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Carrot Salad (+Video)

This classic Carrot Salad recipe is just like the one that used to be served at Chick-fil-A. Freshly grated carrots, raisins, pineapple tidbits and dressing!

A CLASSIC PICNIC SIDE DISH

Carrot raisin salad is one of those dishes I remember eating a lot as a kid and it was one of those foods that I remember my Mom making on a regular rotation. If you aren’t familiar with carrot raisin salad then chances are you probably aren’t from the south. It is a generational favorite and a must-make for any summer get together. It may sound really bizarre but trust me when I tell you the flavors just work and it’s hard to eat just one serving!

a small white bowl filled with a small serving of Carrot Raisin salad with a larger white bowl in the background.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Can I just use store-bought carrot sticks?

No I don’t recommend doing that. It will have a completely different texture and the carrot sticks won’t soak up the dressing properly.

Can I use raisins instead of raisins?

If you love dried cranberries then I say go for it! Also, golden raisins work well too in this.

Can I replace the mayonnaise with Miracle Whip?

This is always a tough question for me because I really do not like Miracle Whip dressing at all. It is far too tangy for my tastes but if it’s something you just love and adore, then that decision is up to you.

Do I really need to soak the raisins first?

This step is optional but I really do recommend it. It only takes a few minutes and they can soak while you prepare the other ingredients. It really does plump the raisins up.

Can I use crushed pineapple?

Again, I don’t recommend it here. Crushed pineapple can release too much liquid into the salad and can really mess up the texture that you want in a carrot raisin salad.

Can I use fresh pineapple?

Yes, absolutely. Just make sure you cut it up so it’s bite sized.

a large white bowl filled with carrot raisin salad a bunch of fresh curly parsley in the background.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • carrots – it needs to be freshly grated carrots – not the carrots that are already shredded. The dressing doesn’t properly absorb into those like it does fresh.
  • raisins – as stated above, you could also use dried cranberries or even golden raisins if you prefer.
  • warm water – this is to plump up the raisins a bit before using. This is optional.
  • pineapple tidbits – I like to get the pineapple tidbits that are in 100% juice but if you can only find it in syrup, that is fine. Just make sure they are drained very well.
  • mayonnaise – I prefer Hellman’s or Duke’s mayonnaise. Use a mayonnaise you really enjoy the taste of since it’s a major ingredient in this recipe.
  • sugar – if you’ve never made or eaten this salad, then this might seem weird but do not skip it. It is essential to this recipe to get the correct flavor.
warm water, pineapple tidbits, mayonnaise, carrots, sugar and raisins.

HOW TO MAKE CARROT SALAD:

Put raisins in a cup of very warm water (or warmed up apple juice/ leftover pineapple juice) so they plump back up. Once they plump back up, discard the liquid. Note: this step is optional but I think it makes the raisins taste a bit better. Drain pineapple of excess juices. Peel carrots and then grate them. If making a double batch of this salad, it may be faster to use the grater on your food processor. In a bowl, toss grated carrots with mayonnaise and sugar. Then add in raisins and pineapple. Give it all a good stir.

collage of three photos: grated carrot inside a standup grater, grated carrots, sugar and mayonnaise in a clear bowl, raisins and pineapple tidbits added to carrot mixture in a bowl.

 Cover and put in the fridge to chill thoroughly. Give it another good stir before serving.

overhead photo of carrot salad in a large white bowl with a green and white check dish towel on the side.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: March 2011
Updated & republished: June 2023

Carrot Salad recipe from The Country Cook.

Carrot Salad (+Video)

This classic Carrot Salad recipe is just like the one at Chick-fil-A. Freshly grated carrots, raisins, pineapple tidbits and dressing!
4.96 from 45 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 cup warm water (or leftover pineapple juice – just make sure it's warm)
  • 1 small can of pineapple tidbits, drained very well
  • 1 pound carrots
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Put raisins in a cup of very warm water (or warmed up apple juice) so they plump back up. Once they plump up, drain water or juice.
  • Peel carrots and then grate them.
  • In a medium bowl, toss grated carrots with mayo and sugar.
  • Then add in raisins and pineapple and stir until combined.
  • Cover and put in the fridge to chill thoroughly. Give it another good stir before serving.

