These roasted carrots take their weeknight ease from a short spell in the oven and their sweet heat from honey and cayenne. If you want a slightly citrusy tang, add a splash of lime for an unexpected zing. Or if that’s not your thing, just think of all the other ways in which you can gussy these up, depending on what does trip your fancy. A squeeze of lemon in place of lime. A sprinkle of herbs or paprika in lieu of cayenne. Or whatever you want. And then let us know how it goes in a comment below.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Roast Whole Carrots

The recipe below cuts the carrots into lengths of specific size so that the carrots cook evenly and in a short enough time so that the carrots become tender before the honey scorches. If you care for a more elegant appearance, as with the beauties you see in the photo, opt for slender, young carrots and leave them whole. Or, if all you have available to you are thicker carrots, slice them in half lengthwise and keep a careful eye on them in the oven.

A bunch of roasted sweet and spicy carrots on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Sweet and Spicy Roasted Carrots

4.75 / 4 votes
These sweet and spicy roasted carrots take their sweet heat from honey and cayenne. Simple to make and perfectly lovely alongside just about anything.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories123 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes


  • 2 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into sticks 3 inches (7 1/2 cm) long and 1/2 inch (12 mm) wide
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 limes, (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Position 2 oven racks in the centermost positions. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl or on a baking sheet, combine the carrots, oil, and salt and toss to coat evenly. Divvy the carrots up between the baking sheets and spread them in a single layer. Roast the carrots, turning them once, until tender and lightly caramelized in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, if using the lime, finely grate the zest from a single lime and set it aside. Halve the lime and squeeze enough juice to measure 1 1/2 tablespoons, using a second lime if necessary.
  • About 5 minutes before the carrots are done, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, cayenne pepper, and lime zest and juice, if using, and stir just until hot and bubbly. Remove the pan from the oven, pour the honey mixture over the carrots, and turn them to coat well. Taste a carrot and, if needed, add more cayenne, salt, and/or lime juice as desired. Transfer the carrots to a warmed serving dish and serve right away.
The Side Dish Handbook

Adapted From

The Side Dish Handbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 123 kcalCarbohydrates: 25 gProtein: 2 gFat: 3 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 2 gSodium: 325 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 15 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Tori Ritchie. Photo © 2015 Katie Newburn. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We LOVED these roasted carrots. I tossed them with the oil on the baking sheet and saved myself a little extra time and a bowl to clean. I used a single pan for about a dozen organic carrots and popped them in a 400-degree oven and prepared another side dish while these were roasting. I used 2 limes, the pop of the cayenne was amazing, and the honey was just enough sweetness to balance out the heat of the cayenne perfectly! The lime zest added a little punch that I had never tried before—great addition. Wished I had made 2 pans. They disappeared very quickly! Crazy easy carrots!

This roasted carrots recipe makes a nice side dish that will go well with almost anything. Slightly sweet from the honey, the zing of citrus, and a little heat to finish it off. I didn’t have any limes so I chose to use a lemon-infused olive oil instead to get that hit of citrus. Preparing the carrots to go into the oven takes almost no effort. I used an oversized baking sheet and found all my carrots fit on there in a single layer so didn’t use a second sheet. I found when I checked the carrots at the 15-minute mark they were tender and slightly caramelized. I turned them on the pan and only left them in the oven long enough to make the sauce. Any longer and they would have burned. I found the seasoning was perfect as written. Instead of dressing them on the pan, I put the carrots into the serving bowl and tossed them with the sauce in the bowl. I can’t wait to make this again with limes.

These roasted carrots are a great side dish to add to your rotation. This is a kind of recipe that can be customized and changed to take on different flavors. You could change the kind of citrus you use, omit the honey, or add herbs. After 30 minutes the carrots were tender and some were caramelized in spots.

It doesn’t get any easier than these roasted carrots as a delicious side for a weeknight meal. Although the recipe states using 2 baking sheets, I only needed one. Overall, this is a good recipe and i made no adjustments other than omitting the cayenne. All the ingredients and times were accurate. I found the lime and the honey along with the natural sweetness of the carrots to be quite a nice combination. We enjoyed this as a side to a grilled london broil and though we are only two, the carrots disappeared. This is a great dish with little prep and while the oven does the work there’s time to complete the rest of meal, making this a weeknight winner.

These roasted carrots are a cinch to make and the perfect side dish for any dinner. I added an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil because 1 tablespoon didn’t seem sufficient to cover 2 1/2 pounds of carrots. I used 2 limes to get 1 1/2 tablespoons juice. (My limes were small and not very juicy.) I rolled the carrots with the oil and salt on the baking sheets to save getting a bowl dirty. We loved the sweet hot flavor of the honey and cayenne pepper on the carrots. The lime juice and zest added a fresh tang that balanced out the honey and cayenne pepper. The is a quick and simple side dish that would complement any grilled or fried meat. I’ll definitely make it again!

I love these roasted carrots—simple to prepare with a lovely sweet and spicy flavor profile. A nice change from my regular salt and pepper roasted carrots. Although, um, this is a lot of carrots. I mean, I love carrots and all, but this is A LOT.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    The sweet and spicy dressing drizzled over a tray of roasted carrots was a big hit at my house. So much so, that we were snacking on the “cold from the refrigerator” carrots the next day. I doubled the recipe for the dressing for 1 pound of carrots. Instead of warming up the sauce on the stove, I microwaved it for about 30 seconds in a glass mixing cup until just warm and melty. I plan on using this idea for other vegetables and other seasoning ingredients. In my mind, the addition of lime (or lemon) in a must!

    1. We’re so happy you’ve found a new favorite recipe, Deb. We can’t wait to hear what you try next.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for posting these! As the author of this cookbook, I can say without bias that they are fantastic and I can eat a whole bunch of carrots, roasted, myself. In fact, I ate said bunch just last night for dinner. xo Tori

    1. Tori, thank YOU for this splendid recipe (and the gorgeous photo that accompanies it) that your publisher generously shared with us. The lime is so unique and so perfect. We love it. And, like you, we can’t get enough of it. Or of the recipes in your book.