If you love a good carrot cake, you’ll love these old fashioned carrot cake cookies that are tasty and simple to make. Watch them fly off the table.
Carrot cake is a classic in the South just like a good pound cake, 10 layer chocolate cake, or a scrumptious pecan pie. It just oozes gooey, delightful flavor in each bite. Translate that into a cookie, and you have an easier, more portable version of the cake. Have “carrot cake cookie” will travel!!
This cookie is quicker, less messy, and easier to carry “out”, but it still has the same luscious flavor of its cake cousin. Great for afternoon snacks, parties, school or church events, or just to enjoy while sitting on the front porch with a big glass of “ice tea” on a hot, summer afternoon.
If you start to feel guilty about making a decadent batch of these cookies, there is a saying that goes….”Carrot cake counts as a vegetable, right? ” So dig into these yummy carrots! Fortunately, most of us Southern cooks don’t often suffer from baking guilt, and might be heard to say, “I don’t carrot at all!”
And if you’re in the cookie making mood… you may want to try our choc chip peanut butter oatmeal raisin cookies.
Old Fashioned Carrot Cake Cookies (With Pecans & Oats!)
These cookies not only pack a powerful punch of flavors, they have heart-healthy ingredients like old fashioned oats, dried fruit, and tasty pecans.
While they may not be the “sweetest” cookies in the neighborhood, they will definitely make you popular with your neighbors!
These cookies are amazing as is. However, if you have allergies or other preferences, you can make some substitutions. Carrot is the main ingredient, and while you can substitute zucchini or parsnips (basically white carrots), it won’t actually be carrot cake then. So I would personally leave the “star” of the show alone.
You can easily substitute walnuts, cashews, or almonds for pecans. We have family pecan trees, so that is our “go to” nut.
If you would like your cookies to have a stronger flavor, you could substitute 1/2 teaspoon of allspice or nutmeg in place of the 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. It really is all about your particular taste.
This recipe calls for 1 cup of dried fruit. Raisins (the classic choice) or dried diced pineapple are suggested. Some other creative options are: dried apricots, cherries, cranberries, or plums. Your choice would alter the taste and color slightly but are still great alternatives.
Can I use a carrot cake mix?
If you aren’t a “cookie from scratch kind of baker”, you might try using a carrot cake mix. Depending on the brand of mix you buy, some come with real carrot pieces and raisins, while others have imitation carrots. So to get the full carrot flavor, you might need to add your own carrots to the mix.
The box mixes normally include flour, sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda or powder. Then you typically add water, eggs, and oil (butter) depending on the directions.
So while it might seem easier to use a mix, you would need to make sure you didn’t leave out any important ingredients, and be aware that the cookies might have a different texture and taste than those made from scratch.
You can even make carrot cake cookie sandwiches!
If you really want to make the crowd moan with delight, you could wedge a decadent filling in between two cookies and make a cookie sandwich that takes the taste to the next level! Try a cream cheese and marshmallow cream filling similar to our southern “whoopie pies” (like little cookie-pies).
Another great idea would be to put a huge dollop of Butter Pecan ice cream between two of the cookies. Because it is a dessert, it is okay to “take it over the top” with this creamy, dreamy ice cream. In the South we would say, “It is “plumb” delicious!”
If you need to make sure it is dairy-free, choose a non-dairy ice cream or frozen yogurt. A coconut caramel flavor would pair nicely with the spicy carrot cake cookies, but there are lots of other flavors you could try.
Ingredients for your carrot cake cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup dry fruit, like raisins or diced dried pineapple
- 1 cup chopped pecans
How to make these cookies!
Directions to make the carrot cake cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a seasoned baking stone. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make sure and get out all the lumps. Set aside.
With a mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until completely combined. I like to add the eggs one at a time and follow up with the vanilla. Add the carrots, oats, dried fruit, and pecans. Stir together well. It will be thick and “clumpy” but that is normal. Add the flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
Using a medium cookie scoop (or ice cream scoop), portion the cookie dough and place on baking sheet. Press the cookies down slightly. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Watch the cook time closely, depending on how your oven. Mind tends to cook quickly so I often have to shorten cooking times. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. This will keep them fresh longer.
Around here we love desserts, if you’re in the dessert loving mood as well, try our other popular desserts!
- Chocolate sour cream pound cake
- Pineapple pound cake
- Orange pound cake
- Chocolate chip cake
- Apple pound cake with caramel frosting
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) unsalted, softened
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 each eggs
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup carrots grated
- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 cup dry fruit like raisins, dice dried pineapple
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a seasoned baking stone.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
- With a mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing until completely combined.
- Add the carrots, oats, dried fruit, and pecans. Stir together well. Add in flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, portion the cookie dough and place on baking sheet. Press the cookies down slightly.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until the edges are set. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 7 to 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- Store in an airtight container for up to one week.