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Green Muffins Recipe — Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day

March 06, 2014

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green muffins!

I am too excited about this muffin recipe to wait until St. Patrick’s Day!  I’ve had great luck in the past using pureed spinach to turn pancakes green, so I knew I could make a green muffin.  Not only do I think these turned out fantastic, even Mr. Picky loved them, too.  Although I did tell him a little lie and said I used green food coloring and he just lit up, eyes wide, “Really?!  You did?!  Really, Mom?!  Like the unhealthy kind?!”  Honestly, I’m a little disappointed that my son actually thinks I would use food coloring in a muffin.  And just as disappointed that he would be excited to eat that same muffin.  I had to lie again.  Actually, buddy, it’s a natural green food coloring which gets its color from spinach.  Bummed out face.  I know for a minute there he thought I suddenly turned into an exciting mom, one who would take risks and dare to use carcinogens!  ”Oh.  They’re still good, I guess.”

whole wheat pastry flour

puree coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, egg, milk together

And they are good!  These muffins are lightly sweet, moist, simple and BRIGHT GREEN because they are loaded with spinach!  St. Patrick’s Day is a HUGE opportunity to get green foods into your kids because they are expecting them.  You’re showing your spirit.  On any other day, green muffins are you just trying to sneak leafy greens into your kids who are not fooled.  But the closer we get to March 17th, green muffins are part of the fun!

batter made green from pureed spinach

fill about 7/8ths full

This is a very basic muffin recipe.  The spinach is undetectable and the banana is very subtle.  But if you hate banana, you might be able to sub 1/2 cup of applesauce.  I think adding walnuts or chocolate chips would be great, too.  One of my daughters suggested cream cheese frosting, although then these become cupcakes which is fine, too.  These tasted best the day they were made and the next day, too.  They lasted just fine a few days on the countertop in a sealed container, but I would freeze what you don’t think you’ll eat within a couple days.  Let me know if you make these and if you get lucky!

Green muffins!

green muffins

green muffins

makes 12


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour or spelt flour (or use 2 cups of King Arthur Multi-purpose Gluten-free Flour + 1 teaspoon xanthan gum)

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine ground sea salt

1 large egg

¾ cup pure maple syrup (Grade A or Grade B)

¾ cup dairy or non-dairy milk (such as almond milk)

¼ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 5- or 6-ounce bag of fresh baby spinach leaves

2 medium ripe bananas, mashed



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with unbleached parchment liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a blender add egg, maple syrup, milk, oil, vanilla and spinach.  Process until pureed.
  4. Add spinach mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  Fold in the mashed banana.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about ¾ full.  I like to do this with a large ice cream scooper.  Bake about 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Store at room temperature up to 3 days.  These freeze nicely!

63 Responses to “Green Muffins Recipe — Perfect for St. Patrick’s Day”

  1. Rebekah Runyan says:

    Can’t wait to try these! Any idea what the cooking time would be if I made these in a mini muffin tin?

  2. Lauren says:

    These look great! Would you replace both bananas with only 1/2 cup of applesauce? I’d rather not use any banana but I didn’t know if that meant I needed 1/2 cup or a full cup.

    • Pamela says:

      Hi Lauren, it looks like from some of the comments below that 1/2 cup applesauce was successfully substituted for the 2 bananas. Personally, I think ripe bananas are sweeter than applesauce, so I might be inclined to up the sweetener a little.

      • Lauren says:

        Good point, thank you! I didn’t think about upping the sweetener. I plan on making these for my son’s daycare friends for St. Patty’s day – I’m so excited! Thanks again!

  3. Lena says:

    hulk cupcakes!! great idea :)

  4. Kari says:

    My kids are loving these! And they’re getting a kick out of the fact that they are actually made with spinach! I lightly sprinkled them with mini dark chic chips so they look like little spiked green balls. We’re calling them Halloween muffins… Thank you!

  5. Valerie says:

    Great idea!!! These are delicious!! Will be making them as monster muffins or something like that for Halloween!!

