Glazed baby carrots steam in a saucepan and are coated in a delicious butter and brown sugar glaze with a hint of ginger. This simple veggie side dish is elegant enough for a holiday dinner but easy enough to use on a busy weeknight.
I often share kid-friendly recipes for your family meals but I have to say that this easy glazed baby carrots recipe is one of the best.
How do I know? Because I asked for it as part of my own birthday meal for most of my childhood.
For birthday dinners for as long as I can remember, I had my mom's awesome marinated steak, buttered pasta, and these brown sugar glazed baby carrots.
I also loved it when she would serve it with seasoned chicken breasts and Rice-a-Roni for a weeknight dinner.
Want to spoil your family with the easiest vegetable ever?? Let's get started.
Why This is the Best Recipe
There are a few vegetable recipes that are sure fire winners with my kids, I think this is the best glazed baby carrots recipe because:
- Easy Prep: Melt the butter, stir the sauce, cook the carrots. It is just that easy!
- Just 4 Ingredients: The shopping list is easy peasy, you'll have these on hand most nights of the week.
- Kid-Friendly: I loved this veggie side when I was a kid.
- Fancy for a Holiday: Yes it is easy enough to make on a weeknight, but it feels special enough to serve for a holiday side dish, too.
This simple recipe only needs 4 things to make it:
- Baby Carrots: A bag of pre-washed, ready to eat baby carrots works great. You could peel whole carrots and chop them to baby carrot size if you prefer.
- Brown Sugar
- Dried Ginger
Melt the Butter
First, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan that has a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat.
Once the butter has melted, add the water, brown sugar, and ginger. Stir everything together.
Cook the Baby Carrots
Add the baby carrots to the saucepan and stir them into the butter sauce.
Place the lid on top, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 minutes.
Thicken the Glaze
Once the baby carrots are almost fork tender, remove the lid from the pot and increase the heat to medium-high.
Boil the brown sugar glaze until most of the moisture from the water has evaporated and the butter sauce has thickened.
You should see the shiny glaze clinging to the baby carrots like this:
How to Keep Glazed Carrots Warm
If you're not ready to serve the meal and need a few more minutes to finish your other dishes, the glazed baby carrots can rest right in the saucepan off the heat for 5 - 10 minutes.
If you place the lid on the pot to keep them warm, be sure to keep it just off kilter so the moisture can continue to evaporate or the heat from the carrots could steam the glaze and cause it to become watery again.
I have to be honest, when I share a family favorite recipe like this one, it is hard for me to imagine you playing with the recipe at all. We love it as is.
That said, it is always fun to add a little of this or that to a dish to make it your own. There are a few delicious ways you could play with this:
Honey Glazed Carrots: Substitute honey for the brown sugar (or do half and half).
Sweet and Spicy Glazed Carrots: Use Mike's hot honey instead of the brown sugar or add crushed red pepper flakes along with the ginger.
Peppered Carrots: Add a very generous portion of fresh cracked black pepper once the carrots have been glazed.
Glazed Carrots with Herbs: Add some fresh or dried thyme or rosemary to dress the carrots up for a holiday.
Make Ahead Tips
Glazed baby carrots are best enjoyed fresh once you've made them, especially if you are serving them for a holiday meal.
I wouldn't recommend making them in advance for a special dinner, just let them cook while you finish up the rest of your meal.
However, if you do have leftover carrots, you can keep them stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Gently reheat them in the microwave. The texture will be softer and the glaze won't be as shiny but they'll taste delicious enough that they won't need to go to waste.
While I enjoy most dishes served fresh from the stove top and nice and hot, I actually think the glazed baby carrots taste their best when they have cooled down for a few minutes.
While they are still warm but not overly hot, you'll be able to taste the tender sweetness of the carrot itself and enjoy the brown sugar and butter glaze flavors even more.
This easy vegetable recipe would be right at home on your holiday table for an Easter side dish, a Thanksgiving side dish, or even a Christmas side dish.
But my mom always served it with our favorite "steak and tubes" birthday dinner made from the best steak marinade ever. The brown sugar glaze perfectly complements the steak sauce.
Glazed Baby Carrots
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon water
- 4 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried ginger
- 1 (16 oz) package baby carrots
- Add the butter, brown sugar, dried ginger, and water to a large saucepan with a lid. Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the brown sugar is dissolved into the liquid and it is starting to boil.
- Add the baby carrots to the saucepan and stir. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cook the carrots until they are almost fork tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover the sauce pan and cook for 3 - 5 more minutes to let the moisture evaporate and the sauce to thicken and coat the carrots. You may need to raise the heat to medium-high to help the water boil off. The glazed carrots taste best once they've cooled for a few minutes, this also helps the sauce to thicken and cling to the carrots better.
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