Candied Carrot Curls

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Your best carrot cake recipe will taste even better with a few Candied Carrot Curls on top of the frosting…a picture-perfect embellishment. Use this easy method for curling carrot ribbons to put a pretty finishing touch on cupcakes, too.

Candied carrot curls on a blue plate.


You’ve grated the carrots, mixed the batter, and slathered on the frosting, but now your carrot cake needs just one more little detail…how about this idea for an edible decoration that you can make while the cake is baking, or even the day before? These bright orange candied carrot ribbons have to be the cutest way to decorate a carrot cake.

And it’s fairly easy, once you get the hang of it. All you need—other than your best carrots and a few basic baking items—is a vegetable peeler and a wooden spoon.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. The carrots bake at a low temperature, so preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Next, coat a piece of parchment paper with non-stick spray and line a rimmed baking sheet with the treated paper. With a vegetable peeler, make the carrot ribbons, shaving off a long, thin slice from end to end of the carrot. I found that 1-inch wide curls work the best. You can use rainbow carrots, too! (I always make a few more than I need, just in case a few break.)
    Someone shaving peels from a carrot.
  2. Next, make a simple syrup by heating equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan that can accommodate the number of carrot strips you plan on making. Pour some extra sugar into a bowl, for sprinkling on the curls after they’re formed. Once the water and sugar mixture comes to a boil, add the carrot ribbons and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the carrots for 15 minutes, then drain off the simple syrup and let the ribbons cool somewhat.
    Carrot peels in water in a silver pot.
  3. When cool enough to handle, arrange the ribbons in a single layer on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Make sure they don’t touch, otherwise, they’ll stick together.
    Long carrot peels on a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
  4. Bake the candied carrot strips at 225 degrees for about 30 minutes, until they look translucent and a little dry.
  5. Take them out of the oven and let them cool until they’re just cool enough to handle; you want them still warm and pliable.
    Long carrot peels on a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.
  6. Carefully and quickly, working one carrot strip at a time, wrap the carrot around the handle of a wooden spoon to form a tight curl. Then gently slide the curl off of the handle and back onto the paper to dry. Sprinkle the curl with sugar to add some sparkle.
    Someone curling long peels of carrot on a wooden stick.
  7. Let the carrot curls sit out at room temperature to fully dry, for at least 30 minutes.
    Candied carrot curls on a blue plate.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Nonstick spray: For this project, it really helps to keep the carrot ribbons from sticking to the parchment. You can even spray the wooden spoon handle with some to help them slide off easier if you need to.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar works, but so does superfine sugar, which you can make yourself in a high-speed blender. Just add a small amount of granulated sugar and pulse in only one or two quick bursts to make it superfine. Too much, and you’ll have powdered sugar.
  • Humidity: Every kitchen is different, so if it’s humid outside, or the carrot curls still feel sticky, pop them into the low oven for another 5-8 minutes to dry out.
  • Storing carrot curls: Make up to one day ahead, and store fully dry carrot ribbons in an airtight tin overnight.
  • Don’t worry about breakage: No one will mind if they get a broken piece. They’ll be busy being impressed by all your carrot magic!
  •  Orange Cake: This easy Orange Loaf Cake is made with Greek yogurt (or regular) and lots of bright orange zest. It’s tender and moist, and it’s ready in under an hour.
Three slices of carrot cake on plates with forks and the cake on a black and white marble platter.
Moist and delicious Carrot Cake garnished with Candied Orange Curls.

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Candied carrot curls on a blue plate.

Candied Carrot Curls

Your best carrot cake recipe will taste even better with a few Candied Carrot Curls on top of the frosting…a picture perfect embellishment. Use this easy method for curling carrot ribbons to put a pretty finishing touch on cupcakes, too.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 16
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 52
5 from 13 votes



  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with nonstick spray.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, shave off 15 to 20 long strips of carrot (strips get wider as you peel in to the middle of the carrot). 1-inch wide strips work best.
  • In a medium saucepan, add 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar and bring to boil. Add carrot strips, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes. Drain well and cool 5 minutes.
  • Arrange carrot strips in a single layer on prepared baking sheet (no touching). Bake until the carrot strips begin to look translucent and have dried out, about 30 minutes.
  • As soon as the carrot curls are cool enough to handle but still warm, working quickly, wrap each carrot strip around the handle of a wooden spoon to form a curl. Gently slide off handle and sprinkle with sugar. Let sit at room temperature until completely dry, about 30 minutes.


Calories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 24mgFiber: 1gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1274IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

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