Carrot Cake Bars

65 comments

5 from 525 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Turn to these chewy, lightly-spiced carrot cake bars when you need an easy no-bake recipe guaranteed to please. Made with carrots and pumpkin puree and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting, it’s addictive from the first bite!

no bake carrot cake bars.

I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but carrot cake has to be my favorite type of cake. Whenever I have extra carrots, I love to use them to make these carrot cake bars with cream cheese frosting. 

If you love carrot cake and dessert bars, pair the two together to make these decadent bars. They’re the perfect sweet treat to make at a moment’s notice, and they’re full of delicious flavors everyone will love.  

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe highlights
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make carrot cake bars
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More dessert bar recipes to try
  8. Carrot Cake Bars (Recipe Card)

Recipe highlights

  • Relatively healthy. Like my sugar cookie bars, these carrot bars are filled with wholesome ingredients, yet they taste as decadent as can be. 
  • Gluten-free. These bars are made without gluten-derived ingredients (or egg, for that matter) and can easily be made vegan and sugar-free with a few simple swaps. 
  • Great for making ahead. These bars taste just as good fresh as on day one or two, so you can make them the night before you need them. 
  • Versatile. You can add mix-ins or enjoy them with or without frosting. 
healthy carrot cake bars.

Ingredients needed

This recipe uses straightforward pantry staples. Here’s what you’ll need for the bars:

  • Coconut flour. Gives the bars a cakey texture and chewy bite. 
  • Sea salt. Just a touch to elevate the other ingredients. 
  • Spices. I kept it simple and just used cinnamon, but you could add nutmeg or ground ginger if you prefer.
  • Sugar. I used granulated white sugar, but you could use light brown sugar or a sugar-free sweetener if preferred. 
  • Pumpkin puree. Look for puree and not “pumpkin pie filling,” which will have sugar and spices added to it. Here’s my tried and true recipe for making your own
  • Grated carrots. To put the carrot in carrot cake, of course! Make sure they’re grated and not chopped.
  • Maple syrup. To add sweetness and bind the dry ingredients together. 
  • Almond butter. Provides a rich, nutty flavor and makes the bulk of the bars. Make your own or use a store-bought smooth, drippy almond butter with no added sugar. Not a fan of almond butter? I’d recommend either cashew butter or peanut butter. If you have a nut allergy, use sunflower seed butter or tahini. 
  • Vanilla extract. To amplify the rest of the ingredients. 
  • Milk. I used unsweetened almond milk, but you can use any dairy or dairy-free milk of your choosing. 

For the frosting:

  • Cream cheese. I recommend using full-fat cream cheese, as the texture of low-fat cream cheese won’t quite cut it. For vegan carrot bars, use plant-based cream cheese. 
  • Cinnamon. To tie in with the cake bars. 
  • Sugar. I used white sugar, but you could also use powdered sugar. 

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to make carrot cake bars

Step 1- Prep work. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish or baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 2- Combine dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, sea salt, and sugar. Fold in the pumpkin puree and shredded carrots. 

Step 3- Combine wet and dry ingredients. In a microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt the almond butter and maple syrup. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then pour the almond butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 

Step 4- Shape. For a soft, fudgy cake bar, add milk until a thick batter is formed. For a firm and chewy bar, add milk only if needed to reach your desired thickness. Transfer the carrot cake batter to the prepared pan and press firmly into place. Refrigerate the bars for at least 10 minutes.

Step 5- Make frosting. Mix all frosting ingredients in a medium bowl. For a thicker cream cheese frosting, use a full 8-ounce container of cream cheese. For a thinner frosting, use ½-¾ of the container. 

Step 6- Frost. Once the bars are firm, add the frosting and refrigerate for another 30 minutes to firm up before slicing. 

carrot cake bars.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Prefer thicker bars? Use a loaf pan instead of a square baking dish. 
  • Skip the sugar. To make sugar-free carrot bars, I recommend using granulated allulose and keto maple syrup. You can either skip the frosting or make it with my keto powdered sugar
  • Use a food processor. If you don’t mind dirtying an extra dish, I find using a food processor to grate the carrots more convenient than grating them with a box grater.
  • Use other flours. I’ve tested this recipe with oat flour and blanched almond flour, and both work great. But plan on needing a little extra flour as they don’t absorb moisture as well as coconut flour. 
  • Slice with a warm knife. My #1 tip for potentially sticky bars is to slice them using a warm (and sharp) knife. I like to run the blade under hot water, then dry it and slice the bars. 
  • Add mix-ins. When I’m feeling fancy, I like to fold raisins or chopped walnuts into the batter. 
  • Color the frosting. I like to keep it simple and use plain cream cheese frosting, but if you’re making this for Easter or want to go the extra mile, add a few drops of orange food coloring or make carrot designs with orange and green frosting. 

