Brown sugar glazed carrots are so easy to make. Cook the carrots until tender and then simmered in a brown sugar sauce. Perfect sidedish for Easter or Thanksgiving.
Making a pan of brown sugar carrots on Thanksgiving and Easter is such a tradition that the holidays would seem off if I didn’t make them.
There are several ways to make this sidedish. My favorite method also happens to be the easiest: simply cook the carrots until tender and then simmer in a brown sugar sauce. From start to finish, this recipe takes less than a half hour.
Step One: Select and Prepare the Carrots
Any variety of carrots, including multi-color carrots, work in this recipe.
Baby Carrots (suggested): The uniform size of baby carrots makes them perfect for this recipe. When buying baby carrots, look for them to be firm. Simply open the bag and you’re ready to cook. No need to slice.
Whole Carrots: Peel whole carrots and slice into 1/4 inch-coins. If you feel like it, you can slice the carrots on the diagonal. Note: cutting the carrots into larger pieces increases the cook time.
Step Two: Cook the Carrots
Cook the carrots until tender before adding the brown sugar. To do this, add about one inch of water to a saucepan. Add the carrots and cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook the carrots until fork tender. The cook time varies depending on the size of the carrots. Baby carrots usually take about 12 minutes. Carrots cut into 1/4-inch pieces take about eight minutes.
Cook’s Note: Check the carrots halfway through cooking to ensure water remains in the pan.
Step Three: Drain the Carrots and Prepare the Sauce
Once cooked, drain the carrots. The prepare the brown sugar sauce.
- Melt the butter. Use the same pan you cooked the carrots.
- Add the salt and cinnamon. This recipe includes a little cinnamon. There’s not so much that you can taste it, just enough to enhance the brown sugar and carrot flavor.
- Add the brown sugar. When you add the brown sugar, the mixture thickens and looks dry. This is normal. Once the carrots are added, the sauce relaxes and thins out.
- Cover and let stand. To prevent mushy carrots, stir the carrots in the pan to coat with the sauce and then cover. After about 10 minutes the carrots are done. Add the vanilla, stir, and you’re ready to serve.
What’s the best brown sugar to use?
Use either light or dark brown sugar in this recipe. Dark brown sugar contains more molasses, so the flavor is a little stronger.
Can I use honey in this recipe?
Yes. Replace the brown sugar with three tablespoons of honey.
Can I reduce the sugar?
You sure can! For this recipe, you can use as much or as little brown sugar as you like. Please note: when you use less sugar, you’ll have less sauce.
Can I use canned carrots?
Yes! Since canned carrots are already cooked, skip the first step and go right to making the sauce.
Can I reheat brown sugar glazed carrots?
These reheat easily. Simply return them to the pan, add one teaspoon of water and heat, covered, over heat low until warm.
Brown Sugar Carrots
- 1 pound carrots, baby carrots or whole, peeled carrots cut into ¼-inch slices
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup light or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons water, for a thicker sauce, omit the water
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Add about one inch of water to a medium saucepan. Add carrots, cover, and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 12 minutes. For thicker carrots, additional cook time might be needed. After 12 minutes, check the pan to make sure water remains. If needed, add more water to the pan.)
Drain carrots in a colander and return the pan to the stove. Add the butter, salt, and ground cinnamon to the pan. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Add the brown sugar. Stir to combine. The mixture will thicken.
Add the carrots and water. Stir to combine with the brown sugar mixture. Cook over low heat for about three minutes. Cover and let stand for five minutes. Remove the cover, add the vanilla extract, and stir. Serve.