Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies (Vegan)

I never expected the words “cake” and “cookies” to be in the title of a recipe that’s actually pretty healthy.

I’ve seen breakfast cookies floating around the blogosphere, and they piqued my curiosity. Many were still sugar-filled and glorified oatmeal cookies until I came across a recipe on Pinterest from Joy the Baker. She adapted a (non-breakfast) cookie recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks and made it into a breakfast cookie. I took Heidi’s recipe and made my own breakfast adaptation, cutting the maple syrup in half and further tweaking it.

Two surprises:

1. These were not little bricks. Nor were they dry. The coconut oil keeps them very moist and filling. I’m sure the carrots help, too.

2. Even after cutting the maple syrup by half, they were still very sweet! Sweeter than the granola I usually make.

OK, three surprises…

3. They passed my husband’s inspection. Steve holds a pretty high standard when it comes to stuff like this, and even he agreed that they weren’t too bad for first thing in the morning.

Cookies for breakfast that I love and can feel good about. I think my wildest dreams just came true.

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Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies

Yield: 15-18 cookies

Prep Time: 15

Cook Time: 12


1 cup flour (see note)
1 cup rolled oats
1 T milled flax (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until just melted
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp grated fresh ginger


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare two baking sheets with nonstick spray, silicone liners, or parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, flax, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add nuts, coconut, and carrots to dry ingredients. Mix well.

In a small saucepan, heat coconut oil over low heat just until melted. Add maple syrup and ginger to the pan. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well-combined. It may seem that there isn't enough moisture at first, but keep working the dough and you should be fine.

Drop by 2-tablespoon amounts on prepared baking sheets, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are barely golden brown. (Mine browned on the bottom more quickly than the top, so keep an eye on them.)

Nat's Note:
1. Feel free to use any kind of flour here. The original recipe called for whole wheat pastry flour. I used half spelt flour and half almond flour. I would use at least 1/2 cup of wheat or spelt as the cookies do not have eggs as a binder, and you'll need a bit of gluten to hold them together. If gluten is an issue, try using almond or coconut flour and adding an egg to the dough.

2. Make sure to make the dough balls tight as the cookies are quite crumbly. And don't press all the dough into a pan. It won't come out in nice squares. (At least with the flour combo I use. Adding an egg or more glutenous flour may help.)

adapted from 101 Cookbooks

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44 Responses to “Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies (Vegan)”

  1. #
    Jenna The Paleo Project — March 2, 2012 @ 3:26 am

    These sound great. I think I might try them with coconut flour and an egg!!!


    • Natalie replied: — March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      I’d love to hear how that turns out! I’ve been thinking of making a paleo version as well. :)

  2. #
    Kristen Gilmore Powell — March 2, 2012 @ 5:01 am

    I love this idea! I made breakfast cookies with quinoa recently! Just to clarify the amount of maple syrup – you used 1/4 cup, which was half of the original recipe or you used 1/8??


    • Natalie replied: — March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:13 am

      Yes, I used 1/4 cup of maple syrup. The original recipe had 1/2 cup. I love the idea of using quinoa, too. Did you grind the raw quinoa into flour or was it cooked?

    • kristen gilmore powell replied: — March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:22 am

      thanks! i am making these this weekend! the quinoa ones used left over cooked quinoa, which was nice to have another use for it. and it was a great texture!

    • Natalie replied: — March 2nd, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      Good to know! I’ll have to make extra quinoa next time for this!

  3. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — March 2, 2012 @ 5:46 am

    Cookies for breakfast is a bit like a dream come true!


  4. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — March 2, 2012 @ 7:21 am

    Ditto.. cookies, breakfast… sold!


  5. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — March 2, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    I just can not wait to try these! They’re just what I’ve been looking for!


  6. #
    Erin — March 2, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    Thank you for adding more yummy vegan recipes to your recipe index/postings! Will be making these very soon. :)


    • Natalie replied: — March 2nd, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      You’re welcome!

  7. #
    Heidi @ Food Doodles — March 2, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    Yummy! I actually love cookies like this. I used to be crazy for any kind of cookies, but since eating less and less sugar, I’m all about healthy cookies like these :D
    I tried your go-to whole wheat pizza crust the other night and we all loved it. I’ll definitely be using that recipe again and again :D Thank you!


  8. #
    Lauren — March 2, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    I am in LOVE!!! Making these this weekend!!


  9. #
    Jolene ( — March 2, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

    I like that you can use any kind of flour! I think I have all of these ingredients on hand!


  10. #
    Joanne — March 2, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

    I think what surprised me most was seeing cookies and breakfast together in the same post title since that is SO not you! But looking at this recipe…these sound delicious. I’d be so happy to wake up to them!


  11. #
    Danila — March 2, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

    Thanks Natalie! I’ll be giving these a try this weekend. My kids are excited that they will get to eat cookies for breakfast! and their vegan too!!


  12. #
    Kiran @ — March 3, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    What a creative carrot cake inspiration — Love a ton of these cookies for breakfast :)


  13. #
    Rachel M — March 5, 2012 @ 6:46 pm

    Those look fantastic! I love the idea…even for a healthy dessert. Love, love, LOVE coconut!


