This glazed sweet carrots recipe is an easy, indulgent side dish that transforms a humble carrot into a sweet and savory show-stopper. It’s the kind of dish that effortlessly shares the spotlight with your holiday dinner spread. Yet, it’s simple enough to enjoy with everyday meals.
Have you ever been completely underwhelmed by a boiled or steamed carrot? Yep, me too. We deserve better. And our carrots do, too!
This recipe elevates the everyday into something truly special. The carrots simmer in a fragrant fresh orange juice and vegetable stock broth until tender. Then a drizzle of runny honey is added to form a delicious glossy glaze.
For more delicious side dishes, check out this roasted butternut squash, colcannon, and creamy cauliflower mash. And, if you want to get more greens into your diet, my five ways with broccolini is a great place to start.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Vibrant and flavorful. This easy carrot side dish is so simple, yet it’s so tasty that you’ll never want to eat plain carrots again. The citrusy tang of orange and the subtle sweetness of honey are perfectly balanced by the earthy depth of cumin and garlic. The result is a side dish that’s sweet, savory, and oh-so-satisfying.
- Make ahead: You can make honey-glazed carrots ahead of time, and they’ll taste just as good reheated. This makes them perfect for meal prep or hassle-free entertaining.
- Crowd-pleaser: These carrots are a must-have on my holiday table as they’re always such a popular side dish.
- Fresh Carrots: I like to use Heirloom carrots for their beautiful flavor and vibrant rainbow colors. But you can use regular orange carrots, no problem!
- Runny Honey: A natural sweetener for a sticky, glossy glaze.
- Orange: For citrusy freshness.
- Cumin: To bring out the sweetness of the carrots and add a subtle warmth.
- Whole Garlic Cloves: Provide a savory balance.
- Fresh Thyme: Adds a fragrant, earthy flavor to the carrots.
- Vegetable Stock or Vegetable Broth: A delicious way to provide steam for perfectly tender carrots.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Adds a touch of richness to the glaze without being too heavy.
- Sea Salt Flakes: Makes the flavors pop.
- Black Pepper: For a little extra heat.
Here’s how to make this delicious side dish in four simple steps:
These visual step-by-step instructions provide a quick overview of the recipe. You can find the recipe card with the full list of ingredients and detailed instructions at the bottom of this post. ⇩
1: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat, add the ground cumin, and toast for 1 minute until fragrant.
2: Add the orange juice, orange zest, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock (or water) to the pan and stir until combined. Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium and gently simmer.
3: Carefully place carrots into the simmering liquid. Give them a toss in the and then throw in the thyme sprigs. Add the lid and steam for 15 minutes, or until the carrots soften but still have a nice bite.
4: Remove the lid from the pan, add the honey, and cook the sweet liquid for about 5 minutes or until it becomes thick and syrupy. Carefully remove the thyme sprigs and garlic skins. Then, serve and enjoy!
Choose the right pan. A heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan that provides even heat distribution is ideal. You will also need a lid to steam the carrots to perfection.
Select fresh carrots. Any kind of carrots will work well. Just be sure to opt for fresh, firm carrots. Steer clear of carrots that have started to lose their firmness.
Spend a little time on prep. Scrub the carrots under cold running water with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt and debris. I don’t bother peeling the carrots if they are in good condition, but you can certainly peel them if you’d prefer. I like to use whole carrots in this dish, but it’s best to slice any larger carrots in half lengthwise so all the carrots are a similar size for even cooking.
Test for doneness. To check if the carrots are done, insert a fork or knife into one of the larger pieces. They should be tender but still have a slight bite. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become mushy.
This recipe is my absolute favorite way to serve carrots. But I get it. Sometimes, you need to switch things up based on the ingredients you have at hand. So let me help you out.
- Fresh Carrots: While heirloom carrots have a unique flavor and appearance, regular carrots can be used as a substitute without compromising the dish’s overall taste. Regular carrots also make this a very inexpensive side dish.
- Honey: Maple syrup or agave nectar are good substitutes for honey to create a sweet glaze.
- Cumin: You can substitute cumin with ground coriander or cinnamon for a flavor twist. Both of these options bring a pleasant warmth to the dish.
- Orange: If you don’t have a fresh orange, you can use pure orange juice in a pinch. Alternatively, you can use tangerine or mandarin juice and zest for a similar citrusy flavor.
- Fresh Thyme: You can replace fresh thyme with a generous pinch of dried thyme or other fresh herbs like rosemary or sage if you prefer their flavors.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Butter or ghee can be used as substitutes for extra virgin olive oil. Each will give you a slightly different flavor.
