Raise your hand if carrot cake is your favorite cake of all time, or as I like to call it the Oprah of cakes. You know, classy and sophisticated, but also something everyone loves.
These chewy carrot cake cookies were first made by yours truly back in 2014 aka the year I became obsessed with turning my favorite cakes and breads into healthy little bite-sized cookie versions. Since Easter and Mother’s Day are right around the corner, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to share these glorious baby cakes aka healthy carrot cake cookies again.
I actually made these cookies three different times before deciding on this version. I tried one with brown butter, another with maple syrup instead of brown sugar and the last with more oats and a cream cheese glaze. I actually really loved all of the versions (especially the browned butter one!). However, I wanted these to be a great cookie nutrition-wise, be dairy free and also super tasty.
Remember to follow along on the Ambitious Kitchen Instagram account this week to celebrate Carrot Cake Week with us! We’ll be making & sharing tried-and-true AK carrot cake themed recipes (not just this cake!) to get excited for Easter and all things spring.
What makes these carrot cake cookies healthier?
These wonderful carrot cake cookies are made with nutritious ingredients that make them extra nourishing and satisfying. These cookies are:
- Filled with whole grains: the base is made from whole wheat flour and oatmeal, which adds a boost of filling whole grains.
- Dairy free: they get moisture from shredded carrots and a bit of coconut oil instead of butter.
- Veggie-packed: they pack a pretty great nutritional punch with a full cup of shredded carrot!
Ingredients in healthy carrot cake cookies
One of the reasons I love these beautiful cookies is because they’re packed with nutritious ingredients and topped with a light cinnamon glaze. They taste just like a slice of carrot cake. And dare I say that you could even enjoy them for breakfast?! YES YOU CAN. Here’s what you’ll need:
- White whole wheat flour: you can also use whole wheat pastry flour.
- Baking soda & salt: for properly baking these carrot cake cookies.
- Cinnamon & nutmeg: the cinnamon and nutmeg make the ultimate carrot cake spice combo.
- Coconut oil: I love baking with coconut oil and it adds just the right amount of moisture to these cookies.
- Dark brown sugar: I think dark brown sugar adds the perfect sweetness. You can also use coconut sugar.
- Egg: to help bind these cookies. I haven’t tried it, but you could try using a flax egg to keep these vegan.
- Vanilla: you just need a splash of vanilla for for additional cozy flavor.
- Shredded carrots: because these are healthy carrot cake cookies!
- Rolled oats: oats give the cookies a deliciously chewy texture just like your fav oatmeal cookie. I would not suggest using steel cut oats in this recipe, but feel free to use gluten free rolled oats.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut: I love adding coconut for more of that true carrot cake flavor. Yum.
- Chopped pecans or walnuts: love the crunch of pecans or walnuts in every bite!
- Raisins: I’m a huge fan of raisins in my carrot cake – so good!
- Powdered sugar: combine powdered sugar with a bit of almond milk and cinnamon to make an easy, light cinnamon glaze.
Customize these carrot cake cookies
These healthy carrot cake cookies can easily be customized to suit your taste preferences and/or dietary needs.
- To make vegan: Replace the egg with half a large, mashed banana or a flax egg.
- To make gluten free: I recommend an all purpose GF flour for the whole wheat. You can also try chickpea flour.
- Use butter: You can also use 1/4 cup of melted butter instead of coconut oil if you aren’t dairy free and prefer to bake with butter.
- Go refined sugar-free: Feel free to sub brown sugar with coconut sugar or with maple syrup. Note that if you use maple syrup your cookies will be more cake-like.
- Add some indulgence: If you like cream cheese (and aren’t dairy free), try adding a heaping tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the glaze before you mix it up; it makes the glaze super creamy and delicious!
These cookies get crisp on the bottoms and outside but are deliciously soft and chewy in the middle. Secretly wishing I had chipmunk cheeks for optimal carrot cake cookie storage.
Can I leave out the mix-ins?
Sure! Feel free to leave out the raisins, pecans or coconut if you do not prefer them. You can also substitute any nut or dried fruit.
How to store carrot cake cookies
- At room temp: these cookies will stay good for 5 days at room temperature in cooler weather in an airtight container. If humid, I recommend transferring cookies to the fridge in a glass container after a day or two.
- To freeze: get all of our best tips & tricks for freezing cookies (baked or unbaked) here!
More carrot cake recipes you’ll love
Get all of my carrot cake recipes here!
I know you’re going to LOVE these healthy carrot cake cookies. If you make them, I’d love for you to leave a comment & rating so I know how you liked them! It encourages others to bake them, too. xoxo!
Healthy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies (made with coconut oil!)
Delicious healthy carrot cake cookies bursting with coconut, raisins and pecans. These naturally sweetened carrot cake oatmeal cookies taste just like the carrot cake you know and love but are healthy enough to enjoy for breakfast!
white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
coconut oil, melted and cooled
packed dark brown sugar (or sub coconut sugar)
heaping cup shredded carrots
unsweetened shredded coconut
chopped pecans or walnuts
- For the glaze:
unsweetened almond milk
- dash of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate large bowl mix together coconut oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until well combined; next fold in shredded carrots. Add in flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. Fold in oats, coconut, pecans, and raisins.
Use a small cookie scoop and drop by tablespoonful on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten with your hand. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Cool cookies for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the glaze: Combine powdered sugar, almond milk and cinnamon in a bowl. Drizzle a tiny bit over cookies, then let dry. Makes about 18 cookies.
Feel free to leave out the raisins, pecans or coconut if you do not prefer them. You can also substitute any nut or dried fruit.
TO MAKE VEGAN: Replace egg with half a large banana or a flax egg.
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: I recommend an all purpose GF flour for the whole wheat. You can also try chickpea flour.
You can also use 1/4 cup of melted butter instead of coconut oil if you aren’t dairy free and prefer to bake with butter.
Feel free to sub brown sugar with coconut sugar or with maple syrup. Note that if you use maple syrup your cookies will be more cake-like.
If you like cream cheese (and aren’t DF), try adding a heaping tablespoon of softened cream cheese to the glaze before you mix it up; it makes the glaze super creamy and delicious!
Servings: 18 cookies
Serving size: 1 cookie
This post was originally published on May 8th, 2018, and republished on April 7th, 2022.