How to Cook Carrots

Whether you’re wondering how to cook carrots fast, in the microwave, or in the slow cooker—or if you prefer them boiled, steamed, or roasted—we’ve got you covered. Check out our many ways to cook carrots, along with some of our favorite recipes for glazed carrots, roasted baby carrots, and more.

Cooked carrots should be delicious and flavorful, not mushy and bland. Let us show you how to cook carrots by roasting them for delicious sweetness and crisp-tender texture.

Carrots are inexpensive, colorful, and tasty. What more could you want? How about a windfall of nutrients? They’re a great source of fiber and vitamin A in particular; in fact, carrots are your best source for beta-carotene—a compound form of vitamin A that’s full of antioxidant properties. Carrots are also low in calories: 1/2 cup steamed carrot has about 27 calories.

Last but not least, carrots are extremely easy to cook and very versatile—they go with just about everything.  Read on for our favorite ways to cook carrots.

How to Prepare Carrots for Cooking

The first step in learning how to cook carrots in the oven, stove top, or slow cooker is knowing how to prep them. For four servings of carrots, start with 1 pound of fresh carrots.

  • Wash carrots thoroughly under cool running water.
  • Peel or scrub the carrots and trim the stem and root ends.

Tip: If your recipe calls for cooking carrots whole, you can leave some of the stems intact for a pretty presentation. Trim stems to 1 inch and scrub stems thoroughly.

  • Cut standard-size carrots into 1/4-inch-thick slices or into strips that are about 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. (Note that 1 pound makes about 2-1/2 cups slices or strips.)

Time-Saving Tip: If you’re wondering how to cook carrots fast, start with packaged peeled baby-cut carrots. There’s no prep needed. Simply measure 3-1/2 cups packaged peeled baby carrots for four servings. Each method below shows you how to cook baby carrots, including the correct timings for these little gems.

How to Cook Carrots on the Stove Top: Boiling and Steaming

To boil carrots, cook 1 pound carrots, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water until crisp-tender. Here’s how long to cook carrots on the stove top depending on how they're cut:

  • 7 to 9 minutes for 1/4-inch slices
  • 4 to 6 minutes for strips
  • 8 to 10 minutes for baby carrots

Drain carrots and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you wish, add some butter and honey to the cooked carrots; stir until the butter is melted and carrots are glazed. Try boiling carrots in this Glazed Carrots with Pistachios recipe.

To steam carrots on the stove top using a steamer basket:

  • Place a steamer basket in a saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the basket.
  • Bring water to boiling. Add 1 pound of prepped carrots to steamer basket. Cover and reduce heat.
  • Cook the carrots until crisp-tender. Here’s how long to cook the carrots depending on how they’re cut:
    • 8 to 10 minutes for 1/4-inch slices
    • 5 to 7 minutes for 1/4-inch strips
    • 8 to 10 minutes for baby carrots

Try It: Orange- and Balsamic-Glazed Tricolor Carrots

How to Cook Carrots in the Microwave

Wanting to cook carrots fast? The microwave is the ticket! Plus, you can save valuable space in your oven while dinner cooks! Here’s how to cook carrots in the microwave:

  • Place 1 pound carrots in a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water.
  • Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) until crisp-tender, stirring once. Here’s how long to cook carrots in the microwave depending on how they're cut:
    • 6 to 9 minutes for 1/4-inch slices
    • 5 to 7 minutes for 1/4-inch strips
    • 7 to 9 minutes for baby carrots


How to Roast Carrots

Bring out the natural sugars in carrots by roasting them. The caramelized flavors make the vegetables taste like a treat—even to picky eaters. Here’s how to cook carrots in the oven:

  • Use 1 pound packaged peeled baby carrots or peel, wash, and trim 1 pound carrots and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Arrange cut carrots or baby carrots in a baking pan.
  • Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, and, if desired, other seasonings.
  • If directed by your recipe, cover pan with foil.
  • How long to cook carrots in the oven: Bake in a 425°F oven 30 minutes. Remove foil if covered; stir carrots. Bake, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes more or until carrots are tender.

Try It: Honey-Cumin Roasted Baby Carrots

More Ways to Cook Carrots

We’re not done yet! Here’s how to cook carrots on the stove top or oven alongside a roast, as well as how to cook carrots in the slow cooker.

How Long to Cook Carrots with a Pot Roast (Stove Top or Oven):

  • Peel, wash, and trim the carrots; cut them crosswise into 1- to 2-inch pieces. Add to the pan with the pot roast the last 45 to 60 minutes of cooking time; cover and cook until tender. 

How Long to Cook Carrots in the Slow Cooker
When your oven and stove top are jammed at the holidays or other family gatherings, you can cook this recipe for glazed carrots in your slow cooker.

  • Start with 2 pounds packaged peeled baby carrots, halved lengthwise. In a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker combine carrots with 3/4 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup chicken broth, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or on high 2-1/2 to 3 hours.
  • If using low heat, turn to high. In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup apple juice or cider, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Cover and cook 45 minutes more or until thickened and bubbly. Sprinkle with snipped fresh chives before serving.


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