Carrot Cake Cookies
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Filled with cream cheese frosting, these carrot cake cookies are soft and lightly sweet. They taste just like carrot cake!
I enjoy carrot cake, but sometimes I don’t want to put in the work of making a whole cake.
Enter carrot cake cookies. Perfectly tender and just sweet enough, these cookies are a great option for spring celebrations.
Plus, they taste just like carrot cake!
Cookies are so ideal for entertaining (or snacking) because you don’t need to worry about grabbing plates, slicing, or eating with a fork. Sometimes you just want to grab a cookie and go!
My carrot cake cookies are sandwiched with an easy cream cheese frosting. You can spread the frosting on top or thin it out and drizzle it, but these cookies are just as good without any frosting too!
Ingredients for carrot cake cookies
You’ll need the following ingredients to make these cookies.
Flour – I use all-purpose flour. You can substitute up to half of the flour with whole wheat. Or, to make gluten-free cookies use a gluten-free all-purpose blend like Pamela’s.
Rolled oats – Also labeled as old fashioned oats, these are the oats that are in whole flakes. Do not use quick oats, which have been chopped up.
Spices – I use ground cinnamon and ground ginger in my carrot cake cookies. You’ll also need some salt.
Baking soda – Baking soda creates lift in cookies and makes them tender.
Unsalted butter – Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making the cookies. You should just be able to press into the butter with a finger.
Sugars – Using both granulated sugar and brown sugar helps create the best flavor and texture for these cookies.
Carrots – Obviously, we need carrots for carrot cookies! Grate your carrots using the small holes of your box grater. Carrot sizes can vary a lot, but you’ll likely need 2 carrots for this recipe.
I highly recommend you do not use the pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store. The pieces are larger and can be dried out.
Egg – One egg is used to help bind the ingredients.
Vanilla – Vanilla extract is a must in almost every cookie recipe. I recommend pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
Ingredients for cream cheese frosting
If you decide to make these cookies into sandwiches similar to whoopie pies, you’ll need these ingredients for the frosting.
- Unsalted butter
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
Make sure the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature!
How to make this recipe
First, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a reusable baking liner. This is optional, but it helps prevent the cookies from sticking.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. This will take about 3 minutes.
Add the carrots and beat until combined, then beat in the egg and vanilla until blended.
Mix in the dry ingredients gradually until completely incorporated.
Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix in anything that was stuck.
Scoop dough into balls of about 1 ½ tablespoons and arrange on the baking sheets, leaving space between each to allow for spreading.
Place the baking sheets in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.
The cookies should be golden and set around the edges, but with soft centers.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
If you are making the frosting, make sure the cookies are no longer warm before using, otherwise the frosting can melt.
To make the frosting, in a bowl combine the butter and cream cheese and beat until blended and smooth.
Add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy, then mix in vanilla.
Taste the frosting and add more powdered sugar if desired.
For a thinner frosting, add a small amount of milk, one tablespoon at a time.
For thicker frosting, add more sugar.
When you’re ready to sandwich the cookies, use a knife or offset spatula to spread frosting on the bottom of one cookie. Top with another cookie of equal size.
Cookies can be served immediately, or stored for later.
Add your favorite ingredients to make these carrot cake cookies even more special.
Mix in dried fruit like raisins or golden raisins, which are less intense in flavor.
Add chopped walnuts or pecans to the cookie dough or mixed into the frosting.
Try them with a kick of citrus by adding in fresh lemon zest. It’s great in the frosting!
How to store carrot cake cookies
If you do not frost the cookies, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
Because the frosting has cream cheese, any frosted or sandwiched cookies need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
You can also store the frosting separately in the refrigerator, and frost cookies just before serving.
Can I freeze carrot cake cookies?
Cookies are great for freezing, and you can freeze carrot cake cookies before or after baking.
To freeze before baking, scoop the dough out onto a lined baking sheet. It’s OK if the dough balls are touching.
Then, place in the freezer for about 2 hours, until frozen.
Once frozen, transfer the cookie dough to a labeled freezer-safe bag and store for up to 3 months.
The cookies can be baked from frozen; just add a few more minutes of baking time.
To freeze the cookies after baking, let them cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container.
You can place parchment or freezer paper between the cookie layers to prevent sticking.
The cookies can be frozen with or without the frosting.
To thaw, let come to room temperature, or thaw in the refrigerator.
Tips for grating carrots
Use a grater that is easy to hold over or inside of a bowl.
A box grater is a good option as well. You can lay box graters on their side for easier handling, then simply tip the carrots out of the grater and into a bowl.
Look for the smallest holes on your grater and use that side.
I find it is easiest to grate carrots starting with the tip end and working up to the top, which helps prevent scraping any fingers.
You can also grate the carrots using a food processor fitted with the shredding disk.
More delicious cookie recipes
Try some of my other favorite cookies!
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil
- Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
- Shortbread Cookies
Carrot Cake Cookies
For the cookies
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3/4 cup finely grated carrots, about 2 carrots
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the frosting
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cookies
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in the carrots, then the egg and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
- Scoop dough into balls and place on baking sheets, leaving space between to allow for rising.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Let cool on the pans for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting
- Beat together the butter and cream cheese until blended and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until mixed, then beat in the vanilla. Taste and add more sugar if desired, or add milk 1 tablespoon at a time for a thinner frosting.
- Once cookies are completely cooled, spread frosting on the bottom of a cookie and top with another cookie of equal size to make a sandwich.
- Store sandwiched cookies in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cookies can be stored at room temperature.
- Nutrition information is for 1 cookie sandwich (2 total cookies plus frosting).