Move over, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts! I have a new favorite vegetable side dish—roasted carrots.
Like those other vegetables, carrots develop deep, concentrated flavor and golden, caramelized edges as they roast in the oven. So delicious! Carrots are also affordable and easy to keep on hand.
If you’ve ever been underwhelmed by steamed carrots (been there), I promise that they’re far more interesting in roasted form. Roasted carrots are an easy and healthy weeknight side dish, and would also add a welcome jolt of color to your Thanksgiving table.
Today, I’m sharing my recipe for perfect roasted carrots. I love variety and I know you do, too, so I developed two fun variations as well. One is a little spicy and the other is a little more indulgent, featuring a light honey-butter sauce. Who knew carrots could be so tempting?
1) “Basic” Roasted Carrots
I put “basic” in quotes because these are not boring! Roasting really brings out carrots’ best qualities. To make them, just toss carrots with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake until they’re golden on the edges and tender throughout.
2) Spiced Roasted Carrots
If you’re a fan of spicy sweet potatoes, you’re going to love these spiced roasted carrots. You’ll make them in the same way as the regular roasted carrots, but toss in a hefty amount of chili powder and ground cinnamon with the olive oil and salt. Those two spices might sound like an unlikely pairing, but work so well with the sweet and savory carrots.
I offered a range for chili powder so you can control the spice level. You could serve these with hearty Mexican dishes, such as enchiladas. I also incorporated these into a Moroccan-ish salad in my cookbook (page 62).
3) Honey Butter Roasted Carrots
If you aren’t sold on roasted carrots yet, these honey butter carrots will convert you. They’re sweet and salty and irresistibly buttery.
To make them, toss “basic” roasted carrots in a super simple honey-butter sauce. You can make the sauce on the stove in under 5 minutes with one tablespoon each of butter and honey. For maximum flavor, let the butter brown for a minute before removing it from the heat and stirring in the honey.
These carrots are perfect for serving at a special brunch or family meal, including Thanksgiving (they’d be delicious next to mashed potatoes). You could also serve them with this arugula and wild rice salad, stuffed acorn squash or lentil baked ziti.
Got extra carrots? Here are a few more of my favorite carrots recipe:
- French Carrot Salad
- Roasted & Raw Carrot Salad with Avocado
- Farmers’ Market Bowl with Green Goddess Sauce
- Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas & Herbed Crème Fraîche
- Extra Vegetable Fried Rice
Please let me know how your carrots turn out in the comments! I love hearing from you.
Watch How to Roast Carrots
Perfect Roasted Carrots (Three Ways!)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 side servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
Who knew carrots could be SO good?! Roasted carrots are an easy, healthy and affordable side dish. This is the only roasted carrot recipe you’ll ever need! Recipe yields 4 to 6 side servings.
Basic roasted carrots
- 2 pounds carrots
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Optional garnish: 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives, green onions, parsley or dill
For the spiced version, you’ll also need*:
- ½ to 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder (use less for more mild carrots, or the full amount for spicy carrots)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the honey butter version, you’ll also need**:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup, if desired.
- To prepare your carrots, peel them and then cut them on the diagonal so each piece is about ½″ thick at the widest part (see photos).
- Place the carrots on the baking sheet. Add the olive oil, salt and a few twists of pepper.*
- Toss until the carrots are lightly coated in oil and seasonings. Arrange them in a single layer. Roast the carrots until they’re caramelized on the edges and easily pierced through by a fork, 25 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway.** (Heirloom carrot varieties will roast in as little as 25 minutes, but regular carrots are more dense and typically require 35 to 40 minutes.)
- Sprinkle fresh herbs over the roasted carrots, if using. Serve the carrots warm, straight from the sheet pan or from a serving dish. Leftover carrots will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 4 days. Gently reheat before serving.
*If you’re making the spiced version: Add the chili powder and cinnamon with the olive oil and salt.
**If you’re making the honey butter version: When the carrots are nearly done baking, melt the butter in your smallest saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, cover the pan to avoid splatters and continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, just until you start seeing golden flecks at the bottom, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey. Once the carrots are done, drizzle the mixture over them and toss to coat.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Simply make the basic or spiced versions.
Prepare in advance: You can peel and slice the carrots in advance. For maximum freshness, store them in a bowl of water in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roast them. Drain and pat dry before proceeding.
Double it: You can roast two pans of carrots in the oven at once. Just position two racks near the center of the oven before you preheat it. When you toss the carrots halfway through cooking, swap the pans on their rack positions (from top to bottom, and bottom to top).