Carrot Cake Cookies

These carrot cake cookies are tender, puffy cookies topped with a tasty cream cheese frosting. They are moist, easy to make, and fun to eat! Make this cookie recipe for a special occasion or any day of the week!

If you love the flavor of these cookies, be sure to try this ultimate vegan carrot cake recipe or even this healthy carrot cake recipe, complete with whole wheat flour.

A stack of frosted carrot cake cookies sits in front of more cookies.

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!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Toasted pecans add nutty flavor to every bite
  • Shredded carrots are baked right into the cookies, making them tender and moist
  • Brown sugar adds a caramel flavor and makes these cookies moist and irresistible.

What You Need

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.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 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
  • Vanilla
  • 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 whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour.
  • Baking soda + baking powder — These two together make extra soft cookies.
  • Salt
  • 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.

How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies

Making carrot cookies is so worthwhile because the end result is delightful! Let’s get started.

  1. Toast pecans for 5 to 6 minutes in a heated oven.
  2. Cream vegan butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add ground flaxseed, vanilla, and milk. Beat again for up to one minute.
  3. Stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.
  4. Make oat flour by pulsing oats in a blender. Add the toasted pecans and pulse a few more times until the pecans are broken down into small bits.
  5. Stir together the oat pecan flour and the flour mixture. Then pour this into the mixing bowl with the butter mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined. 
  6. Beat or stir shredded carrots into the batter.
  7. Make cookie dough balls and place them on a prepared baking pan, pressing the tops down slightly.
  8. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until the cookies turn a golden brown.
  9. Prepare the vegan cream cheese frosting and frost each cookie after they cool.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions on how to make carrot cake cookies:

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 to 6 minutes, until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Step Two: Prepare the Carrots

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.

Grated carrots are in the bottom of a food processor bowl.

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. 

Butter and sugar have been mixed together in the bottom of a mixing bowl.

Step Four: Mix Dry Ingredients + Oats

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. 

The dry ingredients are being poured into a mixing bowl with the butter sugar mixture.

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. 

Carrots are being added to cookie batter in a mixing bowl.

Finally, add the shredded carrots to the batter, stirring it all together. 

Cookie dough batter in the bottom of a mixing bowl with a spatula for stirring it.

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.

A cookie dough dispenser is being used to drop cookie dough balls on a cookie sheet.

Use the back-side of a spoon to lightly flatten the tops of the cookie dough balls. 

A cookie sheet lined is full of rows of unbaked cookies.

Place the pan in the oven and bake 12 to 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.

Storage Tips

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.

A hand grabs the top cookie from the stack of several unfrosted cookies.

How Many Calories Are in a Carrot Cake Cookie?

Each cookie topped with cream cheese has approximately 172 calories.

Several frosted cookies are sitting on a white counter.

Marly’s Tips

  • 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 Carrot Cake Recipes

A stack of cookies with the top cookie having a bite taken out of it.
Two Carrot Cake Cookies are stacked on top of each other.

Carrot Cake Cookies

Make these delicious carrot cake cookies and enjoy! If you're looking for a cookie that's both healthy and tasty, this is the one for you!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 44 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 9 minutes
Servings: 37 cookies
Calories: 172kcal

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup plant-based milk
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 4 ounces vegan cream cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Line two cookie sheets with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  • Place pecans on one of the prepared pans and bake for 5 to 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 to 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 to 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.

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Video

Notes

Don’t melt butter because this will cause the cookies to spread when baked. Set vegan butter on the counter about 30 minutes prior to using to allow it to soften.
Be sure to use instant or quick oats. Old-fashioned or rolled oats won’t work for these cookies. However, if you do not have instant oats,  place whole oats in a food processor and pulse several times until they’re broken down to the consistency of instant oats.

Freezing Carrot Cake Cookies

Follow these steps to freeze carrot cake cookies.
  1. Cool cookies completely. Either frost or freeze cookies unfrosted and frost before serving.
  2. Place cookies on a tray and place the tray in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until cookies are mostly frozen.
  3. Transfer cookies to a freezer bag and seal.
  4. To serve, remove cookies from the freezer bag and allow cookies to thaw on the counter for 15 minutes. 
Calories: 172kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 81mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 689IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

Two frosted cookies are stacked with this text above it: Carrot Cake Cookies

2 Responses to Carrot Cake Cookies

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyJoshua Howard Reply

    5 stars
    Hi! Thank you for the recipe! Made these cookies and they turned out good! they don’t really taste like carrot cake to me, they taste more like an oatmeal cookie, with cream cheese frosting.

    • Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyMarly

      5 stars
      Hi Joshua! So glad you liked these carrot cake cookies. Everything is better with cream cheese frosting!

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