Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze


This post may contain affiliate links.

Soft Glazed Carrot Cake Bars — Super soft carrot cake bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good and a must-make!

Soft carrot cake bars with cream cheese glaze

These bars are like carrot cake blondies because of how buttery and rich they are. I used my go-to blondies base recipe as the jumping off point. 30+ versions of blondies later, it’s proven to be the most highly adaptable dough or batter base I have. 

It’s an easy, no-mixer recipe and the bars are much faster than making a whole carrot cake, and don’t make nearly the quantity!

I finished the bars with a cream cheese drizzle. Since the carrot bars are so soft and moist from the juicy carrots and from the brown sugar which also helps them stay tender, they don’t need gobs of frosting.

These carrot cake bars are comforting, homey, packed with flavor, and the carrots add so much chewy texture. Even though there are no oats used, the bars remind me of my favorite oatmeal cookies that are super chewy with tons of texture, yet still extremely soft.

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze - Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!

Ingredients for This Recipe

To make this easy spring dessert, you’ll need:

  • Unsalted butter
  • Egg
  • Light brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Spices
  • Salt 
  • All-purpose flour
  • Grated carrots
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Cream cheese
  • Milk

Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.

Shredded Carrots Tip

I grated three large carrots for the bars because store-bought bagged shredded carrots are usually coarse and thick, and don’t bake up very nicely. Not to mention, they’re coated with preservatives, and grating your own only takes a couple minutes and it’s worth it.

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze - Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!

How to Make Carrot Cake Bars

  1. Melt the butter, then stir in the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt.
  2. Add the flour and grated carrots, then turn into a greased 8×8-inch baking pan. 
  3. Bake the carrot cake bars until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  4. Once the carrot bars are out of the oven, you can whisk together the cream cheese glaze and drizzle it on top. 

Glaze Tip

Note that the carrot cake bars need to cool for at least 30 minutes before drizzling with glaze. Otherwise the glaze will slide off! 

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze - Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!


Should I Really Add 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon?

Yes! It’s not a typo! These carrot cake bars are robustly flavored with one tablespoon cinnamon, and one-half teaspoon each of ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves before folding in as many carrots as the batter can hold.

It’s a peeve of mine when carrot or pumpkin recipes are bland, so I always add enough spices so you know they’re there, without being overwhelming. This is dessert and I want it to taste as such, not like a pan of baked carrots, which is a likely result if you don’t season properly.

Can I Add Raisins to This Recipe? 

I kept out all raisins, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, or anything else. If you want to start doctoring up the carrot cake bars with your favorite add-ins, go for it. About 1/2 cup to 1 cup total of whatever you choose will likely work just fine.

Can I Double This Recipe? 

You likely can, although I haven’t tried it myself. You’d need to bake the carrot bars in a 9×13-inch baking dish in that case. 

Can the butter be replaced with oil?

A few readers have asked about using oil in place of the 1/2 cup of butter used in this recipe. I’m not sure if oil is a good substitute here since it’d make the carrot bars even moister — and they’re already incredibly moist as is! 

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze - Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!

Storage Instructions

Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

These carrot bars get better on the second and third day because the flavors marry and they get softer over time from the moisture in the carrots. If you can manage to save yourself a wedge or two for days two and three, you’re going to be extra thankful you did. I hoarded the last wedge like gold.

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze - Super soft bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good & a must-make!

Pin This Recipe

Enjoy Without Ads! 🆕
Go Ad Free

4.29 from 7 votes

Soft Carrot Cake Bars with Cream Cheese Glaze

By Averie Sunshine
Super soft carrot cake bars that taste like blondies packed with chewy carrots! So good and a must-make!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 26 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Servings: 8
Save this recipe to your email
Enter your email and we’ll send it to you!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.



  • ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 stick, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon, not teaspoon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • pinch salt, optional and to taste
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups grated carrots, measured loosely (about 3 -4 med/large carrots, peeled and trimmed; grate your own rather than using storebought bagged carrots for best results)
  • about 1/2 to 1 cup optional add-ins, nuts, dried fruit, raisins, etc.

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • about 1 cup confectioners’ sugar + more if necessary for consistency
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • splash cream or milk, optional and only if necessary for consistency


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

For the Bars:

  • In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
  • Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, optional salt, and whisk until combined.
  • Add the flour and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
  • Add carrots and stir to combine.
  • Add any optional add-ins and stir to combine.
  • Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  • Bake for about 26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
  • Allow bars to cool in pan for about 30 minutes before glazing.

