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My Famous Raw Carrot Cake Balls Recipe

These Carrot Cake Energy Balls are so delicious and taste just as delicious as carrot cake! This recipe is so easy to make, it's gluten-free, dairy-free and can easily be made vegan.
Apr 10, 2014 | Joy McCarthy

Dear Carrot Cake lovers,

Pretty much everywhere I go these days to teach a workshop or do a book signing I sample my carrot cake balls (a recipe from my book) and always sneak a few for myself of course. In fact, I'm doing a book signing tonight! If you've been the recipient of a ball or two, I hope you loved them. I sample this recipe at talks and book signings because it's the perfect introduction to the delicious, healthy recipes in my book, it's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw and can even be vegan if you swap out the honey for maple syrup.

You can have your cake and eat it too! If it's joyous-approved of course ;) 

I created this recipe at least five or more years ago as I've been a lover of carrot cake for as long as I can remember. Since this is a cherished recipe in my book, I decided to create a video of it to share it with the world. I realize my book is not available on every corner of the earth (it's out in the U.S. market May 6th), so I hope you enjoy this recipe. Many people have been making these balls and sharing the photos via instagram or twitter with hashtag #joyoushealth. So please share your photo with me! I love to see what you've created.

Here's the recipe video and a printable version is below as well.

I've made these balls on the Steven & Chris show too. I tend to modify them to what I have on hand so you'll notice many times I've modified the recipe based on what was in my kitchen. I love to add vegan protein powder to kick up the protein. The key to making this recipe taste like carrot cake are the high quality spices. Be sure to buy certified organic when you can for the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

A little tip for you when rolling the balls. They can be sticky, so either wet your hands a little or rub some coconut oil on them and they will be much easier to roll.

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  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 3/4 cup any nut you have on hand, my original recipe has walnuts but I often use almonds
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots (only pre-grate if you have to, some food processors will do the work for you!)
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts) or plant-based protein powder
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (only required if your protein powder doesn't contain vanilla)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  1. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 mL) shredded coconut in a shallow dish for rolling.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a high-powered food processor (you won't have to pre-shred the carrots if you have a high power processor) and process until fully combined.
  3. Form mixture into 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls and roll in reserved shredded coconut, coating balls completely. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  4. Keep chilled, or freeze in an airtight container for a few months (though I guarantee they won’t last that long).
  5. Enjoy 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert.


Many people have told me they don't have a food processor. Yes, you could do these in a blender just keep in mind like any raw cookie with nuts and dates the ingredients tend to get stuck around the blade which I why I prefer a processor.. makes things a little easier!

Joyous thanks to my publisher Penguin Canada and Genuine Health for making this video possible!

The photo above is me sharing on instagram of course... I love sharing my love of healthy delicious food with everyone. Do be sure to share your photos and hashtag #JoyousHealth when you make these delicious little balls of goodness.

Have a joyous day!


ps. Another little tip... take off any rings when rolling these balls to avoid getting carrot cake in your jewels. :)

Apr 10, 2014 BY Joy McCarthy
Robin   •   April 15, 2014

These make carrots, walnuts and hemp seeds into a treat! They are quite sweet, so the honey could be reduced, omitted or replaced with a little maple syrup.


Lynn McCallum   •   April 27, 2014

LOVE the recipes


Caitlin   •   May 14, 2014

OMG these are AMAZING!! Not that I predict they will last long, but how long are they good to store in the fridge for (if you don't choose to freeze them)?


Linda   •   May 17, 2014

Delicious, very rich. I should have halved the sweetener (used agave), plus added a little cardamom. Accidentally put it a little more coconut than I was supposed to use. The nut was almonds with hemp protein powder. I doubled the recipe and got about 35.


Erin   •   June 10, 2014

Going to try making these tonight! I just bought the ingredients. I was thinking you could probably alter this recipe and make "Pumpkin Pie Balls" by replacing the carrot with pumpkin puree.

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   June 10, 2014

mitz castino   •   June 14, 2014

what are the health benefits in this recipe?

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   June 14, 2014

Heather Mulholland   •   July 23, 2014

I'm not a big fan of the carrot flavour, but I've been trying to find ways of sneaking them into my diet. I may just have to try this one out. Thanks!


Irina   •   August 20, 2014

Should I soak the nuts first? Thank you!

Kate McDonald-Walker   •   August 20, 2014

Ann   •   September 15, 2014

Joy I tried this recipe and it's amazing! They just melt in my mouth and I definetly couldn't stop at just one!! Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe!!!


Tina   •   October 17, 2014

Hello, What can I use in place of the dates?

