Balsamic Roasted Carrots

These caramelized Oven Roasted Carrots are the melt-in-your-mouth side of your dreams with only 15 minutes of prep!

This Roasted Carrots recipe is a healthy, delicious, shockingly addictive dish perfect for every meal from weeknight dinner to Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas!  The Roasted Carrots are sweet, savory and tangy, glazed in a masterful herbaceous balsamic honey sauce then roasted to caramelized tender perfection.  Best of all, these Balsamic Roasted Carrots taste gourmet but can be prepped in minutes with only ONE bowl to clean. Serve them alongside your favorite chicken and gravy, beef and noodles or pork tenderloin, for a low maintenance, high reward dinner everyone will swoon over.  

Roasting vegetables is the most effect way to add flavor! If you’re looking for more easy vegetable sides, don’t miss honey roasted carrots, roasted cauliflower, roasted asparagus or roasted broccoli.

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HOW TO roast CARROTS VIDEO

 
up close of roasted carrots on a baking sheet garnished by parsley

ROASTED CARROTS recipe

These Balsamic Roasted Carrots will blow you away.  They are eat-off-the-baking-sheet addicting and guaranteed to become your go-to easy side dish.

  why this recipe works:

  • Concentrated flavor:  If you’ve been underwhelmed by carrots in the past, you just didn’t have the right recipe or preparation! Roasting carrots enhances their natural sweetness and concentrates their flavors.  The outsides caramelize (love those tapered ends!) while the insides become spoon tender, all while drinking up the intoxicating balsamic sauce.
  • The best balsamic sauce:  The Oven Roasted Carrots are bathed in the most irresistible balsamic glaze that’s not too sweet and not too tangy – but just right.  It’s also incredibly easy to customize!  A rainbow of herbs rounds out the complex flavor profile so every bite sings of flavor.  The carrots drink up the sauce while they tenderize and it reduces into a glaze to cling to every nook and cranny.  
  • Pantry friendly:  Carrots are always in season and will last for three to four weeks in the fridge so you can make this recipe any time, or stock up on carrots to make it multiple times!  The glaze is also made with pantry friendly ingredients of only olive oil, balsamic, honey and dried herbs.
  • Budget friendly: Carrots are one of the most affordable types of produce but taste like a million bucks when oven roasted with the balsamic sauce.
  • They’re mostly hand’s off:  Enlist the help of your kids or spouse to peel the carrots and then it’s mostly hand’s off cruising from there, giving you time to prep the rest of your meal.
  • Easy to make: First you’ll toss the carrots with some olive oil and roast for 20 minutes, then toss them with the balsamic sauce and roast until tender.  Once it’s time to serve, you’ll toss with one more tablespoon of balsamic and honey to really make the flavors shine. 
  • Nutritious:  This is one side dish you can feel good about eating – and love eating at the same time.  Carrots are packed with vitamins and nutrients, specifically beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.  This recipe also doesn’t contain any butter but is packed with flavor.
  • Ideal for transporting/entertaining: While nothing beats steaming hot roasted carrots, these Balsamic Roasted Carrots still taste amazing at room temperature, so they keep and/or transport perfectly if need be. Easy never tasted so gourmet.
picking up oven roasted carrots with a spatula to serve

WHAT CARROTS ARE BEST FOR ROASTing?

You can make oven roasted carrots with any carrots as long as they are cut correctly (more to follow).  That being said, I do have a hierarchy of favorite carrots for roasting:

True Baby Carrots/Young Thin Carrots: 

Baby carrots are not to be confused with baby-cut carrots, which are small chunks of coreless carrots. True baby carrots are young, thin, carrots harvested before reaching maturity and sold at that smaller size. I find them superior in texture and taste because they are usually sweeter and more tender than full-grown carrots and never tough or woody because they have a much smaller central core. 

True baby carrots are often found in the organic section of your grocery store.  Sometimes they come in multi-colors which makes for beautiful presentation.  Baby carrots will come with the tops on if you purchase them in the organic section.  I like to trim the tops but not cut them off completely, just for presentations sake.

Generic Medium Carrots:

When you think of a generic carrot, chances are you’re thinking of a Danvers type. They are a heirloom carrot which means they require less time to roast. Select carrots of similar size so you don’t end up with crunchy carrots mixed with tender carrots. To ensure uniform carrots, it’s best to hand pick them if you have the option, instead of grabbing a bag.

Large Carrots:  

Large, mature carrots can be delicious but can also bake up chalky or woody, so adjust your expectations. You’ll need to slice the extra-large carrots in half lengthwise and adjust cooking time.  You will know when the carrots are done because they will be fork tender.

