A few years ago, my “second mommy” (she baby-sat me while my mom worked when I was as a little girl!) started traveling a lot more with her husband during the summers. They flew around the country to watch their oldest son play baseball, but to minimize their time away from home, they usually booked really early flights the morning of his game instead of flying in a day in advance.
The afternoon before one of their trips, I happened to stop by her house to drop off a batch of muffins. I had been working on a new recipe to share on my blog, and since I knew she enjoyed taste testing treats for me, I wanted to hear what she thought of them.
Her eyes lit up as I handed over the plate. “These will be perfect for breakfast at the airport tomorrow!” she exclaimed.
The next day, my phone buzzed right after the sun rose, and I smiled as I read her text. She shared that she had devoured two of the muffins (along with an extra large cup of coffee!) while sitting at the gate waiting to board their plane, and she absolutely loved their moist texture and rich spices… So she was glad she had left a few back at home in the fridge to enjoy when they returned from their weekend getaway!
For the rest of the summer, I baked a different batch of muffins before almost every one of her trips to give her something healthier to eat at 5 am at the airport… Rather than relying on the sugar-laden pastries in the coffee shop bakery cases for breakfast. We both looked forward to that little tradition — partially because it gave us an excuse to chat and catch up the day before when I dropped off the muffins!
While at the airport for a trip of my own earlier this month, those airport muffin memories floated through my mind. I smiled, recalling how my second mommy’s face lit up each time I showed up with a plate of freshly baked breakfast goodies, and when I returned home…
I baked a batch of these Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins to satisfy my newfound muffin cravings! They’re incredibly moist, packed with zucchini and cozy spices, and perfect for meal prepping or quick grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks.
Just like all of the muffins I previously made for my second mommy, these are also much healthier than the ones in coffee shop display cases. They have lots of hearty oats and protein-packed Greek yogurt to keep you full all morning long, no refined flour or sugar, and 105 calories!
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY ZUCCHINI OATMEAL MUFFINS
Let’s go over how to make the best healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins! And the first ingredient that you’ll need? Oats! Or more specifically… Instant oats! They’re also called quick cooking oats and one-minute oats. They’re not the ones sold in those individual brown paper packets with flavors like apple cinnamon and maple brown sugar!
Instead, instant oats are just smaller and thinner than traditional old-fashioned rolled oats. They have the same exact health benefits as old-fashioned oats, but instant oats’ smaller and thinner size means they soften faster… Which yields really soft and tender healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins!
Tip: You can usually find them right next to the old-fashioned rolled oats at the grocery store, and instant oats are also perfect for making oatmeal cookies! (You can use them to make ALL of these healthy and yummy oatmeal cookie recipes of mine!)
And that brings us to my special trick that creates the fluffiest and moistest muffins imaginable…
You’ll stir the oats together with Greek yogurt and some milk, and then you’ll let that mixture sit while you measure and mix together the rest of the ingredients! Oats act like little sponges and soak up lots of moisture, so combining them with the Greek yogurt and milk lets them start soaking up those liquids ahead of time… Which then makes the oats soften ahead of time… Which creates the best texture in these healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins!
Such a great trick, right? I use it when baking all of my other healthy oatmeal muffin recipes — and my healthy bran muffin recipes too!
Speaking of those other ingredients…
You’ll need white whole wheat flour and spices next! My grandma always used at least two different spices when making her famous zucchini bread, so I do the same with all of my zucchini baked treats too. For these muffins, you’ll use cinnamon (I buy my favorite cinnamon online here because it’s so rich, strong, and sweet but really still really affordable inexpensive!), allspice, and nutmeg. Although you’re only adding a small amount of the latter two, they really round out the spice flavor and make these healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins taste so cozy and comforting!
Just in case you’re unfamiliar with it… White whole wheat flour actually exists, and it’s not just a combination of white (aka all-purpose) flour and regular whole wheat flour! Instead, it’s made by finely grinding a special type of soft white wheat (hence the name!), whereas regular whole wheat flour comes from a heartier variety of red wheat. They both have the same health benefits (like extra fiber!), but white whole wheat flour has a lighter taste and texture… And that lets the moist texture and sweet flavor of your healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins shine!
Just remember, it’s really important to measure the oats and flour correctly, using this method or a kitchen scale. (← That’s the one I own!) Too much of either will dry out your muffins. This is especially true of the oats. Remember how they act like little sponges?? So it’s definitely worth taking a few extra moments to measure your ingredients correctly. It’ll yield the best healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins — I promise!
Whereas traditional muffin recipes typically call for ¼ to ½ cup of oil, you only need ½ tablespoon of melted butter or oil in these muffins. That really helps keep your healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins low calorie and low fat! Yet they’re still incredibly moist and tender because of…
Greek yogurt! Which you already added to your oats… So this shouldn’t be too big of a surprise. 😉 In this batter, Greek yogurt adds the same moisture as extra butter or oil but for a fraction of the calories. It also gives your healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins a protein boost!
Greek yogurt is definitely one of my favorite healthy baking ingredients for those reasons!
You’ll sweeten your healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins with another one of my favorite ingredients: liquid stevia. Stevia is a plant-based, no-calorie sweetener that contains nothing refined or artificial (aka it’s clean eating friendly!). It’s also highly concentrated. You just need 1 ½ teaspoons to sweeten this entire batch of muffins… Which is the equivalent of almost ¾ cup of sugar!
