There is something perfectly springtime about carrot cake. And these adorable carrot cake cookies take everyone’s favorite Easter cake and turn it into a sharable, hand-held cookie that will look perfect on your Easter buffet table!
These cookies have all the beloved flavors of carrot cake, morphed into cookie form. They are quick to make and easy to decorate with our simple cream cheese frosting. Let’s get baking!
What do I need to make these cookies?
Most of the ingredients for these carrot cake cookies are standard baking ingredients, like all-purpose flour, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs. The two exceptions are:
- Shredded carrots. While the bagged matchstick carrots sold in the produce section can be super-useful for salads and slaws, they won’t work for these cookies. Instead, finely shred the carrots with a box grater or food processor so that the carrots almost melt into the cookies and add carrot flavor without the carrot crunch.
- Pecans (optional). Pecans add more flavor and texture to the cookies. If you don’t have them or aren’t a fan, you can replace them with finely chopped walnuts or leave them out entirely.
How do you make carrot cake cookies?
Once all your ingredients are assembled, making the dough for carrot cake cookies is simple!
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer to cream the butter with both kinds of sugar.
- Add eggs and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowl if needed.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients, and carefully add them to the wet ingredients.
- Add the carrots and optionally, the nuts.
- Scoop onto a lined baking sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes. The dough will be thicker and wetter than other cookie doughs—a cookie scoop will make it easier to form and shape the cookies without making a giant mess.
- Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before decorating the top of each cookie with cream cheese frosting.
Protip: Don’t let those cookies stick!
These cookies tend to stick to the pan if you skip the parchment paper or silicone sheet. If you don’t line the pan, be sure to slide a spatula under each cookie when they are still warm from the oven to separate them from the baking sheet, and then let them cool completely on the pan.
What kind of frosting is on top?
Just like a typical carrot cake, these cookies are topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting. To make it, beat butter with cream cheese, and add confectioner’s sugar a bit at a time until it is fully mixed. Add vanilla extract and just enough milk to get it to the right consistency, and your frosting is ready to go on top of the cookies.
Can I use bagged shredded carrots?
Nope, sorry. The bagged matchstick or julienned carrots are too thick to bake nicely into cookies. Grate carrots on the side of a box grater, or pulse them in a blender or food processor until they are finely shredded.
How long do carrot cake cookies last?
Store carrot cake cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Chilled, they will be fresh and safe to eat for five days. We don’t recommend leaving the cookies at room temperature for more than two hours, or the frosting will begin to melt.
Can you freeze carrot cake cookies?
Sure can! We recommend freezing them unfrosted. Just place the cookies on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and then freeze until solid. Then transfer the cookies to a large freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the frosting separately in a food storage container, canning jar, or freezer bag. Let both the cookies and frosting thaw at room temperature on the counter for about an hour before enjoying.