This Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe is so amazing. It makes a tender, puffy cookie topped with a tasty cream cheese frosting. Carrot cookies are moist, easy to make, and fun to eat! Make these gorgeous, healthy cookies for a special occasion or any day of the week!
First, there was a vegan carrot cake. Then I made carrot muffins, followed by healthy carrot cake. So, now I’m coming at you with a recipe for carrot cake cookies. Impressive tenacity, eh? Actually, the thing is, this might be my favorite.
What’s so special about the carrot cookie? I love that it’s a bite-size version of some of the same flavors you find in a carrot cake. It’s easy to make these cookies and they’re full of nutritious nuts and carrots. It’s a whole flurry of goodness!
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
First, let’s review the ingredients for these oatmeal carrot cake cookies:
- Pecan halves
- Raw carrot — Should you peel the carrots? I don’t! In fact, I’m with The Kitchn when it comes to Not Peeling Carrots.
- Vegan butter — I use Earth Balance a lot, but sometimes I’ll make my own. Here’s how to make vegan butter (you’ll be surprised how easy it is!).
- Brown sugar — Use light or dark or homemade brown sugar.
- Granulated sugar
- Ground flaxseed — This recipe uses ground flaxseed as a binder, but you can use a Chia Egg.
- Plant-based milk — I use either soy milk or almond milk.
- Whole wheat pastry flour — This is different than whole wheat flour. If you don’t have the pastry flour version, substitute all-purpose flour.
- Baking soda + baking powder — These two together make extra soft cookies.
- Spices — We’ll use the following spices: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground ginger.
- Rolled oats — You’ll need rolled oats, otherwise referred to as old-fashioned oats.
This recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour which is not the same as whole wheat flour. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour in the exact quantity. Or you can substitute half whole wheat plus half all-purpose flour.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies
Making carrot cookies is so worthwhile because the end result is delightful! Let’s get started.
Step One: Toast the Pecans
Look, you can skip this step if you’d like. I’ve definitely been in the “skip the nut toasting” camp myself. But I do find that a few minutes in the oven (it’s warming up anyways) can bring out the flavor of the pecans.
You may think, won’t the pecans be baking in the cookies anyway? I’ve asked that question before too! Basically, pecans toasting in the oven by themselves for a few minutes rather than surrounded (and insulated) by cookie dough, is different.
So, if you’re going to join me in the “toast the pecans” camp, then place pecans on one of the prepared pans and bake 5–6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Step Two: Prepare the Carrot
Prepare the carrot by cutting off the root end. Then wash the carrot and pat it dry. There’s no need to peel it. Roughly chop it and place the carrot pieces in a food processor or blender and pulse several times until finely grated. Measure this out into a 1 cup measuring dish and then set aside.
Step Three: Mix Butter + Sugar + More
In a mixing bowl, combine the vegan butter and sugars and beat on medium speed until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add ground flaxseed, vanilla, and milk. Beat again for up to one minute, and then set aside.
Step Four: Mix Dry Ingredients + Oats
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
Add rolled oats to a blender and pulse until it resembles coarse flour, leaving some larger bits of oats in the mixture. Add the pecans and pulse a few more times until the pecans are broken down into small bits.
Add the oats/pecan mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour the flour/oats mixture into the mixing bowl with the butter mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined.
Finally, add the shredded carrots to the batter, stirring it all together.
Step Five: Roll the Dough and Bake
Use a cookie dough dispenser to distribute cookie dough batter in balls roughly 2″ apart on the prepared baking pan.
Use the back-side of a spoon to lightly flatten the tops of the cookie dough balls.
Place the pan in the oven and bake 12–14 minutes, until the cookies turn a light golden brown. Slightly underbaked cookies are preferred because they stay soft on the inside. Once the cookies are done, remove the pan from the oven. Let the cookies cool slightly on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
New to Vegan Baking?
The idea of making cookies, cakes, or muffins without eggs or dairy can seem like a hill too tall to climb. But with the simple tips in my Guide to Vegan Baking, you’ll be baking like a vegan pro in no time!
