Sauteed carrots are an easy-to-make, 10 minute holiday side dish. This baby carrot recipe features a lip smacking, sweet brown sugar glaze!
There are many different variations of glazed carrot recipes around. All feature carrots, of course. What can vary are the cooking method as well as the ingredients for the glaze.
Why you’ll love sauteed carrots
The most common cooking methods for vegetables are steaming, braising, boiling, oven roasting, and sauteing.
I prefer sauteing over the other cooking methods, primarily for the simplicity of cooking and the easy clean up. No hot oven or extra steamer basket necessary!
Plus, sauteed carrots are cooked in a pan with butter, which allows the opportunity to make a glaze!
The best sweeteners for glazed vegetables
Some people like to use honey in their glaze, and maple syrup is another popular choice.
Brown sugar carrots are lightly sweet, not overly cloying. The molasses in the brown sugar compliments the flavor of the carrots, and the addition of mint gives the side dish a nice fresh taste.
Ingredients for brown sugar carrots
One nice thing about this recipe is that you’ll only need a couple of simple ingredients to make it.
Other than fresh mint (garnish only anyways), you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen to make it!
- Carrots – I like to use baby carrots rather than full size, but either will work. You can even use mini carrots, which are simply baby carrots with the green tops still on them. They look beautiful on a holiday table.
If you use full grown whole carrots, peel and quarter them lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch or 3-inch pieces. This will keep the pieces small enough to sauté quickly.
- Brown sugar glaze is a combination of light brown sugar and melted butter. This is a recipe for sauteed carrots, so you’ll be melting the sugar and butter in a skillet, then you’ll add the carrots.
NOTE: Carrots are relatively high in natural sugars (carbohydrates). So, if you want to cut the sweetness of the glaze, you can swap the brown sugar for a low glycemic, cup for cup brown sugar substitute.
- Spices – The seasonings are very simple; just kosher or sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and dried mint. Optional ingredients are a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and finely chopped fresh mint, for garnish.
The dry mint is added to the pan with the other ingredients. If you want to use fresh mint, finely chop or mince it, then just before serving, sprinkle it over the top of the sauteed carrots.
To watch the cooking process from start to finish, be sure to watch the video in the recipe card below!
How do you sauté?
The trick to sautéing food is to keep the food constantly moving in the pan. As a result, the whatever you are cooking won’t scorch or burn.
After you melt the butter and brown sugar, you’ll add the carrots to the pan. At this point, you can either use a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon to move the carrots around. You want to be they are all coated well with the melted butter. As the carrots cook, the brown sugar glaze will thicken and stick to the carrots.
You can also sauté by simply using the long handle on your skillet. shaking the pan forward and backward. Again, the trick is to keep the contents moving while also coating everything with fat.
NOTE: Do not cover the pan, and do not add any additional liquid to the pan. You want everything to reduce and thicken.
What to serve with sauteed carrots
Carrots are really versatile, so they go well just about any type of meat or poultry.
Sauteed Carrots with Brown Sugar Glaze
- 1 lb baby carrots or regular carrots, cut finger length (See Note 1)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp dried mint
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 fresh mint leaves finely chopped (optional garnish)
- Place carrots in a sauté pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer them for 2 minutes.
- Drain water off and add butter, brown sugar and dried mint. Shake pan to coat carrots, stir, and continue cooking over medium heat.
- Cook for 3 minutes until glaze is thick and bubbling.
- Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and optional red pepper flakes, if desired. Garnish with finely chopped fresh mint and serve.
- One serving of baby carrots is a heaping 1/2 cup, or 6 oz.
- If using traditional sized carrots, peel and quarter lengthwise then cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.