Grilled carrots. They’re easy and quick and gonna revolutionize your weeknight side dish situation. Seriously. They’re a backyard grilling game-changer.
Adapted from Ben Tish | Grill Smoke BBQ | Quadrille Publishing, 2017
These grilled carrots are a backyard grilling game-changer. No need to crank up your oven in the heat of summer to get sweet and tender roasted carrots. And no longer do you need to run back and forth between stovetop and grill to put an entire meal on the table.
These get tossed on the grill and basted with a simple citrus butter. They’re done in the same time it takes to grill some steak or chicken and let it rest. Which gives you enough time to crack open a cold beer and bask in the satisfaction of being a dinnertime superhero.–Angie Zoobkoff
Grilled Carrot FAQs
How long will grilled or roasted carrots keep?
While we have a hard time imagining that you won’t want to just gobble these down immediately off the grill, but if you went crazy with carrots…the extras can be saved. Once cool, place your leftover grilled carrots in a shallow, airtight container and store them for up to 3 days.
Be aware that the flavors might fade, so a little squeeze of orange might not go amiss when re-serving. To reheat, a quick grill (even in the oven) will warm them back up. One of our testers even took her leftovers on a roadtrip and declared them just as good on the highway as in the backyard.
What is the best size of carrots to use for grilling?
Look for uniformly sized carrots, so that they cook evenly. Ideally you want medium to large carrots, and definitely do not use baby carrots for this recipe.
How do I avoid burning my grilled carrots?
This recipe uses both direct and indirect heat to coax those carrots to tender submission without burning them to a crispy. You start by cooking them over direct heat to get a little char, and then finish them on the cool side of the grill until they’re cooked to your liking.
What does cardamom taste like?
Cardamom is a spice from Southern India. It can be sweet, savory, and a little spicy at the same time. It boasts a warm herbal fragrance with hints of citrus, eucalyptus, mint, and pepper. Cardamom is found in things like Turkish coffee and masala (spiced) chai – so if you enjoy chai lattes from that famous coffee place with the fish lady on the logo, you have an appreciation for cardamom.
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter
- 6 cardamom pods crushed
- 1 large orange grated zest and juice
- 1 3/4 pounds carrots about 3/4-inch (18-mm) thick (about a dozen carrots)
- Olive oil for cooking
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the grill for direct/indirect cooking over medium heat (about 400°F or 200°C).
- In a small saucepan placed on the grill as it preheats (or on low heat on your stovetop), melt the butter and then add the cardamom pods, the orange zest, and half the orange juice. Cook the butter very slowly for 5 minutes to infuse it with the cardamom and orange, then remove from the heat and reserve in a warm spot.
- Wash the carrots and give them a subtle scrub if needed but don’t peel them. Toss them on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper, and then toss or rub them so they’re completely coated.
- Place the carrots on the grill over direct heat. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning regularly, until the carrots are lightly charred and started to caramelize.
- Carefully brush the carrots all over with some of the infused butter and move them to the indirect heat zone. Cook for 4 minutes, then brush with more of the butter. If your carrots are quite thick, you may want to close the grill lid.
- Repeat once or twice more until the carrots are glazed, tender, nicely caramelized, and as charred as you please. You may wish to move the carrots so that the thick ends are more over direct heat while the thin tips are over indirect heat.
- Squeeze with the rest of the orange juice and serve straightaway.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I’d never considered grilled carrots but I’m hooked! A little sweet, a little smoky, and a touch of lovely cardamom. What’s not to love about this flavor combo?
I used hardwood natural charcoal so that lights quite quickly compared to charcoal briquettes. I don’t have a heat setting but it was pretty toasty on the direct heat side of the grill. During the first 5 minutes of cooking my carrots, I started to see some nice black spots developing but they developed most of their color in the latter part of cooking.
I brushed with butter and moved to indirect. I also closed the lid to trap more heat. No issues with burning and I actually had to move the fat ends of the carrots back to the direct side of the heat while leaving the tips pointed towards the cool side.
I did have the occasional flare-up issue from all the melted butter. I garnished the grilled carrots with extra sea salt and cracked pepper. These were pretty kick butt!
I ate some of these immediately (and enjoyed them very much) and threw the rest in a big resealable bag with a fork and took off on a road trip. I’m sure I looked like a crazy person eating whole roasted carrots with a fork while driving down the highway but they were just so tasty!
I ate some the second day and was disappointed that the cardamom and orange flavor was by that point totally overwhelmed by the smoky flavor. They were still good but not like the day before.
I think when I make these again I may add a touch of harissa to the butter and perhaps make a finishing salt with extra orange zest and toasted ground cardamom to sprinkle on them when they come off the grill.
Originally published on June 21, 2017
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Wow! I never expected carrots to taste this good, grilled or otherwise. The fact that they can be made on the grill was an added summer bonus. A solid vegetable win.