These carrot cake cookies taste just like carrot cake, are easy to make, and feed a crowd. If you love carrot cake, you will love these soft and cakey carrot cookies as well. Loads of shredded carrots, toasted pecans, a flavorful spice mix, and an irresistibly creamy cream cheese frosting make them disappear in a blink of an eye. By the way, did you try my carrot muffins yet?
Ingredients notes and substitutions
- Butter and eggs - to make vegan carrot cake cookies, use vegan butter and flax eggs. Follow my vegan cookies recipe to know how to make flax eggs. Don't forget to use vegan cream cheese for the filling as well.
- Sugars - I find the perfect ratio for the cookie dough is 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar and ½ cup (100) white sugar. Swap light brown sugar for dark brown if desired. If you want to use only white or brown sugar, learn first how sugar affects the texture of cookies in my chocolate chip cookie post.
- Baking powder - it makes the cookies soft and cake-like. I don't recommend swapping it for baking soda. Learn more about how baking powder and baking soda affect cookies in my chocolate chip cookie post.
- Spices - I used cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg for the cookie dough. You can leave out ginger and nutmeg if you wish, but I recommend using cinnamon at least.
- Oats - they add a chewy bite to the cookies. I recommend using only old-fashioned rolled oats. Find out why I recommend only these oats for cookies in my oatmeal cookie post.
- Pecans - I love adding toasted pecans because they add texture and taste. You could leave them out if you wish, though.
- Cream cheese - you can use either brick-style cream cheese (US) or spreadable cream cheese (UK). If you use brick-style cream cheese, let it soften at room temperature before mixing it into the butter. Use spreadable cream cheese straight out of the fridge because it is already soft.
- Carrots - use only freshly, finely grated carrots. Pre-packaged carrots are too thick, big, and dry. Using pre-packaged would alter the texture of the cookies completely. I use a cheese grater to grate my carrots following method 1. Below you find a picture showing how my carrots look like.
In a large bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to combine and set aside. In another large mixing bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Then add the flour mixture and mix just until it comes together.
Mix in the carrots and oats to incorporate. Then add the pecans and mix just until well distributed. Then cover and chill.
Scoop balls of cookie dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets...
and flatten to about ½ inch thickness. Then bake and let cool.
Once the cookies are cooled, prepare the frosting. Therefore, in a large mixing bowl, mix the butter until soft and creamy.
Then add the cream cheese and mix until well combined and no lumps remain. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar until creamy.
Fill the cookies with the cream cheese filling and serve.
Tips for success
- Use only freshly, finely grated carrots for the cookie dough. Don't pack the measuring cup, just fill it with carrots without pressing down.
- The butter and cream cheese should be soft for better mixing results.
- Once the flour mixture is added to the dough, avoid overmixing at any time. Stick to the recommended mixing times.
- To increase shelf life, store the cookies at room temperature and the frosting in the fridge and fill them just before serving.
Make ahead and freezing instructions
- Prepare the dough 1 day and the filling up to 2 days in advance and store covered in the fridge. Let the dough or filling come to room temperature for 15 minutes before proceeding.
- You can also prepare the dough, chill it, scoop and flatten it, and then freeze it in freezer bags for up to 1 month. Let thaw at room temperature for about 30-60 minutes before baking. The filling freezes very well as well for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before using it.
- Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing the baked cookies and the filling separately. Thaw the cookies for 1-2 hours at room temperature and the filling overnight in the fridge. Then fill and serve.
More cookie recipes
If you love cookies as much as I do, you will love the following cookie recipes. They are well received by my family, friends, and readers around the world.
- Brown Butter Pecan Cookies
- Chocolate Pistachio Cookies
- Brownie Cookies
- Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe and Video
Carrot Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cups freshly, finely grated carrots
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup unsalted, toasted pecans*
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- In a large bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to combine and set aside.
- In another large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Then add the flour mixture and mix on medium-low speed just until it comes together about 30-60 seconds. Mix in the carrots and oats to incorporate. Then add the pecans and mix just until well distributed. Cover and chill for 2 hours until the dough is firm enough to scoop and shape it easily.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C (fan oven 330°F/165°C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Scoop 2 tbsp (about 55g) of cookie dough per cookie onto the prepared baking sheets, 4-inch (10cm) apart, and flatten to about ½ inch thickness. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12-13 minutes or until the edges are set and browned, and the top looks matt and dry. Remove the cookies from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes until they are firm enough to move them. Then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once the cookies are cooled, prepare the frosting.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter on medium-high speed until soft and creamy, about 2 minutes. Then add the cream cheese and mix additional 1-2 minutes until well combined and no lumps remain. Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Fill the cookies with the cream cheese filling and serve. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.**
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**Filled cookies need to be stored in the fridge and last up to 2 days. The longer they are in the fridge, the softer and wetter they get because of the moisture of the filling. Unfilled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. The filling needs to be stored in the fridge. That's the way I prefer to store. Just before serving, I fill as many cookies as I want to eat. In this case, they stay fresh for 3 days.
Small batch This recipe yields 12 cookie sandwiches. However, if you don't plan to eat that many, you could divide the recipe in half. In this case, you end up with 6.