Video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • I don’t recommend using store-bought carrot sticks. It will have a completely different texture and the carrot sticks won’t soak up the dressing properly.
  • Dried cranberries and golden raisins will also work in this recipe.
  • Only pineapple tidbits or fresh cut pineapple should used in this recipe. Crushed pineapple can release too much liquid into the salad and can really mess up the texture that you want in a carrot raisin salad.
  • If making a double batch of this salad, it may be faster to use the grater on your food processor.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 175mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




72 Comments

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever had carrot salad, but I love recipes with a vintage feel like this. I am going to have to make some asap!

  2. 5 stars
    I am giving this a 5* rating because it is exactly the same one I use to eat as a child. Have not made it in a long time but we have a 5th Sunday coming up this month, March 2019 and I will be making it. Will let you know how people react to it.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe. My Grandmother used to make this. I also liked getting it at Chick-fil-A. I was disappointed when they stopped making it. Thank you again and I look forward to making it.

  4. I know that this salad will taste good because it is the one my mother made for us in the 1950’s. Thank you for the recipe because my Momma just threw it together and I never could get the proportions right.

    1. I’m not sure of the content size, but it’s the small can about the size of a 5 ounce can of tuna.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks tor the great recipe! Similar to Luby’s Cafeteria! Mom always made it without the pineapple but it does makes it better! I used Splenda Naturals Stevia sweetener and its delicious. Reversed Type 2 Diabetes & get enough carbs & sugar in the carrots. Will be making it more often.

  6. Think this is the salad Furr’s Cafeteria used to serve. Grandkids expect carrot for holiday meals I’m going to try this instead of cooked. Thank for the recipe I think it is what I was looking for.

  7. 5 stars
    making this for 80 people, next week. Hope 15 lbs of carrots will be enough Such a beautiful salad..

  8. I’ve always loved this salad my mom used to make it all the time but she used apples instead of pineapples and it was really good

  9. Seeing this salad brings back happy memories for me. When our 3 children were young and their engineer father traveled a lot, I would make this favorite meal when he was out of town (because he hated mac & cheese): macaroni & cheese, carrot & raisin salad and green beans. It was easy, healthy and delicious!

  10. I have not tried this yet but I was looking for something new to try for a church luncheon coming up next Sunday. Sounds like something that might be enjoyed and it's healthy. I'm thinking some pecans added would be great. I'm going to make a small bowl of this just to see how it goes over. I know I'm going to like it. I love carrots, pineapple and raisins.

  11. Even more healthy and delicious try making it with vanilla yogurt. I use non fat Greek. Nummy!! I have never added the pineapple but am going to try it!!

  12. I haven't had this salad in a long time. I do believe my mother used to put walnuts in it too. Will have to whip me up a bowl! Will be pinning for sure!

  13. I am not a big mayo fan. Might try making this with some plain greek yogurt. Thanks for the idea!

  14. My first time making Carrot Salad, and it was so good! I used Miracle Whip and gave the carrots a few quick pulses in the food processor. Loved the addition of pineapple. Great recipe, and healthy too!

  15. i love this salad! my mom use to make this all the time. she used miracle whip instead of mayo & added mini marshmallows…YUMMY! thanks for the reminder!

  16. I love carrot salad and this recipe seems to be the original dish that I tried at a local restaurant. I'm going to try it very soon.

  17. Will do! I'm waiting until I make my next batch of mayonnaise, which I want to try with coconut oil.

    In the meantime, I'll share a similar recipe I made this morning (inspired by both this recipe & a friend's yam/sweet potato recipe).

    Mix shredded carrots, yams & apples, a handful of raisins and sprinkle with cinnamon.

    I already had the first 2 ingredients grated, so I took a couple apples & grated them by hand on the smaller side of the grater and due to the juiciness of the apples it came out more like applesauce. My girls (most of whom would *not* eat raw yams or carrots) loved it. In fact one of them called it applesauce. 🙂 Definitely a keeper!
    ~Julie 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      I also add a dash of cinnamon and often grate in an apple–the grand kids LOVE it! Also, try adding chopped roasted walnuts or pecans to up the nutritive value.

  18. Just made this last night with less mayo, added 3 tablspoons apple cider vinegar and one apple julienned. Grandma had thirds… smile