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Carrot Bread is a wonderful and simple quick bread that is perfectly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and moderately sweet so it's perfect for breakfast or as an afternoon snack!
Whenever I have carrots to use up, like when I buy an 8-pound bag of them from Costco or we get a bumper crop of them from our garden, I find myself turning to a handful of tried and tested baking recipes over and over again. Along with this carrot bread, some of our favorites are my favorite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Morning Glory Muffins!
Carrot Cake Bread Recipe
When you are bored with banana bread but still love making quick breads, which are basically the easiest of all the breads, it's a great time to turn to carrot bread! It's super moist, lightly sweet, and loaded with vegetables, so we can consider it healthy, right?
If you enjoy zucchini bread, then I can pretty much guarantee that you are going to love this carrot cake bread. When you grate carrots or zucchini and add it to a simple, spiced quick bread batter, it results in a wonderfully moist, delicious loaf that is just as good for breakfast as it is for an afternoon or late-night snack. Or slather a quick cream cheese frosting on top and call it dessert without the fuss of making a cake!
Carrot Bread Ingredients
- Carrots: Depending on the size of your carrots, you will probably need 4-5 of them. You can peel them (or not if they are washed well), then grate them on the small holes of a box grater. The coarser holes will work, but I think the texture of the bread is better using the small holes.
- Flour: All-purpose flour works great to build up the structure and bulk of this quick bread recipe.
- Eggs: These act as a binding agent as well as adding richness in the form of fat from the egg yolks.
- Milk: A little milk acts as our liquid here adding enough moisture to make a nice batter. I opted for regular milk, but you could use buttermilk for extra richness and tang. It doesn't take a lot of liquid because the grated carrots will release liquid of their own while the bread bakes in the oven.
- Oil: Although you could substitute melted butter, oil does a better job of keeping this carrot bread nice and moist.
- Sugar: Although this isn't carrot cake, it's still a sweet enough bread to pass for a treat.
- Baking powder and baking soda: This is what is known as a quick bread which means baking powder and/or baking soda are used as leavening agents rather than yeast to help the bread rise.
- Salt: Adding salt is important so your bread doesn't turn out bland. It brings out all of the other flavors.
- Vanilla: I love using my homemade vanilla extract in my baked goods.
- Spices: A combination of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger give a classic warmth to this carrot bread.
- Walnuts: I love the slightly bitter flavor and crunch of walnuts in carrot bread!
How to Make Carrot Bread
- Shred the carrots: Honestly, this is the most labor-intensive part of this recipe. If you have a food processor with a shredding attachment, now is the time to use it! Or just grab your box grater and get to work. I prefer really small shreds from the smallest holes so the carrots almost melt into the bread.
- Mix wet ingredients: We are keeping things one-bowl here and mixing all the wet ingredients together first. Start by whisking the eggs, milk, oil, sugar, and vanilla, then stir in the grated carrots. Easy-peasy.
- Add dry ingredients: When I'm keeping things one-bowl, I tend to rearrange the order of ingredients a bit so they get evenly dispersed. So before you add the flour, go ahead and sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the batter. This helps it get evenly mixed in later so you don't get a clump of cinnamon somewhere in your batter or risk overmixing. Dump the flour and walnuts on top, then stir everything together by hand.
- Bake: Pour the batter into a greased 9x5-inch baking pan and pop it in the oven for 55 to 65 minutes. It should be nicely browned on top and a knife or wooden skewer inserted into the center of the bread should come out clean.
Tips & Tricks
- Pan Size Matters: This recipe makes a lot of batter and pretty much fills up a 9x5-inch pan. If you don't have a 9x5-inch pan, you could divide between two 8x4-inch pans (the loaves won't be quite as tall), or fill up one 8x4-inch pan ¾ of the way and make carrot muffins with the rest of the batter.
- Mix-ins: I kept things simple by just using walnuts in my carrot bread since they are my favorite. But you could add chocolate chips to this bread instead of walnuts like we often do with banana bread or pumpkin bread. Or mix in ¾ cup of coconut for extra chewiness! Or even raisins, if that's your jam.
- Cover the top with foil: If the top of your loaf is getting more browned than you like, tent a piece of foil over the top during the last 20-30 minutes of baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Almost any quick bread can be turned into muffins just by using a muffin pan instead of a bread pan. I would increase the oven temperature to 375 and bake for 18-20 minutes.
I haven't tried this recipe using gluten-free flour yet, but have had great success with Bob's Red Mill's 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour as a substitute in other recipes. I'm pretty confident that it would work here just fine.
If you don't like walnuts, try pecans instead. If you have nut allergies, just leave them out entirely.
Storage and Freezing
One of the great things about carrot bread is that it stays fresh for at least a few days on the counter thanks to the carrots in it. Just be sure to store your carrot bread in an airtight container on the counter.
To freeze an entire loaf, let it cool entirely, then wrap it in plastic wrap first and again in aluminum foil. It should stay fresh in the freezer for 2-3 months. Just let it thaw on the counter before slicing and enjoying.
You can also freeze individual slices. Either arrange them on a baking sheet and freeze for 2-3 hours before transferring to a ziploc bag, or stack them with a square of parchment paper between them before freezing so you can thaw only as many portions as you would like.
More Quick Bread Recipes
- The BEST Cranberry Orange Bread
- Coconut Lime Glazed Banana Bread
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
- Best Easy Banana Bread Recipe (with Video!)
- Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread
- Zucchini Bread with Walnuts
- 1 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ½ cups grated carrots about 4-6 carrots, depending on size
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup walnuts chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with a parchment paper sling or spray with baking spray.
- Whisk the sugar, eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Stir in the grated carrots.
- Sprinkle the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger over the wet ingredients. Add flour and walnuts, then stir by hand with a spatula or wooden spoon until combined.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared pan, then bake for 55-65 minutes until a skewer or knife inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before turning out of the pan to cool the rest of the way on a cooling rack.
- Freezing: You can freeze the entire loaf or slice it first and freeze individual slices for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter before serving.