I don’t know about you, but whenever I am choosing sides to serve with a roast dinner or holiday meal, carrots are absolutely one of my top choices. They are bright and colorful and they go with just about everything.
When we are talking about celebration meals, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, it has to be Brown Sugar Carrots for me! They are easy to make, incredibly delicious, and as a part of a much larger meal the most welcome and uncomplicated side dish. This is especially important for those occasions when you are wanting to serve more than the usual amount of side dishes.
They make for an affordable side dish for the holidays when our food budgets are stretched to capacity. They are not overly sweet either. Carrots are quite naturally sweet anyway, so the small amount of brown sugar used serves just to glaze them beautifully without adding a whole lot of extra sugar. You can also cut the amount down even further if you wish, although they may not be quite as glazed as they will be using the full amount. It’s a personal choice and a matter of taste.
Not just for holidays however, Brown Sugar Carrots make an incredible side dish any time!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CARROTS
Simple ingredients put together in a most delicious way.
You can leave the garlic out if you want to and replace it with ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, which will give you a slightly different flavour result. Nutmeg has a natural affinity for carrots that goes very well with them and boosts their flavour. Even if I am just steaming carrots, I always add a pinch of nutmeg at the end.
HINTS AND TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST BROWN SUGAR CARROTS
Follow my hints and tips to make the best carrots ever!
- Read through the recipe several times before beginning to help familiarise yourself with anything you might need to use in this recipe. This also affords you the time to get in anything you may not already have in the house.
- Assemble all of the ingredients you need together prior to beginning this recipe. Doing so can help to prevent you from leaving out something which is integral to the recipe.
- I always make a recipe as written the first time I make it. Once you have done this successfully, then you can play with it or vary it according to your own family’s taste preferences.
- Carrots with rounded blunt ends have the best and sweetest flavors. An old and seasoned cook told me this in a grocery shop one day many years ago, and she was right. Since then I have always bought blunt-ended carrots. They really are tastier!
- Try to choose carrots which are roughly about the same size and thickness throughout. If your carrots are quite a bit thicker at the top than the bottom, you may need to cut them in half to even out the sizes so that all the pieces will cook in roughly the same amount of time.
- I like to cut my carrots on the diagonal into ½ inch slices. You can certainly cut them into sticks if you wish, or even round coins. Bear in mind the different sizes will reflect in the cooking time and you will need to adjust the timings. The smaller size will not require full time.
- I use salted butter which means I don’t need to add as much salt to the recipe. If you use unsalted butter you may need to use a tiny bit more. Taste them at the end of cook time and adjust the amount, as necessary.
- I don’t use an extra virgin olive oil for this. I use a light olive oil which is meant to be used in cooking. Extra virgin olive oil is better suited for use where you want the rich flavor of extra virgin oil, such as in a salad. It is a waste of money to use your best when cooking with olive oil where most of the flavor will be hidden by other ingredients.
- Timings are approximate and will depend on the age and size of your carrots. New carrots take a bit longer to cook, as will larger pieces of carrot.
HOW TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR CARROTS
You will need a small 2 pound bag of carrots. Try to choose carrots which are roughly about the same size and thickness throughout.
Preheat the oven to 400* F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil. Spray the foil with some non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Prepare your carrots. Toss them in a bowl along with the olive oil, melted butter, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to coat them all evenly.
Pour them out onto the baking sheet in an even layer.
Roast for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and give them a stir. Return and roast for a further 10 minutes at which time they should be crispy tender, glazed, and lightly caramelised.
Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley if using. Serve immediately.
OTHER WAYS TO MAKE BROWN SUGAR CARROTS
If your oven is filled with other things which are cooking at the same time as you want to cook your carrots, it is quite easy to cook them on the stove top in a skillet. Simply heat a small amount of olive oil in the skillet and add the carrots, cooking and stirring them over medium heat for about 7 minutes until they are crispy tender. Add a couple of tablespoons of butter and brown sugar, stirring well together, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are perfectly caramelised and glazed.
DO I NEED TO USE BROWN SUGAR?
You absolutely do not need to use brown sugar in this recipe. Maple syrup and honey also work very well and will create a lovely glaze and flavour.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SERVING BROWN SUGAR CARROTS
Brown sugar carrots are of course perfect for serving when entertaining and for special occasions such as the Holidays. They make a wonderfully flavour-filled and pretty side dish to serve along with any roasted meats, poultry, or fish.
They also make ordinary weeknight suppers quite special, particularly when your main dish is not that spectacular or somewhat boring and you want to lift the plate and everyone’s moods a little bit!
These are so delicious that you might be tempted to sit down and eat only a plate of these but do remember that these are meant to be served only as a side dish and not as the main course!
Brown Sugar Carrots have always been one of the highlights of my holiday meals. My children and grandchildren love them. They are quite simply one of their favourites and a great way to get anyone to eat their carrots! My mother always said that carrots helped you to see in the dark. I cannot promise you that is true, but I can promise you that these are absolutely delicious no matter when you decide to serve them! Enjoy!
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal into ½ inch slices
- 1 TBS olive oil
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- ¼ cup loosely packed soft light brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- Chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400*. Line a large baking sheet with aluminium foil. Spray the foil with some non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Prepare your carrots. Toss them in a bowl along with the olive oil, melted butter, garlic, brown sugar, salt, and pepper to coat them all evenly. Pour them out onto the baking sheet in an even layer.
- Roast for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove and give them a stir. Return and roast for a further 10 minutes at which time they should be crispy tender and caramelised. Pour into a serving bowl and garnish with parsley if using. Serve immediately.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209 per 1/6th of recipe
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.