Yield: 8 carrot cake cookies // Total Time: 50 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting
Hello! I’m so excited to share this carrot cake cookie recipe because they are to DIE for (as long as you are a fan of carrot cake, of course). These cookies are essentially carrot cake in cookie form. They’re soft, chewy, full of spices and topped off with a brown butter cream cheese frosting. If I haven’t sold you on these yet, here’s why I think you’ll love them:
Why you’ll love these carrot cake cookies
1. Brown butter. It’s so delicious and such an easy way to add even more flavor into a cookie. The toasty brown butter is in both the cookies themselves and in the cream cheese frosting. On top of that, we toast the walnuts in the same pan that we make the brown butter, just to completely make sure none of that delicious flavor gets left behind.
2. No chilling required. While chilling your dough is a great way to add more depth of flavor to cookies – these cookies have plenty of delicious flavor ready to go thanks to all the brown butter, toasted walnuts, and the spices.
3. They’re carrot cake in cookie form. I said it in the beginning but I’m saying it again. These cookies are so soft and chewy, perfectly spiced with all your favorite carrot cake spices, they’ve got crisp edges, are loaded with walnuts, and are topped with a brown butter cream cheese frosting.
Small batch carrot cake cookies
These carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting are small batch – yielding just 8 medium sized cookies. They’re perfect for when you want some cookies, but don’t need enough for a party! However, the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if needed.
Weigh your ingredients
- Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. In this recipe it’s especially important to weigh your ingredients because of the brown butter and carrots. You should be left with 135g brown butter after browning, 90g for the cookies and 45g for the frosting. If you have less, add water to the butter to bring it back up to 135g before splitting it up. For the carrots, you’ll want to make sure that you remove enough moisture so that it goes from 50g of carrot to 20g of carrot. This kitchen scale is super cheap and a great starter scale!
Wring out those carrots!
- This goes with the above section, but I do want to emphasize it here because it is super important. Squeeze as much liquid out of those shredded carrots as you can because if you don’t get enough liquid out of them, you will end up with super puffy cookies.
How to make brown butter
- I’ve talked a lot about brown butter already, so here’s how to make it! Add the butter to a small saucepan and place it over medium heat. Occasionally swirl the butter while it is melting. Continue cooking and occasionally swirling the butter until it begins to bubble up and turn amber in color. Once the butter turns amber and you can see little brown bits in it, remove it from the heat, and now you have brown butter!
Mix the dough carefully
- When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the cookies super tough and chewy.
Under bake for perfect cookies
- Cookies will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet after being taken out of the oven. When the edges are golden brown and the middles of the cookies are just a little underdone, they are ready to be taken out of the oven! Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for at least 5 minutes after baking before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
- Wanna know the secret to perfectly round cookies? It’s cookie scooting! Right when the cookies come out of the oven, take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is just slightly larger than your cookies and place it over one of the cookies. Gently swirl the bowl around the cookie to make the cookie perfectly round (and slightly thicker). And that’s all there is to it!
Ingredients and substitutions
For the carrot cake cookies:
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Baking soda: helps the cookies rise and the edges crisp up.
Salt: to help balance and bring out the sweetness of the cookies
Ground cinnamon, ginger & cloves: some warm spices that are usually found in carrot cake. If you’re not a fan or don’t have access to the other spices, you can just substitute in more cinnamon.
Unsalted butter: for tenderness and flavor. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the cookies. We’ll also be browning the butter for some extra delicious toasty flavor. If you’re looking to make this dairy-free, Miyoko’s Creamery vegan butter has the ability to brown just like regular butter and works like a charm.
Granulated sugar & light brown sugar: a combination of both gives us cookies with crispy edges and soft and chewy centers.
Egg: for binding and for moisture.
Vanilla: for flavor.
Carrot: the star of the show – make sure you are using whole carrots.
Walnuts: carrot cake and walnuts is a classic flavor combo but you can certainly leave them out or swap them for a different nut if you’d like.
For the brown butter cream cheese frosting:
Cream cheese: I mean, cream cheese just pairs so perfectly with carrot cake.
Unsalted butter: we’ll add in some brown butter for more toasty flavors.
Powdered sugar: for sweetness and thickening up the frosting.
Salt: a pinch of salt helps balance and bring out the flavor and sweetness of the frosting.
Vanilla: for flavor.
How to make carrot cake cookies with cream cheese frosting
Here are the basic steps to follow to make these cookies. You can find the complete recipe at the end of this blog post.
