This recipe for sauteed carrots is so easy to make that it will quickly become one of your go-to side dishes. You can add spices to this dish or keep it super simple. From start to finish this side dish should only take a maximum of 20 minutes.
The ease to which you can mix it up makes it easy to create unique flavors each time that you create the dish.
Generally, we saute regular orange carrots but if I find them in the store I will buy yellow and purple carrots to saute as well. This recipe works no matter the type of carrots that you choose to saute.
It is just that darn simple to do.
We quite a few carrots in this house. Sometimes we roast them in the oven and sometimes we even cook glazed carrots in the microwave. They are truly a versatile dish. If you are having burgers consider making carrot fries in the air fryer. Yep, we are big fans of this lovely vegetable.
Can you prepare sauteed carrots in advance?
You can sautee carrots in advance and then reheat them at the time of serving but they are truly best served fresh.
What we recommend is that you do the prep work in advance. To speed up the process at the time of cooking, slice your carrots the day before. Just be sure to store the carrots in an airtight container in the fridge until they are ready to saute.
How to reheat sauteed carrots?
It is fairly easy to reheat sauteed carrots. The best way is to put a skillet over medium-low temperature and allow it to heat up. Then add the carrots to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until the carrots are warmed through.
You can also reheat sauteed carrots in the microwave if you are in a hurry. Set the microwave to a low setting and reheat them in 20-second intervals. Stir in-between and keep checking the carrots to see if they are warmed to your liking.
Can you saute baby carrots?
Yes, you can saute baby carrots just as you would regular carrots but you do want to prep them first. Either slice the baby carrots into ½” round slices or simple cut them in half lengthwise. I don’t recommend sauteing the baby carrots whole.
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Ingredients needed for sauteed carrots
The beauty of sauteed carrots is how simple of a dish that it truly is to make. It doesn’t require but 4 ingredients. You can add more to it to spice up the flavor. Sometimes we will add thyme, honey or balsamic vinegar. The options are endless.
Carrots - We tend to saute plain orange carrots because they are easy to get year-round. However, if we find them at the store we will saute purple, white or yellow ones too.
Water - We first soften the carrots by bringing them to a boil in the pan. This allows the carrots to soften prior to the saute process.
Olive oil - We use olive oil to saute because it can handle a higher temperature than butter. If you would like to you can experiment with sauteing with coconut oil. Also, if you love that rich flavor of butter, consider adding a teaspoon of butter towards the end of the sauteing process.
Salt - It only takes a pinch of salt to make a difference in the taste of these carrots. It complements the sweetness of the carrots perfectly.
Optional ingredients for sauteed carrots
Herbs and spices - Trying adding any of these herbs or spices to the carrots as you saute them. We are sharing a few options that you may not consider but are worth trying. Try mixing two of them together such as honey and rosemary. Your tastebuds will be delighted.
Saute with garlic - Carrots and garlic are not in the forefront of our minds as a flavor combo but once you try it you will wish that you had been doing it for years. Garlic sautees quicker than carrots so don’t add the garlic until the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Add balsamic vinegar - Carrots sauteed with balsamic vinegar are quite tasty. If you choose to use balsamic vinegar don’t add it until the last minute of cooking the carrots. Drizzle in a tablespoon for every 3 carrots used. Cook and stir for one minute to allow the balsamic vinegar to start to carmelize.
What kind of pan is best for sauteing carrots?
We prefer to use a large nonstick skillet with low curved sides. Our favorite skillet these days is the Le Creuset large frying pan. You can technically saute carrots in a cast-iron skillet and it does add a nice flavor but if you do pay close attention to not burn the carrots or allow them to stick.
How to saute carrots
This is an overview of how to saute carrots. Down below you will find the detailed instructions with temperature and measurements.
Step 1: Wash, dry, and peel the carrots. Then slice them into evenly sized round pieces.
The more even that you can slice them the more evenly that they will cook. This will make for a better tasting dish for sure.
Step 2: Add water and the carrots to the hot skillet. Nonstick skillets work best for sauteing carrots.
Step 3: Cover the skillet and cook the carrots until they are soft. If the water evaporates and the carrots still aren’t softening, add 2 more tablespoons of water to the pan and keep cooking.
Step 4: (Note: Remove the lid for the remaining steps. ) Add the olive oil and salt to the pan with the carrots. Spread the carrots out in the pan and allow them to cook for about one minute. Then stir the carrots and allow them to cook for another minute.
- 1 lb carrots
- ¼ c water
- 2 T olive oil
- Dash of salt
- Wash and peel the carrots. Trim the ends off of the carrots and then slice into ¼” thick slices. (Note: try to cut the slices as evenly as possible.)
- Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the water and carrots to the hot pan. Bring to a boil and cover.
- Once they are boiling turn the heat down to medium and cook the carrots for about 6-7 minutes or until they start to soften and the water has mostly evaporated.
- Remove the lid, add the olive oil and salt to the pan with the carrots, and spread them carrots out in the pan. Cook and stir the carrots occasionally. Allow them time to cook for 2 minutes or until the carrots start to slightly brown.
Consider adding in spices such as cumin, rosemary, or thyme.