Roasted Carrots

4.92 from 35 votes
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Are you looking for an easy-to-make side dish? Delicious roasted carrots pair well with just about any type of entree. Simply cover the root vegetables to tenderize the fibrous texture, then remove the foil to caramelize the surface.

Roasted carrots in a white serving bowl.

Crunchy carrots are eaten raw as a snack or appetizer paired with a savory dip. However, oven roasting them transforms the taste and texture with little effort and basic seasonings. It’s great to serve as a simple side dish with slices of chicken, turkey, ham, or prime rib for a hearty feast.

I use a two-step oven roasting method to prevent the carrots from drying out in high heat. The process is simple, cover with aluminum foil in a pre-cook stage to tenderize the centers, then finish off with high heat exposure to lightly brown the surface. There is no need to add sugar when using simple techniques to develop caramel notes with heat.

Pouring melted butter over colorful carrots in a blue bowl.

Carrot selection and size

There are different types of carrots available at the market, ranging from orange, yellow, and purple. I use multi-colored petite-sized carrots for this recipe, giving a more gourmet appearance. If using a larger variety, peel and cut them into similar-sized batons. Make sure they are about ½ to 1-inch in width. 

The key to perfectly roasted carrots is to keep the size uniform for cooking. You can also use peeled and trimmed baby carrots that are much smaller or sticks to cut down on prep. However, they will cook quicker, so adjust the roasting time as needed.

Season the carrots

Keep it simple with just three ingredients. Coat the carrots in fat like unsalted butter to enhance browning on the surface and prevent the carrots from sticking to the pan. A high smoke point fat like Ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil can be substituted. 

Kosher salt helps to caramelize the carrots. The sodium draws the moisture to the surface for quicker evaporation so the natural sugars can cook. Salt also balances the sweetness. Black pepper adds a slightly spicy kick to the neutral-tasting carrots.

Seasoned carrots lined up on a foil-lined baking sheet.

How to roast carrots

The carrots roast at a high of 425ºF (218ºC). This temperature can dry out the vegetables if exposed to this intensity of heat the entire time. To prevent this, spread the carrots in a single layer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. This method allows the carrots to gradually come up to temperature, then steam and stay moist and tender. 

The foil is eventually removed to roast uncovered. The intense heat will drive off the surface moisture, drawing the sugars to the surface and initiating caramelization. This process takes another 15 minutes for color change and sweetness. Depending on the size of the carrots, a few additional minutes of roasting may be needed.

Additional flavor options

  • Sprinkle with brown sugar, or drizzle on honey or maple syrup to make glazed carrots. Add towards the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking so the sugars don’t burn.
  • For heat, toss with harissa, cayenne pepper, or chili sauce. 
  • Toss with freshly chopped herbs like rosemary, parsley, basil, or thyme to boost the aromatics right before serving.
Rows of carrots cooked under aluminum foil.

Serve this with

FAQ

Do you have to peel carrots to roast them?

It’s not required. Peeling gives a more even surface and removes any dirt and debris. If you decide not to peel, just make sure to wash and scrub, then dry well before roasting.

Are roasted carrots good for you?

Yes, roasted carrots are good for you! According to the USDA, just 1 cup of sliced carrots contains 50 calories, 1.13 gram of protein, 3.4 grams of fiber, 0.3 grams of fat, and 5.78 grams of sugar. Not to mention an impressive amount of Vitamin A which has been linked to eye health, plus potassium and calcium. You can easily adjust the seasoning level and use olive oil instead of butter for a monounsaturated fat option.

Can you freeze roasted carrots?

The high fiber content and low moisture help carrots hold up well after cooking and freezing. You can reheat them in the microwave or pop them on a sheet pan straight from the freezer to reheat a large batch.

Close up photo of roasted carrots seasoned with salt and pepper.

