Classic Carrot Salad

Grated carrot salad has to be one of the easiest dishes in the world to prepare, as well as being pretty kid-friendly and good for you. The trick is to start with the best carrots you can find. Here is where buying organic or from a farmer’s market really makes a difference in taste. Carrots, being root vegetables, are not only tastier when they are grown in compost-rich soil, but they are more nutrient-rich as well.

The proportions of this recipe are flexible, depending on what you have on hand. Many traditional carrot salad recipes also call for crushed pineapple, but I think with the apples, raisins, and carrots, it’s sweet enough.

By the way, Trader Joe’s often carries “rainbow crunch” carrots of different colors—deep red, bright orange, and bold yellow— that are pretty and taste great.

Classic Carrot Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.



  • 3-4 cups freshly grated carrots (4 to 6 medium sized carrots)
  • 1/2-1 cup raisins (regular, golden, craisins or a mix)
  • 1 large apple, (peeled or not, your preference) cored and chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise


Gently combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Classic Carrot Salad


  1. Donna A.

    I put apples, raisins and walnuts in my carrots salad. Sadly I took it to a 4th. Of July picnic a few years ago and hardly anyone ate it. These people had never eaten carrot salad. And wasn’t interested in tasting it. We always had it as part of our dinner growning up. So it surprised me that others haven’t.
    Donna A.

  2. James

    Is there a dressing besides mayonnaise that work well in this recipe?

  3. Sassy J

    How long does this keep? Any trick to keeping the apple fresh or does it need to be consumed within a few hours?

  4. Aaron

    I’m sure you could use low fat yogurt instead of mayonnaise.

  5. Carol

    My Mom made carrot salad basically the same way for her catering business. I think she used a ratio of 2 parts sour cream to 1 part mayo for a lighter dressing. Since customers didn’t always like raisins (she stocked white), she would omit the raisins and apple and replace with a small can of crushed pineapple (drained) and a dash of shredded coconut or crushed walnuts. With the coconut, I saw her add an extract bottle cap or two of rum extract to the dressing. It was always good and the coconut brought out the nutty flavor of some carrots. Her variations were based upon other dishes that were served. We have no Trader Joe’s nor CoOp/Organic outlets in my neck of the Redwoods. boo-hoo!

  6. didi

    This recipe is great! I recomend it to everyone!

  7. Nikki

    My version of carrot salad is a combination of grated carrot, freshly squeezed orange juice and fresh (not canned, never canned!!!) pineapple. James, might that be a good substitute for a mayonnaise dressed carrot salad?

  8. Brian H

    For a totally different taste replace the apple and mayo with olive oil, red wine vinegar, grated cheese then top with toasted sunflower seeds. Never fails.

  9. Pam

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I was looking for a recipe for this salad not too long ago but never found one I liked. I grew up on this stuff (just carrots and raisins), but I love the addition of apples…how perfect for some sweetness and ‘fall’ flavor.

  10. Verona

    Quick and delicious, tastes as good as my grandmother’s recipe from 40 years ago.

  11. Nicki

    Oooooh, thank you for posting this! My mother used to make this when I was little, and I had lost the recipe years ago!

  12. Alison

    I make something similar to this, but with toasted slivered almonds and honey mustard dressing…it’s so good!

  13. Phyllis

    This just like I use to get from the Farmer’s Market in LA with the exception that they add celery to theirs. Now I can make it myself!

  14. Josephine

    If liked one can add shredded cabbage and instead of mayo use a vinaigrette.

  15. Steve Sim

    I just tried the recipe 2 days ago and it taste great.
    Instead of using mayo, I used thousand island dressing. Moreover, I also added some honey tomato into the recipe too.

    It very easy to make =)

  16. Pat J

    This recipe sounds great… question…do youuse Hellman’s mayonnaise or can you use Miracle Whip??

  17. Elise

    Hi Pat J – Use whatever mayonnaise type salad dressing you like best – homemade, Hellmans, Miracle Whip, or others.

  18. Heather M

    Wonderful! I try out new recipes on co-workers (they are brave people) and they loved this one. It seemed I never stopped saying thank you to all their comments. It is only fitting that I in turn give my thanks to you for posting this recipe.

    Thanks again, I cannot wait to try out the White Beans and Cherry Tomato salad. Hopefully this weekend.

  19. Leslie Roesch

    Using the poppyseed dressing from Kraft is also a great substitute for the mayo. Unique flavor and compliments the fruit very well.

  20. Diane

    I plan to make this as a side dish for Easter. I will be serving 15. Do you think 3 -4 cups of carrots are enough, or should I double the recipe?

    I would double the recipe at least. ~Elise

  21. Sue

    It was a hit at our Mother’s Day picnic this last weekend. I used a “lite” mayonnaise to cut down on calories. Also made it the day before so the sweetness of the apple and raisins had more time to blend. My husband has always loved carrot salad from his boyhood days, which was much heavier use of mayo, plus extra sweetening added. He really enjoyed this “fresher” taste. I used organic carrots, which were sweet tasting by themselves. This will now become an updated family favorite. Thanks so much.

  22. Cheryl

    I have made a variation of this for years, using walnuts, raisins and pineapple, but have used vanilla yogurt in place of the mayo. Sometimes I also use plain yogurt sweetened with a little honey. You can mix the carrots and the fruit together and just before serving add the yogurt. Eat it all up the first day, it’s not good after sitting overnight in the fridge.

  23. KB

    I make this all the time, but using a splash of orange juice in place of mayo. There should be enough OJ to mix well with the carrots. It’s better for you and prevents the apples from turning brown. With orange juice in place of mayo this easily keeps for a long hike or road trip. I eat it as a mid-morning snack or as a side for dinner.

  24. Janet

    Excellent salad, did not put the apple in and used a bit of pineapple juice to thin mayonnaise. Used salad shooter to grate the carrots.

  25. Nicole

    I ate it with nonfat yogurt (since I always try to avoid at any cost mayonnaise). It was sooooo good. I must admit that I was surprised by the taste as I didn’t expect it to be so tasty. I will definitely try the recipe again. Thank you!

  26. anne

    I’ve always loved carrot salad but NEVER made it with mayo. Try plain/low fat/vanilla yogurt instead much better IMO. Cheers!

  27. TinaW

    I’ve never this kind of carrot salad so I made it today. It’s quite tasty! Thanks for another solid recipe!

  28. amanda

    BEST. TODDLER. DINNER. EVER. (then best lunch for me, with come curried chicken.) thank you!

  29. Tisha

    Any suggestions on the kind of apple to use??? Which one goes best with the carrots.

    Any apple you like to eat. I like Fuji apples myself. ~Elise

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