Carrot Cake Cookies
Flavored with four different spices and studded with pieces of shredded carrot, these carrot cake cookies are divine! Top the cookies with cream cheese frosting to make them extra decadent.
Love carrot cake but don’t want the hassle of baking and assembling a layer cake? Make these carrot cake cookies instead!
The combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves lends the cookies that classic spiced carrot cake flavor, while freshly grated carrots add lots of texture and moisture to the dough.
The cookies can be eaten as is, but I prefer adding homemade cream cheese frosting to my batch. To me, no carrot cake dessert is complete without frosting!
This easy recipe uses ingredients you can find year-round, but it’s especially perfect for enjoying around Easter.
Ingredients for This Recipe
As with all of my cookie recipes, this carrot cake version is quick and easy to prepare. I’ve given a detailed list of measurements in the recipe card below, but here are the main ingredients you’ll need to make these spiced carrot cookies:
- All-purpose Flour: You’ll need 3 cups total. Make sure to measure your flour correctly by spooning the flour out of the bag rather than compacting it with a measuring cup.
- Spices: I used a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. I think the spice ratios in this recipe are perfect, but you’re welcome to add more or less of any of the spices to suit your tastes.
- Butter: Bring the butter to room temperature before beginning the recipe. If using salted butter, omit the salt called for in the recipe.
- Sugar: I used a mixture of granulated and brown sugar to add both sweetness and flavor to the cookie dough. If you don’t have any brown sugar, you can make a substitute using granulated sugar and molasses.
- Eggs: Should also be brought to room temperature before making the cookies.
- Carrots: Make sure to use freshly grated carrots in these cookies. Avoid using the pre-shredded carrots you can buy at the store; they’re extremely dry and won’t taste very good.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies
Carrot cake cookie dough comes together with minimal effort. Just remember that you can’t bake the cookies right away! The dough must be chilled for 2 hours to prevent the cookies from spreading out too much in the oven.
Let’s go over the method for making these cookies:
- Combine the dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, spices, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Cream together the butter and sugars: I like to do this in my stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix just until combined, then add in the eggs (one at a time!) and vanilla extract. If needed, stop and scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl to ensure that all of the wet ingredients are well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet: Mix the cookie dough on low just until it comes together. Then, gently mix in the shredded carrots.
- Chill the dough: Cover the mixing bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This will give the butter in your dough time to firm back up before you bake the cookies.
- Scoop the cookie dough: Once chilled, scoop the dough into balls using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop. Drop the cookie dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies: The cookies will need to bake at 350ºF just until the edges turn golden brown and the tops are set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
I opted to top my carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting, but it is completely optional. If you prefer a different frosting, you may try one of these options instead:
Can Mix-Ins Be Added?
If you enjoy a loaded carrot cake, you’re welcome to add those same mix-ins to your carrot cake cookies! Chopped nuts (like walnuts or pecans), sweetened shredded coconut, or raisins all work well in this cookie dough.
However, I do not recommend adding pineapple to the cookies. I love carrot cake with pineapple in it, but adding canned fruit to the cookie dough would make it far too wet.
If you’d like to make this recipe in advance of a holiday brunch or family gathering, feel free! The baked unfrosted cookies will last up to three days on the counter (I recommend refrigerating them once frosted).
Or, prepare the cookie dough as written, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and chill for up to 24 hours before baking. The cookie dough can also be rolled into balls, frozen, and baked within three months.
- Please buy a bag of carrots and shred them yourself using either your food processor or a box grater. The bagged, pre-shredded carrots at the grocery store are often very dry and tough and using them will result in dry cookies.
- The cream cheese frosting is totally optional, but highly recommended! If desired, you can store the cookies and frosting separately until you’re ready to frost and serve the cookies.
- Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature before starting this recipe. Using room temperature ingredients makes it easier for the cookie dough to properly mix together.
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (375 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened (230 grams; 2 sticks)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar (200 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups lightly packed freshly grated carrots (150 grams)
- Cream cheese frosting optional
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 1 to 2 minutes or until well combined. Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract one at a time until fully combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the dry ingredients and continue mixing until just combined. Then, mix in the freshly grated carrots on low-speed until fully incorporated into the cookie dough.
- Cover the cookie dough tightly and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
- Once the dough is almost chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line three large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
- Remove the cookie dough from the refrigerator, using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough and drop onto the prepared baking sheets. Make sure to leave a little room between each ball of cookie dough.
- Bake for 11 to 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown and the tops are set. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.