These soft and cakey Carrot Cake Cookies with cream cheese frosting are so delicious and fun to eat! You can assemble them like sandwich cookies or frost it on top. They are made with a blend of my favorite ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. They are seriously so good and delicious!
If you are a carrot cake lover, you will absolutely love these cookies. Plus, it’s a great make-ahead recipe. Let’s get baking!
My favorite cake ever is carrot cake. I really really really like carrot cake, so when the thought of making carrot cake cookies came to mind, I went straight to the kitchen to test the best carrot cake cookie recipe ever.
I love these because they are soft, moist, and cakey. Plus, that homemade cream cheese frosting is to die for.
Oh, and speaking of carrot cake, have you tried my carrot cake cupcakes yet?
I love providing an overview of the ingredients so that you know what each ingredient does. Specific ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card all the way down.
For the cookies, you’ll need:
- Flour: all-purpose works great here.
- Baking soda: Not only will this help the cookies rise, but also provide proper browning and color.
- Salt: Always brings out flavors in baking.
- Spices: I use a blend of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves. They smell so good together!
- Unsalted butter: Needs to be softened and at room temperature so you can cream it properly with the sugar.
- Light brown sugar: For sweetness and that rich molasses-y flavor.
- Granulated sugar: For supplemental sweetness without added moisture.
- Eggs: For structure.
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- Finely grated carrots: Remove any excess moisture by patting it dry, if needed. Don’t use frozen carrots.
- Chopped pecans or walnuts: Because why not? I love nuts!
For the grated carrots, make sure you grate them fresh. Do not use frozen carrots. Frozen carrots contain too much moisture and can make the cookies very soggy.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- Unsalted butter: It’s better if it’s slightly softened and a bit cold. If it’s too soft and warm, the frosting won’t have proper structure.
- Cream cheese: No need to bring down to room temperature either.
- Confectioners sugar: You’ll need about 4-5 cups. Seems like a lot, right?!
- Vanilla extract: For flavor.
- A pinch of salt: To bring out the flavors.
That’s quite a lot of ingredients, BUT you most likely have many of these in your pantry already.
How to Make Carrot Cake Cookies
Making carrot cookies is quite fun! There are 3 main parts to making these: baking the cookies, making the cream cheese frosting, and assembling them.
Per usual, the detailed instructions for this carrot cake cookie recipe are in the recipe card below. To give you an idea of the process, though, let me show you how I make it:
Make the cookies:
- Combine the dry ingredients: Evenly whisk flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Cream the butter with the sugars, and add the wet ingredients: Creaming butter with sugar beats air in, thus providing structure. The air along with baking soda, will help the cookies rise beautifully. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.
- Combine the mixture with the dry ingredients: Until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Stir in grated carrots and chopped nuts: Mix in everything until just combined.
- Refrigerate dough: At this point, the dough will be very soft and sticky. Refrigerating it for 30 minutes will make it easier to scoop the dough, and also help the cookies maintain their shape.
- Scoop out dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Each scoop should be 1.5 tablespoons. The dough is sticky, so use a cookie scoop.
- Bake! 11-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. They may look a bit undercooked, that’s ok. Let them cool completely.
Make the frosting:
To make the cream cheese frosting for the carrot cake cookies, simply beat the butter with the cream cheese until combined. Then, on low speed, beat in the sugar, vanilla extract, and salt.
Assemble the cookies:
It is important that the cookies are completely cooled before adding the frosting. Otherwise the frosting will melt and you’ll end up with a big sticky mess.
To assemble the cookies, pipe in some cream cheese frosting and cover with another cookie, like carrot cake sandwich cookies. Or, you can also just frost the top individually. Up to you!
Make Ahead Tips
Lots of ways to make these delicious carrot cake cookies ahead of time!
- Bake the cookies 1 day in advance and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
- Make the cream cheese frosting and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, all you have to do is assemble the cookies!
These carrot cake cookies are soft, cakey, and tender! I love their flavor thanks to the ground cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. The grated carrots keep them so moist too!
I also love the homemade cream cheese frosting. I mean, carrot cake isn’t carrot cake without cream cheese frosting, right?!
Carrot cake is my favorite cake ever, so turning it into carrot cake cookies was really fun! Be sure to check out my recipe for carrot cake cupcakes too.
Here are some more of my favorite cookie recipes:
- Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Pistachio Shortbread Cookies
- Peppermint Mocha Cookies
- Fudgy Double Chocolate Cookies
Tips for Success
- Use freshly grated carrots. I grate them right before baking so that they don’t retain too much moisture. Do not use frozen carrots or matchstick carrots – they need to be grated.
- Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes so it’s not so soft. Even after refrigerating, though, the dough will be a bit sticky. So I’d advise using a cookie scoop.
- You may need to bake the cookies in batches.
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup unsalted butter (softened and at room temperature)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups finely grated carrots (fresh, don't use frozen)
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¾ cups unsalted butter (slightly softened and a bit cold)
- 12 oz cream cheese (slightly softened and a bit cold)
- 4 to 5 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
Make the cookies
- Combine dry ingredients: in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.
- Wet ingredients: With a mixer on high speed, cream butter with brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. On medium speed, mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and a few more times.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined on low speed. Do not overmix. Stir in the grated carrots and nuts, and mix a few more times until just combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, making sure that the plastic is touching the dough. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F while the dough is refrigerating. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
- Scoop dough, about 1.5 tablespoons per cookie, onto the lined sheet pans. The dough is sticky, so use a cookie scoop if possible. Space them out about 3 inches apart. If you run out of space, bake them in batches.
- Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. It may look a little bit undercooked, that’s fine. Let cool completely (I transfer them to a cooling rack 10 minutes after they are out of the oven).
Make the frosting
- After the cookies have cooled completely, make the cream cheese frosting: Beat the unsalted butter with cream cheese until combined. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Mix on low for a few seconds and then high for about 2-3 minutes until combined and smooth.
Assemble the Cookies
- Pipe some frosting on one cookie and cover with another to make sandwich cookies. Or, you can just frost the top of each cookie to make it simpler. Enjoy!
- Special equipment: grater, hand or stand mixer, cookie scoop, parchment paper, sheet pans.
- Let the cookies cool completely before adding the frosting.
- If the shredded carrots have too much moisture, pat it dry with paper towel.
- Make ahead: make the cookies 1 day ahead and keep in airtight containers. Make the frosting 1 day ahead and refrigerate. The next day, assemble the cookies.