Real Life Paleo

Chunky Monkey Muffins

We’ve found the cure for the vast divide that keeps us all up at night. The politics of food are finally solved. These chocolate muffins are vegan AND paleo with an option for tree-nut free too!  Well, we’re not even sure they’re muffins. I mean, it’s fruit-sweetened without frosting so it’s not a cupcake. And it’s got the texture of a brownie. But it’s healthy enough from being sweetened only with fruit to be snuck for breakfast. Pay no attention to the aptness of this sweet treat’s name… focus on the simplicity and how delicious it is!

These “muffins” are egg-free, dairy-free (vegan), grain-free (gluten-free), refined sugar-free, and an option for tree-nut free too! Somehow we were magically able to recreate a brownie texture without any eggs.  We’re not what I’d call skilled at vegan baking, in fact we rather love baking with eggs.  But, we know that quite a few children have an intolerance to them – so we wanted to offer a recipe that’d work without needing any substitutions.  We don’t know how we did it, but we try not to question these things.


These fun, simple and delicious treats are made even more fantastic by their “choose your own adventure” ending. Pictured below are both the vanilla version and a chocolate version. Both disappear QUICKLY. So, let your bananas get mushy and get your baking on!

Chunky Monkey Muffins on PaleoParents


Chunky Monkey Muffins



  1. In a food processor, puree together the dates and bananas until smooth
  2. Add remaining ingredients to food processor and pulse until a thick batter forms (scrape sides to fully incorporate but do not over blend)
  3. Spoon into lined muffin tin, filling cups 2/3 full
  4. Toss topping ingredients together in small bowl, sprinkle on top of each muffin and press gently to get them to "stick"
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 16 - 18 minutes


*We prefer fresh medjool dates (usually found in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store). We pit them ourselves and use them directly. If you are unable to find them (or find the cost too prohibitive) you can acquire a similar texture by re-hydrating dehydrated dates. Simply cover with boiling water for ten minutes, drain and use as instructed.

Don’t forget to let your kids help with the easy steps (♥). Sometimes cooking with kids can be a challenge sometimes. Finian poured in an entire ramekin of salt to our original batch (on accident) and although incredibly frustrating, it was a great learning lesson for us all. There are always teaching moments in the kitchen!

Chunky Monkey Muffins by PaleoParents

Note: This post has been updated since the original pictures from 2011, what a difference! The original used the vanilla base and the updated version uses the chocolate.

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  • Cara

    Ohhhhhhhhh, you are spoiling me Stacy! Now we can all sleep better at night knowing vegans and paleos can find common ground after all! I call it: Vegaleos. Palgans. Valeos. (still working on it…) Not sure if you can find a better combination of nut butter, bananas and dark chocolate. *And just between you and I, I’d prefer baking with eggs too if I didn’t get grossed out with their smell. They really *do* make baking that much easier don’t they???* Rats. These sound incredible. Bravo!

    • I have to admit that it was slightly self serving to create a recipe that was free of most of the allergens people suffer from. We have a few in the book but now I can point people to something they can make when they need a special treat! 🙂

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  • Chrissie

    Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve just made them with the last of my coconut flour and they were so fabulous I need to go shopping soon so I can make them again!  I find recipes with coconut flour can be dry but these were lovely, just like a brownie.

    • Thanks! It’s the almond or sunbutter. Makes everything better!

  • i sincerely detest dates, what can i substitute with?  i used kiwi as a sub in my last recipe w/dates & don’t feel like that was the ticket.  any suggestions?  thanks!!

    • The dates provide both sweetness and thickness. Perhaps an extra banana and egg? Maybe adding more flour. We love dates and they’re perfect in baking. Sorry!

  • homehandymum

    Thankyou so much!  Our kids’ preschool has just gone nut free AND egg free (due to actual allergies of some recently enrolled children).

    This recipe nicely solves the ‘treat day’ dilemma I’ll be facing in a few weeks: what’s a cereal-free family to do when it comes to that all-important 5th birthday treat-share??

