Roasted Carrots are proof that you can take the most humble of vegetables, add a little high heat oven roasting and spices, and end up with something wildly delicious.
People are always shocked by how good these are.
We make these roasted carrots once a week for our family dinners, but I also serve them when we have friends or family over.
The response is always the same. They had no idea that the “boring carrot” could be so delicious, and they decide that they want to start making it themselves.
Like many other roasted vegetables, the high and dry heat of the oven does some pretty amazing things to the carrots.
Blog readers comment all the time that my Butternut Squash Soup is the best they’ve ever had, and it’s all from incorporating Roasted Butternut Squash into the mix, bringing all those caramelized flavors in. Roasting is the best!
For these carrots, I like to accentuate the flavor with a handful of spices, but even those can be omitted or changed to other flavor profiles.
If you’d like to prep the carrots in advance, you can cut them up ahead of time and whisk up the spiced olive oil in advance, so all I have to do is mix the two together, toss them on a sheet pan, and put the tray in the oven.
How to Make Roasted Carrots:
Let’s start by talking about the kind of carrots you use, which is very important.
I highly recommend you buy carrots that have the tops on, and even better, to buy organic ones so you can keep the skins on without worry of pesticides (more on this later).
Fortunately these “fancy carrots” are still only $1.50/bunch at my grocery store, so even on a budget, they’re very affordable (and SO worth it, believe me).
Do not peel the carrots, just cut the tops off and wash them well.
Here’s why leaving the skin on is so great:
- Unpeeled roasted carrots have an amazing texture. The skin gets a bit wrinkled and has the most subtle chewiness to contrast the tender inside of the carrot stick.
- The best flavor of the carrot is right underneath the skin, and peeling can remove that.
- Peeling removes vitamins and nutrients from the carrot, so the unpeeled carrot is more nutritious.
- And the best part…you’re not peeling a million carrots!!! Major time saver.
I’ve read some people complain of a bitter taste with unpeeled carrots, but I have never noticed this with the thin specialty carrots. I’m guessing it’s more of an issue with the really large carrots.
Place the carrots on a cutting board and cut off any scraggly ends with a knife:
Then cut the carrots into sticks, about 3″ long and 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.
You want the carrot pieces to be as close in size as possible.
What I do is cut long carrots into 3 sections, then cut the narrowest end in half (or if it’s really thin, sometimes not at all), the middle section in half or into quarters (depending on the diameter of the carrot), then cut the thickest top portion in half, then each half into thirds:
You don’t have to be really precise about all this, just aim for the pieces to be relatively close in size.
Once you’ve cut up all the carrots, place them into a mixing bowl:
In a separate bowl, combine olive oil with paprika, ginger, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, and salt:
Adding the spices to the olive oil helps the flavors to disperse more evenly over the carrots.
Pour the spiced olive oil all over the carrot sticks:
Spread them out on a sheet pan, in a single layer:
Pictured above is about as crowded as you want the carrots to be. If you have too many, it’s better to split them between two sheet pans.
Roast the carrots for about 30 minutes, tossing the carrots halfway through. They will shrink down quite a bit:
The carrots should be caramelized on the edges, and if you look closely, the skin should be wrinkled, with a tender interior.
More Roasted Vegetable Sides:
- 3 bunches organic carrots with the tops on* (24 total carrots)**
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Trim the carrot tops off all the carrots, then wash them well. Do not peel the skin.
- Cut the carrots into sticks, about 3" long and 1/4 to 1/2" thick. See blog post pictures for reference.
- Place the cut carrots into a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine the olive oil, salt, paprika, ginger, garlic powder, cumin, and coriander.
- Pour the spiced olive oil all over the carrots, then toss well to coat.
- Spread the carrots on a sheet pan in a single layer (do not overcrowd them, use two sheet pans if necessary).
- Roast for about 30 minutes***, tossing halfway through, until the carrots are caramelized on the edges, the skins are wrinkled, and the inside is fork tender. Enjoy!