Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies

These cookies weren’t originally in my plans. They’re the result of a carrot muffin failure. I was so disgusted that I couldn’t even bear to re-make the muffins.

So I made cookies instead. Best call ever.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

I had filled muffin cups to almost three-quarters full in an effort to get big puffy domed-top muffins. Unfortunately, what emerged from the oven were mushrooms, not muffins. Their tops sat flush on the pan and although they tasted fabulous, it was one big wall of conjoined muffin tops. Shudder.

The cookies more than make up for the muffins, and if I had to choose, cookies trump muffins anyway.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

They’re supremely moist, soft, and chewy without being cakey. I like my cake to be cakey, but never cookies.

They’re loaded with texture from the carrots, oats, raisins, and butterscotch chips. If you don’t like raisins or butterscotch, and prefer nuts and white chocolate, or nothing at all other than just carrots, suit yourself.

I’m a raisin lover, and after last week’s Oatmeal Scotchies, I’ve also been on a major butterscotch kick.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

Bland carrot cake is so unappetizing and as I mentioned when I made Carrot Cake and Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread, orange vegetables can stand up to a lot of spices without becoming overpowered. In fact, they necessitate a heavier hand when adding spices.

The cookies are pleasantly spiced, and just robust enough, but not overdone. Or course, season to taste based on your preferences.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

I prefer to grate the carrots by hand with a box grater using the coarsest blade. It’s three-quarters of a cup, about two medium carrots, and takes one minute. Bagged shredded carrots from the grocery store just aren’t the same and it isn’t a job worthy of dirtying my food processor.

I measure them by loosely piling them into a one cup measure, and as long as it’s at least three-quarters full, or a skimpy one-cup, that’s ideal.

After the dough comes together, use a medium 2-inch cookie scoop to form mounds and place them on a large plate. The dough is soft and messy and being able to dig into the mixing bowl as if it were a bowl of ice cream, using a scoop, is so much neater and easier.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

Because this dough is soft, it must be chilled for at least 3 hours, overnight, or up to 5 days before baking. Do not bake with warm dough or the cookies will spread. If you want thick cookies, you must chill the dough. Plus, chilling it gives the spices and flavors time to marry.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, however I strongly recommend the lower end of the range. The cookies firm up considerably as they cool, so don’t be afraid to pull them even if the tops look glossy and under-done. Overbaking will turn these softies in rocks, with overly browned bottoms.

 I figure since there’s vegetables baked into them, a few extra cookies means a few extra servings of vegetables. Normally I don’t include nutrition information,  but after scarfing three warm cookies off the baking tray, without feeling like a lead balloon had landed in my stomach, I was curious about their stats.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

I inputted the major ingredients into this site and used 22 as the servings since I made 22 cookies. Butterscotch chips weren’t listed an option so I used dark chocolate chips instead. However, I believe they artificially elevated the stats because dark chocolate is fattier and more calorically dense than butterscotch.

138 calories per cookie

If the optional raisins and baking chips were omitted, it would be less. But carrot cake isn’t carrot cake without raisins and I love butterscotch. And I will always eat cookies based on taste, not on stats. It’s a cookie; it’s not supposed to be healthy. If if happens to be, great; but if not, oh well.

The cookies are a new favorite and are some of the best cookies I’ve made all year, and I bake a new cookie recipe nearly every week. I’m also still madly in love with these.

In large part due to the spices used, they remind me of a perfect slice of carrot cake, minus any cakiness, and I kept reaching for one more. One more.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

They have soft, tender interiors with chewy edges. They stay moist for days and get softer the second and third day because brown sugar is hydrophilic (absorbing atmospheric moisture), rather than drying out.

Juicy raisins, oats, carrot shreds, and sweet butterscotch chips lend so much chew factor and texture.

I live for those thick, dense, loaded-up bites.

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies (not cakey!)

Soft & Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies - Tons of texture & so moist with zero cakiness. Eat your vegetables by way of healthy cookies!

Print Print Recipe

Soft and Chewy Spiced Carrot Cake Cookies

All the flavors of richly spiced carrot cake, in cookie form. Soft, chewy, extremely moist, and not at all cakey. They're loaded with texture from the carrots, oats, raisins, and butterscotch chips. If you prefer your carrot cake without raisins or butterscotch, feel free to omit. I love the juicy pop of the raisins and the sweet, butteriness the butterscotch chips lend. As cookies go, theyr'e on the healthier side, and one of my new favorites. They'd also make great sandwich cookies filled with cream cheese frosting.

