Straight from Grandma’s recipe box comes this creamy, sweet, old fashioned Carrot Salad. I add pecans for extra crunch! Quick and easy, this is a family favorite! You’ll love how quickly and easily this gorgeous side dish comes together.
Made with wholesome, easy-to-find ingredients, you’ll taste why Grandma always knew best!
Few salad recipes are as deliciously rewarding as this cool creamy carrot salad. When you think summer salad recipes, vegetable salad recipes may not always be the first to come to mind but that’s just because you haven’t tried the right ones. This is the king of all carrot salad recipes.
This creamy, slightly sweet salad is a mayo-based carrot salad unlike its cousins the French carrot salad or the Moroccan carrot salad. They’re all about savoriness and made with olive oil, dijon mustard, (sometimes garlic and or onion), cumin, coriander -, green onions, cilantro and lemon juice
Let’s make this salad!
Carrot Salad Recipe Ingredients
- Carrots- I prefer to use the bagged grated carrots for my grated carrot salad. I think their thick-cut texture is best in the salad. Shredding the carrots on a box grater or the food processor doesn’t produce the same chunky texture. Plus, you get a little time-saving convenience!
- Crushed pineapple – adds another layer of flavor along with a textured twist that complements it perfectly. Be sure to drain it well.
- Sugar- I include sugar to round out the flavors in the dish. You can substitute it with honey if you’d like.
- Feel free to decrease the amount of sugar, use your favorite sugar substitute, or leave it out altogether.
- Salt – Adding just a small amount of salt enhances flavor and sweetness. Plus, it plays well with the lemon juice which is a nice tangy balance for the sweet pineapple.
- Nuts –I use nuts for an added layer of flavor and texture. However, if you’re not so nuts about nuts, just leave them out. If you want to try some different combinations, pistachios, almonds, or cashews would all be great alternatives!
- Raisins – Grandma always used brown raisins, but there are lots of varieties to experiment with. Golden raisins tend to be slightly plumper than their brown cousins.
- Mayo – Since I’m on the west coast, I use Best Foods (a.k.a. Hellmanns). If you can find Dukes, use that!
- Lemon Juice – In a pinch, if you don’t have fresh lemon juice, you can substitute apple cider vinegar for it.
Tips + Tricks
- Fresh Is Best: Your carrot slaw will taste best when it’s served fresh, the day it’s made after it has been chilled. If you’re not serving this side dish immediately, it should be kept covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.
- Plump The Raisins: warm up the pineapple juice and let them soak in it until they plump up a bit. If you’ve already tossed the juice- warm water or other juice works fine too. It just needs to be warm- not boiling. You’ll love the plump, juicy tidbits in your salad!
- Mayonnaise Free Version: I get asked a lot about lightening this recipe for a healthier salad. One of the most common ingredients people look to change is mayonnaise. Greek yogurt is the best alternative.
- I recommend using plain Greek yogurt and adjusting the amount of sugar to your desired level of sweetness. Flavored yogurt will mask the great taste combinations of the dish.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Technically, you can keep this salad in the fridge for a day or two but it tastes best freshly prepared. Really, after a couple of hours, the carrots start to soak up the dressing and the pecans lose their crunch.
- Can You Freeze This? NO. This is a mayo-based salad that just doesn’t freeze well at all.
- Make-Ahead Tips: If you want to make the salad ahead of time, just keep the dressing and the carrot mixture separate until 30 minutes before serving time, then toss and chill. I like to store my dressing in a mason jar. It makes transport a breeze!
Dried cranberries – are another excellent alternative if you want just a hint of tang in the salad. There are tons of different dried fruits and any of them would be fun to try. I think dried dates or apples would be fantastic!
What To Serve With Shredded Carrot Salad
This is especially delicious with grill foods. I like to serve it alongside my favorite grilled chicken, shish kabobs, beer brats, or grilled flank steak. I like to serve a few more salads along with this one. I like to serve my pea salad, classic macaroni, grape salad, dill pickle pasta salad, and/or tortellini salad.
How To Make Carrot Salad Recipe
In a small bowl add mayonnaise (2/3 cup), lemon juice (2 tablespoons), salt (1/2 teaspoon), and sugar (1 tablespoon) and whisk until well combined.
In a medium bowl add carrots (4 cups), pineapple (1 (20-ounce) can), raisins (1 cup), and pecans (1 cup). Pour mayonnaise mixture over carrots and toss until well combined. Wrap salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Toss before serving. Add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise if too much of the dressing has been absorbed. Garnish, if desired, with minced parsley (1 tablespoon).
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More Great Salad Recipes
- Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Pasta Salad With Italian Dressing
- Three Bean Salad
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
- Mexican Corn Salad
- Marinated Tomato Salad
- Creamy Cucumber Salad
- Mediterranean Salad
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise (plus extra as needed after refrigeration)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 cups grated carrots
- 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, well-drained
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup pecans, coarsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- In a small bowl add mayonnaise (2/3 cup), lemon juice (2 tablespoons), salt (1/2 teaspoon), and sugar (1 tablespoon) and whisk until well combined.
- In a medium bowl add carrots (4 cups), pineapple (1 (20-ounce) can), raisins (1 cup), and pecans (1 cup). Pour mayonnaise mixture over carrots and toss until well combined. Wrap salad with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Toss before serving. Add a few tablespoons of mayonnaise if too much of the dressing has been absorbed. Garnish, if desired, with minced parsley (1 tablespoon).
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