These No-Bake Carrot Cake Bars are an easy and healthy dessert that will satisfy your carrot cake cravings. Plus, they’re gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, refined sugar-free and finished with a white chocolate drizzle for a fun and delicious treat.
If you love carrot cake and are looking for new ways to enjoy all the great carrot cake flavors in a healthy way, look no more! These raw carrot cake bars are an incredibly easy and nutrient-dense no-bake treat that everyone will love.
They are soft, chewy and bursting with classic carrot cake flavors, such as fresh carrots, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. To make them gluten-free, I used a combination of homemade oat flour (you can also use store bought if you have it), walnuts and pecans. The sweetness in these bars comes from soft Medjool dates and raisins. If you like sweeter desserts, you can also add maple syrup but since white chocolate is quite sweet, the syrup is optional.
The easiest and fastest way to make these raw carrot cake bars is to make them in a cake pan and cut into squares or rectangles. If you're feeling more creative, you can also make them using a carrot-shaped cookie cutter for a fun Easter or spring twist. Another option is to use your favorite cookie cutter and make them into circles, hearts, stars or whatever shape you like.
To make No-Bake Carrot Cake Dough Bars, you will need:
- Shredded carrots: you will need 1 packed cup of shredded carrot, or roughly 1 large or 2 smaller carrots.
- Rolled Oats: use old fashioned rolled oats and grind them in the food processor until they resemble coarse flour.
- Walnuts & Pecans): the recipe calls for the majority of walnuts and only ½ cup of pecans because I find that walnuts have a milder, more neutral flavor but if you like the distinct, caramely taste of pecans, feel free the change the ratio of walnuts and pecans. You can also swap all or some of the walnuts for almonds.
- Dates: to add natural sweetness to the bars, use Mejdool dates, which are usually quite soft. If they’re not soft enough though or if you’re using regular pitted dates, soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes and dry in a paper towel.
- Coconut Flakes: coconut goes so well with carrots! Use unsweetened dried coconut flakes.
- Raisins: they are a classic carrot cake addition
- Cinnamon & Nutmeg: use fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg for best results. If you’re not a big fan of nutmeg, you can reduce the amount to ⅛ teaspoon or skip it altogether.
- Salt: to balance out the flavors. It really makes a big difference so don’t omit salt in this recipe.
- Maple Syrup (optional): if you like sweeter desserts, add 100% pure maple syrup. If you skip it though, it will still be plenty sweet, thanks to the naturally sweet carrots, dates and raisins.
- White Chocolate Chips (optional): white chocolate gives a nice sweet crunch on top of the bars and looks so pretty on the orange-brown bars.
As far as equipment goes, you will need a powerful food processor, 8x8 inch cake pan, parchment paper and if you want to make the bars into cute carrots, you will also need a carrot-shaped cookie cutter.
HOW TO MAKE NO-BAKE CARROT CAKE BARS
Step 1: Make the oat flour. To do that, process the rolled oats in your food processor before adding other ingredients. You can also use store bought oat flour instead, which has a finer texture than the homemade kind.
Step 2: Add all the dry ingredients to the oat flour. Process until the nuts and coconut flakes become mostly ground, though they don’t need to be ultra smooth. It’s all about the different textures in those bars!
Step 3: Make the dough. Add all the “wet” ingredients: softened dates, raisins, shredded carrots and maple syrup (if using) and process until combined. The dough should be sticky but not particularly smooth. If it gets processed too much, it will resemble playdoh and that’s not the texture you are going for. The slight crunch from the nuts and visible specks of carrots make these bars resemble carrot cake.
HOW TO MAKE CARROT-SHAPED BARS
Make a dough ball and place on parchment paper. If you are going to be cutting out shapes, place another sheet of paper on top and roll the dough out to about ½ inch thick. Place in the freezer for a couple minutes, which will make handling the dough easier.
To make carrot-shaped bars, remove the rolled out dough from the freezer, cut out shapes using a cookie cutter (I used this one) and place on a baking sheet lined with more parchment or wax paper. Use any scraps to make more “cookies” until you are out of dough. If it gets too sticky, roll and place back in the freezer for another 5 minutes. Once you have all your dough “cookies” on the baking sheet, sick it in the freezer for 1 hour.