Baby Cut Carrots:  

Baby-cut carrots that come in 2-inch pieces would be my last choice for oven roasted carrots.  Baby-cut carrots are core/middle parts cut from longer carrots, specifically bred close together so they are thinner.  Maybe it’s because they’re grown packed together, maybe its because they’re coreless, maybe it’s the chlorine bath, maybe it’s that they’re pre-peeled, but I find baby-cut carrots pretty flavorless and inferior for roasting. I do not recommend them.  

roasted carrot recipe made with young thin carrots on a baking sheet

Do I need to cut OVEN ROASTED CARROTS?

You do not need to cut baby carrots for roasting.  They are thin enough to caramelize and tenderize in about 45 minutes.  If you use larger carrots, then I suggest cutting them for both maximum surface caramelization and even roasting. 

If the carrots are extra large/wide, slice them in thirds.  You may want to slice the top third in half lengthwise and  leave the bottom two-thirds whole.  

If you want the carrots to cook in a shorter amount of time, then cut your carrots into 1 ½-inch long pieces, toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the balsamic sauce and roast for just 20 to 25 minutes.

Roasted carrots recipe ingredients

This Roasted Carrots recipe is made with everyday pantry friendly ingredients so you can make them any time! In addition to carrots, you will need (full recipe measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Olive oil:  The carrots are first tossed with heart healthy olive oil and roasted for 20 minutes before adding the balsamic sauce.  The olive oil promotes caramelization and prevents the carrots from drying out or burning. Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Balsamic vinegar: The highest quality balsamic vinegars (super pricy) are not necessary in this recipe and should be reserved for finishing dishes. Less expensive but still quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena I.G.P. is what you want to use for everyday cooking in sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. You can read all about balsamic vinegar in this post. To identify, I.G.P. should clearly be labeled and marked with the yellow-and-blue I.G.P. stamp (it shows two hillsides in a ring of stars). The vinegar can be designated “aged” if it has fermented for more than three years – a great sign. Some reputable brands include: ColavitaDue Vittorie Oro Gold, Oliviers & Co and Giuseppe Giusti Gran Deposito.
  • Honey: Mild clover honey balances out the tangy balsamic. 
  • Seasonings: Dried rosemary, thyme, dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper inject the sauce with a rainbow of flavor.  You are welcome to swap in your favorite seasonings or seasoning blend as well.

HOW TO cook ROASTED CARROTS

Roasted Carrots are so easy to make!  The most time-consuming prep work is peeling the carrots (which is optional and can be done ahead of time), then all that’s left is to toss them in olive oil and balsamic sauce.  Let’s take a closer look at how to make the these Balsamic Roasted Carrots (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Step 1:  Roast Carrots with Olive Oil.  The carrots need a head start in the oven before adding the balsamic sauce otherwise it caramelizes a little too much. So first, add the carrots to a greased foil lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup) and coat with 2 tablespoons olive.  Spread the carrots into an even layer without overlapping and roast for 20 minutes.
showing how to roast by coating in olive oil and spreading into an even layer to roast in the oven
  • Step 2:  Make the Balsamic Sauce.  While the carrots are roasting, whisk together in a small bowl: 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil and all seasonings.
showing how to make roasted carrots by making whisking together balsamic sauce in a glass bowl
  • Step 3:  Add Balsamic Sauce.  After 20 minutes, pour the Balsamic Sauce over the carrots and toss until evenly coated.  Spread the carrots back into an even layer. 
showing how to cook roasted carrots by tossing in balsamic sauce
  • Step 4:  Finish Roasting.  Bake an additional 10-25 minutes or until fork tender.
showing how to roast carrots by roasting in balsamic sauce until tender

Step 5:  Add Finishing Sauce. Whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey in the same bowl you used for the balsamic sauce.  Pour over the carrots and stir to evenly coat.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste; dig in!

showing how to roast carrots in the oven by cooking until tender then tossing with honey and balsamic

How long does it take to roast carrots in the oven?

Heirloom carrot varieties will roast in as little as 25 minutes total, but most carrots are denser and typically require 35 to 45 minutes.  Fresh carrots will require more time, older carrots will require less time.  You’ll know the carrots are done when they are fork tender. If they aren’t as tender as you’d like in the allotted baking time, then just pop them back in the oven.