  14. #
    Alex Fenson — March 13, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    Thanks for this recipe Natalie! I’ve baked this twice in the last 2 days :-) I made some yesterday and they didn’t stick around for too long and so I just made some more this evening! I’m actually munching on one now!

    Thanks again and thanks for sharing great recipes here on your blog!


    • Natalie replied: — March 13th, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

      I agree… they’re good at all times of the day :) Glad you liked them!

  15. #
    Margo — March 27, 2012 @ 9:54 am

    Hi, Just wanted to thank you for this recipe. I’ve been making these regularly ever since I came across it…..I do them in a mini muffin tin and they come out beautifully. Also, I use agave as a replacement for maple syrup and I usually add apples and almonds and I sometimes toast the coconut first. It’s just a fabuous, versatile recipe and these little yummies are good for breakfast, snacks or even dessert….


  16. #
    Amanda — April 1, 2012 @ 12:45 am

    Think I’ll make these tomorrow….Pinning!


  17. #
    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — April 13, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

    I’ve been searching for another great grab & go breakfast recipe, thanks!


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  19. #
    Chelsea — January 3, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    Would it be possible to use steel cut oats instead of the rolled oats?


    • Natalie Perry replied: — January 3rd, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

      Hi Chelsea! I wouldn’t use raw steel-cut oats in this. Or in any baked good, for that matter. Most recipes (including this one) don’t have enough liquid to cook the oats and you might end up with broken teeth. You might try cooked steel-cut oats that have cooled and dried out somewhat. Try it and see!

    • Chelsea replied: — January 3rd, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

      I was worried about that! Thanks, I may try partially cooking them! Thanks :)

  20. #
    Shannon — January 16, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

    These are tasty. They are just what I was looking for since we are limiting eggs until my 2 year old grows out of a sensitivity to them. Your blog is so good, thanks for all you do!


  21. #
    Debi Dumont — June 17, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

    Looking forward to trying these. I am allergic to eggs and always looking for healthy on the go snack /meal. I am definitely using the flax seed, because that is what you use for a binder if not using eggs. If anyone has tried this and not had luck with it staying together, make sure you use the flax seed.


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  23. #
    J — September 12, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    I made these today for my children and I – they were fantastic! I did exactly what was written here but I used two eggs and no ginger. They stuck together well and weren’t crumbling apart when we ate them. Next time I will add a little shred of cheddar on top before baking…


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  25. #
    Jackie Thompson — September 29, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

    Do any of the recipes list nutritional values such as protein, fat and carbS?/


  26. #
    nwando okoh — February 8, 2015 @ 1:06 am

    i tried this yummy recipe… added wheat germ and bananas! it was sooooo YUM!!!


  27. #
    Carol — March 20, 2015 @ 6:56 am

    Instead of using an egg or half wheat or spelt flour to get that binder effect, take rolled oats and run them through a food processor at high speed until you have 1 cup of flour. The gelatinous nature of the rolled oat flour when, combined with liquid, will create a binder that holds like eggs, but without the gluten from using whole wheat. Not to mention it makes for a lighter taste. Pulsing the rolled oats into flour makes the gelatin like fiber of the oats more accessible to liquid and brings it out faster than whole rolled oats. Hope this helps!


  28. #
    Pookie — April 13, 2015 @ 8:38 am

    Sorry, this recipe doesnt work. Even with an added egg they fall apart! Looks like the picture but wont hold together. Too bad since they taste nice, just NOT a cookie


    • Natalie Perry replied: — May 11th, 2015 @ 4:04 pm

      I’m sorry you had such bad luck with these! Yes, they are a bit crumbly.

  29. #
    Anonymous — October 31, 2015 @ 8:25 am

    HALF A CUP OF OIL?!? That’s nuts. That’s 1000 calories with that one ingredient alone. No wonder Americans are overweight. 


    • Natalie Perry replied: — November 2nd, 2015 @ 11:18 am

      It’s coconut oil which doesn’t react the same way in the body because of its medium-chain fatty acids. Also, not all calories are equal and healthy fats are not the reason Americans are overweight. Please do your research before lashing out (anonymously) online.

  30. #
    Ashley — May 1, 2016 @ 9:46 am

    Not sure why anonymous person above is concerned about the oil content in these particular cookies…I’ve been looking at cookie recipes online for the past half hour, and there are MANY more recipes out there that have considerably higher calorie counts and the more unhealthy trains fats than these cookies!! I’m pretty sure the overweight population in our country would NOT be googling recipes with mostly healthy ingredients ;) and if they do- hopefully they come across this recipe, as it’s most likely an option that’s more beneficial to their healthy for a dessert/BREAKFAST than their usual nutritional choices! I am currently baking these with a little extra flax (a flax-egg) and some mashed banana to help hold it together…yumm


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  33. #
    Valerie — September 11, 2016 @ 6:59 am

    I just tried these this morning and found them fairly tasty, even with a few modifications:
    – I ran out of oats, so I subbed the remaining half of the oats with wheat bran.
    – I didn’t have any coconut oil and didn’t want to run to the store for it, so I used half olive oil and half apple sauce.


  34. #
    Lauren — September 22, 2016 @ 5:26 am

    These look awesome but I don’t love the texture of coconut. I’m wondering if you removed it if they would not hold together? If so, any suggestions for a substitute? I’ve been wanting to try these for a while, they look so yummy:) Thanks!


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