Whether these candied brown sugar glazed carrots are paired with a barbecued hamburgers and potato salad on the weekend or as the star side for your glazed ham and mashed potatoes at spring Easter dinner, they are one of the most versatile vegetables that can be served at any time throughout the year. I am confident enough to say that I do not care for a tart carrot recipe and you won’t find any jade stems in this delightful and palatable honeyed dish. This dish will transform your basic boiled carrots recipe into an appetizing and scrumptious treat for generations to come.
Mom always said we went nuts for this creamy prepared vegetable with a velvety sticky texture and rich taste. It’s over the top which makes it perfect for entertaining parties and events like the holidays. We make a large batch for Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It’s very popular in our house.
How to Make Candied Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- TIPBring a pot of water to a boil.
- Boil carrots until slightly crunchy.
- Drain carrots.
- Add the ingredients for the glaze and whisk together.
- Bring sauce up to a boil.
- Whisk together cornstarch and water.
- Stir slurry into sauce.
- Continue to boil for 1 minute.
- Pour crystalized glaze over baby carrots.
- Stir to coat well in sugar coated topping.
TIP: If you have a lot of carrots on hand, from the garden, farmer’s market, or the grocery store, glazed carrots is the perfect recipe to make and pair with a wide variety of different dinner meals.
When I think of candied carrots, candied yams and sweet potato casserole come to mind. Candied yams and sweet potatoes are made in a similar way, but I’ve added a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce since yams have starch that will naturally thicken a sauce.
Ingredients to Make Candied Brown Sugar Carrots
Baby Carrots: Use the baby carrots in a bag. Cut off any green tip ends. For larger baby carrots that may be thick, cut them in half. NOTE: Any type of carrots may be used for this recipe. Just be sure to cut them to desired size and boil them until they are soft, yet tender.
Light Brown Sugar: Brown sugar will spruce up the sauce and add an incredible molasses flavor that is just heavenly with the naturally sweet carrot taste. When heated at a high temperature, brown sugar crystalizes and naturally thickens. This happens when tiny bubble form on the top of the sauce. Continue to boil it for several minutes and it will transform into coating. TIP: For a deeper molasses flavor, use dark brown sugar.
Butter: This recipe uses a lot of butter. I like to use unsalted butter since most salted varieties vary in quantity of salt in each brand. It’s easier to control the salt in unsalted butter but feel free to use either. If using salted butter, adjust the salt that is added to the recipe to desired taste.
Honey: Naturally, honey is sweet. In here, it adds a smooth texture and adds a rich honey flavor. It will also add a deeper color and fuller flavor while allowing the sauce to stick better to the cooked carrots.
Orange Juice: A little citrus makes this recipe super yummy and delectable. I like to use a fresh orange and skip the bottle of orange juice for this one.
Cornstarch: I do use a cornstarch and water slurry in my homemade candied carrots recipe. Not only does thicken the soupy brown sugar honey butter mixture, but it will help the glaze to stick to the carrots like no other. The last thing I want went trying a candied carrots recipe is for the glaze to be soup like and not stick naturally to the carrots at all. Just mixing in a little cornstarch and water then bringing it to a boil will thicken any water, much like making a gravy.
Carrots: Baby carrots are nice but if they are too thick, slice them in half. If you would like to use longer carrots, cut them or share them into more slender slices so that they cook faster. I like to discard the hard stems. If fresh parsley is not on hand and you’re using fresh garden carrots, chop some of the leaves and sprinkle on the top to add a pop of color.
Sweeteners/sugars: Other natural sweeteners such as just honey, maple syrup, molasses, agave, and coconut sugar may be used but please be advised that I have not tried it and the recipe may need adjusting, especially by adding more or less of the cornstarch slurry.
Toppings: Nuts like pecans, or walnuts taste great soaked in the coating and pair well with carrots. Dried cranberries, or dried cherries may also be added.
Spices: Spices are a nice way to enrich the flavor of honey carrots. Cinnamon, all spice, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cloves, apple pie spice or even a dash of cayenne can turn up the flavor a lot.
Reader Tips and Questions
Can I make glazed carrots ahead of time?
Yes, they work quite well for making ahead of time. Just be sure to cook the carrots a little less and add the sauce. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator and then place them in a saucepan to warm on medium to low heat before serving. Be sure to check often that the heat is not too high or the sauce will burn. They can also be reheated in the microwave.
How do I store cooked carrots? Do they freeze well?
Store carrots in an airtight container or dutch oven in the refrigerator. Cooked carrots will change to much once defrosted so it is not recommended to freeze.
How long are the carrots good for?
The carrots will keep for 3-4 days when properly stores in an airtight container.
Why is my sauce watery and not thick?
Turn the heat up and keep cooking it a little longer. In addition, a ½ teaspoon cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water can be mixture and added to the sauce until desired thickness occurs. Be sure to bring the sauce to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute to properly thicken the slurry after each addition.
Can I make these carrots paleo?
Yes, substitute the brown sugar for a sugar free maple syrup and the butter for ghee.
What does the orange do for the sauce? Can I skip it or add lemon instead?
The orange juice will shape some of the sweet brown sugar flavor while also adding some sweetness. I like to add citrus to the mixture for this reason. You can try it without but I highly recommend trying it with at least once. I do not suggest lemon juice. If you forgot a fresh orange, just skip the ingredient.
Carrots have natural sweetness but combined with a thick glazed tastes just like candy. Everyone will ask for seconds. Try this recipe for your next family gathering. Everyone will ask for the recipe!
Candied Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- 3 lb baby carrots 80 oz
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar packed
- ¾ cup unsalted butter 1¼ sticks
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp orange juice freshly squeezed; about 1 orange
- ½ tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp cold water
- ½ tbsp fresh parsley minced; optional
- Fill large stockpot with water and bring to a boil.
- Stir in baby carrots.
- Boil for 20-40 minutes or until tender and soft but not mushy.NOTE: Boil to desired tenderness.
- Drain water from stockpot.
- Add butter, brown sugar, honey, orange juice, and salt to saucepan.
- Whisk continuously over medium-low heat; about 5 minutes.
- Bring sauce to a boil.
- Whisk together cornstarch and water. Stir into sauce and boil for 1 minute.
- Pour candied glaze over baby carrots.
- Sprinkle with minced parsley.
Nutritional information is only an estimate and it’s accuracy is not guaranteed to be exact.
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