It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe for Roasted Carrots. Simply peel and chop carrots, toss them with oil and seasoning and then roast them until they’re tender and caramelized. That’s it! Today I’ve also added in (optional) sweet onion to amp up the savory flavors! Serve them as a side dish, or you can use them for meal prep!

A person holding a pan of roasted carrots

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When I first started this blog ten years ago, woops, make that eleven years ago, I spent so much time spinning my wheels making “creative” recipes to share on the blog. Back then I was making Swiss Chard Tart with Chevre and Leeks with Golden Raisins and recipes with unusual ingredients like Lemony Carrot Salad with Mustard Seeds and Feta. Look back into the archives, and you’ll see what I mean. Not that these recipes aren’t delicious, they are!! But having the time to make a special trip to the store to get mustard seeds or golden raisins is one problem, not to mention having 55 minutes to spend prepping in the kitchen is another one!! Neither are luxuries I have during the week, and I know you’re in the same boat. Thankfully for both of us, somewhere along the line I discovered that sharing super simple, easy recipes was so much more helpful for you dear readers. 

It was success of recipes like my Simple Cucumber Salad and Steamed Cauliflower with Herbs that helped me see that you all are just like me. You love to cook (or at least you know how important cooking from scratch is) but you just don’t have a ton of time to do it! So at some point, I just totally shifted gears, and since then the recipes here have been all about simple vegetable side dishes (featuring veggies that are in season) and fast weeknight meals made from whole food ingredients. 

So if you’re just landing here on Healthy Seasonal Recipes for the first time, I want to say welcome! And second, if you like what you see, please sign up for my email newsletter. I send one email every Saturday with the latest recipes from the blog, plus some healthy cooking inspiration for the week ahead. I also share a ton of cooking tips (and videos) over on Instagram, so I’d love to connect there too! 

Alright, let’s talk about these roasted carrots! 

all different colored carrots lined up on a white surface

How To Choose the Best Carrots For Roasting

The key to roasting carrots (or any vegetable for that matter) is achieving a nicely browned exterior, but a sweet tender interior. To make sure that you achieve this there are many things you can focus on in the kitchen. But before you get there, you can look for the best carrots for roasting when you are shopping! Here are my six tips for buying carrots for roasting: 

  1. Size: Look for large carrots (about 1-inch thick is best.) This makes it easier to peel them, but it is also good for getting maximum browning. I’ll talk about that more in the steps below when we talk about the best way to cut carrots for roasting. 
  2. Carrots with tops: If you buy carrots with the tops on, make sure you cut the tops off as soon as you get home. Otherwise the tops will pull moisture from the carrots. You can read more about carrot tops in The Ultimate Guide To Carrots.
  3. How To Tell If They’re Too Old: Avoid carrots that have black around the stem end. This means they were not stored properly and may me starting to rot a little bit. Also avoid carrots that are starting to sprout white hair-like roots out of the carrots. They will be bitter.
  4. Buying Colored Carrots: You can definitely use colored carrots for roasted carrots. Purple, red and yellow work great. Just keep in mind that the darker varietes can stain the lighter carrots.
  5. Real Baby Carrots: You can also use real baby carrots, meaning carrots that are harvested young, and are small (1/2-inch in diameter at the stem end.) The only problem with this is that the carrots will take a long time to peel, and no don’t leave the peels on. The peels are bitter. Also if you run the risk of the tips burning while the thicker part of the carrot cooks through. If you do buy these types of baby carrots, just keep an eye on them. They’ll be done in about 20 minutes. Test them with a fork to see if they’re tender. This recipe uses 2 1/4 pounds carrots, so weigh out what you need before proceeding. 
  6. Bagged Baby Carrots: You most certainly can use bagged baby carrots for roasting. Make sure they are dry before proceeding with this recipe, and note that they’ll be tender after about 20 minutes of roasting. 

How to Prep Carrots For Roasting

When you’re ready to make the roasted carrots, you’ll need to prep them. How long this takes completely depends on the size of your carrots. In other words, peeling 8 or 10 large carrots is much faster than peeling 15 small ones! 

First Peel the Carrots

Carrot peels are bitter. In culinary school when we learned the correct way to make Chicken Stock, we made a stock of carrot peels and it was exceedingly bitter! 

I like to use one of these Swiss Peelers. They’re super sharp and affordable. I also love that they’re brightly colored so they’re easy to spot in the drawer. I peel the carrot first, then trim the stem and root ends off. 

 

Cut The Carrots

  • Here is one of the keys to great roasted carrots: Use an oblique cut for to get the maximum caramelization and flavor.
  • Caramelization is when the naturally occuring sugars in the carrots darken and become sweet and develop a rich toasted flavor. You can read more about the science behind caramelization here. 
  • When you use the oblique cut you get two wide flat sides and a long rounded side as well.

How to Do an Oblique Cut for Roasted Carrots or Stew

How To Oblique Cut Carrots For Roasting

An oblique cut, is a cut that I learned about in knife skills class in culinary school. It is a great cut to use when you’re making stew or for roasting root vegetables. The pieces are large (averaging about 1 inch each.) The nice thing about using this technique, besides the surface area that I mentioned above, is that you can make the pieces relatively uniform even from fat end to narrow end by altering how far apart your cuts are.  This is especially true of carrots because of their tapered shape (or you can also do this with parsnips with similar results. In fact that’s exactly what I recommend for roasted parsnips.) 

