These soft and chewy carrot cake cookies are packed with shredded carrots, cozy spices, and a hint of cream cheese frosting. They’re the perfect recipe to celebrate the season!

As two cookbook authors, we love creating recipes that create a fusion between two equally delicious foods. So here’s a fun mashup up our most popular cookie with our favorite seasonal cake flavor: this carrot cake cookies recipe! These soft and chewy cookies have all the best elements of carrot cake: moist, spiced cake, vibrant flecks of carrot, and crunch of walnuts or pecans—all condensed into bite-sized perfection! Top it all off with a drizzle of cream cheese frosting and it’s a perfect sweet treat for spring (or in any season, we think!).

Why make these carrot cake cookies

These carrot cake cookies are outrageously good: chewy, soft, and delicious! We developed them based on our popular chocolate chip cookies, and we might like them even better. Here are a few reasons to love them:

  • People love them. Our recipe tester Lexi said, “The spices are spot on. They definitely taste like carrot cake, but in cookie form. They were really fun to make and so good! By the way, they taste AMAZING straight from the fridge. Quite addictive.”
  • They are easy and store well. There’s no chilling the dough required and no special techniques. And, these cookies stay soft and chewy for days!
  • The cookies have nutritious ingredients. They’re not a health food, but these cookies are loaded with old Fashioned oats, carrots and walnuts.
  • They’re easy to make vegan. These cookies are eggless and can be made with coconut oil for vegan or with butter!

Ingredients you need

Carrot cake is not hard to make, but whipping up a layer cake does take some time and technique. Instead, these cookies are bite-sized forms of carrot cake that come together simply and require less overall quantities of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need for these carrot cake cookies:

  1. Baking essentials: Neutral oil (grapeseed, canola or vegetable), butter or coconut oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, all-purpose flour
  2. Produce: Carrots, applesauce
  3. Pantry ingredients: Old Fashioned oats, walnuts, vanilla extract, almond extract, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt
  4. Icing ingredients: Cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk

A note on almond extract

We highly recommend using the almond extract for the best flavor! The recipe calls for 1/16 teaspoon extract (1 to 2 drops), which is just enough to give it a nuance in flavor but not enough that it is strongly perceptible. We use a ⅛ teaspoon measure and fill it halfway; if you don’t have one, you can approximate using a ¼ teaspoon.

Tips for baking carrot cake cookies

There are a few tips for baking the best carrot cake cookies! Here’s what we do to get even-sized cookies that work every time:

  • Use a cookie scoop or weigh the batter. If you have a 3 tablespoon cookie scoop, it’s helpful for portioning the dough: just overfill it slightly. You can also weigh out the batter at approximately 50 grams per cookie (or weigh your entire dough and divide by 18).
  • Non-stick cookie sheets are helpful. This has become our preferred method for cookies. We recommend using two of these non-stick cookie sheets for the most even bake.
  • Bake each tray separately for the most even bake. If you have a very even oven, you can try baking both sheets at once and rotate the sheets halfway through. However, our oven is pretty uneven so this is what works best! There’s no need to refrigerate the dough in between batches.

For the cream cheese icing

The cream cheese drizzle is what takes these cookies to the next level! You’ll need just cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and milk (vegan as desired). We piped on the icing using a piping bag, but you can use a fork to drizzle as well.

  • Warm 3 tablespoons cream cheese in the microwave or stovetop. Warming it makes it easy to stir into a glaze.
  • Adjust the liquid as necessary. The icing will feel very thick at first, but keep stirring and it will form into a thick drizzle. That’s all there is to it!
  • Use a piping bag for neat zig zags, or a fork for a messy, more organic drizzle. Don’t use a spoon, which makes for more of a thick, uneven look.

Dietary swaps: they’re easily vegan!

These carrot cake cookies are easily made vegan! Simply use refined coconut oil, which is our favorite way to make these cookies (the butter is a swap). For the icing, use vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, and the plant-based milk of your choice. Or, go to this Vegan Cream Cheese Icing.

Storage info

Carrot cake cookies hold up well over time, keeping their chewy texture. Here’s what to note about storing them:

  • Store in a sealed container at room temperature for 1 week. The texture holds up well and they stay chewy with no need to add anything to the container.
  • Store refrigerated for 2 weeks. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.
  • Store frozen for up to 3 months.

This carrot cake cookies recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the Dietary Swaps section above.


Carrot Cake Cookies Recipe

These soft and chewy carrot cake cookies are packed with shredded carrots, cozy spices, and a hint of cream cheese frosting. They’re the perfect recipe to celebrate the season!
Servings 18 Yield: to 19 cookies 1x
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For the cookies

  • cup neutral oil grapeseed, canola or vegetable
  • ¼ cup refined coconut oil or butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon almond extract optional but recommended*
  • 2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups Old Fashioned oats
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots large grated
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts toasted in a dry skillet for a few minutes until fragrant, if desired

For the cream cheese icing (or vanilla glaze)

  • ¼ cup cream cheese or vegan cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk of choice


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper, or omit if using non-stick cookie sheets (we swear by these).
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl), add the neutral oil, coconut oil, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix with the paddle attachment (or an electric mixer) on Medium speed until fully combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the applesauce, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix until combined, a few seconds. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, kosher salt, and Old Fashioned oats. Turn on the mixer and gradually add the flour and oats mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Add the carrots and walnuts and mix on low for a few seconds until mixed in. The dough will feel slightly oily, but this is as expected.
  • Scoop nine 3-tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each cookie for spreading (using a cookie scoop is helpful; we overfilled our 2 tablespoon scoop or you can weigh out 50 grams each). Bake one batch for 14 to 15 minutes, or until just golden (baking one batch at a time makes the most even bake). Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool fully. While the cookies cool, portion out and bake the second batch of dough; don’t refrigerate the dough in between. 
  • Once the cookies are fully cooled, to make the icing, place the cream cheese and butter (cut into a few small pieces) in a glass measuring cup or bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds until warm, then stir together until smooth. (Alternatively, warm it in a small saucepan over medium low heat on the stovetop). Stir in the powdered sugar and milk and mix until a drizzlable glaze forms. If the glaze is too thick, add ½ teaspoon milk at a time until it becomes able to drizzle but still has a thick texture. 
  • Pipe the icing onto the cookies using a piping bag or use a fork to drizzle it over the cookies. Allow to dry for 10 minutes. Store the cookies in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days or refrigerated for 2 weeks (bring to room temperature before serving). If making the cookies in advance, store them un-iced and refrigerated or frozen; add the drizzle directly before serving.


*We highly recommend using the almond extract for the best flavor! 1/16 teaspoon equates to 1 to 2 drops, just enough to give it a nuance in flavor but not enough that it is strongly perceptible. We use a ⅛ teaspoon measure and fill it halfway; if you don’t have one, you can approximate using a ¼ teaspoon.
Author: Kit Food
Course: Cookies Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Recipes

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