Carrot cake cookies are chewy, buttery, and filled with shredded carrots, coconut, and pecans. Like a delicious fusion between a classic chocolate chip cookie and carrot cake!
You're going to love these carrot cake cookies because they're buttery, chewy, and soft like a classic chocolate chip cookie, but filled with all the best flavors of a carrot cake. Freshly shredded carrots, shredded coconut, pecans, and spices fill these cookies to the brim with flavor.
Carrot cake cookies are great any time of year, but I particularly love making them for Easter. Similar to my carrot cake whoopie pies, these cookies are filled with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, so they'd also be a perfect fit for fall.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Unsalted butter - The butter and salt listed in the recipe can be substituted with salted butter if needed.
- Sugars - We're using a combination of granulated sugar and brown sugar in this recipe for optimal texture and flavor. Granulated sugar helps aerate the butter when creaming the two together, which helps lift your cookies as they bake. Brown sugar adds a caramelized, molasses flavor and chewy texture to your cookies.
- Egg - Room temperature egg incorporates seamlessly into the dough and adds moisture and structure.
- Vanilla extract - Enhances the flavor of your cookies.
- All-purpose flour - Adds structure to your cookies and balances the wet ingredients in the recipe. I haven't tested this recipe with other types of flours, so I can't say for sure how your cookies would turn out with substitutions. To avoid wasting ingredients, I highly suggest searching for a recipe that has been developed with the type of flour you'd like to use.
- Leavening - You'll need baking soda for the proper lift in this recipe. It cannot be substituted with baking powder, the two are not interchangeable.
- Salt - Enhances the flavor of your cookies and balances the sweetness without making your cookies "salty".
- Spices - Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg add a warm, cozy spice flavor to these cookies.
- Carrots - Shredded carrots add a slightly sweet flavor to your cookies, as well as added moisture and structure. I don't recommend omitting them from the recipe because other ingredients have been reduced to account for the addition of carrot. A finely grated carrot blends in seamlessly when baked, and a larger grate adds more texture to your cookies.
- Pecans - Can be substituted with walnuts or almonds.
- Shredded unsweetened coconut - Adds a chewy texture and coconut flavor to the cookies.
For this recipe, I highly recommend toasting your shredded coconut for added depth of flavor. This step is optional, but only takes a few minutes and adds extra flavor to your cookies.
On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread your shredded coconut into a thin layer. Bake for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until the edges begin to lightly brown. Stir and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully because the edges of your coconut can brown (and then burn) quickly.
You can also brown your shredded coconut in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat. This method can take anywhere from 3-6 minutes. Stir continually so it browns evenly.
Cookie tips and tricks
Check out my full post, 10 tips for baking cookies, for my best tips on baking a perfect batch of cookies. Here are my favorites:
- I recommend chilling cookie dough for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. This helps the flavors meld and also helps prevent cookies from spreading too much when baking.
- When scooping, I suggest using a Medium OXO Cookie Scoop to make all your cookies the same size.
- Room temperature ingredients blend together seamlessly to create an even, smooth dough. When beaten, the eggs, butter, and sugar form an emulsion, which traps air in the dough, helping your cookies rise in the oven.
- Properly measuring flour is an issue I see frequently. If you have issues with your cookies not spreading, tasting bland, or turning out extra thick and tall, you probably measured too much flour into your cookie dough.
- To properly measure flour, use a kitchen scale and measure by weight. If you don't have a scale, use the spoon and level method. Use a spoon to stir your flour, then spoon flour into the measuring cup, leveling off the top with a knife. By scooping flour directly from a container with your measuring cup, you're compacting the dough into the cup. This can add up to 25% more flour to your dough.
Yes, carrot cake cookies (and dough) can be frozen for up to three months when stored in an airtight, freezer safe container.
To thaw frozen cookies, transfer to the countertop and allow to thaw for at least 30 minutes.
Cookie dough can be baked from frozen. Your cookies will spread slightly less in the oven and will need an additional 1-2 minutes of baking time.
Are carrot cake cookies healthy?
While "healthy" is a relative term, taking a look at the ingredients of this recipe will tell you that carrot cake cookies are much like any other cookie recipe.
Yes, shredded carrot does add a small amount of extra nutrition like beta carotene, fiber, and potassium. However, these cookies still contain plenty of butter, sugar, and flour, just like a regular cookie recipe.
I don't recommend making carrot cake cookies if you're looking for a "healthy" cookie recipe. Instead, make these cookies if you love the taste of carrot cake and the texture of a chewy chocolate chip cookie - this recipe is the best of both worlds!
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup (160 g) brown sugar
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 ¾ cups (330 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup (99 g) grated carrots
- ½ cup (57 g) chopped pecans
- ½ cup (42 g) shredded coconut, toasted*
- In a large bowl, add butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Gradually stir dry ingredients into butter mixture until just combined.
- Add shredded carrots, pecans, and shredded coconut, stirring until just incorporated.
- Cover bowl or wrap dough in wax paper. Chill for 1 hour (up to 24 hours) in the refrigerator. Refrigerating helps the flavors meld and creates a firmer dough to roll into balls.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Scoop dough using a 1.5 tablespoon (medium) scoop or shape by hand into 1.5 inch balls. Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 11-13 minutes, or until lightly browned around edges and across the tops. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- *I recommend toasting the shredded coconut for added depth of flavor (however, this step can be skipped if you don't have time). Spread shredded coconut onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 5 minutes at 350F, or until edges begin to lightly brown. Stir and bake for another 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Alternatively, add to a skillet and brown over medium heat for 3-6 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Cookies will keep for up to 5 days in a sealed container. To help keep cookies fresh, place a slice of bread in the container with the cookies. Replace bread slice as needed.
- Raw dough will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. Cookie dough balls (and baked cookies) freeze well, up to 3 months in a sealed plastic container or freezer bag. Allow frozen balls to thaw for up to 10 minutes on the baking sheet before baking, or add 1-2 minutes to the baking time.
- Be sure to check out my 10 tips for baking cookies, based on reader comments and questions!