  6. […] With a little cream cheese frosting, these would be a delicious cupcake! In fact, I’m considering using this recipe for Elsie’s birthday this year. Spinach cupcakes?! Ha, why not! Here’s the recipe for ya!  (adapted from Pamela Salzman’s Green Muffins) […]

  7. Nancy T says:

    Just made these…didn’t need to wait until St. Patty’s Day! I had both fresh spinach and bananas I needed to use up, and these sounded delicious! We LOVE them! I used 1 c. sprouted whole wheat flour, 1/2 c. farro flour, & 1/2 c. oat flour (from oat groats) to total my 2 c. flour…. mainly because I had various flours that I had made which I needed to use up, but didn’t want to go with all of 1 kind in case all oat or faro flour would cause this to bomb, lol. I added chopped walnuts to them too…oh, and I even forgot to put in the vanilla extract, but they are delicious without it! I used my Vitamix to do all of my wet ingredients, mash my bananas & chop the walnuts… so fast and easy! The batter is delicious too…enjoyed “licking” the bowl :) .

    • Pamela says:

      I love all of your adaptations! I especially like the addition of a little crunch. These are perfect all year for sure!

  8. Lydia says:

    I made these tonight, taking advantage of my rare opportunity to serve “green” food. I thought they were beyond amazing! My kids were actually excited to try them after dinner as well. Well, my daughter loved them and can’t believe she will be allowed to have a ” cupcake ” for breakfast tomorrow. However, my son was repulsed by the bits of banana in it. I’m wondering what would happen if I puréed the banana as well so there are no detectable bits. What do you think?

    • Pamela says:

      No repulsive bits of banana allowed! You can absolutely puree them with the spinach if you want. Good luck with Round 2! :)

  9. Jade says:

    Does anyone know if this would work with frozen spinach (obviously I’d have to squeeze it out really well) and how many cups of it I would need? I have a crazy picky toddler and would love to make these once he’s in bed for a surprise breakfast tomorrow!

    • Pamela says:

      Even though I haven’t made these with frozen spinach, I am going to guess you can use the equivalent weight of frozen, defrosted spinach and blend with the liquids. I don’t know what the cup equivalent is, but if you had a 10-ounce bag of frozen spinach, I would use half. I would love to know if you try it and it works!

      • Tracy says:

        I did use defrosted 10 ounces frozen spinach and they were delicious! No spinach taste and I also cut the maple syrup down to about a 1/3 c and did the switch of 1/2c applesauce for the bananas, only because we were out of bananas at the time. Making another batch now per my 4 yo request for her class snack! Thanks!

  10. Louisa says:

    Happy St,. Patty’s Day! These green muffins were such a hit at my house! Everyone loved them and so did the group of walkers going to Valley school! Fun to share and delicious to eat! I had to promise to make them again today!
    Thank you!!

  11. […] – green muffins, apples, oranges, veggies in ranch-style […]

  12. Sarah's says:

    Yum, my kids and I just made these. We made them in mini muffin tins and added a chocolate chip to the top of them. They keep asking for more!

  13. Rachelle says:

    Has anyone successfully used Kale in this recipe? I want to make these but checked the fridge and have no spinach on hand!

    • Pamela says:

      I the flavor of 5-6 ounces of kale would be apparent whereas the spinach is undetectable, but that’s just my guess.

      • Rachelle says:

        I actually used the kale and it wasn’t noticeable. If my husband ate and liked them, trust me, it is undetectable! So just in case anyone needs to use a substitute in a pinch, kale is good too! Everyone has been begging for more! Great recipe to store away for St. Patricks Day and as hulk muffins! :)

        • Pamela says:

          Thank you so much, Rachelle! I’m so grateful you gave them a try with the kale and then reported back your success! This opens up more possibilities for these muffins — yay!!

  14. Mindy says:

    I just realized that as I am saving this recipe I never used almond milk! I honestly didn’t miss it. I bet it would have made the batter really liquidy. This also made 12 very full muffins. I bet the apple sauce had something to do with how it turned out (which was yummy).

  15. Mindy says:

    I made these tonight and my husband and I both really liked them. I used 1/4 cup agave nectar and 1/2 cup maple syrup. I also tried what you suggested and subbed one banana for 1/2 cup apple sauce. The muffins were moist with good texture. I like that they are sweet without being too sweet. So this is a great base recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Pia says:

    We made these tonight and they were great! Our weren’t as vibrant green. But saw in the comments that I might have blended it longer than you. Next time I will do less. I think nuts would be great in them as well. My six year old said thumbs up! We packed them up to share with his teachers tomorrow. Thank you!

