Carrot cake cookies are the perfect bite-sized treat! They taste exactly like homemade carrot cake, but they’re so much easier to make.
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Looking for an easy Easter dessert? Have a weakness for carrot cake? Then these carrot cake cookies are perfect!
In fact, these carrot cake cookies only take about 15 minutes to put together and 10 minutes to bake. That is much quicker than baking an entire carrot cake! And, you can pick up a cookie and pop it into your mouth—no fork or plates needed. You may never make a big carrot cake ever again now that you have found this cookie recipe.
Carrot Cake Cookie Recipe
I do admit that I am a big fan of classic carrot cake. Carrot cake cupcakes may just be my favorite type of cupcake ever. However, these soft, tender cookies are just as good as any cake I have ever made. They are made with freshly grated carrots, rich brown sugar, and the perfect amount of cinnamon. The sweet cream cheese frosting may be my favorite part of the cookies. It completes the treat and makes it identical to its cake counterpart.
Give these carrot cake cookies a try for Easter or as a springtime treat. Spring really is carrot cake season, so carrot cake cookies will be perfect for any spring celebration or Easter buffet. Be sure to let me know how much you love them!
Ingredients for Carrot Cake Cookies
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- Butter – I always use unsalted butter when baking since there is salt added to the recipe later on.
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla – Vanilla is used in the cookies and the frosting.
- Grated carrots – Always use freshly grated carrots rather than the pre-grated carrots you find in the grocery store. Pre-grated carrots are not nearly as moist and will make your cookies too dry. You only need about 3 large carrots to make these carrot cake cookies.
- Baking soda
- Cornstarch – Adding cornstarch to the cookies helps make them thick and chewy because it prevents the cookies from spreading too much as they bake.
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Milk – I like to use whole milk or even half and half to ensure the frosting is rich and thick.
- Chopped pecans – Chopped pecans are a nice garnish for the cookies and they add a little bit of a crunch. You can also use walnuts which are a classic carrot cake nut.
- Add ½ cup chopped pecans to the cookie dough. Mix the nuts in at the end of the recipe, right before scooping and baking. Nuts are a great, crunchy addition that you may love.
- Use dark brown sugar in place of light brown sugar to make the cookies even richer.
- Skip the cornstarch to make the cookies a little more crispy. While I love chewier cookies, a crispy carrot cake cookie can be pretty great!
How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies
- Prepare: Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Make the cookie dough: Beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the grated carrots and stir. Then, add the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter forms. Do not over-mix!
- Scoop and bake: Scoop the cookie dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls and place them on the prepared baking tray. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The tops will no longer look wet and the edges will be golden.
- Cool: Move the cookies to a cooling rack while you make the frosting.
- Make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and thick. Add the vanilla and milk and stir.
- Frost the cookies: Use a small offset spatula to spread about a tablespoon of frosting on top of each cookie. Top with chopped pecans, if desired, and then enjoy!
If you want your carrot cake cookies to look even more amazing, try piping the frosting using a piping bag and small star tip. I like to pipe the frosting in a spiral, starting in the center of the cookie and working my way out.
How to Store Carrot Cake Cookies
Once the carrot cake cookies are frosted, they should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to a week. Since the frosting contains cream cheese and butter, it does need to be refrigerated.
You can store the unfrosted cookies at room temperature for 3-4 days. Keep the frosting in the fridge and just quickly ice a cookie anytime you are hungry!
Carrot cakes are made with a lot of sugar and fats. They are not necessarily a healthy food. However, they do contain carrots which are loaded with vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A and potassium. That makes them a little more nutritious other types of cake.
You do not have to peel carrots before grating them, as long as they are clean. I like to wash my carrots well and then grate them. This is much faster than peeling each and every carrot!
Adding carrots to a cake is an interesting concept. Who thought to do that?! Carrot cake has been around for decades but it first became popular around World War II. They were used as a way to add sweetness to cakes since sugar was being rationed. People started to like the sweet cakes and they are still popular today. Carrot cake cookies are just as sweet as the cakes and capture that classic taste perfectly.
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 2 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Chopped pecans (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set the pan aside for now.
- Add the butter and brown sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure all the butter is incorporated evenly.
- Add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition.
- Add the vanilla and mix again.
- Mix in the grated carrots.
- Add the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cornstarch to the bowl and mix until just combined. Once the flour is blended into the batter, stop mixing so you do not overmix (this can make the cookies tough).
- Scoop the cookie dough into 2 tablespoon sized balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheet tray. Make sure to leave about 2 inches between the cookie dough balls.
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. The tops should no longer look wet and the edges will be a light golden brown.
- Cool the cookies on a cooling rack.
- While the cookies cool, make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat again until the mix is light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla and milk to make the frosting smooth.
- Spread the frosting on top of each cookie using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Each cookie should get about 1-2 tablespoons of frosting.
- Sprinkle the cookies with chopped pecans, if desired, and then enjoy!