These Carrot Cake Cookies are deliciously soft + full of those classic carrot cake flavors I know you came looking for. Made with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and less added sugar than traditional cookie recipes, these cookies are topped with optional (but highly recommended) cream cheese frosting for a little added yum. Inspired my beloved Carrot Cake Bread recipe, these cookies are a delight sweet treat that will become a regular in your home.

Frosted carrot cake cookies on a piece of white parchment paper with nuts scattered about. One cookie has a bite taken out of it.

Now, I love veggie-loading recipes (heck, I have made a whole job out of it!), but I am a firm believer that veggies do not *need* to be in desserts to make them worth eating. Food is about so much more than just nutrients and fuel. It is about joy, balance, culture, and tradition too.

And cheesecake is just perfect as it is…so no veggies there….. thankyouverymuch.

However, there are some sweet treats that are actually made *better* by the addition of a veggie…like carrot cake. The carrots literally *make* the recipe. Their subtle sweetness mixed with just a touch of earthy flavor. Yep, carrots belong in some desserts and they most definitely belong on these carrot cake cookies!

These cookies have a lovely soft texture like its cakey inspiration and are full of that carrot cake flavor that I know you all came looking for. They can, indeed, be made egg free + gluten free (I know at least one of you is wondering). Bake them up today, store them unfrosted in your fridge for up to 2 days, and then frost them right before you want to impress + delight some guests or family members.

Ingredients for Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies sitting together on a counter top before cooking.
Ingredients: For Cookies: carrot, unsweetened applesauce, egg, maple syrup (or honey), light brown sugar, avocado oil, pure vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, salt, baking powder, rolled oats, whole wheat flour (or a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend for a gluten free option), walnuts or pecans (optional); For Cream Cheese Frosting (Optional): whipped cream cheese, powdered sugar, pure vanilla extract, cinnamon

How to make these cookies: a step-by-step visual guide

If you are a visual person, here is a picture guide for how the recipe should look at each step. Be sure to grab the exact measurements for the ingredients by scrolling down to the recipe card below.

A person finely grating a carrot with a grater over a wooden cutting board. There are ingredients for the carrot cake cookies in bowls around the cutting board.
Finely shred carrots.
Grated carrot, applesauce, egg, maple syrup/honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla in a glass bowl before being mixed together.
In a large bowl, add the grated carrot, applesauce, egg, maple syrup/honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla.
Grated carrot, applesauce, egg, maple syrup/honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla in a glass bowl with a whisk after being mixed.
Whisk until combined.
A bowl with whisked together wet ingredients for carrot cake cookies with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder sitting on top before being mixed in.
Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.
Mixed wet ingredients for carrot cake cookies in a glass bowl with oats, flour, and nuts sitting on top before being mixed in.
Add the oats, flour, and nuts (if using).
The batter for carrot cake cookies in a bowl with a spatula.
Stir with a spatula or large spoon until the dry ingredients are incorporated. This batter will be a little looser/more wet than traditional cookie dough.
A person using a cookie scoop to portion out the batter for carrot cake cookies onto a lined baking sheet. The bowl with the batter is in the corner.
Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, scoop 2 Tablespoon-sized amounts of dough onto the baking sheet, making 12 medium-sized cookies.
A person using the back of a spoon to gently flatten the carrot cake cookie batter on the baking sheet before baking.
Use the back of the spoon to gently tap down the cookies a bit so that they don’t cook in a mound and are easier to frost.
Baked carrot cake cookies on the baking sheet.
In an oven preheated to 350℉, bake until lightly golden brown around the edges and dry-looking in the center, 15 to 18 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool fully before decorating with icing (if using).

How to make the cream cheese frosting:

Cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl before being stirred together.
Add cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl.
Cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl with a whisk after being mixed together.
Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon together in a bowl until combined. Taste and add additional sweetener if you’d like.
The icing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
A person using a cake spatula to frost cooled carrot cake cookies. Some frosted and unfrosted cookies are on the baking sheet  and bowls of frosting, nuts and cinnamon are on the table next to the baking sheet
Once cookies are fully cooled, frost with about 2 teaspoons of the icing (if using) right before enjoying.
A hand sprinkling chopped nuts onto the tops of frosted carrot cake cookies that are lined up on a baking sheet.
Decorate the top of each cookie with a sprinkle of additional chopped nuts or cinnamon.

