Going on a decade into food blogging, and I still take it as a compliment when someone seeks my help with a recipe. Thus, when my father-in-law rang to ask if I knew of a healthy way to cook carrots, I was delighted to tell him about the foolproof way we’ve been making Sautéed Carrots lately!
More specifically, he called to ask if I knew of a healthy way to cook carrots that tasted more exciting than steaming them but that wouldn’t heat up the oven like roasting.
When I asked him if he’d ever made sautéed carrots before and he answered no, I launched into what must have come across as an unusually energetic and gushy explanation for anything related to a vegetable. “You MUST try them!” I squealed. “We’ve started making them more and more, because they are SO delicious and easy.”
If this sounds over the top—I actually said a lot more, but I’ll just leave it there. I really, really like sautéed carrots, and I think you will too!
Regardless of the level of fervor you might feel towards carrots, knowing how to cook sautéed vegetables so that they taste fabulous is a valuable skill to have up your sleeve.
Although I’ll happily gush about roasted veggies too, sautéed vegetables have their advantages.
They are usually faster to make than roasted, they don’t require your oven (perfect if you’re busy cooking something else or you just don’t feel like turning it on), and when prepared properly, sautéed vegetables can be every bit as delish as roasted veggies.
If you’ve been looking for a fast, easy, and healthy way to cook carrots that tastes scrumptious, this easy recipe has you covered!
How to Make Sautéed Carrots
Sautéing is one of the healthiest ways to cook carrots. You need only a small amount of butter or coconut oil, simple seasonings, and water to help them soften.
You can add honey or maple syrup or herbs if you like but honestly, they are pretty stellar on their own.
At the end of this recipe, the sautéed carrots are pleasantly tender but not at all mushy, and their natural sweetness stars!
- Carrots. Carrots are Vitamin-A and potassium super stars! This recipe calls for 2 pounds of carrots and will yield 6 servings, which makes it great for meal prep. Feel free to scale it up or down as needed.
- Unsalted Butter or Coconut Oil. A very moderate amount (about ½ tablespoon per pound) yields sautéed carrots that taste legitimately yummy and not at all like “diet” food. If you’d like the carrots vegan, use coconut oil in place of the butter. I find it tastes more rich and satisfying than olive oil.
- Honey or Pure Maple Syrup. Both are absolutely scrumptious with carrots and enhance their natural sweetness. We use honey most often (as with these Crock Pot Honey Carrots), but maple syrup is a fun change of pace and also a good option if you’d like the sautéed carrots vegan.
- Herbs. Whatever you have in your refrigerator! A tablespoon or two perks up the carrots and adds freshness. If given the choice, parsley or thyme are my favorites.
- Bring the carrots and water to boil in a large skillet. Cover and cook until the carrots are slightly tender.
- Stir in the butter and honey. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the water has evaporated.
- Add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper as desired. DIG IN!
- Sautéed Carrots with Garlic. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic to the pan with your carrots with the herbs, salt, and pepper. Cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Sautéed Carrots with Balsamic. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar over the top of the carrots during the last minute or two of their cooking time, and toss to coat.
- Sautéed Carrots with Thyme. Use thyme as your fresh herb in this recipe. It’s a delicious pairing!
- Sautéed Carrots with Brown Sugar. Swap the honey/maple syrup in the recipe for 1 to 2 tablespoons of light or dark brown sugar. You could play around with adding a pinch of cinnamon (I’d omit the herbs if using cinnamon though or try rosemary).
- Slow Cooker Carrots. Try my Crockpot Carrots recipe instead.
You also can add more veggies for variety, as long as those veggies cook in a similar amount of time. Sautéed carrots with onions (slice the onions thinly) or sautéed carrots with broccoli (cut the broccoli into florets like in this Roasted Broccoli and Carrots recipe) would both be tasty twists.
Make Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Chop your carrots up to 1 day in advance, and store them in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Keep the carrots in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm the carrots in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm them in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Sautéed Carrots
- Salmon. These carrots would be a tasty side dish for Salmon Wellington or Baked Salmon in Foil.
- Chicken. This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore and this healthy Baked Chicken Parmesan would be delicious paired with sautéed carrots.
- Pasta. Serve these carrots with Cavatelli and Broccoli for a veggie-packed meal.
More Simple, Healthy Sides
- Roasted Frozen Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Butternut Squash
- Easy Sauteed Zucchini with Parmesan
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Zucchini
- Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Saute Pan. Ideal for preparing this recipe.
- Chef’s Knife. An incredibly useful tool for chopping veggies.
- Non-Slip Cutting Board. This one won’t slip out from under you during chopping.
- Favorite Vegetable Peeler. This Y-peeler works well too.
I hope this quick and easy method for cooking carrots will make landing a vegetable on the table that much simpler for you.
With their natural sweetness, carrots are especially pleasing. I have a hunch even the pickier eaters will approve this one, especially if you add the honey or maple syrup, which let’s be honest—no one at the table regardless of his or her taste particulars is likely to mind in the least.
- 2 pounds carrots peeled and cut into diagonal, 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter use coconut oil to make vegan
- 1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup optional
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs of choice: parsley, dill, and thyme are all delicious
- In a large saute pan or deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, place the carrots, water, salt, and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots just reach fork tender (don’t let them turn mushy).
- Uncover, add the butter and honey, and stir and cook until the water evaporates (and the coconut oil melts, if using). Remove the pan from the heat.
- Stir in the herbs. Add a finishing sprinkle of salt or pepper to taste. Enjoy hot.
- TO STORE: Keep the carrots in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm the carrots in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat until hot. You can also rewarm them in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE:Store leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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