Classic Carrot Salad

Kid-friendlyVegetarianCarrotPicnic Salad

Try this traditional grated carrot salad with carrots, raisins, chopped apple and mayonnaise! It's one of the easiest salads to prepare, as well as being kid-friendly and good for you. Fantastic for Mother's Day, Easter, or picnic outdoors.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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.

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A Flexible Recipe

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, you can often find carrots of different colors at the market — deep red, purple, bright orange, and bold yellow. The taste differences are subtle (they’re all delicious!); the main difference is in their mix of nutrients. For example while orange carrots have lots of beta-carotene, red carrots have lycopene (what you find in tomatoes). (More on rainbow carrots here.)

How to Make Carrot Salad

Make-Ahead Salad

This salad — a cousin to coleslaw — can be served right away, but also keeps well in the fridge for an hour or two if you want to get your dinner side dish prepped and crossed off the list.

If you want to make it further ahead, grate the carrots and prep the apples, then toss them with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to prevent browning. Wait to combine with the mayo until closer to serving.

Don’t Like Mayo? Try This!

Several readers have tried mayo-free versions of this recipe over the years and shared their success with us in the comments. Here are a few of their ideas:

  • Greek yogurt with a bit of honey
  • Lemon juice and honey
  • Splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Salad dressing, like thousand island or poppyseed
  • Vinaigrette with red wine vinegar and olive oil

More Carrot Salad Recipes

Classic Carrot Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 3 to 4 cups freshly grated carrots (from 4 to 6 medium-sized carrots)
  • 1/2 to 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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50 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Doris

    I used matchsticks from the grocery store and dried dates because we did not have any raisins. It still turned out .


    Show Replies (1)
  2. Jeanne Bertuna

    Made it today. Really easy once you grate the carrots. Delicious!


  3. Julia

    Someone gave me this recipe a long time ago. It’s sooo good.
    So easy also and healthy.



  4. Sharonl

    Where us salad dressing?????

    Show Replies (1)
  5. shareen

    I used a store bought coleslaw dressing which had more vinegar in it which I thought was good.

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