Cream Cheese Frosting
You could serve these cookies without the vegan cream cheese frosting. They’re pretty outstanding as is. And it certainly makes for more healthy carrot cake cookies. However, adding a dollop of this tangy frosting makes them pretty special!
Here are the frosting ingredients:
- Vegan butter
- Vegan cream cheese — I use either Tofutti or Daiya because they’re most available, but homemade vegan cream cheese is an option too.
- Powdered sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Vanilla extract.
To make it, add the vegan butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed until it’s combined. Be sure to use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then beat at medium speed until smooth and light in color. Add cinnamon and vanilla and beat again until combined. Then add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
Vegan cream cheese oftentimes can be a bit soft at first, so that’s why I’m not adding any plant-based milk to the frosting. However, if yours is too thick, add a 1/2 teaspoon of plant-based milk. You want a spreadable consistency!
After the cookies have cooled completely, add a dollop of frosting to each one. Then, set them all aside for the frosting to set.
Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days. To freeze, place cookies on a tray and place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer cookies to a freezer bag. These will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How Many Calories Are in a Carrot Cake Cookie?
Each cookie topped with cream cheese has approximately 172 calories.
- You can substitute walnuts for pecans to make Carrot Walnut Cookies
- Make these cookies gluten-free by substituting gluten-free baking flour
- Add 1/2 cup raisins to the batter to make carrot raisin cookies similar to these Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
- If you want to make carrot cake sandwich cookies, flatten the cookie dough balls a little more before baking. Then add the cream cheese frosting between two cookies
- To make carrot cake pumpkin cookies, leave out the ground flaxseed and add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree instead.
These iced carrot cookies are best when served with this creamy pecan milk.
More Fruity Vegan Cookies
- These cranberry chocolate chip cookies combine vegan white chocolate chips with dried cranberries
- Take it to another level with these blueberry chocolate chip cookies infused with dried blueberries
- Everyone loves these easy lemon cookies served with a dollop of lemon icing
- Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies make a buttery cookie with raisins and oatmeal in every bite!
Carrot Cake Cookies
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup plant-based milk
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups rolled oats
Carrot Cake Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two cookie sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Place pecans on one of the prepared pans and bake for 5–6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. This step is optional, but does add flavor to the finished cookies.
- Cut off the root end of the carrot, wash and pat it dry. No need to peel. Chop and place carrot pieces in a food processor or blender and pulse several times until finely grated. Measure out into a 1 cup measuring dish. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the vegan butter and sugars and beat on medium speed until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add ground flaxseed, vanilla, and milk. Beat again for up to one minute. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
- Add rolled oats to a blender and pulse until it resembles coarse flour, leaving some larger bits of oats in the mixture. Add the pecans and pulse a few more times until the pecans are broken down into small bits. Add the oats/pecan mixture to the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Pour the flour/oats mixture into the mixing bowl with the butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined.
- Add the shredded carrots to the batter. Stir until just combined.
- Use a cookie dough dispenser to distribute cookie dough batter in balls roughly 2" apart on the prepared baking pans. Use a spoon to lightly flatten the tops of the cookie dough balls.
- Bake 12–14 minutes until the cookies turn a golden brown. Slightly underbaked cookies are preferred because they stay soft on the inside. Once done, remove pans from the oven and allow the cookies to cool slightly on the pan before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Prepare the vegan cream cheese frosting by adding vegan butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then beat on medium speed until smooth and light in color. Add cinnamon and vanilla and beat again until combined. Then add powdered sugar, one cup at a time. It will be thick at first but will soften up.
- After cookies cool completely, frost each cookie.
- Store cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.
(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)
Freezing Carrot Cake CookiesFollow these steps to freeze carrot cake cookies.
- Cool cookies completely. Either frost or freeze cookies unfrosted and frost before serving.
- Place cookies on a tray and place the tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until cookies are mostly frozen.
- Transfer cookies to a freezer bag and seal.
- To serve, remove cookies from the freezer bag and allow cookies to thaw on the counter for 15 minutes.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.