Whole wheat carrot cake oatmeal cookies recipe (GF and vegan versions too!) - Pamela Salzman Skip to content

Whole wheat carrot cake oatmeal cookies recipe (GF and vegan versions too!)

whole wheat carrot cake cookies | pamela salzman

I am always so intrigued by new flavor combinations, ingredients and infusions, especially when it comes to dessert.  But classic desserts, like carrot cake, are not only delicious, but have built-in memories for me as well.  When I think carrot cake, I not only think of a dense, moist cake studded with walnuts, raisins, carrots and pineapple, I also think about egg hunts in my new spring coat, sitting down to dinner with my mom’s pastel tablecloth and napkins embroidered with rabbits, and stealing the black jelly beans from my sisters’ Easter baskets.  Carrot cake holds a special place in my heart.

dry mix

But carrot cake is more of a special occasion treat, especially if there’s frosting involved.  Carrot cake cookies, on the other hand, feel like an everyday treat or a more reasonable serving size if you just want a little something for dessert.  I think these wholesome cookies would be as welcome on my Easter dessert table as they would be in a lunchbox or Easter basket.

carrot cake mix-ins

This cookie is just my type– chunky, hearty and substantial, lightly sweet and busting with all the good stuff you’d expect to find in a carrot cake.  Maybe it’s because of the unrefined sugar, or maybe it’s because of the fiber-rich oats and whole wheat flour, but these cookies don’t make me crash and burn like a typical cookie would.  Whereas I am not exactly endorsing these as tomorrow’s breakfast, I do think they are a higher quality sweet treat.

very sticky batter

I am sure there are many ways to adapt the recipe to dietary intolerances.  Drop the walnuts for sunflower seeds to make them nut-free. Use a flax egg in place of the real egg so they become vegan.  Use 1/2 GF oat flour and 1/2 King Arthur Multi-purpose GF flour + 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for a gluten-free cookie.  I also know that not everyone likes pineapple or raisins, so feel free to drop either of those.  I would just caution against omitting one than one add-in, since you’ll lose some of the support for the cookie.

whole wheat carrot cake cookies | pamela salzman

whole wheat carrot cake cookies | pamela salzman

If you wanted to get fancy, you could drizzle the cookies with a little icing (basically 1 cup powdered sugar  + 1 – 1  1/2 Tbs. water whisked together.)  Or you can take a look at something a little less naughty — my cashew frosting — and use that to frost a little swirl on top.  After all, what’s Easter without a little decadence?  That’s how I remember it.

whole wheat carrot cake cookies | pamela salzman

whole wheat carrot cake cookies | pamela salzman

5.0 from 2 reviews
Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies
Serves: makes 12 large cookies
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour (whole spelt flour would probably work just as well)*
  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅔ cup coconut sugar, brown sugar or cane sugar
  • ½ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded or grated carrots (about 2 medium)
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • ½ cup unsulphured golden raisins (or dark raisins if you prefer)
  • ½ cup diced dried pineapple
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and sugar.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl or blender, combine the coconut oil, egg, and vanilla, and blend until well emulsified.
  4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until combined. Fold in the carrots, walnuts, raisins, and pineapple. Mixture will be very crumbly. Use your hands to combine if necessary.
  5. Using your hands, take about ¼ cup of the batter and form it into a small disk. Place on baking sheet leaving space between each cookie for them to expand. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden around the edges.
*For a GF version, sub ½ GF oat flour and ½ King Arthur Multipurpose GF Flour  and ½ teaspoon xanthan gum.

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  1. Just took my first sheet pan of these lovelies out of the oven. Absolutely delicious!! I used your GF option and that worked out perfect. I also didn’t have pineapple on hand, so I added dates as another person suggested. Perfect!! My batter was not crumbly at all, but very wet, so at least this first batch I had to bake a bit longer than 18 minutes. Thanks again, Pamela! And next time you’re out visiting your son, drive about 2 1/2 hours west to Ohio and I’ll make you a Pamela Salzman meal:)

    • Wonderful adaptations, Meri. Thank you for sharing your feedback. That is so kind of you. I appreciate the invite and I’ll keep that in mind next time I travel to Pittsburgh 🙂

  2. Can these be made in advance and the dough refrigerated or frozen to bake as needed? If so, how would the cooking time be adjusted and/or would the dough need to be brought to room temp before baking?

    • Totally! You can make the dough in advance and store it in the refrigerator as a log (wrapped well in parchment or plastic wrap) or in a sealed container for 3 to 4 days. I would freeze it if you want to store it for longer. I haven’t tried freezing this particular cookie recipe, but it should probably work since most cookie recipes freeze well. I recommend rolling the dough into a log if you’ll be freezing since it’s easier to slice and bake. The cook time should be about the same. Frozen cookies may take an extra minute or two to bake. If you notice your dough to be too hard to slice after frozen, just leave it out at room temp for it to soften a bit before slicing.

      • Wonderful, thank you so much for the information!

  3. Do you think these would work with either whole grain oat flour or spelt flour?

    • Sorry I meant to ask this question regarding the “thumbprint” cookies! Commented on the wrong post by accident…..!

      • Ah, got it. Yes, either of those flours would probably work just fine for the thumbprint cookies!

        • Thank you! 😉

  4. This is definitely something I would try, I love carrot cake and due to the fact that I have a sweet tooth, these cookies would be gone before dinner. I’ve recently tried these incredible cookies, that have all natural ingredients, http://www.cooperstreetcookies.com/, this is something I would definitely recommend.

  5. I could not wait to try this recipe because I am a carrot cake fanatic. The cookies were delicious (definitely easy-peasy), but since I really don’t care for pineapple in carrot cake, I substituted dates. My husband does not eat sweets (opposites do attract), and he could not stop eating the cookies. In fact, he kept saying, “You don’t have to give these away, do you?” Now that is the supreme compliment! Many thanks, as always!

    • “opposites do attract” haha!! Thanks for the comment. Looove the sub of dates for pineapple — superb!

  6. Can you find dried pineapple at Whole Foods?

    • I found freeze-dried pineapple at Whole Foods and dried (more chewy like a raisin) pineapple at Trader Joe’s.

  7. I can’t wait to make these- if I wanted to add ur cashew frosting maybe adding nat pastel colors- what do u think? Too sweet? ( ya know -so they look like those loft house disgusting frosting cookies –
    But healthy and pretty… Hmmm) any suggestions? Easter fun!

    • I don’t think the natural pastel coloring has sugar, does it? I think it should be fine to use!

  8. My kids absolutely love your Carrot Cake Oatmeal cookies and always ask for the “good-for-you” or the “healthy” cookies. So easy to make! Thank you!

    • Fantastic!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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