Drizzle with white chocolate. While the bars are chilling in the freezer, place the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and melt in 20-30 second increments, stirring in-between until completely melted and smooth. Place the melted chocolate in a small ziplock bag, cut the end to make a tiny hole and drizzle the bars. Place back in the freezer to set before eating.
MAKING RAW CARROT CAKE BARS IN A CAKE PAN
To make the bars in a cake pan, line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and place the dough in the center. Using your fingers, spread the dough around the pan until you end up with an even layer. You can use the back of a measuring cup to make this task easier. Place the pan in the freezer for 1 hour. After this time, drizzle with white chocolate, let set completely (in the freezer) and cut into small square or rectangular bars.
Store the no-bake carrot cake bars in an airtight container lined with parchment paper and sheets of paper between layers of bars in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, take out of the freezer and let thaw for a couple minutes. You can also store the bars in the fridge for up to 5 days but the dough will be considerably softer. Personally, I like the fresh-out-of-the-freezer texture better.
SUBSTITUTIONS & SPECIAL DIETS
To make these carrot cake bars vegan, use vegan white chocolate chips.
If you don't want to use white chocolate on top, you can also drizzle the bars with something else, such as coconut butter or a classic icing made with powdered sugar.
For a truly gluten-free dessert, check the label on your oats to ensure that they contain no gluten.
Walnuts can be swapped for almonds, or you can use more pecans and fewer walnuts, if you like pecans. Whatever nut combination you use, you should have a little less than 2 cups of nuts total.
If you don’t like or have raisins, use more dates. You can’t taste the raisins much in these bars but they definitely add to the general carrot cake vibe.
If you like fresh ginger, feel free to add a teaspoon of grated ginger to the dough for a fresh and spicy kick.
If you try these No Bake Carrot Cake Bars, be sure to leave me a comment and give this recipe a rating. I would love to hear from you and see how it turned out for you! You can also share and tag me on Instagram!
MORE HEALTHY DESSERT IDEAS
- Almond Butter Crispy Brown Rice Cups
- Healthier Peanut Butter Chocolate Eggs (Copycat Reese's)
- Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
- Avocado Raspberry Brownies
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No Bake Carrot Cake Bars
- 1 ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 ⅓ cup walnuts chopped or halved
- ½ cup pecans chopped or halved
- 1 cup carrots shredded
- ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 10 Medjool dates softened in hot water for 10 minutes, if needed
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup optional
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅓ - ½ cup white chocolate chips or vegan white chocolate chips
- Place rolled oats in a food processor and grind until it turns into flour. Pour into a bowl.
- Add the walnuts, pecans and shredded coconut until coarse flour-like texture. Don’t process too long at this stage.
- Add shredded carrots, maple syrup (if using), dates, raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Process until sticky dough forms. You may need to scrape the sides of the food processor bowl with a spatula a couple times. The dough should be uniform but not completely smooth. Visible small pieces of carrot and nuts are fine.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and form a ball.
- If cutting out carrot (or other) shapes with a cookie cutter, place the dough ball on a piece of parchment paper. Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the ball, flatten with your fingers and roll with a rolling pin to about ½ inch thick. If it’s very sticky, you can use a very light sprinkle of coconut flour or arrowroot or tapioca flour.
- Place the rolled out dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the freezer, cut out 10-12 shapes and place on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
- If making bars, line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and transfer the dough in the prepared pan. Use your fingers or the back of a measuring cup to smooth out the dough. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
- For the topping, melt white chocolate chips (or prepare icing of choice) in a microwave safe bowl in 20-second increments, place melted white chocolate in a small ziplock bag, cut the tip off and drizzle on the cold carrot cake bars. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes for the chocolate to set. If you’re making the bars in the cake pan, drizzle the white chocolate on the frozen dough before cutting into squares. Allow the chocolate to set (in the fridge or freezer) and then cut into squares or rectangles.
- Serve right away or store in an airtight container lined with parchment or wax paper (on the bottom and between layers of bars) in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.