Maple Glazed Carrots
In only 15 minutes and using 5 ingredients, you can cook up a batch of these wonderful Maple Glazed Carrots. They have great flavor and are equally worthy of weeknight dinners and holiday meals.
Usually I try to reserve certain recipes solely for the holidays so that they feel special. I only make Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner, and I only make these Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas morning.
But this carrot recipe is too good and too quick and easy to just have for holiday dinners, even though I do love them for Easter, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas.
So I make them for weeknight dinners here and there, especially in the fall when I want extra maple in my life. It’s the perfect side dish, made with only a handful of ingredients!
What’s Great About This Recipe
15 minutes – As far as vegetable sides go, this is truly one of the quickest dishes I know of. The carrots are thin and cook quickly.
Only 5 ingredients – It’s amazing how much flavor, crunch, and texture you can get from only 5 ingredients. But the ingredients are all very complimentary, and that harmonious pairing is where the magic happens.
SO delicious – The carrots get beautifully blistered and sticky sweet with this preparation, and it tastes very classic and cozy. They are the best!
One Pan – The entire dish is made in one skillet, for minimal dishwashing.
The 5 Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Carrots – Just like in my Roasted Carrots recipe, I strongly recommend buying the bunched variety that comes with the tops on. This kind of carrots has the best flavor, and also tend to be smaller, which is best for quick cooking. Fortunately they’re only $1.50 per bunch at my grocery store, so even on a budget, they’re very affordable.
- Maple syrup – The flavor is incredible here and echoes the natural sweetness of the carrots. You may substitute with honey or brown sugar, if desired.
- Butter – It has the best flavor, but feel free to use ghee or any other cooking fat of your choice.
- Almonds – I think sliced is best here, but you could also chop whole almonds.
- Salt – Intensifies the flavor and balances out the sweetness.
How to Make It Step by Step:
The process is quite simple and boils down to three steps.
- Trim and wash carrots.
- Cook them, covered in the pan, to soften.
- Finish with real maple syrup, almonds, and salt.
Trim the Tops
Using kitchen shears (affiliate) or a sharp knife, trim the leafy green tops off, leaving an inch or two of green at the top if you like the look of it.
Rinse the carrots well, and note that I do not peel them. This is the best way to enjoy them.
Why I Recommend Not Peeling Them
I talk in-depth in my Roasted Carrots post about why leaving the skin on is so great, but in short:
- the texture is better
- it’s more flavorful
- more nutritious
- it saves time and hassle
Melt some salted or unsalted butter (or the cooking fat of your choice) in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add the whole carrots in a single layer.
It’s important to not overcrowd the pan and have them piled up on each other.
(Side note: Feel free to let the melted butter brown for a minute or two first for extra flavor, but know that it is very pronounced).
Cover the pan with a lid and cook over medium for about 5 minutes, giving them a toss partway through.
Once the carrots are a bit browned on the edges and are almost fully tender, that’s your cue to add pure maple syrup (no imitation syrup, please!):
You can see that the maple syrup will bubble. Toss everything around for one minute, then add sliced almonds and sea salt:
I do not pre-toast the almonds, as I find they toast during the continued cooking.
Keep cooking for another 3-5 minutes, until the maple syrup has mostly stuck to the carrots and the almonds are golden.
I love serving this easy side dish right in the skillet on the dinner table, but transfer to a fancy dish if you prefer, especially for a holiday meal.
This carrots recipe is very flexible with ingredients. Here are some nice variations for switching up this easy recipe.
Fresh herbs – Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary or fresh thyme leaves.
Red pepper flakes – Add 1 teaspoon of pepper flakes for a spicy kick. Or use black pepper for a milder spice.
Orange – For a light citrus flavor, add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 1 tsp orange zest along with the sweet maple syrup.
Recipe FAQ and Tips
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Microwave for 1 minute at 70% power, then check if it’s warm. Repeat, if necessary, until warmed through.
Instead of maple syrup, you can use honey or brown sugar. For the butter, you may use ghee, olive oil, or any desired cooking fat. And instead of sliced almonds, you may use chopped whole almonds.
Cook time will increase significantly if you use regular large carrots here, and they won’t cook as evenly. By the time you have tender carrots on the inside, the outside will likely be overcooked. I’d recommend cutting them lengthwise instead.
Fresh carrots are best, and it will be difficult to find properly shaped frozen options. You need slender carrots that cook quickly.
Maple Glazed Carrots
- 1 lb organic carrots with tops on*
- 2 tbsp butter (or ghee, or other cooking fat of choice)
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Prepare the carrots: Trim the green leafy tops from the carrots, either leaving an inch or two on top for decorative purposes or trimming the tops off entirely. Wash the carrots well, but do not peel.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, and melt the butter. Add the carrots in a single layer to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, with a lid on, tossing them halfway through to cook more evenly. You want to cook the carrots until they are mostly tender. A good sign to watch for is if you're tossing them with tongs and they start to cut into the carrots too much (and that's also an indicator that it's time to switch to a spatula). Also, cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the carrots you purchase, so cook for a few minutes more if necessary.
- Add the maple syrup to the pan (it should sizzle and bubble up), and toss the carrots for a minute. Then add the almonds and salt. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until the carrots are glazed and sticky, and they are fork tender. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in April 2020. Originally published March 2013.