There’s something so satisfying about a plate of caramelized, crispy, perfectly seasoned roasted vegetables. And if they take only five minutes to prep, that’s even better. This recipe for easy roasted baby carrots is my number one veggie side dish for busy weeknights.
Roasted baby carrots really couldn’t be easier. You don’t have to peel them or cut them. You can roast them on a foil-lined baking sheet, so there’s no need to scrub the pan. Roasting is a hands-off process, so you can cook your carrots while you’re doing something else in the kitchen.
When did roasting vegetables become a thing?
If you’re over 30, you probably didn’t grow up eating roasted vegetables. In decades past, chefs and home cooks alike prepared vegetables on the stovetop, usually by boiling. People just didn’t think of putting vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or brussel sprouts in the oven.
High-end restaurants started roasting started roasting vegetables in the 1980s, probably because the technique is so simple and because most restaurants have big, high-temperature ovens. In the 1990s, oven roasted vegetable recipes started appearing in cookbooks. In the late ’90s and early 2000s, The Food Network made roasted vegetable recipes more popular.
Why are roasted vegetables so tasty?
Roasting with dry, high heat brings out the natural sugar in vegetables. When you cook vegetables without water, the natural sugars are allowed to caramelize. This is especially great for carrots, which are naturally sweet. This caramelization process allows a toasty brown crust to form, and mellows the vegetable’s bitterness.
What are “baby carrots,” anyway?
Baby carrots are a healthy convenience food, purposefully grown to be small, thin, sweet, and bright orange. These specialty carrots are harvested when young, then peeled and shaved into a shape that’s perfect for snacking (or roasting). Sometimes baby carrots are cut pieces of larger, more mature carrots. Those are labeled “baby-cut” carrots.
If you would rather use large carrots that you peel and cut yourself, those will work perfectly with this recipe. Honestly, I like the taste of full-size carrots a little better than the baby ones. But on a busy weeknight, I’ll choose the convenience of baby carrots.
How to roast baby carrots
Start your roasted baby carrots by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Place a rack one slot below the top of the oven. Oven roasted carrots tend to brown faster on the bottom where they are contacting the hot pan. If you move them toward the top of the oven, they will roast more evenly.
If your oven has a convection feature, you definitely want to use it for this recipe. Convection ovens are designed for browning and caramelizing food. If you use a convection oven, you may need to reduce the baking time by a couple of minutes.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay the baby carrots out in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Drizzle the carrots with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with your favorite seasonings. I usually use garlic salt and black pepper. Seasoned salt and Cajun seasoning also work well. Mix with your hands so the carrots are well coated with oil and seasonings.
Roast your baby carrots at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until they are nicely browned.
Halfway through cooking, toss the carrots by shaking the pan or using a non-metal spatula, so you don’t rip the aluminum foil.
I like to garnish oven roasted carrots with chopped fresh parsley. This is optional.
I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this recipe. If you make it, be sure to leave a review!
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out some of FoodLove’s other veggie side dish recipes:
Easy Roasted Baby Carrots
- 1 pound baby carrots
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste (use garlic salt, seasoned salt, or Cajun seasoning if you prefer)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a rack one slot below the top of the oven (see notes for baking tips).
- Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Spread the baby carrots in a single layer on the foil-covered baking sheet.
- Drizzle the carrots with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- With your hands, mix the carrots, salt, and pepper until the carrots are well coated with olive oil and seasonings.
- Bake the carrots at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes. Toss the carrots by shaking the baking sheet, or using a non-metal spatula.
- Return the carrots to the oven for 10-15 minutes until tender and browned. Check the bottoms of the carrots. The side of the
carrots touching the pan mayl brown faster.
- Remove the carrots from the oven and place in a serving dish (optional). Sprinkle with parsley. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper as desired.
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