Soft, moist, and filled with the sweetness and warm spices of a classic carrot cake. These carrot cake cookies are the perfect bite-sized sweet treat especially when topped with a smooth and tangy cream cheese frosting!
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Carrot Cake Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
With spring and Easter around the corner, my mind goes directly to fresh and new baking recipes to share with you. Late spring is when carrots are in season, so I tend to use them a lot in baked goods because as you know, they add so much flavor and moisture to all kinds of bakes. Caramel carrot cake, carrot cake cupcakes, and classic carrot cake are just a few examples.
I decided to apply the same principles to these carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting which I think are going to fit in just fine on this year’s Easter dessert table!
They’re soft, moist, and cake-like, almost like the consistency of a whoopie pie. Making a batch takes just 12 minutes in the oven so they’re perfect for when you want the taste of a carrot cake without having to bake one.
I serve these aromatic cookies for dessert slathered in a luscious cream cheese frosting but sometimes I’ll enjoy them in the morning or for a snack plain. These tender and addicting cookies are good no matter how you eat them.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make. This carrot cookie recipe is made with traditional baking staples, plus the classic carrot cake ingredients of cinnamon, nutmeg, and freshly grated carrots. If you can shred carrots, you can make these cookies.
- Goes well with different frosting flavors. A sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting is just one option!
- Make ahead and freezer-friendly. Bake them completely and allow them to cool before storing them. Take them out when you’re ready to enjoy them and add the frosting just before serving.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar. All-purpose flour is great for the consistency of these cookies. You need the baking soda to help give them a rise so the cookies stay nice and soft. The addition of brown sugar adds a caramelized flavor as well as moisture.
- Wet ingredients: Unsalted butter, at room temperature, vanilla, and eggs. If you need to know how to soften butter quickly, read my tips. Forgetting to take it out ahead of time, happens to all of us!
- Carrots: Freshly grated carrots patted dry with a paper towel. Do not use pre-shredded as they are too dry and will not provide the right amount of moisture for these cookies.
- For the cream cheese frosting: Softened cream cheese (again, it happens, so here is how to soften cream cheese), unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
- A delicious cream cheese frosting is just the beginning. Try a brown butter frosting or caramel cream cheese frosting instead.
- Throw some chopped walnuts into the batter or use some as a garnish on top of the icing.
- If walnuts aren’t your favorite, try pecans instead.
- Adding 1/2 cup raisins would make a great addition.
- Add coconut flakes for a hint of the tropics to pair with the warm spices.
- For extra spice, add some ground ginger or cloves to your cookie dough.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies
- Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set that aside.
- Mix wet ingredients. To the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed for a few minutes. When it looks pale and airy mix in the vanilla and eggs until combined. Then, fold in the carrots. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you mix.
- Combine the two bowls. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined and no flour streaks remain. Do not overmix. Scoop about 2 Tablespoons of dough and drop the cookies onto a prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven until the edges start to brown. Let them cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the frosting. While the cookies are cooling grab a large bowl and beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar a cup at a time until fully mixed in. Add vanilla and salt and mix until fluffy and easily spreadable.
- Cool and frost the carrot cake cookies. Once cookies are completely cooled, spread frosting overtop. Adding it to cookies that are still warm will thin out the frosting leaving it runny. Add a garnish of chopped nuts on top if desired. Enjoy!
- Shredding carrots. Use a box grater or food processor to shred the carrots easily. Don’t use the bagged carrots (your cookies won’t be as moist).
- Even amounts of dough. A cookie scoop for the dough can help make sure all your cookies are the same size.
- Sandwich cookies. Place frosting in between two carrot cake cookies back to back and turn them into carrot cake sandwich cookies.
- A colorful frosting. Add a drop or two of food coloring to the frosting to match any special occasion. Add a carrot gummy or Easter sprinkles to make them festive.
This is either because the flour wasn’t measured properly (using the spoon and level method), the batter was overmixed, or the cookies were overbaked.
Once the edges are golden remove the cookies from the oven. They may be slightly soft and underdone in the middle, but they will continue to bake on the sheet as they cool. Make sure to remove them to a cooling rack.
You can! You won’t have the same from scratch flavors or the sweetness and moisture from the fresh carrots. Follow this recipe here for cake mix cookies and just use a box of carrot cake mix.
Certainly. Once you’ve scooped them onto parchment paper or the silicone mat, place them in the freezer to flash freeze until solid. Once frozen transfer them to a freezer bag and keep them frozen for months.
When you are ready to bake them, place them on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven. No need to thaw them first.
No need to refrigerate these! Keep them covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.
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Carrot Cake Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt , or 3/4 table salt
- 1 ½ -2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups finely fresh grated carrots , patted dry with a paper towel (*see notes)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4-6 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar , more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch Kosher salt
Optional: pinch of salt, food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with a silicone mat.
- In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add 1/2 teaspoon more cinnamon for extra flavor.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium 2 to 3 minutes, or until pale and airy. Mix in the vanilla and eggs until combined. Fold in the carrots.
- Stir flour mixture into the batter until just combined and no streaks remain, being careful not to over-mix.
- Using a large cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), drop cookies on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. Let cool 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until completely incorporated. Mix in vanilla and salt until desired consistency is reached (should be fluffy and easily spreadable).
- Spread frosting over completely cooled cookies.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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