  1. Start with your knife angled at about 11 o’clock. Make a cut through the carrot.
  2. Next, roll the carrot so that the blade of your knife is lined up through the first cut. On the wider side of the carrot you’ll actually be cutting though your first cut.
  3. Continue rolling the carrot and adjusting the blade to create relatively uniform size cuts as the carrot tapers smaller and smaller. 

Toss Carrots with Onions (Optional)

  1. I happen to love onions, and think they make the world a better place. (Only slightly exaggerating, but not really!) So I added them to this roasted carrot recipe. I love the way they really make the carrots taste ultra savory. I love Glazed Carrots as much as the next guy or gal, but I also really love the contrast of savory onion with the sweetness of the caramelized roasted carrots! 
  2. I also tested it without the onions, and the recipe came out great. I added an additional half pound of carrots (the total weight was 2 1/4 pounds, or about 10 large.)
  3. I used a sweet onion, and dicced them into 1-inch pieces. If you want some more knife skills pointers, check out my post about How To Dice An Onion

An overhead view of a pan of roasted carrots and onions

Add Seasonings to the Carrots and Onions 

I wanted to keep this Roasted Carrots recipe as simple as possible. As I said in my intro, we are all busy!! I get it! So I used two herbs, and salt and pepper for the only seasonings.

Herb Substitution Tips: I also tested it without the thyme and used a full teaspoon of rosemary instead. That was good too. You can also use a half teaspoon dry thyme for the fresh if you want. Or even sub in 1 teaspoon italian seasonings instead of any fresh herbs if you’re trying to save time. 

I also add in salt. I used regular table salt for this recipe. Make sure you don’t try to sub in coarse salt for table salt without first reading this. 

Meal Prep Tips For Roasted Carrots

You can make these carrots ahead, and they reheat really well.

Reheating Oven Roasted Carrots

  • Reheat In The Microwave: I do so in the microwave, covered for three minutes.
  • Reheat In The Oven: You can also do so in the oven. Set them in a glass baking dish, and cover them with foil. Bake them at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes to heat them through. 

Prep Ahead Tips For Roasting Carrots

  • How To Prep Carrots Ahead For Roasting: You can also make this recipe ahead by cutting the onions (if using), carrots and herbs and setting them in a resealable bag or glass container. You can do this up to four days ahead! Just make sure they’re dry.
  • A Note On Onions For Prep Ahead: If you do use the onions, note that they will start to give off a strong odor in the fridge, so if you are sensitive to this, you can omit the onions and increase the amount of carrots to 10 large or 1 1/4 lbs. Or you can use the 8 carrots, and then cut the onion just before roasting. 
  • Add Salt Last and then Roast: Then while you wait for the oven to preheat you can toss the carrots, herbs and onions with the oil, salt and pepper. Note: Do not salt the carrots ahead or they will pull moisture from the carrots and onions while they are in the fridge and then the moisture will impede the caramelization process. 

a white pan with roasted carrots and onions in it

Tips For Oven Roasting Carrots

Use a Hot Oven

I like to roast my carrots at 425 degrees F. I find that 450 is too hot and the outsides of the carrots burn before the insides get tender. 425 is actually great for allowing those sugars to brown, but not too hot! 

Use a Good Light Colored Baking Sheet 

I use a heavy rimmed baking sheet. The kind I use is called a “half sheet pan” and I have many of them. They’re very heavy duty, and easy to clean. Note that if you have a dark pan, your carrots will darken too quickly! 

Do Not Overcrowd

Spread the carrot mixture out onto the pan in an even layer. You want to make sure they are not crowding eachother, because that will cause them to steam which also prevents browning. {Are you noticing a theme?} 

Stir To Cook and Brown Evenly

Roast the carrots in the center of the oven. It is important to stir them a couple times while they roast so that they don’t get too dark on the bottom. 

Test When Done

The total roasting time will be about 40 minutes. You’ll notice that the carrots are sizzling in the oil and that they’ll be browned on one or more sides. Depending on your carrots and your cuts, yours may be done sooner though!  Check to see how tender they are by slipping a fork into the carrot. If it goes in and out easily, they’re ready! 

More Carrot Recipes To Try

  • These Hot Moroccan Carrots will knock your socks off. They’re a cold weather version of my favorite Moroccan Carrots recipe.
  • Grilled Carrots, in the summertime you can actually cook carrots on the grill. You know those real baby carrots I mentioned above? Those are perfect for grilling!! 
  • Mashed Carrots and Parsnips, this is such a comforting way to prepare carrots and the flavor of the orange is awesome! 

You may also like trying out my Roasted Turnips recipe. It is very similar to this recipe, but lower in carbs! 

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! 

 

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A close up of a sheet pan of roasted carrots and onions

Roasted Carrots

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This basic technique for roasted carrots is a simple way to make a savory healthy side dish for any meal.


Scale

Ingredients

8 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, approximately 1.75 lbs

1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks, optional* see tip

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss carrots and onions in a large bowl with oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring once or twice until the carrots and onions are fork tender and browning in spots, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes

Tip* If you prefer to make this recipe without onions, simply increase the amount of carrots to 2 1/4 pounds.

How To Reheat Roasted Carrots

  • Reheat In The Microwave: I do so in the microwave, covered for three minutes.
  • Reheat In The Oven: You can also do so in the oven. Set them in a glass baking dish, and cover them with foil. Bake them at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes to heat them through.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2/3 cup
  • Calories: 111 calories
  • Sugar: 8 grams
  • Sodium: 286 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 2 g

 

 

roasted carrots