Yield: About 22 medium-small cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 heaping cup grated carrots, loosely packed
1/2 to 2/3 cup butterscotch chips (or white chocolate), optional
1/2 cup raisins (or nuts), optional


  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl with hand mixer), combine the egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, optional salt, and beat momentarily to incorporate. As written, cookies are pleasantly spiced and robust, without being over-spiced, but dial down the amounts as written and adjust to taste if you're particularly sensitive.
  3. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and beat until just combined, less than 1 minute. Add the carrots and beat to incorporate, about 30 seconds. Add the optional butterscotch chips, raisins, and beat to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons) or your hands, scoop out mounds of dough (I made 22) and place them on a large plate. Flatten mounds just slightly with heel of your hand. Cover plate with plasticwrap and refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours, up to 5 days, before baking. Dough is far too soft and moist, and is unsuitable for baking until it's been chilled or cookies will spread dramatically.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line 2 baking sheets with Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats, parchment, or spray with cooking spray; set aside. Space dough 2 inches apart (8 per tray) and bake for 9 to 11 minutes (I recommend the lower end of that range), or until tops have just set, even if slightly underbaked and glossy in the center. Cookies firm up as they cool, and baking too long results in cookies that set up too crisp and hard with overdone undersides (The cookies shown in the photos were baked for just over 9 minutes, with trays rotated at the 5-minute mark, and have chewy edges with pillowy, soft centers).
  6. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling. Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

Related Recipes:

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting – My favorite carrot cake. Baked as a loaf rather than a traditional cake and so fast and easy to whisk together. Ridiculously moist, soft, tender, full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and raisins

Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites (no-bake, vegan, GF) – Cookie dough bites are always popular and instead of cookie dough, these are carrot cake dough. They’re soft, chewy, and filled with texture

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Bread – Sweet potatoes do a wonderful job of keeping it extremely soft and moist. It’s almost like cake it’s so soft, springy, and bouncey. It’s robustly spiced with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies – Chocolate chip cookies with a pumpkin twist and some gentle, warming spices

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This quickbread pairs two of my favorites, pumpkin bread and banana bread, into one and it’s topped with a frosting that I could eat by the spoonful

Coconut Spice Cheesecake Bars – Part cheese cake, part spice cake,with the flavors of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut are baked in between the cake and cream cheese layers for richly spiced bars that are very fast and easy to make since there’s a shortcut involved

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Scotchies Cookies – My new favorite oatmeal cookie dough base. Soft and chewy, they bake up at perfect thickness, and are loaded with butterscotch chips in every bite

Do you like carrot cake? Ever tried carrot cake cookies?

I love carrot cake and the overall spices used, but was leery of making carrot cake cookies. I didn’t want a cakey cookie, and I am thrilled with how these came out. The carrot muffin failure was a blessing in disguise.

Thanks for the Get Calm with $80 Giveaway and Le Creuset 3-Piece Serveware Set Giveaway entries


  1. Carrot cake is a favorite for me! I actually recently made carrot cake waffles, and was thinking of doing a carrot cake themed week on my blog, this recipe is going on my to try list!

  2. Carrots!! Great save. I can’t stand when recipes go bad. I usually perk up when I can turn them around though. I have been thinking about carrot cake and butterscotch chips! But not together. Now I am! :D haha

    • Girl I was SO TICKED about the muffins. Like I had this feeling I was overfilling them but was pretty sure I’d be okay. Then 2 mins into baking they were starting to explode up in height and I knew I was doomed. Sigh. But honestly, the cookies are way better than the muffins were and butterscotch complements the carrots and the spices. It’s just so good in here!

  3. I love how you turned a kitchen fail into these awesome cookies. Cookies are more fun to eat anyway :)

    So fun meeting you this weekend, Averie! I just wished we were able to spend more time together!

  4. I’ve never had a carrot cake cookie but I love this recipe–lots of texture and spices! I could easily give them a smear of cream cheese frosting or make a sandwich out of them. The butterscotch chips really do it for me–what a great idea! My homemade mayo was successful, easy and has been a great base for other sauces and dressings. I used 1 whole egg and 3/4 cup oil (half batch). I whirled the egg in the vita (on a speed of around 2-3) then set a styrofoam cup (with a hole poked in the bottom) on the lid and poured the oil into the cup so it would drip in slowly.

    • Your mayo sounds wonderful. I may have to give it a go one day.

      And this carrot cake cookie is so good- it’s just packed with texture and chewiness and so much good stuff. I loved these things! I had to try to hide them from myself :)

  5. There’s nothing better than when a recipe fails but turns into something else delicious! These look so great, and right up my alley! My best friend’s birthday is coming up, and her favorite dessert is carrot cake. I usually make a cake or cupcakes or her, but I like the idea of cookies to change it up! Going to make for her – pinned!