Storage instructions

To store: Leftover carrot bars can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 

To freeze: Store leftover carrot bars in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the bars again, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. 

carrot cake bar recipe.

Frequently asked questions

Can I bake these?

I wouldn’t recommend baking these bars as they will dry out and become brittle.

Can I omit the frosting?

Yes! These bars are perfect on their own, so skip the frosting if you desire.

More dessert bar recipes to try

carrot cake bars recipe.

Carrot Cake Bars

5 from 525 votes
Turn to these chewy, lightly-spiced carrot cake bars when you need an easy no-bake recipe guaranteed to please. Made with carrots and pumpkin puree and topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting, it’s addictive from the first bite!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes

Ingredients 
 

For the cream cheese frosting

Instructions 

  • Line a 8 x 8 baking dish or loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside- For thicker bars, use a loaf pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, sea salt, sugar, and mix well. Add in the pumpkin puree and shredded carrots.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl or stovetop, melt your almond butter with maple syrup. Whisk in the vanilla extract and pour into the dry mixture. Mix very well until fully incorporated.
  • For a more soft and fudgy carrot cake bar, add milk until a relatively thick batter is formed. For a firm and chewy bar, add milk of choice only if needed to the desired thickness. Transfer to a lined baking tray and press firmly in place.
  • Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes, or until firm. Once firm, add frosting of choice and refrigerate for another 30 minutes to firm up before slicing.
  • To make the frosting, combine all ingredients and mix well until a thick frosting is formed. Cover the carrot cake bars and refrigerate for a further 10-15 minutes, for the frosting to firm up.

Notes

TO STORE. Leftover carrot bars can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. 
TO FREEZE. Store leftover carrot bars in a freezer-safe container and freeze them for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the bars again, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1BarCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 10gFat: 12gSodium: 346mgPotassium: 118mgFiber: 12gVitamin A: 1059IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 75mgIron: 1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Recipe originally published August 2016 but updated to include new information for your benefit.

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    If I follow all the “omit the sugar” steps entirely with your suggested alternatives how low would the carbs be?

  2. 5 stars
    In the baking instructions on #2 it says to add protien powder, but there is no protein powder listed in the ingredients for the bars. How much do you add? Also, I had to add way more than 1/2 cup milk to get my bars to stick together–1 cup plus. Otherwise, these bars taste very good.

  3. I am going to try this… Do you know if I could use almond flour instead of coconut (my husband is allergic to coconut).

  4. Hello, if you are still answering questions on this recipe, I’d like to know if you do include protein powder in your batter. The instructions say to “combine flour, protein powder, cinnamon, sea salt, granulated sweetener of choice and mix well.” But there is no protein powder in your list of ingredients. Thanks for clarifying, I’d like to make this!

  5. I am not sure if I am missing something, but for the bar portion of the recipe I don’t see where it says how much protein powder to add. The instructions though say to combine the flour and protein powder and other dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. How much protein powder am I supposed to add for the bars?

  6. These look delicious! My batter is in the fridge cooling while I make my frosting. To me it seems like you listed 3 different frostings recipes. I chose to make the coconut butter frosting. All 3 ingredients are a liquid… How does this become a frosting? Please help!

  7. Question!
    I’m wanting to make this, but it really only needs 2 tbsp of carrots, is that really all?
    Also, i’m not a fan of pumpkin. Is the pumpkin flavor really strong?
    It looks SO good so I really want to try it!

  8. Hi Arman!
    I recently discovered your site and I have been crazy over it since! It is amazing the way you combine some of the healthiest ingredients to create a usually unhealthy food! I have a question about this recipe. Do you think I can sub oat flour in place of the coconut flour? Thanks!

  9. 5 stars
    These are AMAZING. When I have these in the morning my English bulldog Lily has to have some of it. She loves it too!!!

  10. Hi Arman,

    Since the protein powder if 1 cup is optional, is it ok to skip it all together or should I add something else as a replacement? Cheers xxx

  11. Thank you so much for this recipe. My husband has liver disease and we just started an all vegan diet 2 weeks ago. The results are amazing but he also wants to eat something yummy. this will fill the bill.