Expert Tips for oven roasted carrots

  • Use any carrots.  You can use any carrots for this recipe, just be prepare do adjust the baking time. Cut larger carrots into thirds.   
  • Dry carrots: After you peel and rinse the carrots, dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel so they can caramelize.  Any leftover moisture will inhibit the roasting process.
  • Bake at high heat.  Roast the carrots at 425 degrees F.  This is the ideal temperature to roast carrots for a tender inside with extra surface caramelization which means extra nutty flavor.  Many recipes use a lower temperature which will still cook the carrots but won’t bring that beautiful color and flavor.  
  • Roast carrots in an even layer.  Don’t be tempted to overlap the carrots just to squeeze more in.  The carrots need to be spread in an even layer so their surfaces are touching the hot pan in order to caramelize. If you are scaling up the recipe, you will need to bake the carrots on two baking sheets.
  • Be flexible with baking times.  I have made this recipe multiple times and the roasting time is always different because no batch of carrots is the same.  The good news – carrots are not temperamental.  If you undercook them – just pop back in the oven.  If you overcook them slightly, they will just become more tender.
tossing oven roasted carrots in balsamic sauce

Roasted carrots recipe variations

Oven Roasted Carrots are fabulous because they are a chameleon when it comes to seasonings. You can go as simple as olive oil, salt and pepper or add any seasonings or sauces you like.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Mix up seasonings:  Try Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, Butter Garlic seasoning (I’m obsessed with Kinder’s Master Salt), Cajun seasoning, Creole seasoning, tarragon, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.
  • Honey Roasted Carrots: Roast carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper and other desired seasonings such as thyme and rosemary for 20 minutes. Toss with 2 tablespoons of honey mixed with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast an additional 15-25 minutes or until tender.
  • Parmesan Roasted Carrots. Roast carrots with olive oil, Italian seasonings, salt and pepper until tender, 35-45 minutes.  Sprinkle the carrots with 2-3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan during the last few minutes of roasting.
  • Pesto Roasted Carrots:  Roast carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender, 35-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and toss with a couple tablespoons of pesto and a splash of lemon juice.
  • Cinnamon Maple Roasted Carrots:  Whisk together ⅓ cup pure maple syrup, ¼ cup light brown sugar, ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon, salt and pepper and pour it over the carrots.  Dot the carrots with 5 tablespoons cubed butter.  You can also add a dash of cayenne pepper, cumin and/or chili powder. Roast until tender, 35-45 minutes.
  • Dijon Maple Butter Roasted Carrots:  Roast carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender, 35-45 minutes.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon and 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup.  Toss the roasted carrots with sauce once they’re tender.
  • Ginger Soy Roasted Carrots: Roast carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper for 20 minutes.  Whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or a heaping ¼ teaspoon ground ginger.  Remove the carrots from the oven, toss with the sauce and continue to roast until tender. 
  • Sriracha Honey Roasted Carrots: Roast carrots with olive oil, salt and pepper until tender, 35-45 minutes.  Whisk 1 tablespoon honey with ½ tablespoon sriracha and toss with tender carrots. 
  • Cotija Lime Roasted Carrots:  Toss the carrots with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, ground cumin and a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkling of Cotija cheese before baking. Roast until tender, 35-45 minutes. 
  • Curry Roasted Carrots:  Roast carrots with olive oil, 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper until tender, 35-45 minutes. 
top view of oven roasted carrots showing how tender they are

CAN I MAKE roasted carrots AHEAD OF TIME?

Leftover Roasted Carrots are very tasty reheated, but are the very best piping hot out of the oven.  If you want to prep some of the recipe ahead of time, here are some options:

  • Peel, rinse and dry carrots; refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Go one step further and line the cleaned carrots on a greased, foil lined baking sheet and toss the carrots with olive oil, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Whisk the balsamic sauce ingredients together and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • Bake the carrots for 20 minutes, toss with sauce, let cool, cover and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, pop back in the oven and bake until tender.  Don’t forget to finish with the extra honey and balsamic!

How to store and reheat

  • To Store: Store roasted carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat in the Microwave:  Microwave at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
  • To Reheat in the Oven:  Arrange carrots in a single layer on a lightly greased, foil lined baking sheet. Reheat at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or just until warmed through.
  • To Reheat on the Stove:   Heat a light drizzle of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of water in a nonstick skillet.  Add carrots, cover and heat over medium-low until warmed though, stirring and replacing the lid occasionally. 

WHAT SHOULD I SERVE WITH ROASTED CARROTS?