  6. Oh man, I love this recipe for so many reasons! I love carrot cake but I love cookies more than I love cake… So, these are perfect. :) And I love the simple ingredient list too! I always have these things on hand, which is good and bad – I could whip them up at any time, but I also might eat more of them than I should. :-D

    • Girl they are highly addictive and I had to hide them from myself! I loved them so much and if you’re a carrot cake fan (and with all the ingredients on hand no less!) you will love them I bet! LMK if you end up trying them :)

  7. Yum! Carrot cake is my fave… I love seeing it in the cookie form!

  8. Yum, these cookies look amazing!!! I prefer cookies over muffins too and love that you were able to save these by creating these delicious looking cookies. Love carrot cake so can’t wait to try these :)

  9. Yay for turning a muffin disaster into something amazingly delicious! I love carrot cake flavors however I can get em and these cookies sound pretty perfect.

  10. I love carrot cake dearly, so seeing it in cookie form makes my morning bright and happy! Def adding this to my recipes to try – thanks.

  11. Mmm! I am a sucker for anything termed “carrot cake.” I wonder if I could sub part of the butter for greek yogurt? I’m sure I’d get an even softer cookie, probably more cake-like… hmm…

    • I think it would take it into cake-like territory, i.e. the dreaded cakey territory – which is not my preference but go for it! I only like my cake to be cakey :) Not cookies or brownies!

  12. A carrot cake cookie?!? Wow…this is fabulous! I love carrot cake and I also love cookies, so this is the most perfect combo!

  13. I do not like carrot cake. I do, however, really like these cookies. Sometimes a “failure” is a good thing even though it can be so darn frustrating!! I am so in love with butterscotch chips, I think it was a fantastic idea to include them in these cookies!

  14. Oh yeah, cookies trump muffins every time. These look wonderful!

  15. I loved that you turned a kitchen fail into these awesome cookies!! Plus, I love that they are actually kind of healthy! Score!

  16. Wow! I’ve never had a carrot cake cookie! I would’ve expected more cakiness but somehow you’ve made it into one of the most delicious looking COOKIES I’ve ever seen! This is so different I’m just gonna have to try it … I love going crazy with spices, hmmm yum, they are my favorite:) And with all this ingredients I bet there is a lot of texture. I wish my recent muffin disaster had turned out so well! Just curious – could this recipe still be made into muffins if I didn’t over fill them? Either way – awesome job! The concept and pictures have me hook, line, and sinker!

  17. I jeez I hate recipe failures but these cookies sound absolutely perfect, so clearly even the failure was meant to be :)

  18. Wow these look great… and not that bad for you!

  19. A Disney chef once told me that sometimes the best recipes come out of mistakes, which is something I always try to keep in mind when a recipe doesn’t turn out the way I want it to. These cookies look great!

  20. You must be reading my mind because my husband recently made a request for carrot cake cookies. I’m pinning this now and will probably try making these this weekend!

  21. This is such a great idea! I’m going to make these for my dad’s birthday. They’re two of his favorites combined! :D

  22. I saw these cookies and said, “Oh my God” out loud. I’m a huge carrot cake fan, and these cookies are the cookie equivalent! Got ’em pinned!

  23. Carrot cake has and always will be one of my weaknesses, Averie! And the combination of carrot cake with oatmeal cookies (another fave) and butterscotch (yes another fave)… my head is spinning. Three of my favorites into ONE amazing cookie. It’s so funny – some of my favorite (and most popular) recipes come from baking failures. That’s how we learn, right? Not everything can be perfect. But from something terrible, something wonderful may be born. A carrot cake cookie that doesn’t look or taste cakey is hard to find! And you delivered it with success. Pinning these – they look amazing!

    I love both cookies and muffins but… cookies will always win. ;)

    • a non-cakey Carrot Cake Cookie is just what these are and like pumpkin whoopie pies, I had really only seen carrot cake cookies that looked sort of like that; flat saucers that looked like cakes, in cookie form. Not my scene (although I do love pumpkin whoopie pies but that’s another post). I was trying to do what you do with the domed muffins. Seriously, I was doubting myself but kept thinking, well, Sally does it all the time. And have had success with the 3/4+full in the past on other recipes, but not on that one!

      I have a recipe for carrot cake cookies in Peanut Butter Comfort but I wrote it…like 2 yrs ago. One of the first recipes I ever wrote and can’t even tell you what I did :)

      Thanks for the pin!