  17. Made these today! So good! I changed the recipe up just a bit, but still had delicious results! Thank you so much for this great healthy recipe!

  18. Hi Pamela. A friend showed me these muffins and I’m in love. Simple and clean, just like I cook. Pinning and trying! And yes, I lie to my kids in the same way too. And I share your sadness and I know the feeling of “not a cool mom” with spinach obsession LOL. I’m gonna lie to my boys!!!

  19. Noreen says:

    Hi, I tried making these today and they didn’t turn out so well. I used white spelt flour and honey, but everything else exactly as written. The batter was very runny? The muffins ended up sunken and still undercooked inside (despite extended cooking time and bring overdone on the outside). Any suggestions? They still taste delicious, they just don’t look great :(

    • Pamela says:

      That’s disappointing! Since I wasn’t in the kitchen with you when you made them, it’s hard to say what went wrong. But it sounds like a leavening issue perhaps? Is it possible the baking powder and baking soda were mixed up? Or one of them left out altogether? I have made these several times as have many of my friends and family and I haven’t heard any results like yours, so I think the recipe is ok. Thoughts?

  20. Carrie says:

    I made these tonight for our family and they were a huge hit. Thanks for a wonderful, festive, and healthy muffin! (I made a double batch to have enough to freeze for St. Patrick’s Day but couldn’t wait until then to make them.)

  21. Bridget says:

    I just made these without any modifications. They are yummy! If you close your eyes, to me they taste like banana muffins, but that is great because I love banana muffins. Mine are definitely green, but not quite a vibrant as yours, but still unquestionably green! Thanks.

    • Pamela says:

      That’s great, Bridget! Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking about the color issue, and I have a feeling (just a feeling, no scientific evidence) that the longer the spinach is pureed, the less vibrant the color because it will start to oxidize. So perhaps blend for as little time as possible to keep it bright green!

  22. Nikki says:

    HA! Love your comments about your conversation with your son. Sounds exactly like what would happen with my 6 year old. So many times I feel bad because we are so boring…no fun cereals, no fun juice, no colors! So this will be fun to try! Thank you!

  23. Jocelyn says:

    Can you suggest a good egg substitute? I have a student who has an egg allergy, and would hate to leave her out. Thank you!

    • Pamela says:

      Yes! For one egg substitute 1 Tablespoon of GROUND flaxseed mixed with 3 Tablespoons of warm water. Allow the mixture to sit on the countertop for 15 minutes before adding to the muffin batter. Should be perfect!

  24. Mindy says:

    This made me laugh oh loud when I read your comment about [not] being a cool mom that takes risks with carcinogens. My husband and I are so persnickety when it comes to food ingredients. I will also try the recipe with agave and I’ll let you know how it turns out. I have never commented on a recipe before, but you sound like a woman after my own heart. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Lauren says:

    Do you have suggestions for a coconut oil substitute or egg substitute? When I normally substitute egg, I find everything falls apart.

    • Pamela says:

      Sure! For the coconut oil you can sub olive oil or melted butter. For the egg substitute, sub 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tablespoons warm water. Allow to sit on the countertop for 15 minutes before adding to batter.

  26. Ashley says:

    Would it be too much to use coconut milk and the coconut oil? Or should I use almond milk instead? Thanks!

    • Pamela says:

      Hmmm, coconut milk (the kind out of the can) has so much more fat than regular milk. ALthough the recipe calls for such a small amount, that it would probably be fine. I think the flavor should be fine too. ALmond milk will definitely work!

  27. peggy curry says:

    LOVE THIS! Cant wiat to try it! YUMM!!! Love Pegs

  28. Stefania says:

    Hi Pam- If I wanted to use almond flour or coconut flour instead, how would I change the recipe? Thank you so much!

  29. Jordan says:

    I don’t always have maple syrup on hand but I do keep Agave. Would that work, as well? Looking forward to getting some greens into my own picky guy!

    • Pamela says:

      I only tested this recipe with maple syrup, but I am confident that you can use agave and regular cane sugar as well. A wet sweetener gets blended with the other wet ingredients and a dry sweetener gets mixed in with the dry (i.e. flour). Enjoy!

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