Joy McCarthy   •   October 18, 2014
Quyen   •   January 25, 2018

Tylar   •   October 23, 2014

These look great! Is there anyway to make them nut-free?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   October 24, 2014

Ashley M   •   December 18, 2014

Hi, Do you mean you use either 1/4 cup hemp seeds or 1/4 cup plant-based protein powder? Wasn't sure if you meant hemp seed-based protein powder as opposed to the actual seeds. Thanks!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   December 19, 2014

Steph   •   December 19, 2014

Hi im going to be trying this recipie thus afternoon what is the calorie content of these please? Thanks xxx

Joy McCarthy   •   December 20, 2014

Louise   •   January 1, 2015

I just made them and the they are in the fridge chilling. They were so sticky and gooey that I wondered if I did something wrong. They were very hard to roll and handle. Should that be the case? And does the recipe double or triple well? I don't think they will last long around here.

Joy McCarthy   •   January 1, 2015

Megan   •   January 7, 2015

i would like to make these but can't have cocunut- can you reccomend a substitute ? Thank you.

Joy McCarthy   •   January 8, 2015

Meme   •   January 9, 2015

I can't find hemp seeds. What would work as a substitute? I was thinking possibly chia seeds or flax seeds?

Joy McCarthy   •   January 10, 2015

Sandy   •   February 16, 2015

Hi, I have added freshly grated coconut and added toasted Flax seeds. Flax seeds distinct flavour - so I avoided adding vanilla essence. With these changes, the outcome was still AMAZING! Thanks a ton for this recipe. We can make so many changes and try different things everytime!


Dawn   •   April 19, 2015

My husband is eating these in lieu of Gu for his training runs!


Grainless Girl   •   May 5, 2015

I can't wait to try these!


kkwls   •   September 22, 2015

I tried these out yesterday and I followed the receipt exactly as posted. The consistency was nowhere near as dense as I was expecting to be. I left them in the freezer from 3pm last night till 7am this morning. I packed two in my lunch for work, and by the time I had come to work at 8:30am, they were no longer balls, they were squished patties! Do you think if I added about 1/2 to 1 cup rolled oats to my next batch it would be better? They taste amazing, although extremely sweet, I will not add honey next time


Kristin   •   December 30, 2015

My first attempt at making these! (they're currently in the fridge). I found that the coconut wasn't adhering that well to the balls. Has anyone else had this problem? Think next time I'll try coconut flakes to roll them in. Otherwise so far it's seemed fairly straightforward - also mine didn't look quite as carroty - but it's a learning process, I'm sure they'll be super tasty.


Nor Cali Girl   •   January 15, 2016

Aloha, I was wondering if you could tweek these to be AIP Paleo (no dairy, grains, soy, nuts, seeds (including chocolate), nightshades, etc.

Kate McDonald Walker   •   January 18, 2016

Patt   •   June 21, 2016

Just did it! Delicious! I added 1 tsp of ground ginger. Thanks!

Heather Allen   •   June 21, 2016

Asma   •   August 9, 2016

Will these taste good if I make a batch a freeze some. Later drefreeze and eat?

Heather Allen   •   August 10, 2016

Marion   •   March 3, 2017

Les boulles aux carottes


dawn   •   March 15, 2017

hi joy do you soak nuts, seeds, and grains before using them?

Joy McCarthy   •   March 16, 2017

Marg   •   January 24, 2018

Delicious!! :)

Rachel Molenda   •   January 25, 2018

Sue L.   •   May 20, 2018

so wanna try this today ! so instead of hemp seeds I get protein powder? im going to buy the genuine health, fomented vanilla vegan powder. I hope this is the one that has no pea protein. as I can't have peas. tnx


Jolie   •   May 7, 2020

Yay...I have every ingredient, making this asap.

Joy McCarthy   •   May 7, 2020

Elaine   •   May 7, 2020

I can't wait to try these looks so yummy :) If I don't have medjool dates (but another good brand) would it be the same amount ? Yours look so big compare to the one I have. Thanks for another great recipe to try real soon.

Joy McCarthy   •   May 8, 2020

Emma   •   May 9, 2020

If I don’t pre grate the carrots, how much carrot do I put in....

Joy McCarthy   •   May 9, 2020

Elaine   •   May 10, 2020

OMG you are right about these balls ! They are more than delicious ! I used the dates I had (Deglet Nour from Yupik) and did what you’ve suggested. They won’t last very long since my husband loves dates so I guess I better keep that recipe nier by ! Happy mother’s day to all the mothers reading the comments :)

Joy McCarthy   •   May 11, 2020

KASHA   •   May 25, 2021


Joy McCarthy   •   May 25, 2021

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