  24. And…you know how much I adore carrot cake, right? I feel like this kitchen fail of yours was kismet…because the world needed a non-cakey Carrot Cake Cookie! Absolutely CANNOT wait to bake a batch of these! Because I’m the sharing type, I may need to double the recipe so there’s enough to go around. Thanks for sharing, Averie! Each and every day, you just blow my mind. Pinning to group boards! xo

  25. Averie, I need you to open a bakery, so I could order dozens and dozens of these!! These cookies are completely MY type of cookie. :)

  26. Ooo, this looks like another one of your cookie recipes I’ll have to try!

  27. Just divine! I can’t get butterscotch or white chocolate chips in Taiwan, but I think I might just have to attempt these with plain ol’ semi-sweet chocolate chips and see what happens. And then I won’t feel guilty about eating them since there are carrots involved :-)

  28. mmm mmm mmm. What a happy mistake!

  29. Love this idea! I love carrot cake and cookies, fabulous idea to combine the two. BTW, we missed you Saturday! I thought you’d be around all weekend.

  30. I LOVE carrot cake cookies! These look so perfect right now!

    P.S. It was good great to finally meet face-to-face, gorgeous ;)

  31. I’ve made carrot cake cookies too and I agree. Cookies>>>Cake, no matter what flavor. GREAT idea with the butterscotch chips!! I can see these with white chocolate chips too – kind of the cream-cheesy like “frosting” in chip form.

    My stomach just growled. For real.

  32. I love that the texture is chewy and not cakey … don’t get me wrong I love cake but I’m with you on that cookies are better when chewy : ) And I do love carrot cake!

  33. I love carrot cake! I am with you on grating them by hand- the pregrated carrots don’t taste like carrots at all! Freshly gratted carrots are head and shoulders better. Like the idea of cookies!

  34. I do love carrot cake in all forms…I have made cookies, donuts, and cake. What a fun cookie!!! I am glad you made the cookies instead of the muffins again…cookies are way much more fun :-) And raisins and butterscotch chips sound awesome together!!!

  35. I love carrot cake, fab idea to turn it into a cookie!

  36. Gosh, can these get any puffier and softer and chewier? I don’t think so. And I don’t even like carrot cake, yet I’m finding my nails clawing at the screen for them. They’re perfect, Averie!

  37. I remember you mentioning these in a comment you left.
    Need to try them!

  38. These cookies speak to my undying love of carrot cake! The one of many things I love about cookies is that they don’t feel like lead in my stomach when I eat more than one which I usually do.

  39. My husband is going to love you for this Averie! YUM!

  40. These cookies look like fun, I always like carrot cake so I will certainly love these!

  41. carrot cake is the only cake I really like, so I am totally going to be in love with these I just know it! they look SO good!

  42. The butterscotch chips totally take these cookies to the next level!! I tried some carrot cake cookies back when I was trying not to eat dessert. I used almond meal and barely sweetened them, and they were disgusting. Like a million times worse than one big muffin top. I actually threw out cookies which has never happened before. These, however, wouldn’t last 10 minutes in my house!

    • I’ve seen that done in raw/vegan cookbooks and frankly it sounds disgusting and I don’t know how some of these authors pass that off as a ‘cookie’…hardly. These are the polar opposite and are so good! I hope you try them!

  43. Pingback: Fluffy Vegan Coconut Oil Banana Muffins

  44. That is seriously one gorgeous cake! I love the chewiness of it and the calorie count is even better!

  45. Forget the muffins. You are a master of cookies.

  46. So funny how when we do things unintentionally and everything turns out better than expected. And these turned out definitely perfect, Averie! I’m the same way when it comes to carrots…in fact, my sis was with me at the grocery store and wanted to me purchase the shredded carrots in the bag. And I opted for the regular ones. Love this recipe…the spice and everything about it!

  47. In baking, as in art, there are no mistakes – only discoveries. :) These cookies look wonderful – please send over a dozen asap!

  48. I am so on board with this idea! It’s so unique – I was just wondering the other day about a carrot cake ice cream, but I never even thought of cookies. They sound amazing and I hope to try them soon!

  49. Hi Averie. You come up with the darndest recipes. I have made carrot cake and muffins for more than 50 years and would never have thought of turning muffins into cookies. Can not wait to try these. They dound delicious.

    • And they are so good because they taste like a cookie, chewy without being just like a big puffy muffin top, which was a little tricky to get down-pat, but I think you’ll love them! I would love to try your 50+ year old recipe for carrot cake and muffins…that is so wonderful you have such a timeless recipe!

  50. Averie, these cookies… oh my gah! Carrot cake cookies?!?! BRILLIANT!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *