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!

A large pan full of healthy sauteed carrots with thyme

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.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts and Sautéed Cabbage are two sides I make often, and now these sautéed carrots are joining the ranks.

If you’ve been looking for a fast, easy, and healthy way to cook carrots that tastes scrumptious, this easy recipe has you covered!

Sauteed honey carrot slices in a bowl with fresh herbs

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!

The Ingredients

  • 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.

The Directions

  1. Bring the carrots and water to boil in a large skillet. Cover and cook until the carrots are slightly tender.
  2. Stir in the butter and honey. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the water has evaporated.
  3. Add fresh herbs, salt, and pepper as desired. DIG IN!

A white bowl full of a healthy vegetable side dish

Recipe Variations

  • 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).

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.

A pan full of thinly sliced vegetables with herbs

What to Serve with Sautéed Carrots

More Simple, Healthy Sides

A white bowl with healthy sauteed carrots and thyme

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

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.

A skillet with easy sauteed carrots

Sautéed Carrots

5 from 4 votes
How to cook perfect Sautéed Carrots. This quick and healthy side dish is fast enough for weeknight dinners but tastes special enough for company!

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6)Calories: 90kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 5mgPotassium: 484mgFiber: 4gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 25374IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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14 Comments

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  1. While I now know everything about why I should make this recipe and how it will taste in the end, along with more variations than I will have time to make, I still don’t know how much water. It says to bring the carrots and water to boil in a skillet. How much water, please?

    1. Hi Susan! All the specific ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. If you click the “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the page, it will take you right to it. I hope this helps!

    2. I’m usually not a big fan of carrots but I had a bag of sliced frozen carrots in the fridge and I decided to try your recipe.

      I added thyme and butter and a dash of garlic powder. They are delicious. The thyme goes well with the carrots much to my surprise.5 stars

  2. I very much like raw carrots but only like cooked ones in soup. However, I would make this for my husband because of the versatility. It’s the same with asparagus – love it raw but cooked, not so much. Happy weekend – wait, everyday is like the weekend at this point!

  3. The most fabulous carrots I’ve ever eaten – Ever! Who knew they could be so delicious? I will never return to my high heat/oil saute methods. Honestly, these were remarkable – so I remarked about them to my Cooks Club Facebook group and shared your recipe. I also pre-ordered your cookbook. So looking forward to it. With all the email I receive, i look forward to yours, Erin!5 stars

  4. I don’t know why I’ve never tried sautéing carrots before, but this was super good and easy. I had some freeze dried parsley I used for the herbs and that worked well. Took about the same amount of time as the salmon I baked to go with it. Thank you, Erin!5 stars

  5. I was looking for a quick way to make fresh carrots last night for dinner and I came upon this recipe. I added the maple syrup as suggested. These were the absolute best!! My husband even loved them, and he doesn’t like carrots unless they have been cooked with a roast. This will definitely be a regular in our house from now on! I am planning on trying the recipes for the brussel sprouts and zucchini as research are two of our favorites, especially brussel sprouts!! Thank you so much!!5 stars