Glazed Carrots

4.96 from 68 votes
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These glazed carrots with maple butter sauce are a simple and delicious side dish that shines at the dinner table. Plus, they’re ready to eat in just 15 minutes of cooking time.

Photo of glazed carrots in a white serving bowl.

This delicious glazed carrot recipe uses simple ingredients like maple syrup, butter, lemon, and parsley. I use two methods to achieve a tender texture and syrupy sauce. The carrots undergo a brief boiling water plunge to soften the tough roots.

They’re then tossed in a sweetened citrus sauce and cooked until enough moisture evaporates to make them cling to the surface. Glazed or roasted carrots are perfect for serving with ham, prime rib, or roasted turkey for a Thanksgiving or Easter dinner, but easy enough to make on busy weeknights.

“These were so good I couldn’t stop eating them! They pair very well with the meatloaf and mashed potatoes.”—Brandie

Recipe ingredients

  • Carrots: Use any type of carrot to make this dish, like traditional bright orange varieties, or grab a colorful array of purple, red, or white if in season. I like to work with large pieces and cut them into small, uniform sticks. For a quick pre-cut option, use baby carrots, petite carrots, or sticks. Thicker pieces may need a few more minutes to tenderize.
  • Butter: Unsalted butter adds richness to the maple glaze.
  • Lemon Juice: Adds fresh citrus flavors to the dish. The citric acid in the lemon intensifies the sweetness of the sauce.
  • Sweetener: Pure maple syrup adds a light caramel flavor to the vegetables.
  • Seasoning: The glazed carrots are seasoned with salt and pepper to enhance their natural sweetness.
  • Herbs: Chopped parsley adds a mild herb flavor and a pop of green color to the side dish.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Prepare the carrots

Photo of person slicing carrots with a knife.

Step 1: Wash and peel the carrots, then cut them into bâtonnet stick-size pieces, about 1/2-inch wide and 2-inch long. Don’t worry if they aren’t all exact lengths. I’d rather you have more yield to enjoy than throw away perfectly good carrots.

Pro Tip: The more uniform the size, the more it helps with even cooking when in hot water.

Par-cook the carrots

Spoon lifting sliced carrots out of a boiling pot of water.

Step 2: The carrot sticks are quickly blanched in hot, boiling water to soften their cell walls. I like to add salt to the liquid to season the interior of the vegetable. Cook until the carrots are tender and sturdy enough to hold their shape when stirred with the maple glaze, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Chef’s Note: Cooking intensifies the taste of the natural sugars, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose, in the carrots.

Make the glaze

Step 3: To make the sauce for these maple glazed carrots, you need four common ingredients: butter, lemon juice, and pure maple syrup. Heat the ingredients in a large skillet over medium heat, stir, and cook until the butter melts.

Glaze the carrots

Sliced carrots cooking in a stainless steel skillet.

Step 4: The tangy maple syrup sauce simmers with the par-cooked carrots until hot and bubbly. In just about 5 minutes, the sauce will reduce, and the sugars will caramelize to create a concentrated coating that clings to the surface. Season with salt and pepper to balance the sweet and savory flavors.

Serve

Step 5: Sprinkle the glazed carrots with fresh lemon zest to add a pleasant citrus aroma and Italian parsley for an eye-catching presentation. That’s it—super easy. Kids and adults will love this side dish all year long!

Flavor variations

These simple and elegant glazed carrots are easy to customize! Try these tasty options:

  • Citrus: Instead of lemon juice and zest, use oranges for a less tangy sauce.
  • Sweetener: Any sweetener can be used, such as light brown sugar or dark brown sugar for a molasses note, honey, coconut sugar, or granulated sugar. Each has its own unique flavor profile. I like maple syrup for its caramel notes.
  • Butter Substitution: This recipe can be easily adapted to be Whole30 and Paleo-friendly. Just use homemade ghee to substitute for the butter. That will add butterscotch flavors. Olive oil also works for a vegan version.
  • Herbs: Garnish the dish with fresh herbs like chives, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, or dill.
  • Spices: A pinch of nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ginger, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice will add a sweet baked aroma to the dish. Cayenne or chipotle powder will add some heat.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

What are glazed carrots made of?

Carrots are cut into sticks or coins and par-cooked. They simmer in a buttery maple syrup sauce or sweetener of choice until a syrupy glaze forms.

How do you soften carrots?

The most effective way to soften carrots is to boil or steam them until fork tender. These methods are great for preventing overly crunchy interiors. The syrupy glaze will be done sooner than the time needed to cook raw carrots in the sweetened sauce.

Can you make glazed carrots the day before?

Yes! This carrot side dish can be made up to 5 days ahead and reheated before serving. For meal prep, the blanched carrots can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 3 days and cooked in the sweetened sauce the day of serving.

Photo of glazed carrots with parsley and lemon zest on top.

Recipe Science

Using lemon juice as a flavor enhancer

Adding a little bit of acid to a dish can enhance the natural flavors. Just a little bit of vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice can heighten the sweet and salty taste. Plus, it balances the overall flavor of the dish. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.

Glazed Carrots

Glazed carrots with a maple butter sauce are a simple and delicious side dish that shines at the dinner table during the holidays.
4.96 from 68 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 ½ pound carrots
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley

Instructions 

  • Prepare the Carrots – Wash, peel, and cut the carrots into 2-inch long and ½-inch wide sticks.
  • Par-Cook the Carrots – In a medium saucepan, add water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Add the carrots and cook until tender but still hold their shape, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain well with a colander.
  • Make the Glaze – In a large saute pan, add the butter, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Cook over medium heat until the butter is melted.
  • Glaze the Carrots – Once the glaze is bubbling, add the carrots. Gently stir to combine. Cook, occasionally stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper, and stir to combine.
  • To Serve – Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with lemon zest and parsley.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Storing: Cool and store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for up to 1 month.
  • Reheat: Cover and reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding some water if needed to prevent the sweetener from burning.
  • Make it Paleo: Use ghee or olive oil instead of butter.
  • Make it Vegan: Substitute olive oil for butter.
  • Make it Whole30: Reduce ¼ cup of fresh orange juice to 1 tablespoon over medium-high heat, and then add ghee or olive oil and lemon juice. Add the carrots and cook until the sauce glazes the vegetables. Use sea salt instead of kosher salt.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 149kcal (7%)Carbohydrates 23g (8%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 6g (9%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat 0.03gCholesterol 16mg (5%)Sodium 733mg (31%)Potassium 551mg (16%)Fiber 5g (20%)Sugar 14g (16%)Vitamin A 28800IU (576%)Vitamin C 16.5mg (20%)Calcium 60mg (6%)Iron 0.7mg (4%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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6 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Brandie Shanor says

    These were so good I couldn’t stop eating them! They pair very well with the meatloaf and mashed potatoes. My son and husband did say there was a little too much lemon flavor so I think next time I’ll just omit the zest for them but they were perfect for me!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the carrot recipe, Brandie! Love the pairing with meatloaf and mashed potatoes, yum!