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If you’re a fan of carrot cake, you’re in for a special treat with these Carrot Cake Cookies with a homemade cream cheese icing. They’re a fun way to welcome the spring season and sneak in some veggies into your desserts. They’re chewy, soft, loaded with chopped pecans, and full of all the flavors you love from a classic carrot cake.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love these homemade carrot cake cookies
- Ingredients to make carrot cake cookies with icing
- How to make carrot cake cookies
- How to make carrot cake cookie dough
- Tips for making this carrot cookie recipe
- Popular substitutions & additions
- How to store carrot cake cookies
- Frequently asked questions
- More cookie recipes:
- Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe
The freshly grated carrots are what make these carrot cake cookies. Not only does the carrot add moister to the cookie, but it also adds a sweet yet subtle earthy flavor to the cookie. Plus, the cookie dough comes together quickly and bakes in just 10 minutes! Long story short – If you’re crazy about carrot cake like my family, you’ll want to double the batch as they disappear as soon as the cream cheese icing drizzles on top. They’re that good!
Why you’ll love these homemade carrot cake cookies
- A new Spring favorite! This spring treat is a great way to start the season and is sure to give traditional carrot cake a run for its bunny (pun intended)!
- Easy to make cookies. Just combine the ingredients, scoop them into mounds, and bake and glaze.
- The best ever carrot cake cookie! These carrot cake cookies have a tender crumb with an incredible mouthfeel. It reminds me of a muffin-cookie fusion. It’s everything you love in a carrot cake jammed into a handheld dessert!
Ingredients to make carrot cake cookies with icing
- Flour + baking soda: You’ll need all-purpose flour and baking soda. Swap out the flour for whole wheat or white whole wheat flour.
- Carrots: Skip using pre-shredded carrots as they are dry and won’t mix into the batter as well as freshly grated carrots.
- Spices: Ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- Butter: Make sure your butter is at room temperature to easily cream together with the sugar.
- Eggs: To bind the dry ingredients together. You can make this recipe vegan by using flax eggs..
- Applesauce: Applesauce will keep your cookies soft and moist.
- Brown sugar: I like using light brown sugar, but you could use dark brown sugar, which will add a deeper molasses flavor.
- Vanilla + salt: For balancing all the flavors and adding a subtle sweetness from the vanilla.
- Pecans: These add a tasty nutty flavor and crunchy bite to the cookies, but you can skip them if you’re not a fun of nuts in your cookies.
Cream cheese drizzle
- Cream cheese + Butter: The cream cheese should be softened to room temperature for easy creaming with the butter and sugar.
- Powdered sugar: If your sugar seems a little lumpy, run it through a sifter for the smoothest cream cheese icing.
- Milk: Adjust the amount of milk as needed. You want the drizzle to be firm enough to pipe but soft enough to flow across the cookies easily.
- Vanilla extract: Adds aromatic flavoring.
How to make carrot cake cookies
Making homemade carrot cake cookies is a breeze with these easy steps. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use a hand mixer instead.
How to make carrot cake cookie dough
- Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, and brown sugar until combined before mixing in the applesauce.
- Add egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat together until combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until only a few streaks of flour remain, scraping down the side halfway through.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and add the carrots and pecans.
- Fold the batter using a rubber spatula until evenly combined.
- Scoop the cookies onto a baking sheet leaving enough room for spreading while baking.
- Bake until golden brown and puffy. Allow the cookies to cool before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream cheese drizzle
- While the cookies cool, add cream cheese and butter to the stand mixer and mix until creamy before adding the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.
- Mix until combined. You want the icing to be slightly runny but firm enough to pipe. Transfer to a piping bag or ziptop bag and trim the corner off. Pipe a drizzle of frosting on the cooled cookies and serve.
Tips for making this carrot cookie recipe
- Measure the grated carrots correctly. When measuring the grated carrots, make sure you pack the measuring cup tightly. The carrots add a lot of flavor, sweetness, and moisture to the cookies, so you don’t want to skimp on them!
- Sift the powdered sugar for a smoother frosting. Sifting the powdered sugar helps to remove any clumps so that you can easily whisk the mixture and pipe it through. This is not necessary, but only if you want to go the extra step!