Preventing the carrots from turning mushy

The goal is to have fork tender, not mushy, interiors and a golden-brown surface. To activate the enzyme that starts the firming reaction in the fibrous carrots, maintain an internal temperature between 120 to 160ºF (49 to 71ºC) as long as possible. Covering the carrots with foil for the first 15 minutes keeps the heat low for the conversion to occur. Then you can expose it to high heat for color change and flavor development.

Roasted Carrots

Looking for an easy-to-make side dish? Delicious roasted carrots pair well with just about any type of entree.
4.92 from 35 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds carrots, large or petite
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Pre-Heat Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position and the temperature to 425ºF (218ºC).
  • Prepare the Carrots – For petite-sized carrots about 4 to 5 inches long and ½ to 1-inch wide, peel but do not cut. For large carrots, peel and cut into uniform pieces, between ½ to 1-inch wide and 3 to 4-inches long.
  • Season – In a large bowl, combine the carrots with melted butter, salt, and pepper.
  • Roast – Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Evenly spread out the carrots and cover them tightly with foil. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the top piece of foil.
  • Roast Uncovered – Cook for an additional 15 minutes, and then stir. Continue to roast until golden brown and the widest parts are fork-tender, about 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the size.
  • To Serve – Season with salt and pepper to taste, garnish with chopped parsley, and serve warm.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Make it Vegan, Dairy-Free, and Paleo: Use olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter.
  • Make it Whole30: Use ghee, avocado oil, or extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter. Use sea salt instead of kosher salt.
  • Storing: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Freeze for up to 9 months. Reheat in the microwave, covered, on high in 30-second intervals until hot. Alternatively, cook in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven from frozen until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 46kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 10g (3%)Protein 1g (2%)Sodium 296mg (12%)Potassium 362mg (10%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 18945IU (379%)Vitamin C 6.7mg (8%)Calcium 37mg (4%)Iron 0.3mg (2%)

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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8 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Megan Cromer says

    Yum. Made these for Easter dinner, they were so sweet and full of flavour, with a great texture. Due to oven space issues… I had to roast on a lower temperature to start with but still covered with foil, and then the last 15 mins at the higher temp. Kept the flavourings to just the salt, pepper, butter and fresh parsley.
    A great side dish for any roast dinner.

  2. James Craig says

    My wife and I really enjoyed the roasted carrots with our corn beef & cabbage dinner. I was wondering if I could use the same instructions and cook them in an air fryer.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      What a lovely combination to add with corned beef! I have not tested the roasted carrots in the air fryer yet, but I’m sure you could!

    • Robert Hicks says

      I’ve asked the same question to a culinary institute. Here’s the reply: “Salted butter contains more water than unsalted. The extra water reduces cream content and can affect sautes and many baking recipes, especially pie crusts”.

      To me, unsalted is not as flavorful, especially on breads. I use salted butter exclusively in everything, with no problems, and halve the salt additions (especially with broths), until the recipe is ready for tasting.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great question, John! I like to control the level of salt that I add to my recipes and be able to choose the type of salt. Also, when you add salt is important to the texture transformation of the food.

  3. Robert Hicks says

    To replace my usual ginger-glazed carrot dish, I tried this recipe and it was a hit in our household. I used and peeled medium carrots, added 1 Tbsp of olive oil and reduced the butter to 2 Tbsp (to reduce butter-burning at high heat) and followed the rest of the recipe to a tee.

    After roasting 15 minutes covered, and 5 minutes uncovered, the results was fantastic. Also, I used Jessica’s exact recipe, in an Airfryer @ 400 degrees F (the max temp in most fryers). I preheated the fryer at 400 for 4 minutes and sprayed the basket with a very light coat of oil.

    Then, I added the carrots, in one layer. After 8 minutes, I turned them half way and roasted for an additional 7 minutes. They were fork tender, and superbly roasted. It makes sense that the fryer’s convection feature obtained a true-roasted item, even at a lower temp. Reason being, if any recipe’s given temp is for a standard oven, the temp should be reduced by 25 degrees for convection oven baking.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you for sharing your roasted carrot tips! I’m very curious about making it in the air-fryer as you suggested. Thanks, Robert!