For the Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • In a medium bowl, add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, and whisk vigorously until smooth. As necessary, add additional sugar (if glaze seems too thin) or splash of milk (if it seems too thick) to reach desired consistency.
  • Optionally, add glaze to a squirt bottle and evenly glaze the bars, or simply add glaze using a spoon. Optionally, evenly spread the glaze in a thin coating over the bars, noting you will cover up the visual appeal of the carrot flecks.


  • I’m comfortable storing glazed bars at room temp, but if you’re not, store them in fridge noting they will dry out more rapidly.
  • Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • Bars get softer on days 2 and 3 and the flavors marry; I think they peak 1-2 days after baking.


Serving: 1, Calories: 366kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Sodium: 71mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 37g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Carrot Cake Desserts:


Spiced Carrot Oatmeal Cookies — All the flavors of richly spiced carrot cake, but in cookie form! Soft, chewy, extremely moist, and not at all cakey! The cookies are loaded with oats, spices, grated carrots, and butterscotch chips!

Carrot Banana Bread — EASY, no-mixer, super soft banana carrot bread that reminds me of carrot cake but healthier!! Great Easter brunch idea or spring baked good!

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting! For anyone who loves carrot cake, this cake looks and tastes so impressive but is EASY to make! 

Salted Caramel Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, tender carrot cake infused with salted caramel sauce and topped with tangy cream cheese frosting is the ULTIMATE in decadence!

Salted Caramel Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on a white plate

Carrot Apple Bread — Carrot cake with apples added and baked as a bread so it’s healthier! Super moist, packed with flavor, fast and easy!

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting – Soft, moist carrot cake that’s baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Leave a Comment

Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating


  1. made these today and they taste great!! so moist and flavorful!! i didn’t have cream cheese on hand, but made a pineapple glaze left over from your pineapple poke cake that i made yesterday. it went together very nicely, although i think the cake alone is just as great!! 

    1. Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And great job at re-purposing the glaze you already had rather than going to buy cream cheese. I love the combo of carrot cake and pineapple. Some recipes call for pineapple in carrot cake and I love that!

  2. I’m late to the party! But these look amazing. I’ve got them in the oven now and I will say that the uncooked batter (I know, I know, shouldn’t eat raw eggs, lol) tasted amazing! I also much prefer my carrot cake to have a ton of flavor. Like a spice cake only with carrots!

    1. Like a spice cake only with carrots! <-- amen to that and you will hopefully love these because I always go fairly heavy handed with spices!

  3. I LOVE CARROT CAKE!! This bars look amazing + easy. I always run a 50% chance of screwing up my cake because I’m so freaking impatient for them to cook!! Silly, I know! By the way, do these require baking powder or baking soda, or none? I couldn’t find either on your ingredients? :)

    1. You probably could but I have not tested it. The bars are already *incredibly* moist and oil makes things even moister than butter so they will be supremely soft! I’d use a scant 1/2 cup and see how it looks from there.

  4. I’d take bars like this over carrot cake any day of the week!! I love how moist and delish these look! The best part? Totally the cream cheese drizzle! ;) Pinned!

  5. I honestly can’t get enough carrot cake and these bars are no exception. I love how dense and moist they are Averie. And I agree, store-bought grated carrots are a no-no in recipes like this where a lot of the moisture is derived from the carrots. The cream cheese drizzle is brilliant. If you can’t tell – I LOVE these! Pinned!

    1. Thanks for pinning and I’m so glad you love them! They’re really unique and taste nothing like most (dry) carrot cakes…LOL Super moist and dense and we loved them!

  6. These little bars are perfect, Averie! I’ve been thinking about making some sort of carrot cake recipe soon. My boyfriend is a huge fan of carrot cake and his birthday is coming up. But I wanted to try something different than the typical carrot cake. These are perfect! I can share some with my co-workers. They love when I bring in treats!

    Thanks for sharing. Pinned!

    1. If you try this, LMK! They’re so much different than your average carrot cake, just so dense and moist and nicely spiced. Nice of you to want to bake for your boyf’s bday!

  7. Made these tonight. I used 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder and 2/3 cup flour in place of the full cup of flour as I do in all my baking just to increase the health factor. And I ended up frosting the whole bar because my “drizzle” looked like a pathetic mess. They were delicious! Husband has already eaten 1/2 the pan and is raving about the amazing spicy flavor. Thanks for the recipe. Definitely one I’ll be making again. And again. And again.

    1. I love that you used 1/3 c protein powder and 2/3 c flour. That’s great! I used to bake with protein powder years ago, every now and then, but ruined too many things….LOL so haven’t done it in ages. And yes I know what you mean about cakes/messy drizzles. These bars were supposed to be a drizzle at first and then plans changes :)
      But a thicker coating tastes better anyway!

      Glad you guys like the spicier flavor – nothing worse than bland carrot cake or pumpkin to me!