- Use a cookie scoop. I use a 1.7 tablespoon cookie scoop. Once I scoop the cookie dough onto the baking sheet, leave it rounded for a tall puffed cookie like the top of a muffin. You could also press the cookie a bit after scooping for a flatter top after baking.
- Don’t overbake the cookies. Golden brown edges and a set middle means your cookies are ready to be removed from the oven. Cookies will continue to cook for a few after being removed, especially when sitting on a hot baking sheet. Tall, soft, and chewy is the texture we’re aiming for.
- Don’t store the cookies on top of each other. This type of cream cheese frosting does not harden as it cools. It remains pretty soft, so be sure to store the cookies in a single layer to avoid smudging the frosting all over.
Popular substitutions & additions
- Add raisins. If you love the addition of raisins in your carrot cake, then you can’t go wrong with adding them to cookies! Fold in ½ cup with the grated carrots and pecans.
- Top with frosting. The cream cheese icing that is drizzled over these cookies is so good, but you can actually frost them just like cupcakes. Try my cream cheese frosting and pip on a thicker layer of sweet creamy frosting.
- Swap the nuts. I love the classic combination of carrots and pecans that you’re used to in a carrot cake recipe, but you could also use walnuts or another soft nut.
- Add chocolate chips. Chocolate makes everything better, so you can’t go wrong with a handful thrown into the cookie mix!
How to store carrot cake cookies
The frosted cookies should be kept in the fridge, but they are equally good without the drizzle! If left plain, these will keep in an airtight container at room temperature.
How long will carrot pecan cookies last in the fridge?
If stored at room temperature without frosting, carrot cake cookies will keep for up to 4 days, and up to 6 days in the fridge.
Can i freeze homemade carrot cake cookies?
Yes! After baking, freeze the cookies on a baking sheet until solid. Transfer the frozen cookies to a bag and thaw at room temperature when ready to eat. Add the cream cheese frosting after thawing instead of freezing on the cookies.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! To make a flatter cookie that’s not as tall as this recipe, simply press the cookie dough ball after scooping it with the back of a spoon or with the palm of your hand. They don’t spread as much as other cookie varieties and will puff up like cake batter, so they need a little extra help to reshape them.
I haven’t tested this recipe with an alternative, but you can try an equal amount of crushed pineapples!
It’s best to use unsalted butter, but if you need a quick substitute and have salted butter available, you can use it, but I would suggest removing the additional salt in the carrot cake cookie.
Carrot cake cookies are exactly what you’re looking for when trying new ways of enjoying a classic like Carrot Cake. Kids will go crazy for them, and the cream cheese frosting will have you coming back for more. You may also like my Carrot Cake Muffins, Carrot Cake Pancakes, or even my Carrot Banana Bread. For more Easter activities, also check out my easy DIY Easter Egg Dyes using natural ingredients.
More cookie recipes:
- Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies
- Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips
- Dark Chocolate Cookies
- Oatmeal Apple Cookies
- Trail Mix Cookies
- Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Cardamom Cookies
- Pistachio Cookies
If you try this feel good Carrot Cake Cookie recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 egg at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup freshly grated carrots from about 2 medium carrots
- ½ cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Drizzle
- 2 tablespoons cream cheese room temperature
- 1 tablespoons butter room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons milk plus more, as needed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift together the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and brown sugar. Cream at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until combined. Add applesauce and mix until combined.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds, or until only a few streaks of flour remain.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the stand mixer and fold the carrots and pecans into the batter using a rubber spatula.
- Using a 1.5 tablespoons-size spring loaded cookie scoop, scoop the cookies onto the prepared sheet pan, make sure the cookies are spaced about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown around the edges and the centers are puffed and set.
- Let cool for 2 minutes on the baking pans, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
- While the cookies cool, make the icing. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add cream cheese and butter. Mix at medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until creamy. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Mix until combined. You want the icing to be slightly runny, but firm enough to pipe. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency. Transfer to a piping bag or ziptop bag and trim the corner off. Pipe a drizzle of frosting on the cooled cookies and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.
Very tasty outcome and the topping is delicious. Initially I thought it is rather complicated but as I followed the instructions it was not difficult at all. I added walnuts instead!
So glad you liked them!
These turned out great! I made them dairy free by subbing the butter for 2 Tbsp coconut oil and 2 Tbsp homemade walnut butter. I made them to share with my toddler, so I left out the pecans. I baked a couple as a trial, and they didn’t spread at all. Maybe from subbing the butter or maybe because I packed the 1/2 cup with too many carrots. I simply flattened the rest before baking. The flavor was fantastic and enjoyed by my whole family. I’ve saved it to make again and will be adding pecans for myself — sounds like a tasty addition!
Love this! Thanks for sharing the tips!
Moist and delicious. Fun to make.
Glad you enjoyed them, Deborah!
Très bon, moelleux!
I think the cooking challenge is a good idea.
I’d like to see how it works;
however I have no interest in making carrot cookies.
Hi Larry! We do a different recipe every month; I’d love to have you be a part of one. If you signup for my email list, you’ll get a notification for April’s, and maybe you’ll be more interested in that one. For more details on how it works and what you win, you can visit: https://feelgoodfoodie.net/march-2023-cooking-challenge/
I love carrot cake and never thought about cookies. Great idea. Had to try them. Carrot Cake Cookies were a big hit with our run/walking group. I made them today and shared them before our walk. Everyone gives them a big thumbs up. My icing wasn’t as pretty as yours but it was very tasty. The hole in my zip loc got bigger as I was applying. They were not super sweet. This was a big fan favorite. I would recommend this delightful cookie recipe.
So happy to hear they were a hit with your walking group! That’s one of my fav things about them, not being too sweet but still tasting like a treat!
These Carrot Cake Cookies are fabulous! They satisfy carrot cake craving more easily and quickly than making a cake.
Thank you, Yumma!
You’re so welcome!!
The best Carrot cookies I have ever had.
Thank you so much, Alan!
These are seriously the best Carrot cookies i have ever had. Soft and chewy texture with a perfect flavor. This recipe is a keeper.
Aw, thanks so much, Mina! Glad you enjoyed them!
These cookies are a delight to make AND eat! I will be making them often this Spring. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes.
So glad you liked them, Susan!
I love carrot cake & this is a great way to have my (cake) cookie & eat it too!
Haha, love that! So glad you liked them, Margaret!
These cookies look delicious! I can’t wait to try them as carrot cake is one of my family’s favorite desserts. So, these cookies are sure to be a hit. Thanks for all the tasty recipes and tips you send to my email inbox.
You’re so welcome, Linda! I hope you enjoy them!
Made these today. They are easy and delicious!
Glad you enjoyed them, Michelle!
These are moist, flavorful, and delicious! I didn’t add the frosting and found them to be wonderful. With the carrots and the pecans, it could also pass as a healthy breakfast cookie! Highly recommend!
So glad you enjoyed them, Melissa!
These are really good! I enjoy carrot cake, so thought I’d give these a try. I added raisins, subbed coconut oil for half the butter, and used a flax egg. They turned out nice and soft and delicious!
Thank you for sharing your subs! It’s so helpful! Glad you enjoyed
My family and I loved the cookies. The warmth of the spices and softness of the cookies hit the spot! I also enjoyed how simple they were to make- much easier than baking a whole cake, and just as tasty too! Gotta make this for Easter! I also added some raisins for a subtle sweetness and was really pleased with the results! Thanks for another awesome recipe!
So happy to hear you guys enjoyed them!
These look like a great cookie that comes together quickly. I’m going to make some tomorrow and use your suggestion to add in some raisins. Thank you!
You’re so welcome! Enjoy!
Those cookies look terrific! I want to try & make this for Easter.
Thank you! Hope you enjoy them!
Thank you for sharing the recipe, was delicious and easy to make.
You’re so welcome, Helen!
Cookies are delicious!
Thank you so much, Jung!
My mouth is watering…we are going through a kitchen renovation but these will be the 1st thing I bake upon its completion. I love that they are loaded with carrots and the nuts will give some crunch to them. I can’t wait to try them.
Oh, so fun! We did a kitchen reno – so I know that pain and excitement! Can’t wait for you to try them when you get up and running!
Thank you so much!
This recipe looks delicious
Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy!