Classic Carrot Raisin Salad

Crunchy and flavorful with a hint of sweet, carrot raisin salad is a family pleasing classic.  Quick if you choose pre-cut carrots!  Carrot Raisin Salad with hamburger.

I decided to make this Carrot Raisin Salad in a rather backhand way.  I had seen a recipe for tahini carrot salad and, since I’m pretty much in love with tahini, I put it on my list. 

But as I waited to make it, I kept thinking back to my youth.  Yes, I ate a lot of carrot raisin salad back in the day–there were soooo many picnics, potlucks and barbecues graced by its presence. 

In the end nostalgia won.  Hey, summer’s coming!

Crunchy and flavorful with a hint of sweet, carrot raisin salad is a family pleasing classic.  Quick if you choose pre-cut carrots! 

What is Carrot Raisin Salad

This tasty, classic salad has been gracing picnics, potlucks and dinner tables for well over a half century! The oldest version I was able to find online was from a 1958 Good Housekeeping Salad booklet that included a version made with orange slices!

Hugely popular and picnics and potlucks in the 1960s and 1970s, it enjoyed some more recent fame on the menu of Chick-fil-A.  Well, that was until it’s much lamented removal that sent fans searching for copycats.  

Why You’ll Love This!

Great flavor and crunch.  The flavor is surprisingly complex for such a simple salad.  And of course the carrots add a super crunch!

Easy.  It’s hard to beat a 5-ingredient recipe for ease of preparation!  Go with pre-cut carrots for the easiest option. 

Family-pleaser.  With the hint of sweetness, this can be more of a kid-pleaser than cole slaw.  And adults love it too!

Versatile.  This is a great side for so many other dishes!

And did I mention it’s healthy with all those beautiful carrots!

Crunchy and flavorful with a hint of sweet, carrot raisin salad is a family pleasing classic.  Quick if you choose pre-cut carrots! 

What You’ll Need


  • Carrots.  Cut into matchsticks these comprise the bulk of the salad.  Cut (or grate) your own, or buy them already julienned.
  • Raisins add a nice chew and compliment the carrot flavor.  Use dried currants, dried cranberries or other small dried fruits if you prefer!
  • Mayonnaise forms the base of the dressing.  Use your favorite.
  • Sugar, honey or maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness to the dressing.
  • Cider vinegar adds a bit of tart to the dressing.  Lime or lemon juice are good too!
  • Salt, pepper to enhance the flavors.

Special Tools:

  • If you are cutting carrots yourself, a mandoline with protective gloves can be helpful. You can also grate the carrots using a food grater or food processor.  If this sounds intimidating, it is pretty easy to find pre-cut carrots!

Step by Step Directions

Mix dressing ingredients. Mix dressing.

Mix salad ingredients.

Mix salad ingredients.

Toss with dressing.

Toss salad ingredients with dressing.

How to Cut Up Carrots for Salad

If it’s the height of CSA season or you’re a big gardener or farmer’s market fan, a bountiful harvest may provide real motivation to prepare your own carrots.  Here are some tips!

Do I need to peel the carrots?

If your carrots are relatively clean and fresh, you can often skip the peeling in exchange for a good scrub! 

And did you know that there is extra nutrition in the carrot peel?  That’s right!  You see, carrots have three layers: the outer peel, the intermediate phloem and the inner xylem.  When you peel a carrot, you generally remove the peel and a bit of the phloem. According to the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter,

“Vitamin C and niacin are most concentrated in the peel but can be found in appreciable amounts in the phloem. As for beta-carotene (an orange pigment and plant form of vitamin A), the peel and phloem have approximately equal amounts. That is why both peeled and unpeeled carrots have the same orange color. The xylem contains the lowest amount (about 10% of the total) of beta-carotene. But, the xylem contains the majority of the calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus…”

Can I shred carrots with a grater or food processor?

Shredding the carrots is probably the easiest way to prepare whole fresh carrots for this!  If your food processor is good at producing larger shreds, that might be the quickest method.  If it tends to grind them too finely, or to produce a lot of carrot juice in the process, you are probably better off hand grating. 

In that case, a standard grater should work. 

Julienne carrots on mandolin.

Can I make carrot matchsticks with a mandolin?

I admit I bought the pre-cut matchsticks this time.  But I’ve used my mandolin to make carrot matchsticks for my Thai Carrot Slaw and been happy with the results.  If you do use a mandolin, be careful, since they are quite sharp. Today most mandolins come with safety gloves that reduce the chances of injury.  If you have an older mandolin, the gloves can be ordered separately. 

And I just ordered a Julienne Y-Peeler to test that out as well–I’ll follow up here after I try it!

How many carrots do I need?

To try to approximate the pre-cut package size, I weighed out 10 ounces of medium carrots which came to 6 carrots.  Then I figured that there would be some waste—things like peels, extra ends or piece that don’t shred well.  So I would probably use about 8 carrots. 

This will vary with carrot size, of course.  And BTW, I usually eat the end pieces that are too small to process!  A bonus for the cook!

Can I buy the carrots pre-cut?

If all the prep souonds daunting, carrot matchsticks are readily available in the store.  Although I’m a big proponent of local eating, I don’t hesitate to buy pre-cut if I’m busy–or running out of local carrots like in the spring or early summer! 

And happily, l have even found organic carrot matchsticks!  Carrot raisin salad with hamburger.

How to Serve

This is a wonderful side dish that goes well with so many foods!  It’s especially nice for sandwiches or burgers and most summertime casual fare.  It would also be at home with BBQ chicken or ribs!

Now if your fish fries are in a rut, how about swapping out the traditional cole slaw.  Serve this carrot raisin salad instead and give your family a treat!

Or take it along to a potluck or barbecue–perhaps pack it for a picnic

Yes, this summer I think I’ll be keeping it handy for times when I need a quick and easy way to add nutrition to a meal!

Tips & FAQs

You can make this about a day in advance without much loss of quality. Cover and refrigerate until needed.  Or make up the dressing and the salad and keep separate until a couple hours before serving, then toss together. 

Leftovers should keep 3-4 days, covered in the refrigerator. 

How to rescue dried out raisins?

If you find that your raisins are a little older and drier than you thought, just cover them with a little boiling water.  Then let them sit about 5-10 minutes, drain and they should be good to go! Crunchy and flavorful with a hint of sweet, carrot raisin salad is a family pleasing classic.  Quick if you choose pre-cut carrots! 


It’s easy to make this salad your own!  If the spirit moves you, add some pineapple pieces, apple chunks, nuts or seeds.  And then there’s always the orange slice option used in the 1958 Good Housekeeping recipe!

Too orange for you?  I’ve seen tricolor carrot matchsticks in the stores too which are fun and nutritious.  Don’t forget to eat a rainbow!

Carrot Recipes

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Carrot Raisin Salad with Hamburger

Carrot Raisin Salad

Crunchy and flavorful with a hint of sweet, carrot raisin salad is a family pleasing classic.  Quick with pre-cut carrots!
Author: Inger
4.72 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Salads
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 173 kcal



  • 3 cups carrot matchsticks 10 ounce bag
  • ¾ cup raisins


  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise vegan if desired
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar honey or maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Salt pepper, to taste


  • Mix dressing ingredients.
  • Mix salad ingredients.
  • Toss salad ingredients with dressing.


Calories: 173kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 128mgPotassium: 359mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 10700IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

13 thoughts on “Classic Carrot Raisin Salad

  1. Anje

    5 stars
    Beautiful dish… Tasty, tangy, sweet. Delicioso
    Quick Tip: I substitute reg yogurt, add a splash of lemon juice(( helps neutralize the smell and acidity of the apple cider vinegar) you can also add pineapple juice /chunks of pineapple, or you can add small bits of oranges for zesty refreshing flavor
    Hint: make double or triple the amount you need because it will be eaten and gets even better for the next few days

  2. Christie

    It’s like a slaw without the cabbage and with raisins. I am always making the same sides over and over. I am adding this one to our rotation. Yum!

  3. Raymund

    Ohhh I already forgot this classic, reminds me of my childhood. Some of the dishes we tried during those days when we dine out, this was served on the side. Love this!

  4. John / Kitchen Riffs

    I’m about half and half with peeling carrots or not. Scrubbing really is the way to go, but sometimes it’s just easier to peel. Anyway, terrific looking salad. Love carrots, and this is such a nice way to serve them. Thanks!

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