    You guys rock!  Thankyou 🙂

    • No, thank you! Hope you have success with it!

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  • Michelle

    Hi, I am having trouble finding palm shortening in NZ, the closest couple I can find, one is for soapmaking and the other is vegetable shortening, but it is made from palm oil.  anyway, can I replace the palm shortening with butter?

    • Absolutely! We use palm shortening because we don’t ever use butter, but in the book and anywhere on the site, butter can replace palm shortening in equal volumes. Let me know if it turns out with butter!

  • liz

    these are in the oven right now! thought i’d think outside the sausage realm this morning, the batter was such a treat to lick out of the bowl, i have a cocoa ring around my face.
    i subbed more coconut oil for the palm shortening, seems like it will be fine.
    thanks for such a great recipe, i’m having the worst time finding egg-free/grain-free recipes. what a nightmare!

    • Glad you liked it (unbaked)! We started doing this kind of thing occasionally for just that reason: without grains, you often need the eggs for baking. We figured people in your position needed to find SOMETHING!

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  • Pam Erickson


  • Kokopaleo

    I just have to say that these muffins are AMAZING.  I’ve made them several times, and every time I give them away, people LOVE them.  Also,  my kids love helping me in the kitchen.  I actually use “We can make Chunky Monkey Muffins tomorrow morning” as a bribe to make sure my 3 year old goes to bed well for the babysitter.  THANK YOU!

    • Aw, wow – thank you! We’re so glad to “be a part of your family.” Nothing better than hearing people like the recipes 🙂

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  • Kelseyhayman

    is there any replacements for the palm shortening?

  • Judy Scott

    I’m new to your site, found it from from which I found from US Wellness Meats.  I have everything for this recipe except the dates.  I will look for these at Kroger’s or health food store.  I’m eager to try it because it’s grain-free and sugar-free.  I’m sure there will be many of your recipes I will want to try.  Thank you! 

    •  Dates ought to be available in most grocery store. If no fresh, then probably dried and pitted next to the raisins. All our recipes, you will find, are grain and white sugar free!

  • Judy Scott

    Would date sugar be considered “refined sugar”?

    •  Depending on your definition, maybe. They do have to process dates to extract it, after all. I don’t often recommend date sugar because what makes dates special is that they are especially sweet but are more easily processed due to the highest per gram fiber count of any food save for prunes. Making date sugar takes away all the fiber and leaves only the fructose.

  • Marni

    This is an awesome recipe, I absolutely love it. SO YUMMY!! Even my non-paleo, sugar/carb-lover hubby said that these were a keeper!

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  • Sarah

    thanks so much for this recipe!  (vegan/paleo is a combination i’m always on the lookout for.  i’ve found that raw deserts are the most likely to match the most people’s dietary needs, but sometimes a girl just needs to bake something gooey.)  

    •  Great! Glad you found it!

      • Patti

        Hi I’m new to this site and I have 2 questions. Can I use cocoanut oil in place of butter or palm oil and second about how many dates. I filled my measuring cup and it was 15 is that to many dates? Maybe I need to use less. Any help appreciated. Great site. I will be looking forward to getting your cook book. I’m already signed up and it keeps asking me to sign up and I tried my Facebook but it said this email is already in use.???
        Thank you

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  • Jennifer

    I made this recipe and thought it was absolutely delicious! However, one of my kids doesn’t like banana “flavored” anything – though he does like fresh bananas. So, I subbed the bananas for a heaping 1/2 cup applesauce and all of my kids and husband went crazy over them! I’m actually having to limit how many they are “allowed” to have, as there are 6 of us! Thanks for the great recipes!

    • Applesauce sounds delish! I’m making them for the first time today but maybe my next go ’round I’ll give that a try!

    • eveslegacy

      I’m also a don’t cook my bananas in anything person. Thanks for the sub.

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  • Kari

    hmmm is it possible to use prunes instead of dates? I managed to buy the wrong thing… lol

    • I don’t know. We’ve never used prunes that way before!