  12. The only nut butter I have in the kitchen is unsweetened peanut butter or some tahini. Can either be used? And has anyone has success using tahini?

  13. These look amazing! How long do you think they would safely keep in the fridge? Or in a properly chilled cooler? I’m hitting the road next month for a few days and wanted to bake some healthy treats to bring along for lunches and snacks. Do you think these would work? Thanks.

    1. Hi Louise! Absolutely- What I usually do is freeze them in individual bars and on the day I want to eat them, just let them thaw in my bag and by the time I eat it, it’s softened 🙂

  14. Just made my first batch of these – cream cheese, gluten free flower, granulated sugar for my husband and they are amazing!!
    Making dairy free, sugar free, coconut flour version for my pcos (can’t have dairy, sugar or wheat) daughter – can’t wait to see how they turn out!!

  15. Usually when an ingredient is optional there is very little of it in a recipe; however, one cup of protein powder is a lot and you are saying it is optional? Won’t this adversely affect the consistency?

  16. This may be a dumb question but what do you mean by “drippy” almond butter. I have seen one that is pretty thin but has added sugar and the self service grinds I can get at Whole Foods seem to be a bit more gritty. Do you have brand suggestions?

    1. Hi Julie! Not a dumb question at all- Nut butters (depending on brand) can either be incredibly stiff, or more smooth and liquid like. The more processed it is, the more drippy they tend to be. Unfortunately, the grinder varieties are the least drippy. If you can make your own in the blender, a dash of coconut oil makes it so much more creamier! 🙂

      1. Thanks for clarifying. I was wondering as well. I thought it might be an English term like the way they say larder for what we call a pantry . I have never made a no-bake dessert but this will be the first one I make because it sounds great.

      2. Cheers, Rhonda! Ohhhh yes I can relate, I had to relearn my lingo when I moved from Australia to the US!

  17. Well these bars sure welcome one with a very cheery GOOD MORNING! Beautiful and fudgy! Just found your site and am oogling all your recipes! Great stuff! Oh and I think I will make some of these here BARS for lunch!

  18. That Chloe face…. 😀 And I kind of try to engineer some sort of logic around eating vegetables in my baked goods. This carrot cake looks like no other carrot cake I have ever seen. The fudginess just = so much deliciousness in my head.

  19. Haha, I’ve used the same vegetable logic for zucchini bread too. And the Chloe memes, oh.my.gosh. This kid’s face, dying!!! Hmmm…I wonder how much money her parents made off of that? And I seriously can’t ever get over the fudginess of your recipes! Waking up to one of these bars will definitely make the 6 A.M. alarm clock easier this school year.

  20. Great post, mate! I love me some carrot cake, so I could totally chow down on this one…heck, I might get my veggie quota for the next week if this was around my kitchen! But can we talk about the comedy show with unlimited pizza? That sounds like my heaven! Although I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the pizza was pretty blah. Hopefully the comedy show made up for it…sure your friend wasn’t the comedian??

  21. Made them this afternoon …it’s 20.50 now and half of it is gone…thanks to my 3 year old (not me 😉 . Delicious!!!
    I tried the protein powder icing and it’s amazingly creamy! they still come out a bit crumbly when sliced but I might pop them in the freezer for a bit …Thanks Arman! Great recipe 🙂

  22. If I ate Rice to Riches for breakfast, soft serve for lunch and a momofuku milk bar for dinner, I’d be going over my dairy intake? That’s three servings, right? Calcium!
    LOL, no but when I’m eating carrot cake, I don’t want to be doing math and nutrition. My eyes lit up when I saw the title of this post on my feed this morning!!

  23. Hahaha, I was laughing so much while reading this!? To be honest, I think I’m probably that friend. Like, someone will be talking about an amazing holiday where they went on a boat ride across the sea and saw whales leaping out of the sea, and I’ll be thinking “Are whales fish or not? I suppose they are mammals…but they look like big fish. They also eat fish…maybe there’s a secret feud between whales and fish!”?
    But I keep those thoughts to myself…it’s probably for the best.
    Carrot cake is my FAVOURITE type of cake, so I’ll definitely be making these delicious bars!
    Whoa, sorry for the long comment. We’ll blame the whales. Actually, maybe whales are taking over the world…you do often say ‘Fail Whale’ in your posts, right? They are integrating themselves into everything!?
    I’ll be quiet now. Excuse me while I go and make these carrot cake breakfast bars…..