These candied carrots are lightly seared in olive oil then tossed in honey, turning out sweet veggies that taste almost like candy…even to picky eaters of all ages. Given that it requires only four ingredients and is ready in just 15 minutes, it’s our go-to side dish.
Sometimes carrots just aren’t quite as naturally sweet as we’d like them to be. This kid-tested, adult-approved tactic from a mom-turned-recipe-developer handily tends to that disappointing little gaffe on the part of Mother Nature by adding a touch of honey, making them taste almost like candy to picky eaters of all ages.–David Leite
Why our testers loved this
Our testers are calling this candied carrots recipe an “excellent” and “supremely easy and most delicious” way to prepare carrots. We can’t argue with that.
Notes on ingredients
- Carrots–Slender or baby carrots are ideal here because they cook quickly and are naturally sweet. If you can’t get them, cut regular carrots into smaller sticks, roughly the size of a young carrot. Don’t use baby-cut carrots.
- Honey–Use mild-flavored honey for these carrots so that the flavor of the carrot shines through. Strong honey, such as buckwheat or chestnut will be too overpowering.
How to make this recipe
- Peel the carrots and remove any leafy tops. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook until slightly softened.
- Drizzle the carrots with honey and cook until tender. Season with salt and transfer to a serving bowl or platter.
What’s the best oil for cooking vegetables?
There are times when you want a neutral or mild oil but for cooking vegetables in a recipe that only has a few ingredients, we urge you to go with something that has its own flavor. Unlike practically flavorless oils (like sunflower or canola) you may want to consider an oil that’s still mild yet slightly more robust in taste, such as olive oil or even ghee.
I can’t find baby carrots. Can I use regular ones?
Yes. Choose evenly sized carrots, then cut them into sticks roughly the size of a young carrot. Stay away from the baby-cut carrots that you find in the produce fridge at the supermarket.
What should I serve with these carrots?
These easy candied carrots are as welcome at a holiday meal as they are on a regular weeknight. Pair them with any type of protein, such as roasted fresh ham, cedar plank salmon, or slow-roasted lamb, and a scoop of olive oil mashed potatoes.
- Store leftover carrots in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Save your carrot tops for making carrot top pesto.
- This candied carrots recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
More great carrot recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
- 1 pound slender or baby (not baby-cut) carrots preferably in a variety of colors
- 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Peel the carrots, trim the leafy tops, and leave the carrots whole.
- In a large skillet, preferably nonstick, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the carrots and cook, shaking the pan often to ensure they cook evenly, for 5 minutes. The carrots should be somewhat softened but not yet tender throughout.
- Drizzle with the honey, toss to coat evenly, and continue to cook until just tender, 2 minutes or more, depending on the size.
- Season the carrots with the salt, transfer to a platter, and watch them disappear.
- Storage and reheating–Store leftover carrots in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Carrot tops–Save your carrot tops for making carrot top pesto.
- Dietary–This candied carrots recipe is suitable for gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
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
This is an excellent way to prepare carrots, especially carrots lacking farm-fresh sweetness. I couldn’t find baby carrots, but had some standard supermarket carrots on hand. I cut these into carrot-stick size.
It only took seven minutes for them to cook. The texture was perfect; the carrots were tender, but not at all mushy. The honey added sweetness that was not overpowering but spot-on. They were truly delicious.
This candied carrots recipe was extremely easy to make and turned out quite well. I halved the recipe and used regular carrots, which I cut into wedges. The initial cooking time took an extra two to three minutes, because the wedges were a bit thicker than the baby carrots specified in the recipe.
My carrots caramelized a bit more than the carrots in the photograph. This gave them a nice rich flavor and they were perfectly tender.
Boy, was this recipe a welcome addition to our dinner menu last night. This was a beautiful side dish, both visually and taste-wise.
The grocery store I go to (the wonderful Publix!) had six-ounce bags of these gorgeous, multi-colored baby carrots already peeled and the stems trimmed, so this was an even quicker side dish to make than I originally thought.
I love this type of recipe, because it accentuates the already sweet nature of the baby carrots by adding the honey—and offsetting that with a sprinkling of salt at the end. Delightful! This is my favorite kind of recipe, because it is all about fresh produce and appreciating simple ingredients.
The only thing I would change would be the cooking time. It actually took more like eight to ten minutes for the larger carrots in the pan to get soft.
This is a simple weeknight recipe for candied carrots that’s pretty tasty, and you can expand it to your liking, such as adding certain herbs for example. It literally does not take any time and is a good way to eat your veggies.
What a simple recipe with only four ingredients. This was a great excuse, although I shouldn’t need one, to buy a bunch of beautiful baby carrots in a multitude of colors. I think that the quality of the ingredients one uses is always important, but especially so in a recipe with such a short ingredient list.
Most of the candied carrots were done after the first five minutes of cooking. The purple ones, however, were larger than the others. I didn’t want the smaller carrots to overcook, so I took them out of the pan and then let the purple carrots continue to cook.
They needed another three minutes to start to get to where I wanted them to be. I then put the other carrots back into the pan, and added the honey.
This was visually a lovely dish and a tasty one as well. I was going to say that it would be wonderful as a side dish to a roast chicken, but as I think of other roasted and braised meat dishes, I can’t think of one that this would not be good with. It sure went well with our roasted bone-in rib eye.
Here’s a carrot dish to please even non-carrot (or non-root-vegetable) lovers! Serves four to six?! I think it’ll be less! After the first bite, plan on bigger servings all around.
Because it’s winter in Chicago, we don’t at present have baby carrots accessible, much less baby carrots in multi-colored hues; however, I was able to locate slim young carrots in a bunch with the tops still attached, a pretty good alternative, I think.
Although the recipe states to peel the carrots, and I did, per the instructions, I wouldn’t do so again. The young tender carrots would have looked better,( i.e., more natural) and I believe they are unpeeled in the accompanying photograph.
I thought about cutting the carrots in half to make them shorter, but decided to keep them whole, per the directions in step one. I used a non-stick skillet, but think that the well-seasoned cast iron would also work just fine.
Even with my carrot substitution as noted, the five-minute initial cooking time was close to accurate, maybe even a bit on the long side. I’d go slightly less the next time, if my carrots were of similar size.
In addition to shaking my pan, I also used a spatula to move the carrots around. After drizzling the honey, I cooked on the short end of the two to three minutes, yet my carrots browned more than the ones pictured. The juxtaposition of the sweetness from the honey and the salt seasoning that follows creates an entirely appealing flavor profile combo, and it’s hard to stop eating them.
These serve equally well as a weeknight treat or dressed up for company. They’re as crowd-pleasing as oven-roasted vegetables, but take next to no time to prepare and cook, and they don’t even require pre-heating the oven!
Note also the suggestion to try this recipe with any other good-looking root vegetable. Here my suggestion would be that parsnips would take very well to this treatment and would add a nice color counterpoint to the dish, with the combination of the orange carrots and cream-colored parsnips.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you’re not a fan of cooked carrots, this recipe will make you one. This is a supremely easy and most delicious way of making carrots. The roasting and the honey intensify the sweetness of the carrots. Pairs well with ham, pork, or lamb.