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How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake (With or Without a Grater)

How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake (With or Without a Grater)

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Sweet, moist, and creamy carrot cake is one of the few desserts that taste delicious with a vegetable added to the batter.

Not to mention, the presence of carrots boosts the cake’s good-for-you factor, so you don’t feel so guilty going in for seconds!

With carrots as the star of the show, preparing them right is key for a tender and flavorful cake.

Today’s guide on how to grate carrots for carrot cake walks you through all the steps and answers all your related questions.

How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake Using a Grater

If you’ve got a vegetable or cheese grater lying around the kitchen, you don’t need more than that to properly grate carrots for your carrot cake recipe. Here’s the correct to do it:

Step 1: Pick the Right Grater

When whipping up carrot cake, your choice of grater is just as important as your pick of carrots (more on this later).

There’s a reason why cake recipes use grated carrots instead of sliced or diced carrots. Grated carrot bits are fine enough to unlock the vegetable’s moisture and incorporate it evenly into the cake batter for optimal texture.

As such, be sure to use a grater with as small holes as possible to give your cake the most moisture for baking. If you’re using a box grater, select the side with the smallest holes to get the job done.

Step 2: Get Your Carrots Ready

Next, you need to prepare your carrots for grating.

Start by washing the carrots with cool water. Scrub them to remove any lodged dirt.

Then, use a sharp kitchen knife to remove the roots or stems from the carrots.

Make sure to leave a bit of the stem intact on your carrots so you can better hold them while grating without your fingers getting too close to the sharp blade of the grater.

After that, grab your trusty vegetable peeler and run it along the length of each carrot from all sides.

Step 3: Align, Grate, and Repeat

This last step is all about positioning your grater and carrots correctly.

Start by placing the box grater (or whichever grater type you own) on a firm surface such as a countertop or a cutting board.

Use your non-dominant hand to hold the grater and use your dominant hand to hold a peeled carrot.

Next, place the carrot against the side of the grater with its pointed end touching the blade.

Once aligned, move your hand toward the cutting board or countertop, back up, and then down again so that you’re rubbing the carrot against the grater in a downward motion.

Keep your fingers away from the sharp edges and continue grating until you’re near the end of the carrot. When the piece of carrot becomes too small to grasp firmly as you grate, discard it.

Repeat the process with the rest of the carrots and then add all your grated carrots to your cake batter following your recipe’s instructions.

Can You Use a Food Processor to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake?

Yes, you can grate carrots for carrot cake using a food processor. Here’s how:

Step 1: Prepare the Carrots

First, you need to get your carrots ready for grating in a food processor.

Start by rinsing the carrots with cool water and scrubbing them to remove any lodged dirt.

Then, use a sharp kitchen knife to remove the roots or stems from the carrots.

After that, grab your trusty vegetable peeler and run it along the length of each carrot going around all sides.

Place the peeled carrots on a cutting board and use your sharp knife to cut each carrot into three or four smaller chunks. This helps your food processor handle the carrots easier.

Step 2: Lock, Load, and Action

Next, you need to set up the food processor.

Secure the bowl onto the food processor and install the shredding disc in its designated slot. The shredding holes should be facing up.

Place the cover over the bowl with the shredding disc and then put the peeled carrot pieces in the feed tube.

After that, use one hand to hold the food pusher on top of the carrots and use the other hand to turn on the food processor at a low speed.

As the food processor shreds the carrots, continue adding more pieces to the feed and pushing them down using the food pusher. Turn off the food processor when all the carrots are shredded.


If you’re using a normal blade instead of a shredded disc, don’t run the food processor for too long otherwise the carrots will turn into a puree. Stop the machine when the carrots look like pencil shavings or thick sawdust.

Use a spatula to scoop your carrot bits and add them to your batter following your recipe’s instructions.

Grating Carrots for Carrot Cake: Grater vs Food Processor

Grating carrots using a grater typically produces finer bits that unlock the maximum amount of moisture and are easier to mix evenly into the batter. Not to mention, a grater is readily available in any household.

On the other hand, grating using a food processor may not produce a uniform size of bits. They may come out too large that they don’t offer enough moisture or too small that they’re a puree.

Do You Have to Peel Carrots for Carrot Cake?

Removing the outer layer of the carrots is important because carrot skins can turn dry and grainy when cooked.

Besides their unpleasant texture, cooked carrot skins also tend to taste bitter and earthy, which can be quite a turn-off in what’s supposed to be a sweet recipe.

Can You Use Matchstick Carrots for Carrot Cake?

Yes, you can use matchstick carrots for carrot cake instead of grated/shredded carrots, but they won’t blend as smoothly into the batter.

Matchstick carrots are a bit thicker so they’ll give extra texture while sacrificing some of the moisture.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! A detailed guide on how to grate carrots for carrot cake. It’s easy, takes little time, and you can do it using a grater or a food processor.

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