1. Brown the butter. Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, and occasionally swirl until the butter turns amber in color and develops little specks. Pour out the butter, then toast the walnuts in the same pan.
2. Wring out the shredded carrots. Wash, peel, and shred the carrot on to a paper towel. Bunch up the shredded carrot in the paper towel and carefully wring out the liquid. Repeat 1-2 more times, until no more liquid is coming through.
3. Whisk in wet ingredients. To the brown butter – whisk in both sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla, and then the shredded carrots.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients. Fold in the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices until only a few flour streaks remain in the cookie dough. Then, fold in the walnuts just until no flour streaks remain.
5. Bake the cookies. Evenly space out heaping 3 tbsp. scoops of the cookie dough on a cookie sheet. Bake until the edges are golden brown and the middles have almost completely set.
6. Get perfect cookies. Once the cookies come out of the oven, I recommend “scooting” them. This just means take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than the cookie, place it on top of the cookie, and swirl the bowl around to make the cookie perfectly circular. It’s not needed at all but it will help you get that perfectly round cookie look! Also, leave the cookies to cool on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes to help them set up.
7. Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat together the cream cheese, brown butter, and salt. Then, beat in the powdered sugar until combined, followed by the vanilla.
8. Serve and enjoy! Frost the cookies, top with additional walnuts, serve, and enjoy!
Brown butter carrot cake cookies Q & A
Can I double this recipe?
Definitely! You can double or triple this carrot cake cookie recipe as needed. Of course, I do *strongly* recommend using a scale for the best results.
Can I make these cookies ahead of time?
You can make the cookie dough the night before, tightly cover it and place it in the fridge overnight to bake off the next day. I would recommend against any longer than that or from freezing since the main leavening is baking soda which will diminish over time. When you want to bake the cookies, let the bowl sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes or until the dough is soft enough to scoop.
How to store these cookies
Because these cookies are frosted with cream cheese I would recommend storing them in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will keep well for up to 5 days. If you’re not a fan of cold cookies, you can let them sit out at room temperature for up to an hour before eating.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
You can find all my favorite tools and ingredients that I use on my Amazon Storefront page, here!
Did you make these carrot cake cookies?
If you made this carrot cake cookie recipe I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 170 g unsalted butter (¾ c.)
- 120 g walnuts, crushed (1 c.)
Carrot Cake Cookies
- 50 g carrot washed, peeled, and shredded (½ c.)
- 90 g brown butter
- 100 g light brown sugar (½ c.)
- 75 g granulated sugar (¼ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- 145 g all purpose flour (1 c. + scant ¼ c.)
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 80 g cream cheese room temperature (⅓ c.)
- 45 g brown butter room temperature
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- 75 g powdered sugar (½ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- ¼ tsp. vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a small saucepan set over medium heat, brown the butter. Stir the butter occasionally until it turns amber in color and develops little brown specks.
- Weigh the butter to make sure you have 135g, if you have less, stir in enough water to reach 135g.
- Pour 90g of the brown butter into a medium sized mixing bowl, and pour the remaining 45g into a small bowl to set aside for the frosting.
- To the empty saucepan that you made the brown butter in, add in the crushed walnuts and stir occasionally over medium heat until the walnuts are toasted. Set aside.
Carrot Cake Cookies
- Shred the carrots on to a large paper towel. Bunch up the paper towel and gently wring out as much water from the carrots as you can. Repeat 1-2 more times with new paper towels, until no more water is coming out. You should be left with 20g or less of shredded carrot. Set aside.
- To the bowl with the 90g of brown butter, whisk in both sugars.
- Whisk in the egg and the vanilla until well combined, then add in the dried shredded carrot.
- Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together just until a few flour streaks remain.
- Add in 85g (¾ c.) of the toasted walnuts, and fold the mixture together just until no flour streaks remain.
- Scoop out heaping tbsp. scoops of dough, setting them on the cookie sheet at least 2" apart to allow room for spreading.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.
- Immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, you can take a bowl that is slightly larger than the cookies and swirl it around over the cookies to make them a little more uniform and circular.
- While the cookies are cooling, make the cream cheese frosting.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, brown butter, and salt until no lumps remain.
- Add in the powdered sugar and beat until combined, then beat in the vanilla.
- Once the cookies have fully cooled, frost them and top with additional toasted walnuts. Serve and enjoy!