These Balsamic Roasted Carrots are not only easy, but a delicious side to SO many meals!  They go well with everything from beef to chicken to pork.  Here are a few ideas:

scooping up roasted carrot recipe with a spatula to serve

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need to peel carrots for roasting?

You do not need to peel carrots for roasting. The carrot peel is safe to eat once scrubbed clean so you can leave the peel on if you like. I prefer to peel the carrots for aesthetic reasons, otherwise they look a little too rustic for my taste. 

Can I Roast Other Vegetables with the Carrots?

Absolutely!  Other root vegetable such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips and butternut squash.  You may want to cube the vegetables into 1-inch pieces.  Roast at 425 for 45 minutes or until tender.

Can I Make This Recipe with Baby Carrots?

I do not suggest making this recipe with baby-cut carrots because they are bland in comparison to baby carrots (young carrots) or regular carrots.  If you do decide to use baby-cut carrots, add the balsamic sauce at the beginning and roast closer to 20-25 minutes.

How Long Do Carrots Need to Roast?

Carrot roasting time will depend on their size and their variety.  Most medium carrots will require approximately 35 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees F.  If you have thinner carrots, they will take closer to 25 minutes, thicker carrots, closer to 45 minutes. 

What are the benefits of eating carrots?

Carrots are rich in antioxidants, minerals (specifically potassium) vitamins (specifically vitamins K1 and A) and fiber.  Carrots are considered a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to improved eye health, lower cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease.  Evidence suggests they may help also protect against several types of cancers such as prostate cancer, colon cancer and gastric cancer.

oven roasted carrots served in a white dish

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picking up oven roasted carrots with a spatula to serve

Balsamic Roasted Carrots

This Roasted Carrots recipe is a healthy, delicious, shockingly addictive side perfect for every meal from weeknight dinner to Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas!  The Roasted Carrots are sweet, savory and tangy, glazed in a masterful herbaceous balsamic honey sauce then roasted to caramelized tender perfection.  Best of all, these Balsamic Roasted Carrots taste gourmet but can be prepped in minutes with only ONE bowl to clean. Serve them alongside your favorite chicken and gravy, beef and noodles or pork tenderloin, for a low maintenance, high reward dinner everyone will swoon over.  
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins

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Ingredients

  • 2 pounds thin/baby carrots peeled, NOT baby-CUT carrots (see notes)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 1 tsp EACH dried thyme, garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp EACH rosemary (crushed), dried oregano, onion powder, paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add carrots and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil until evenly coated. Spread into an even layer without overlapping. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile:
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, and all seasonings.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the carrots from the oven. Pour sauce over carrots and toss until evenly coated. Spread back int an even layer. Bake an additional 15-25 minutes or until for tender. (Heirloom carrot varieties will roast in as little as 30 minutes total, but most carrots are denser and typically require 35 to 45 minutes total. Fresh carrots will require more time, older carrots will require less time.)
  • Remove from the oven. Whisk together 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon honey and pour over carrots; stir to evenly coat. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

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Notes

  • Baby Carrots: Baby carrots are not to be confused with flavorless, not recommended baby-cut carrots, which are small chunks of coreless carrots. True baby carrots are young, thin, carrots (as pictured) harvested before reaching maturity and sold at that smaller size. True baby carrots are often found in the organic section of your grocery store. 
  • Carrot options: That being said, you can use any carrots for this recipe! If you want to use larger carrots, cut them into thirds then cut their thick part in half lengthwise to create similar-sized carrot chunks.  If using smaller carrots, you can leave them whole.  Take note that generic carrots are often heirloom carrots and may take less time took.  Carrots are done when they are fork tender or roast longer for more caramelization.

Make Ahead

Leftover carrots are delicious reheated or you can prep some of the recipe ahead of time.  Here are some options:
  • Peel, rinse and dry carrots; refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Go one step further and line the cleaned carrots on a greased, foil lined baking sheet and toss the carrots with olive oil, cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Whisk the balsamic sauce ingredients together and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • Bake the carrots for 20 minutes, toss with sauce, let cool, cover and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, pop back in the oven and bake until tender.  Don’t forget to finish with the extra honey and balsamic!

How to store and reheat

  • To Store: Store roasted carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat in the Microwave:  Microwave at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
  • To Reheat in the Oven:  Arrange carrots in a single layer on a lightly greased, foil lined baking sheet. Reheat at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or just until warmed through.
  • To Reheat on the Stove:   Heat a light drizzle of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of water in a nonstick skillet.  Add carrots, cover and heat over medium-low until warmed though, stirring and replacing the lid occasionally. 

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