A few small tips make all the difference in making the BEST roasted carrots! Roasted at a high temperature, these carrots are perfectly tender with beautiful caramelized edges. And there are so many ways to flavor them, whether you like savory, sweet or spicy!
This simple vegan roasted carrots recipe makes a delicious, healthy side to serve with almost any entree, particularly meaty items.
If you've never been enchanted with boiled or steamed carrots, I hear you! For me, roasting is the way to go.
When roasted, carrots are transformed to a sweet, tender, and beautifully caramelized side dish that goes with nearly any entree (roast turkey breast is an obvious one). And I'll put them up there with my crispy fried brussels sprouts and roasted sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving sides. They're also perfect in a warm-your-belly carrot soup!
You can stick with my basic roasted carrot recipe, tossed in extra virgin olive oil and simply seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper, or go the extra mile and jazz the carrots up with more flavors of your choice (I have some ideas below).
How to roast carrots in the oven
Roasted carrots are super simple to make, and almost impossible to mess up. And you can flavor them so many ways depending on your mood or what you're serving along. Here are a few basic things to keep in mind:
I do peel my carrots before roasting, but that is not necessairy. If you choose not to peel them, be sure to scrub the carrots really well.
Which way to cut them? Almost any cut will work, as long as you keep the size of the cut pieces roughly the same so that they cook evenly (you don't want to end up with some carrots that are too mushy, while some are not cooked through.) I do tend to cut my carrots either into thick batons or larger oval discs.
For today's roasted carrot recipe, I cut the carrots on the diagonal into large oval discs (about 1-inch pieces.) I find this increases the surface area touching the hot pan, and gives the carrots more chance to get nicely tender and even caramelized
I like to coat my carrot slices in a bit of quality extra virgin olive oil (I used Private Reserve Greek EVOO). This is what helps them cook well and gain some color. A simple dash of kosher salt and black pepper begins the flavoring process.
I like to place the carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl, and using my hands, I just toss until the carrots are well combined. You can do this step right in your pan, but I find that starting in a mixing bowl gives me more leverage and helps ensure the carrots are evenly coated.
A hot oven is best suited for roasting vegetables like carrots. In this recipe, I roasted my carrots in a 400 degree F for about 20 to 30 minutes until they were perfectly tender and a bit caramelized.
Be sure to check the carrots part-way through and flip them over for even coloring on both sides.
Should you cover vegetables when roasting?
If you're aiming for perfectly tender roasted veggies with those perfectly charred or caramlized parts, do not cover them while roasting. (There are a couple of exceptions including roasted cauliflower, which does benefit from covering for a few minutes to allow the steam to cook the inside of the larger florets first. But small-cut carrots and baby carrots do not need to be covered).
And as mentioned earlier, higher-heat oven is best for roasted vegetables, the sweet spot is somewhere between 400 and 425 degrees F (ovens do vary a little). Another important thing to remember, be sure to spread the carrots in one single layer on a large pan. And do flip them partway through to get even coloring on both side.
I use this cast iron pan (affiliate). The added benefit of cast iron is that it provides even, steady heat. But a rimmed sheetpan is also great here!
Flavor variations: savory or sweet
The sky is the limit as far as what flavors you can add to your roasted carrots. And the beautiful thing about this basic recipe is that the carrots are simply roasted with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, allowing you to add what spices and flavors you like after they've been roasted...(hit them up with flavor while they're still warm through).
This time, I went for a bit of a Moroccan twist and added fresh minced garlic, and pinch of turmeric and harissa spice blend. Harissa is such a beautiful, warm blend of three types of chili along with sumac, caraway, fennel, cumin, coriander, garlic and peppermint. It adds a nice kick, but it is not too spicy or overwhelming. (Learn more here.)
To finish things up, I squeezed a little bit of fresh lime juice and tossed in some fresh parsley. Together, the lime juice and parsley really enhanced the flavor and added some brightness here.
Like them sweet? Try a combination of ground cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, and brown sugar or a drizzle of warm honey instead.
Serve them with
- Roast Turkey Breast
- Roast Chicken
- Easy Lemon Chicken
- Lamb Chops or Boneless Leg of Lamb
- Slow Roasted Salmon
Leftovers & storage
Store cooked carrots in the fridge in a shallow container that is tightly sealed. They should last somewhere between 3 to 5 days.
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Simple Roasted Carrots Recipe
- 2 lb carrots pealed and cut on the diagonal
- Extra virgin olive oil I used Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Heat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the sliced carrots in a large mixing bowl, and add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tbsp or so.) Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to combine.
- Transfer the carrots to a baking pan, making sure to spread them well in one single layer.
- Roast in the heated oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized. Check part-way through and turn carrots over to get even color on both sides.)
- Remove from oven. Transfer the roasted carrots to a serving bowl. Here, you can add flavor to your liking. To follow the recipe, season with turmeric and harissa spice blend. If you like, add a little minced garlic and a splash of lime juice. Toss to combine. Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Falvor Variations: Once carrots are roasted, you can play with flavors as you like. I like savory warm flavors with roasted carrots, that's why I used turmeric and harissa. I have also used a combination of cumin and coriander with a little oregano. And if you're in the mood for something on the sweet side, add a dash of cinnamon with nutmeg and a drizzle of warm honey to your roasted carrots.
- Visit our online shop to browse our quality olive oils, all-natural and organic spices and more.
*This post originally appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2016 and has recently been updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!