    • Tara S

      I know you put this comment up a long time ago, but I’m wondering if you made these with prunes? I have a bunch in my fridge and think they’d work really well, but I’d like to know if you tried it?? Thanks!

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  • What can I substitute for palm shortening? I don’t have any, where can I buy it?

  • sproutsmama

    yum! can’t wait to make these after spotting them on you FB page. can you guesstimate how many 1 batch makes? i’m want to make them for “snack day” at preschool, and want to be sure i have enough ingredients to double if necessary.

    • Pretty sure it’s a dozen, sorry should have included that – will have to remake and update the recipe 🙂

  • Yay! I’ve been getting progressively more sensitive to eggs but it’s sooooooooo hard to find fun things to make without them when you’re paleo.

  • eveslegacy

    Can hardly wait to try this. Trying to find more recipes for my gluten, dairy, and tree nut sensitive family.

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  • Carolinagirl

    These are our favorite muffins! This is what helped my daughter finally give up cereal a year ago. I make them for them so often, and wanted to find a way to save time. I was doubling them and freezing a batch, then it dawned on me to make them in a square pan to save even more time! (I only have one muffin pan.) A 9 in square pan took about 25 minutes too bake, and the kids loved them!

    Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Carolinagirl

      I forgot to mention that I make a double batch every time now, and use 2 – 9 in square pans. My son likes walnuts on his, and my daughter doesn’t so this works well. I freeze half of them, they freeze really well, the kids can’t even tell that I pulled them from the freezer!

  • These look amazing! I love recipes that satisfy my cravings for carbs that are grains without actually having any grains! Do you happen to have the nutritional info on them?

    • We don’t provide nutritional information, but you’re welcome to make they calculations yourself on fitday!

  • Elizabeth Thomas Guilfoyle

    All over this! Thanks! We are trying eliminating eggs for my 5 yr old for a bit (which makes him super bummed)

  • Jen

    Rats – want to make these for the first day of school but forgot dates at the store today! I’ll try an egg and some extra flour, plus some honey for sweetness.

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  • MathGirlTM

    These are my 9-year-old’s absolute favorite! He eats two a day, one for breakfast and one at snack or lunch! I love that they actually come away from the paper unlike other Paleo muffins I have made. I’m going to test it in a cake pan and, if successful, it’ll be my little one’s birthday cake!

  • Lisa

    Thank you for putting in the sunflower seed butter in place of almond butter!!! Have been wondering what could replace it since I am the only one in the house with a nut allergy.

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  • Kitkatlady

    Can you replace dates with something for this recipe? Trying to cut out sugar, even the natural kind. Thank you!

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  • Tara S

    OMG, Stacy and Matt…I made these a while ago and forgot the baking soda. *sigh* Well, I remembered today and these are absolutely amazing. Srsly. I don’t think you realize (well, actually, you probably do) what a weight is lifted…it’s life-changing when you can find a recipe that your kids will eat (and they ASK for it…WHAT?!) and you don’t feel horrible giving it to them. Thank you, from the bottom of my grain-free heart. <3

  • Kaj

    These sound great but it is impossible to get palm shortening here and ordering it from abroad is unreasonably expensive. Whipping up coconut oil just turned muffins into an oily mess. A real pity 🙁

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  • My husband made these today after we saw there on your Facebook page. They are delicious!

    • Awesome! So glad to hear you found the recipe through our Facebook page and enjoyed them!

  • Jessica in Duluth

    Thanks for this delicious recipe. We are low sugar so I halved the amount of dates and it worked just fine.

    • Glad you like the recipe and that you were able to find a modification that works for your family!

  • Marilyn

    I just tried these… they are delicious… however, had a problem… the middles all fell.. I live at about 4600 feet elevation.. could that be a problem? or too much soda for this elevation? They also were so tender they just fell apart when taking them out of the papers. Soooo good though!

    • Sounds like they needed a few more minutes to finish cooking all the way through.

  • Sarah R Lavigne

    Can you replace the palm shortening with anything?

    • Yes, if you tolerate butter, that would be a great tasting 1:1 sub! 🙂