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Carrot Spice Thumbprint Cookies

Carrot cake is a family favorite, and these delicious cookies taste just like it with shredded carrots, dried cranberries, toasted walnuts, cinnamon and cloves. And they're topped with a rich cream cheese frosting. Who could resist? Each cookie is like eating a piece of carrot cake, but with no fork needed! —Susan Bickta, Kutztown, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 10 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    5 dozen


  • 1 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 2/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional confectioners' sugar


  • Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, cream together margarine and sugars until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cloves; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in carrots, walnuts and cranberries.
  • Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Press a deep indentation in center of each with the back of a 1/2-teaspoon measure.
  • Bake until edges begin to brown, 10-12 minutes. Reshape indentations as needed. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until blended. To serve, fill each cookie with about 1-1/2 teaspoons frosting; sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar. Refrigerate leftover filled cookies.
Nutrition Facts
1 cookie: 167 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 17mg cholesterol, 146mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 1g fiber), 2g protein.
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Average Rating:
    Feb 16, 2021

    Taste just like carrot cake

  • Linda
    Dec 8, 2020

    These are very good. The cookie part of the recipe is perfect as is, and I will absolutely make these again! The only caveat is that the frosting as directed is too sweet, in my opinion. I ended up doubling the cream cheese in order to be able to taste anything but powdered sugar, but I think just halving the sugar next time would accomplish the same thing.

  • NH-rescue
    Dec 31, 2019

    I made these for a friend who LOVES carrot cake and now he's not sure which he likes best - my carrot cake or these cookies! The cookies taste great and are a fun way to get carrot-cake flavor. I omitted the walnuts but it was still delicious. Highly recommended!

  • nightskystar
    Apr 23, 2019

    Made these for my family. ABSOLUTELY wonderful just as written..and with a request to put them in my dessert rotation,,and suggested i use the recipe in my bakery. THATS really something!!!

  • erinshea1982
    Apr 18, 2019

    These are wonderful! Soft, spice is perfect! Great for the upcoming Easter holiday! I used butter in place of margarine.

  • Butcher2boy
    Jan 5, 2019

    Delicious! I did replace the margarine with butter. Great cookie that next year will be in my Christmas Cookie plates I give out.