Carrot Cake Cookies

Soft and chewy Carrot Cake Cookies smothered in silky Cream Cheese Frosting for individual bites of carrot cake bliss!

 These Carrot Cake Cookies are perfectly portable, perfectly tender, and perfectly melt-in-your-mouth addicting. They encapsulate everything you love about Carrot Cake with its aromatic fragrant spices, carrots and pecans rolled into easy-to-make chewy cookie form.  And of course, Carrot Cake wouldn’t be Carrot Cake without tangy, rich and luscious Cream Cheese Frosting. 

Up close of moist carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting on a white plate

Today is officially the first day of spring which means it’s time for everything carrot cake!  Carrot Cake is definitely a spring dessert I look forward to all year round; so much so that I’ve already made Layered Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Stuffed Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake Crepes, and now these Carrot Cake Cookies!

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Easy Carrot Cake Cookies on a wire rack with Cream Cheese Frosting and a sprinkling of pecans

Carrot Cake Cookies

These irresistible Carrot Cake Cookies got an “oh wow” from Patrick.  Who proceeded to devour 1, 2, 3,… and I had to send them to work with him because I have no self control when it comes to these cake-like morsels…and neither did his colleagues.

These easy Carrot Cake Cookies are tender and soft from the carrots and wonderfully chewy from the oatmeal.  They are bursting with just the right amount of sweet aromatic spices.  They are delicious on their own but exponentially more delicious with the Cream Cheese Frosting as the juxtaposition of the hearty cookies with the silky, sweet frosting is nothing short of divine – so please don’t skip it!

Carrot Cake Cookie on metal spatula on baking rack

TIPS FOR MAKING CARROT CAKE COOKIES

  • Let butter soften at room temperature TO room temperature. As in all cookies (unless they call for melted butter) never microwave your butter or your cookies will spread too much when baked.  The butter should be slightly softened at room temperature and will soften as needed while you beat it.
  • Use the small holes on a box grater to grate the carrots.
Showing How to make Carrot Cake Cookies by mixing carrots, oatmeal, cinnamon and all wet and dry ingredients together
  • Do NOT use pre-grated matchstick carrots.  These carrot are too thick for our cookies and don’t release moisture like freshly grated carrots.
  • Use quick oats or make your own. Old-fashioned whole rolled oats will not work in this recipe, but that’s usually what I always have on hand. You can make you own quick oats by pulsing whole oats in your food processor 5-8 times or until they resemble the consistency of quick oats.
  • Use a cookie scoop. This makes your life easier and ensures the cookies are all the same size and bake in the same amount of time.  I used a 1 1/2″ or 1 ½ tablespoon cookie scoop.  If you have a different size, that is totally fine, just adjust baking time accordingly.
Showing How to make Carrot Cake Cookies by scooping Carrot Cake Cookie Dough onto nonstick mats
  • Bake the cookies on parchment lined baking sheets or use a non-stick mats.  Your cookies will definitely stick otherwise and parchment/non-sick mats make for easy cleanup.
Showing How to make Carrot Cake Cookies by rolling cookie dough into balls on cookie sheet
  • Flatten Cookies.  These cookies won’t flatten very much when baked (unless your butter is too soft), so give them a little help and press down a little with your fingers to help flatten.
Showing How to make Carrot Cake Cookies by flattening cookies on cookie sheet with palm of hand
  • Bake cookies just until edges are golden.  The key to soft, chewy cookies is to not overbake them.  Take care to remove the cookies from the oven when the edges are slightly golden and the center is set but slightly underdone.  They will continue to bake to perfection as they cool.
Showing how to make Carrot Cake Cookies by taking out of the oven when edges are just golden
  • Do NOT microwave butter or cream cheese for Cream Cheese Frosting. Let butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature or it will be too runny.  If it is runny for whatever reason, place it in the refrigerator to set a bit.
Showing How to make Carrot Cake Cookies by making Cream Cheese Frosting by beating cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar together

CAN I FREEZE CARROT CAKE COOKIES?

Yes!  You can freeze frosted or unfrosted Carrot Cake Cookies.