Tip: Many stevia brands and products have a slightly different sweetness level and equivalent, so I highly recommend using the same one that I do for the best results! I buy mine online here because that’s the best price I’ve found, and I love how I don’t notice any strange aftertaste in my baked goods like I do with some other stevia products. It’s not a one-time-use ingredient either — you’ll use it in all of these recipes of mine too!
There’s one more key ingredient in these muffins… The zucchini! It’s impossible to make healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins without that beautiful green vegetable, right?? 😉
But before you stir your freshly grated zucchini into the batter, you must thoroughly pat it dry! Zucchini contains a lot of moisture. If you stir your grated zucchini into the batter without patting it dry, it releases that moisture into your muffins as they bake… And that moisture then causes your muffins to collapse and sink while cooling, making them dense and a bit gooey. Not good.
But if you thoroughly pat your zucchini dry first, you end up with the best healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins! To do this, place a double-thick layer of paper towels on a cutting board. Spread your freshly grated zucchini on top. Firmly press down with a second double-thick layer of paper towels, and keep pressing out the moisture until the top paper towels are soaked all the way through. Then repeat with a fresh double-thick layer of paper towels on top.
Yes, I know this is an extra step… Yes, I know this takes extra time… And yes, I promise the moist and fluffy texture of these healthy zucchini muffins is worth it!
One last tip for you! Low fat muffin batters, like with these healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins, stick to both muffin tins and muffin liners (paper, foil, even silicone!) like superglue. So regardless of whether you’re using liners or plain unlined muffin cups, generously coat them with nonstick cooking spray! This allows the muffins to slide out of the muffin cups — or the liners to peel away from the muffins’ sides — much more easily!
Then once you pop your tray into the oven, set a timer, and listen for it to buzz…
It’s time to enjoy your delicious and well-deserved muffins! And when you make your own, remember to snap a picture and share it on Instagram using #amyshealthybaking and tagging @amyshealthybaking IN the photo itself! (That guarantees I’ll see your picture! ????) I’d love to see your healthy zucchini oatmeal muffins!
Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Muffins
- ¾ cup (75g) instant oats (gluten-free if necessary and measured like this)
- ½ cup (120g) plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup + 1 tbsp (255mL) nonfat milk, divided
- 2 cups (240g) white whole wheat flour or gluten-free* flour (measured like this)
- 1 tbsp (6g) ground cinnamon (see Notes!)
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tbsp (7g) unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ tsp liquid stevia
- 2 ¼ cups (203g) freshly grated zucchini, thoroughly patted dry (see Notes!)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat 13 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. (If using liners, then line 13 muffins cups with liners and coat them with cooking spray.)
- In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, Greek yogurt, and 5 tablespoons of milk. In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a third bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla, and liquid stevia. Add in the oat mixture, stirring until no lumps remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and remaining ¾ cup of milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, and stirring just until incorporated. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 4 equal parts.) Gently fold in the zucchini.
- Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350°F for 30-33 minutes or until the top feels firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
View Nutrition Information + Weight Watchers Points
You may also like Amy’s other recipes…
♡ Healthy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Muffins
♡ Healthy Spiced Carrot Zucchini Muffins
♡ Healthy Zucchini Oatmeal Snack Cake
♡ Healthy Chocolate Chip Zucchini Mini Muffins
♡ Healthy Zucchini Protein Muffins
♡ Healthy Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
♡ Healthy Lemon Zucchini Muffins
♡ …and the rest of Amy’s healthy muffin recipes!
deborah burow says...
I made these and love them. Takes a bit of time to get it all together, but worth it. they freeze very well. Tastes like a little mini zucchini bread, which I love cuz then I’m not tempted to eat the whole loaf! Just grab one and perfectly satisfied. Thanks.
I’m so glad you loved these muffins, Deborah! Thank you for taking the time to let me know. It really means a lot! 🙂
Wanda Cooks says...
Whew! I had high hopes but my muffins are awful. I followed recipe to a T except subbing soy milk for dairy. They look pretty and they even kinda smell good but the texture is a tad rubbery. Mostly I think though I don’t like the stevia taste. I use stevia every day in my tea and to sweeten my yogurt but in these muffins somehow the bitter edger is really pronounced. Also I feel they truly suffer from their nearly fat-free-ness. 1/2 T of butter for a dozen muffins?? Come on…
It means a lot that you tried my recipe, Wanda! That sounds disappointing and not like how these muffins are supposed to turn out, so I’d love to work with you to figure out what happened. In order to do so, I have some questions for you!
Did you make any modifications or substitutions, including those listed in the Notes section?
Did you use a hand-held mixer or stand mixer to make the batter?
Did you use a kitchen scale or measuring cups/spoons to measure all of the ingredients — especially the oats, flour, and Greek yogurt?
Did you use white whole wheat flour or the gluten-free blend listed in the Notes section?
Did you use the exact same liquid stevia that I did?
Is this the same stevia that you use daily in your tea and yogurt?
Did you measure the grated zucchini before or after patting it dry?
Did you use a spatula, fork, or something else to fold in the zucchini?
Were your muffins moist or dry inside? (I understand they were rubbery, but I wanted to confirm whether they were softer or crumbly inside as well!)
Since you said they looked pretty, I’m assuming they rose nicely and didn’t collapse while cooling — is that correct?
I know I just asked a LOT of questions, but I’ll have a much better idea of the culprit once I know your answers to all of them! 🙂