Recipe testing notes from Taesha:

  • If you plan to frost the cookies, do so right before serving. The frosting does not harden and so storing frosted cookies without them sticking together can be tricky.
  • Be sure to use the back of a spoon to gently pat down the portioned out cookie batter. Especially if you plan to frost the cookies. If you leave them unflattened, they will still be delicious, but will bake in more of a mounded shape verse a flattened cookie. See the picture above in the step-by-step guide for how cookies should look before baking.
  • Wait for cookies to cool completely before frosting. Frosting warm cookies will cause the frosting to melt.
Frosted carrot cake cookies on a piece of white marble table with nuts and cinnamon sticks scattered about. These is a bowl of chopped nuts in the edge of the picture.

Other sweet treats with a touch of added veggies…

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Frosted carrot cake cookies on a piece of white parchment paper with nuts scattered about. One cookie has a bite taken out of it.
5 from 5 votes

Healthier Carrot Cake Cookies

Yield: 12 cookies
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
These Carrot Cake Cookies are deliciously soft + full of those classic carrot cake flavors I know you came looking for. Made with whole wheat flour, rolled oats, and less added sugar than traditional cookie recipes, these cookies are topped with optional (but highly recommended) cream cheese frosting for a little added yum. Inspired my beloved Carrot Cake Bread recipe, these cookies are a delight sweet treat that will become a regular in your home.

Ingredients
 

For cookies

  • 1 cup finely grated carrot, (from 1-2 large carrots) I use the smaller holes on the box grater to get a finer shred.
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, or honey
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, or coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup avocado oil, or melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour , or a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour blend for a gluten free option
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

For simple cream cheese frosting (optional)

  • 4 ounces whipped cream cheese, see below for how to use regular cream cheese
  • 3-4 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon

Instructions
 

Carrot Cake Cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  •  In a large bowl, whisk the grated carrot, applesauce, egg, maple syrup/honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until combined.
  • Whisk in the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.
  • Add the oats, flour, and nuts (if using) and stir with a spatula or large spoon until the dry ingredients are incorporated. This batter will be a little looser/more wet than traditional cookie dough.
  • Using a cookie scoop or spoon, to scoop 2 Tablespoon-sized amounts of dough onto the baking sheet, making 12 medium-sized cookies. Use the back of the spoon to gently tap down the cookies a bit so that they don’t cook in a mound and are easier to frost.
  • Bake until lightly golden brown around the edges and dry-looking in the center, 15 to 18 minutes.
  • Allow cookies to cool fully then frost with about 2 teaspoons of the icing, if using right before enjoying. Decorate the top of each cookie with a sprinkle of additional chopped nuts or cinnamon.
  • Unfrosted cookies can be stored in an air-tight container on the counter for 2 days or refrigerated for 5 days.

Simple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla,and cinnamon together in a bowl until combined. Taste and add additionalsweetener if you’d like.
  • The icing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Recipe Notes:
  • Nutritional information is for 1 cookie WITH frosting.
  • If using regular cream cheese (not whipped), allow the cream cheese to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. You may have to whip the ingredients together a little longer to incorporate some air and make a spreadable icing.
  • For gluten-free: Use gluten-free oats and well as a gluten-free flour mix instead of wheat flour. I’ve also found that using ¼ cup almond flour plus a ¼ cup oat flour works well.
  • For egg-free: In place of the egg, use an additional ¼ cup of applesauce or a flax “egg”.
  • A neutral oil works well in these cookies, but you could also use melted coconut oil or butter in place of the oil.
  • Raisins or other dried fruit would be a good addition in these cookies. Use a 1/3 cup.
Serving: 1cookie w/ frosting, Calories: 180kcal, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.002g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 182mg, Potassium: 147mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 1862IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 1mg