (nut-free school). We’ll definitely be experimenting with these and making them regularly.

    Like mentioned by another, mine were no longer pink when they came out of the oven. They had slightly rosy brown tops, and no pink at all inside. The batter was deep purple when they went in, so go figure!

  58. Oh my goodness!

    My son Finn and I baked these and I should have doubled the recipe! Truly delicious. I’ll be making a larger batch in a few days.

    I made them in a mini muffin tin and he ate about six for dessert!

    Healthy, yummy and fun…love them! Thank you for this recipe!

  59. Jaime says:

    I’ve forwarded this recipe to my sister in Sydney – it’s perfect for my little nephew who has gluten, dairy, egg & nut allergy. She’s constantly searching for new ideas to cook for him.

  60. […] adapted Aran’s recipe for beetroot and poppy seed cupcakes to make these. And by the way, if you have yet to try Aran’s original recipe – please […]

  61. valerie s. says:

    Really like that your doing more dairy free baking, thanks so much!

  62. Carole says:

    these look wicked! I’m going to reblog this recipe to share with my followers!

  63. […] squash, carrot, and hazelnut muffins I recently made. Using that recipe and a recipe from Cannelle et Vanille as motivation, I came up with St. Patrick’s Day inspired stout and chocolate cupcakes with […]

  64. caitlyn says:

    These look beautifully scrumptious. Do you happen to know how long these last for?

  65. tracey says:

    Found this fabulous recipe while looking for ideas for me toddlers lunch box, THANKYOU! Exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.

    A couple of questions, I dont use sugar but have xylotol (natural white powder sweetner) or maple syrup to substitute which would you sugest and also do they freeze well? As id like to make them ahead and pop them in her lunchbox and come out fresh
    thanks again for a great recipe

    • Aran says:

      Hi Tracey,

      I don’t really know how you would substitute xylitol. I have worked with it once and didn’t really like it much. I believe it’s 1:1 ratio? As for maple syrup, you could use it but less because it would make the batter too liquid. They freeze really well. Hope you will like them!

  66. Tracey says:

    Just thought id let you know how I went, and I am in love. I made these as a sweet treat for thie kids and they are a hit with them too, in fact my 3yo ate three of them after her first day at preschool
    I substituted the sugar with 1/4c of maple syrup and 2tb date sugar that I forgot was there, I did have to add another tablespoon or so of quinoa flour because it was a little bit wet but they turned out fantastic! So, thank you so much for a fantastic recipe and now im off to search the rest of your blog for more fantastic recipes
    Thanks again

  67. Yasmine says:

    These sound and look AMAZING. Can’t wait to make them.

  68. peggy says:

    I am so in love with these new recipes! I cant wait to try them!!!

  69. […] Red Beet and Poppy Seed Muffins – Wow, look at those colors. I love it! […]

  70. Anita says:

    Wow! These are fabulous muffins, very tasty. I love their texture given that they are gluten-free. Thanks for posting!

  71. Ale says:

    Que color! Y la combinación del rojo con el contraste del azul…. bellísima. Me muero por probarlos.

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