  1. Place frosted or unfrosted completely cooled cookies on a baking sheet without touching.
  2. Place baking sheet in the freezer and freeze cookies until solid.
  3. Wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap and add to a freezer bag and seal.
  4. When ready to eat, remove desired amount of cookies from freezer bag then remove from plastic wrap so condensation doesn’t form.
  5. Let Carrot Cake Cookies thaw on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

 Happy spring, Happy Easter and Happy Carrot Cake Cookie eating!

Want to try this Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Up close of soft Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting with a bite taken out of it on a white plate
Up close of soft Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting with a bite taken out of it on a white plate

Carrot Cake Cookies

Soft and chewy Carrot Cake Cookies smothered in silky Cream Cheese Frosting for individual bites of carrot cake bliss! These Carrot Cake Cookies are perfectly portable, perfectly tender, and perfectly melt-in-your-mouth addicting. They encapsulate everything you love about Carrot Cake with its aromatic fragrant spices, carrots and pecans rolled into easy-to-make chewy cookie form.  And of course, Carrot Cake wouldn’t be Carrot Cake without tangy, rich and luscious Cream Cheese Frosting!
Servings: 4 dozen cookies
Total Time: 37 mins
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins

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Ingredients

COOKIES

  • 1 cup butter softened to room temperature*
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cups quick oats not old-fashioned whole oats
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese at room temperature****
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature****
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups Powdered sugar
  • Milk as needed

Instructions

COOKIES

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
  • With a stand or handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together at medium speed until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until incorporated followed by vanilla, scraping down the sides as needed. Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients. The dough will be thick and you will have to finish mixing by hand. Stir in carrots, oats and pecans by hand just until incorporated – dough will be very thick.
  • Scoop dough using a 1 ½ inch/1 ½ tablespoon scoop, roll into balls and drop 2” apart. Flatten the tops slightly. If you don’t have a 1 1/2″ cookie scoop, use what you have and adjust cooking time accordingly.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, just until cookies are lightly golden around the edges (take care not to overcook or they won’t be as soft). Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • In a large bowl beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Beat in powdered sugar on low until combined then increase speed to medium-high and beat until thick and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.
  • Frost cookies once completely cool and garnish with chopped pecans if desired.

Notes

*Do NOT microwave butter or your cookies will be too soft and spread when baked.  Let butter soften at room temperature until slightly softened.
**Use only freshly grated carrots.  Use the small holes on a box grater to grate the carrots. Do NOT use pre packaged matchstick carrots as they are too thick.
***Old-fashioned whole rolled oats will NOT work in this recipe, but if that’s what you have on hand, you can make your own quick oats by adding whole oats to food processor and pulsing 4-6 times or until they resemble the consistency of quick oats.
****Do NOT microwave butter or cream cheese to soften for frosting or it will be too runny.  Let soften at room temperature.

HOW TO FREEZE CARROT CAKE COOKIES

You can freeze frosted or unfrosted Carrot Cake Cookies.
  1. Place frosted or unfrosted completely cooled cookies on a baking sheet without touching.
  2. Place baking sheet in the freezer and freeze cookies until solid.
  3. Wrap each cookie individually in plastic wrap and add to a freezer bag and seal.
  4. When ready to eat, remove desired amount of cookies from freezer bag then remove from plastic wrap so condensation doesn’t form.
  5. Let Carrot Cake Cookies thaw on the counter for 15-20 minutes.

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34 Comments

  1. Megan says

    These look amazing!! I can’t wait to make them this weekend!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Megan, I am excited for you to make them because I think you will LOVE them!

  2. Shauna says

    I found your site last month and have been religiously cooking from it ever since! Everything I have made has been incredible- my family and I thank you!!! I had only tried your dinner recipes but finally tried a dessert – your Toffee Pecan Caramel Pound Cake- last Sunday and it was to die for. I am your new biggest fan and can’t wait to make these cookies next!

    • Jen says

      Oh my goodness Shauna, thank you thank you for your amazing comment! I am humbled and honored you and your family are loving my recipes – that means the world to me. I love that Toffee Pecan Caramel Pound Cake too – great choice 🙂 I hope you love these cookies just as much and continue to find many new family favorites!