- Vegan Glazed Carrots: Substitute honey with maple syrup, agave nectar, or another vegan-friendly sweetener of your choice.
- Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots: If you love the taste of brown sugar-glazed carrots, you could replace the honey in this recipe with a tablespoon of coconut sugar. It has a similar vibe to dark brown sugar with its caramel-like flavor.
Health Benefits of Carrots
Whatever color they come in, carrots are bursting at the seams with good stuff, supporting our health in many ways. For example:
Carrots contain polyphenols, powerful antioxidants known to have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. Plus, they may even lend a hand in helping reduce cholesterol levels and maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Purple and orange carrots are abundant in beta-carotene, a nutrient our body cleverly converts into vitamin A or retinol. This vitamin supports various aspects of our well-being as it’s needed for a strong immune system, healthy skin, good vision, and more!
Carrots, especially the vibrant orange ones, are packed with vitamin C, which plays an important role in bolstering the immune system. Vitamin C also aids collagen production, which helps keep skin looking healthy.
Whether you need a stellar side dish for your holiday meal or a comforting addition to an everyday family dinner, these carrots are always up for the task. Plus, they’re the ultimate secret weapon for getting your kids to embrace their veggies – making mealtime a win-win for everyone.
There are some ideas for you to enjoy these delicious honey-glazed carrots.
- Turkey: A great side dish for the holiday season, loaded with festive yet simple ingredients. Serve alongside your Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey with other holiday favorites like sage and onion stuffing, crispy roast potatoes, sausages wrapped in bacon, roast parsnips, braised red cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
- Pork Chops: Make busy weeknights easy with sweet glazed carrots and pork chops. The perfect balance of sweet veggies with a savory, meaty chop is something you’ll be looking forward to all day!
- Roast Chicken: Elevate your Sunday roast chicken with a twist on your everyday carrots.
- Grilled Salmon: Top the carrots with a fillet of grilled salmon and let the fish soak up the beautiful glaze.
- Quinoa Bowl: Create a satisfying vegetarian main dish with glazed carrots and quinoa.
- Couscous Bowl: Take your couscous bowl to a new level of deliciousness with hummus and a generous serving of glazed carrots.
There are so many different ways to dry this simple side dish. What will you try first? Let me know in the comments section.
Storage and Reheating
Refrigerate: Let the carrots cool to room temperature after cooking. Then, drain carrots if there’s any excess liquid and transfer them into an airtight container. Store them in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Microwave: Heat individual portions in a microwave-safe dish at medium power, stirring occasionally, until warm.
- Stovetop: Reheat the carrots in a skillet over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until warm.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the carrots to an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and warm until heated through.
Tip: If the glaze has lost its shine during storage, add a drizzle of honey or citrus juice to refresh the flavors before reheating.
This easy glazed carrots recipe is the best side dish for making ahead, especially if you’re short on time during busy evenings and want a quick and simple weeknight dinner. It’s also very helpful during holiday gatherings when you’ve got so many things going on.
You can prepare them a day or two in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Simply reheat the carrots gently to avoid overcooking or drying them out.
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Glazed Sweet Carrots Recipe with Honey and Orange
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- Measuring Spoons
- Large Frying Pan, with a lid
- Orange Zester
- Kitchen Spatula
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ cup (60 milliliters) low sodium vegetable stock, or water
- 1 orange, juice and zest
- 4 garlic cloves, skin on and squashed with the side of a knife
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 21 ounces (600 grams) heirloom carrots, washed and trimmed. No need to peel or chop.
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, to serve (optional)
- Prepare: Gather and prepare your ingredients.
- Cumin: Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground cumin and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Liquid: Add the vegetable stock, orange juice, orange zest, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir until combined. Turn the heat to high and bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium for a gentle simmer.
- Carrots: Carefully place the whole carrots into the pan. Give them a toss in the liquid, and then throw in the sprigs of thyme. Add the lid and steam for 15 minutes, or until the carrots soften but still have a nice bite. Stir roughly every 5 minutes so the liquid clings to the carrots rather than the bottom of the pan!
- Glaze: Remove the lid from the pan, add the honey, and cook the sweet liquid down until it becomes thick and syrupy ~ about 5 minutes.
- Serve: Carefully remove the thyme sprigs and garlic skins, as they will be hot. Place the carrots onto a serving plate and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley (optional). Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
Nutrition Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimated using an online nutrition calculator. For accuracy, we recommend you calculate using the exact ingredients and brands you used.