How to glaze carrots

by admin on May 25, 2007 · 11 comments

(for step-by-step instructions on how to glaze carrots, check out the post below, or take a look at our simple glazed carrots recipe on

I learned how to glaze carrots on a ski trip to Utah I took with a girlfriend and her family. A week before the trip, I broke my hand during a Christmas party fistfight with my cousin (long story), so I wasn’t able to do much skiing. I tried to make up for it by being useful, helping out with meals where I could.

My then-girlfriend’s mother loved to cook and talk about cooking. She walked me through the simple steps for an old-school glazing, and the results were absurdly pleasing. The only glazed carrots I’d ever had were the saccharine lumps from buffet lines and meat-and-threes in Alabama. Eaten right out of the pan, these were tart and sweet (she’d added apple juice), slightly caramelized with the hint of butter cut by the generous amount of ground pepper she used.

We do it a little differently now, having found a modification of James Peterson’s classic approach to be the best.

First, peel four carrots and chop into 2-inch pieces. The pieces won’t be the same thickness, but that’s okay — you’ll just have more texture in the finished dish.

Next, in a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.

When the foam subsides, add the carrots and shake the pan to coat the carrots. I like to let the carrots sit and cook half a minute or so before moving on. Up to you. Season the carrots lightly with kosher salt and ground black pepper, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar over them. Shake the pan to coat the carrots, then add enough water to come halfway up the carrots. (Don’t use much more than 1/2 cup though or you’ll have too much water left in the pan.)

Cover the pan and cook the carrots for 10 minutes or so.

Uncover the pan and let the remaining moisture evaporate. When it does, let the carrots cook on the bottom of the pan, rolling them to brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add 1 tablespoon of water to help unlodge the flavorful brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Swirl to cover the carrots with the glaze and cook a minute more.

Eat. Love. Repeat with other root vegetables.

Recipe: Simple Glazed Carrots (Cookthink)
Recipe: Glazed Parsnips (Cookthink)
Recipe: Glazed Turnips (Cookthink)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

brys May 25, 2007 at 9:46 am

Try this with radishes, too. And parsnips, pearl onions, sweet potatoes, turnips . . .

lokey May 25, 2007 at 10:35 am

ive had very delicious success using a combo of brown sugar, butter, orange juice and orange rind. Mmmmm…

Anne May 26, 2007 at 3:17 pm

this looks absolutely beautiful. i have to get over my fear of putting butter and sugar onto vegetables. it just seems like it would be a sin.

- anne, intern

shuna fish lydon May 27, 2007 at 3:14 am

“En Roulade” is a very nice cut for this sort of preparation. I’m so glad you didn’t use sugar. I am constantly explaining this to people– that you don’t need sugar to create caramelizition.

CJ May 31, 2007 at 7:33 am

A spoonful of bourbon with a drizzle of maple syrup is my favorite combo.

Don’t overdo. You want the “essence” or whisper of flavor.

Thank you for bringing thoughts back to carrots.

Raven June 6, 2007 at 8:45 am

Another wonderful way is to use honey (instead of refinded sugar) and add a little ground corriander. Minced garlic (not browned) adds a nice touch as well. Carrots WILL brown and carmelise without sugar, but you must be very careful not too cook at too high a heat so as to “draw out” the natural sugar slowly without burning the carrots first. The addition of honey makes the flavour fuller and does add vitamins that sugar doesn’t contain.

Luke June 21, 2007 at 9:22 pm

Those are some great photos! What do you use for lighting? Is it just a window or do you use some flashes?

m rock July 12, 2009 at 12:04 am

you said a “medium sauce pan” but you showed a non-stick saute pan.
the next picture was a stainless steel saute pan
check your photos & facts if you want people to listen to you

Jamie November 5, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I also love using honey – I find it adds a nice depth of flavor, and you can play around using different types of honey. Where I grew up, buckwheat honey was more prevalent, but now I live in the pacific northwest where we have wildflower and blackberry honey.
my favorite way is to use honey, dill, and a pinch of cayenne. my method is pretty much the same method you described above, but with a bit less water (about 1/4-1/3c) as the honey is already a liquid.

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