  3. Patricia says

    These cookies are fantastic. I’m glad you included info on freezing extras. It’s only my husband and myself and I’m glad I can freeze some for later. Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so happy you made them already and are enjoying them! And you are so welcome for the freezing instructions!

  4. Jessica says

    Do you freeze these with the frosting on them? I think I may have to make them this weekend 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Jessica, you can freeze them with or without the frosting. Enjoy!

  5. Lisa says

    I made these today. My daughter in law likes carrot cake and I wanted to make these for her birthday…in the mean time EVERYONE else has loved them!

    • Jen says

      I’m so happy everyone is loving these cookies Lisa, thank you! And please tell your daughter-in-law Happy Birthday from me!

  6. Tia says

    These cookies were amazing! husband liked them without the icing and everyone else gobbled the rest up! Love your recipes and always look forward to new ones in my in box. family can always tell when the dinner is one of yours! thanks so much for explaining so many things to me and showing me a way to finally make a tender pork loin!!!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for all the love Tia, your comment truly means so much to me Tia! It warms my heart to know you look forward to my emails, are loving my recipes and learning new techniques! I am thrilled these cookies were another winner! xo

  7. L says

    What do you mean by slightly softened butter? I usually leave my butter out the night before I’m going to bake. Would that be too soft?

    • Jen says

      That is great! I just don’t want people microwaving their butter or leaving it the hot sun 🙂

  8. Brittany says

    Can you freeze the dough before baking? Thank you!

  9. Bea says

    I just bought carrot cake inside out cookies (sandwich filled with cream cheese frosting) at Trader Joe’smi thought, “This icing is almost all sugar, and I could probably count the carrot shreds in each cookie on the donuts of line hand. I have to be able to do better.

    Yours is the simplest recipe I’ve found yet, although I may use more cinnamon, yours has an honest carrot cake look about it.

    • Jen says

      Homemade is always best! I hope you love this carrot cake recipe!

  10. Harriet says

    Hi! They seem tasty, but I’m a little concerned about the amount of sugar and flour. Just wanted to ask if it’s necessary to put as much sugar and flour and if it’s healthy enough? How could I make it tasty but a little healthier?

    • Jen says

      Hi Harriet, I have only experimented with the recipe as written – you are welcome to make adjustments but I can’t guarantee the results. Good luck!

  11. Suzie says

    Delicious! Soft, chewy, and tasty. A big hit with the whole family. And an excellent alternative to a carrot cake, just what I was looking for. I only had old fashioned oats, so I put them in the blender and pulsed them a few times before adding them. And I like a less sweet frosting, so just used 1 1/4 cups of powdered sugar. Thanks for this recipe, it’s a new favorite!

    • Jen says

      YAY, thanks so much Suzie! I’m so happy to hear they are a new favorite!

  12. KG says

    I love love love this recipe! I tried it for the first time to bring to a holiday party for a cookie competition. And I won! I’m now remaking them to bring to meet my girlfriend’s parents for the first time. If we get married, you’ll be the first person to know!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much! That is awesome you won a competition with them! Good luck with the future in-laws 😉 – food is the way to the heart!

  13. Lacie says

    Can I make this recipe into cupcakes? If so would I need to change anything?

    • Jen says

      Hi Lacie, I haven’t tried it, but I think they would make delicious cupcakes. You shouldn’t need to change a thing!

      • Lacie says

        I made these in cupcake form and…. YUM! I did the mini cupcakes so they are bite size and everyone can’t stop eating them. I live by all your recipes, mainly main dishes but anytime I want to bake or cook this is where I come. Thank you again for another fulfilling night!

        • Jen says

          Yay! I’m so glad they were a hit – and I love that you made them mini size! Thanks so much for making my day, I love that you make/love so many of my recipes!

  14. Premila says

    Hi, can these be made without oats?

    • Jen says

      Unfortunately I would need to play with the recipe to make them without oats. The oats add structure, sorry!

  15. Kara says

    Why can’t Old Fashioned Oats be used?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kara, they are a little too chewy/overpowering in this recipe in my opinion.

  16. Sara says

    How should these be stored if you are not freezing? Should they be stored in the fridge due to the cream cheese? For how long are they good for?

    • Jen says

      Yes, store the in the refrigerator and then bring to room temperature before serving. They are good for up to a week, enjoy!

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