Carrots are a favorite vegetable for both young and old alike. With their sweet flavor and abundant availability at most grocery stores, they are an easy pick for many holiday meals.
They have a long history of appearing as a favorite ingredient in main dishes, side dishes, and even desserts! And, of course, they’re also great tasting when eaten raw.
Interested in making the best glazed carrots recipe you’ve ever tasted? Read on to learn how!
A History of Carrots
The carrot is one of the most widely used root vegetables worldwide. But where did it originate? And why are they so popular in meals and snacks in the US? We found some answers regarding the history of carrots.
The earliest evidence of carrots is in Iran and Afghanistan, as early as 3000 B.C. These carrots would’ve been black, white, red, and purple in color.
From here, carrots appear to have moved to Ancient Egypt. They’ve been found inside the tombs of buried pharaohs, and there’s evidence of the word carrots in the Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic System. The most popular color used in Ancient Egypt was purple, as it was favored to be used medicinally.
Next, carrots spread to the Greek and Roman Empires. By the 1st century B.C., they were a regular part of meals and used medicinally.
In the 13th century, carrots began to travel to distant parts of Asia, including Japan. At this time, it also arrived in Europe, most notably the countries of France and Germany.
The carrot finally made its way to the New World In 1609 when English settlers carried them across the ocean and into Jamestown, Virginia.
What we know as the modern version of the carrot wasn’t cultivated until the 17th century in the Netherlands. The orange color is believed to have been specifically cultivated as a tribute to the ruling House of Orange. The head of that house, William of Orange, led the Dutch in a fight for independence from Spain.
Carrots became more notably popular in America around the time of World War II. Wartime propaganda in Britain encouraging the consumption of carrots for better eyesight may have trickled into America. Because this was a time of rations, canned carrots also became a popular addition to the dinner table.
Candied Carrots in the Traditional Meal
Glazed carrots are sometimes called candied carrots because of their sweet taste. While this yummy glazed carrots recipe would make a great addition to any holiday meal, there are a couple of holidays when they’re traditionally served.
In the Christian faith, carrots symbolize springtime and abundant blessings. This is why Christians often eat these root vegetables with their Easter meal.
Another reason why carrots are associated with Easter is the Easter Bunny! Everyone knows a rabbit’s favorite food is the carrot. Children enjoy leaving carrots out for the Easter Bunny to find when he comes to fill their Easter Baskets with goodies!
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. The Yiddish word for carrots and more are very close in spelling. Therefore, carrots symbolize the hope of increased blessings from God for the New Year.
Tzimmes is part of the traditional Rosh Hashanah meal. This sweet carrot-based stew is a yummy addition to this holiday celebration!
Choosing the Right Ingredients
The best part about this glazed carrots recipe is that it takes very few ingredients. And most of those ingredients will be in your pantry or refrigerator already!
Start by visiting your spice rack and grabbing nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Also, grab the brown sugar from your pantry.
Next, get a stick of butter from your refrigerator.
The only ingredient you’ll need to be sure to get at the grocery store or your local market will be your two pounds of carrots! Any variety will work. You can even use carrots you’ve grown in your own backyard!
How to Make Your Glazed Carrots Recipe
It’s time to make your glazed carrots recipe.
Begin by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone baking mat.
Peel two pounds of carrots. Slice and cut them down to 2-inch-sized sticks.
Add ¼ cup unsalted butter to a microwave-safe dish and melt for 30 seconds or until completely melted.
Combine the sliced carrots, melted butter, ⅓ cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg in a large bowl.
Mix until the carrots are thoroughly coated in butter and spices.
Pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread it out evenly.
Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring twice during the baking process. Carrots are done when they are soft, and the liquid is bubbling.
This glazed carrots recipe will stay fresh for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in your refrigerator.
Vary Your Carrot Recipe
There are several variations for this glazed carrots recipe in terms of ingredients and how to cook them!
Reduce the processed sugar by replacing the brown sugar with ¼ cup honey. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of dried parsley on top for added flavor!
Change the spices by leaving out the cinnamon and replacing it with an equal amount of allspice. Another variation is to replace it with an equal amount of pumpkin pie spice!
Looking for a more savory flavor? Ditch the brown sugar and spices. Instead, add 2 tablespoons honey, ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder. Sprinkle with dried thyme before serving!
Instant Pot Method
Save some time by cooking your glazed carrots in an Instant Pot! Add all your ingredients and ½ cup of water to your Instant Pot and manually cook for 4 minutes. Don’t forget to vent your pot before opening the lid.
Another way to save time is by cooking your glazed carrots on the stovetop! Add all your spice ingredients and ½ cup of water to a large skillet. Bring to a boil. Next, add the carrots and stir to mix well. Cook for 7-8 minutes until the carrots are cooked through, and the sauce has thickened.
Make Your Own Glazed Carrots Recipe!
Now that you know how to make this delicious side dish, why not try making it with a few suggested variations?
Whether for a holiday meal or just a regular weeknight supper, this glazed carrots recipe is guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters!
For more information about carrots, visit the Carrot Plants page on our website.
- 2 lbs carrots, peeled and sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, stirring twice during the baking process.
- Serve immediately.
Stays fresh for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.