World's Best Carrot Salad Recipe

Updated on March 17, 2016
Buster Bucks profile image

Buster began cooking as a wee pup by watching his mother fix the kibble. He was hooked. He loves preparing—and writing about—food.

You're going to love this salad!
You're going to love this salad!

Why Make Carrot Salad?

This recipe is a sure-fire hit! I learned how to make it from my mom, who has become The Carrot Salad Lady in her town... she probably makes it at least once/week for potlucks, for special gatherings, and for her loved ones.

How could such simple ingredients make such a fantastic salad? Like all perfect foods, it's the combination of tastes and textures that make this a dish you'll turn to again and again for parties, picnics, summer lunches, or simply to have around since it's fantastic with a sandwich or quick lunch.

Read on for this simple and tantalizing recipe.

The simple ingredients for an incredible salad!
The simple ingredients for an incredible salad!

The Ingredients

2 lbs. carrots (approximately 10 large carrots)

crushed pineapple (16 oz./450 g) -- DRAINED

1/3 cup raisins or dried currants (see Final Notes for more details)

1/2 lemon, including the zest

8 tbsp. sugar (or to taste)

1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

How To Make Carrot Salad

Grate the carrots on the smallest holes of your box grater into a large bowl. Alternatively, you can use the grater from your food processor.

NOTE: Texture is incredibly important to a fantastic carrot salad. This is why you want to use the smallest holes of your box grater, rather than the larger ones.

Drain the cans of crushed pineapple. (I think it's important to use crushed, rather than chunky pineapple, because the texture blends so wonderfully with grated carrots. Make sure you drain thoroughly, otherwise you'll end up with a vaguely soupy salad, which you want to avoid.)

Zest half of the lemon, and put 1/2 of the lemon juice into the salad.

Add in the sugar, salt and currants or raisins.

Mix thoroughly, and taste for seasoning. Sometimes carrots are really sweet -- so you'll need less sugar; sometimes, carrots aren't very sweet... you'll need a bit more sugar than I've called for.

Refrigerate the salad for at least an hour before serving. This allows the ingredients to meld into a single taste. Though I think this salad is best served cold, some people prefer it room temperature.

One of the reasons I love this salad is its versatility. Whether cold, cool, or room temperature... it's incredibly delicious!

Final Notes

I've had friends comment on how my carrot raisin salad is so much better than what they make. They ask: what's your secret? I say: using fresh carrots, and adding sugar. They say: oh, I don't add sugar to mine. Those sweet carrots don't need it! And I say: umm, well, yes they do. Even the sweetest carrots benefit from the addition of sugar.

Though I love this salad for leftovers, it really is at its premium the day it's made. This is why when I'm making it for a dinner party, or to take to a potluck, I always make it the same day I serve it. Admittedly, the taste difference is minor... but the textural difference is noticeable. The carrots lose their super-crunchiness, and to my taste buds this is part of the enjoyment of this salad.

Are you diabetic? Then by all means use Splenda rather than sugar.

Is there a big difference between using raisins versus currants? It's a matter of taste, of course. I like both, though I think the tinier size of currants makes a prettier dish... but the difference is minor, and I've used raisins (probably) as many times as I've used currants.

Enjoy this wonderful salad!

Questions & Answers


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      • Buster Bucks profile image

        Buster Bucks 4 months ago from Sonoma County, California

        Hi Rina,

        That might work... but I'm not sure. The raisins/currants add sweetness and the cranberries would be acidic. I think that if I used cranberries I would probably put them in the processor for a quick blast (just to give them a rough chop -- like, 2 seconds of the blade) and add another 1/4 cup of sugar to the carrot salad. Stir carefully, with a folding motion, to prevent the cranberries from staining the carrots red.

        If you try it, let me know how it turns out, okay?

        Happy holidays!


      • profile image

        Rina 4 months ago

        What do you think of adding cranberries instead of raisins or currents?

      • Buster Bucks profile image

        Buster Bucks 19 months ago from Sonoma County, California

        Hi Kathy,

        It would serve four people with big appetites, and six for a dinner party.

        Hope this helps!


      • profile image

        Kathy 19 months ago

        How many people does this World's Best Carot Salad Recipe serve?

      • azure_sky profile image

        azure_sky 7 years ago from Somewhere on the Beach, if I am lucky :)

        Yummy!! I think I could live off of your hubs:)

      • Simple Tim profile image

        Simple Tim 7 years ago

        No Problem..Buster B!Yep half a cup is good enough.I prefer to keep the couscous ratio lower though or else it becomes to heavy.Dried cranberries also make a great substitute for raisins.

      • Buster Bucks profile image

        Buster Bucks 7 years ago from Sonoma County, California

        Hi S. Tim!

        I've added coriander to carrot salad before, but couscous is a new one. I'm assuming about a half cup of (cooked) couscous to a salad the size of the one I describe in my recipe?

        Thanks so much for writing!


      • Simple Tim profile image

        Simple Tim 7 years ago

        Hmmm! Carrots and raisans do make the worlds best carrot salad.I make a similar recipe to this-which involves adding some couscous and chopped corrinder!This makes a great side dish to barbecued meat or lamb dishes.