Oct 30, 2008

Caramelized Carrots

I’m redoing one of my older recipes. Not just because it didn’t have photo directions, but mainly because it’s one of the best side dishes I ever came up with. I kid you not! Ok, that and my Asian Style Beans :)

It’s definitely not one of the prettier dishes I’ve ever made, though, but the amazing flavor makes up for where it lacks in the aesthetic department. It’s the one side dish I cook most often for my family, because it’s just so good. I thought of the recipe a few years ago when I was trying to find the best spice/herb/vegetable match. It’s so utterly simple and has so very few ingredients that I still can’t believe I didn’t come up with it sooner.

Carrots are great food to cook with. They’re cheap, healthy, colorful and flavorful. Now cumin, curry powder, thyme and carrots are amazing together – especially cumin and carrots are a match made in heaven. If you use the natural sweetness of the carrots, up that a little by caramelizing them, you have heaven on a plate. It’s a very subtle balance.

I would never tell you what to make, but if you get a chance, try this side dish. It’s a fantastic way to eat carrots and most kids will like them, too. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

It’s gonna be a terribly orange posting, though. Brace yourself!


1 pound carrots
1 medium onion
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter


Peel and dice the carrots. I’m turning them into medium-sized match sticks. It’s prettier to serve and it reduces the cooking time.

Heh. Like you didn’t see this one coming! Coarsely chop the onion and grate a large garlic clove.

Heat 1 tbsp butter (I’m using the liquid version) and 1 tbsp oil. You can also use just butter or just oil. Get everything sizzling hot.

Plunge in the onions. Give them a good stir.

Closely followed by the garlic. Why does the garlic always come in second?

Add 1/4 tsp cumin, a heaping 1/4 tsp curry powder and a tsp dried thyme.

In with the carrots! Stir them until the carrots are coated with the onions and thyme.

Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper in there as well. I’ve used coarse sea salt, probably close to half a tsp. It also depends on how salty your broth is.

Bring everything to a boil and cook over medium to high heat (without a lid or the lid cracked, I prefer no lid) for 10 to 15 minutes until the broth has vaporized. The cooking time also depends on the size of the carrots, of course.


Here comes the good part – when all the liquid is gone, the carrots and onions will caramelize giving them an amazing flavor. This should start to happen after about 10 minutes, make sure you’re nearby then and flip them with a spatula once or twice, or you’ll burn them rather than caramelize them.

The carrots will still have a bite to them, but are incredibly juicy, sweet and fragrant.

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    1. 1

      Wow! I love carrots and my husband hates them. I bet I could get him to eat these. Beautiful pictures as always. :)

      Samantha on Oct 30, 2008 @ 5:37 pm Reply
    2. 2

      Just let me know when you put them to the test :)

      Kay on Oct 30, 2008 @ 5:47 pm Reply
    3. 3

      Why does the garlic always go in second?

      Case in point, when I was stir frying the other night—

      I put in the garlic. The ginger was in a jar (for shame not using fresh ginger, but I often don’t have it, and the jar was better than the powder!), It took me a second and a half longer to open it than I estimated (again, for shame, I should have had it open already), and the garlic was almost burning.

      The onions are a lot more forgiving, and for the couple of times you get distracted, or have the heat on a bit higher than you thought it was, it helps you not burn the garlic. Then again, when you DO burn the garlic anyway, you have to re-do that many more steps…….

      Or, at least, that’s my guess.

      (Love your layout. lovelovelove. Just, y’know, by the way.)

      Ashley on Oct 30, 2008 @ 6:44 pm Reply
      1. Actually, you start the onions first because the water from the onions helps keep the garlic from burning. Or at least that is what I’ve read.

        George on May 16, 2014 @ 5:38 pm Reply
    4. 4

      Ashley, you just gave me a fantastic idea for a quick posting. I’m going to make a posting (probably tomorrow or so) with you in mind.

      I know! Nothing worse than burnt garlic, it’s so bitter. But in this dish, it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s slightly burnt.

      Kay on Oct 30, 2008 @ 6:48 pm Reply
    5. 5

      Woot, that’s a great way to cook veges – all the soupy stuff is absorbed rather than chucked out, and the natural flavour of the carrots is retained.


      Also, I guess with the garlic it just goes in later because you usually chop it smaller? Onions seem to have more water in them too.

      Zo on Oct 31, 2008 @ 1:39 am Reply
    6. 6

      Now I know about carmelizing – thank you!

      And on a slightly different “orange” topic. When I discovered your site earlier this week I think, I blitzed through a bunch of the categories… this morning, looking at leftovers, I had some acorn squash – baked with butter and scooped out of the skin. Short story, I used it, in place of left over mashed potatoes, using your potatoe crepes recipe – it worked!! and I had slightly orangish, squash crepes with leftover shredded pork, a bit of red bell pepper and cheese (fresh grated parmesan-pepperjack-wee bit of cheddar mix) – served with one cup of hot, strong, black, coffee – yummy breakfast!

      I never knew a crepe could be so easy – thank you, thank you!

      Ann from Montana on Oct 31, 2008 @ 3:44 pm Reply
    7. 7

      oh…I did use 1/2 whole wheat flour, 1/2 white

      and potato should not have an e on the end!

      Ann from Montana on Oct 31, 2008 @ 3:53 pm Reply
    8. 8

      Ann, you can also do it with pumkpin! I guess even mashed cauliflower would work!

      Kay on Nov 1, 2008 @ 6:32 pm Reply
    9. 9

      I have been making a recipe like this for years with one exception. I always put a squeeze of lemon juice in there as well. It just seems to liven up the carrots even more. I also sometime put some dill in there instead of the other spices as it also seems to work well with carrots, actually with almost any root veggie.

      dick on Nov 20, 2008 @ 3:32 am Reply
    10. 10

      I made this last night as a side for Kay’s Nigerian Suya. It was fantastic. The aroma throughout the house was amazing as the juices reduced. I served the carrots over jasmin rice and drizzled some of the pan juice over it. The sweetness of the carrots made my wife ask if I used sugar. I will make this agan soon.

      Mke on Apr 28, 2009 @ 12:36 am Reply
    11. 11

      I made these tonight and my wife and I loved them! We also made fresh butter to go with the rest of the meal, and of course it was great. Thanks for the great recipes!

      Aaron on May 31, 2009 @ 5:19 am Reply
    12. 12

      Heb deze gister gemaakt en ze waren erg lekker! Bedankt voor het recept :)

      Jules on Aug 6, 2009 @ 9:24 am Reply
    13. 13

      Thank you so very much for the recipe! It was delightful with fried duck and orange sauce…
      I found your blog and will try everything:)))
      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

      Diana on Dec 26, 2009 @ 1:44 am Reply
    14. 14

      Thanks for posting this recipe! My mom, who only ever ate carrots out of a can with butter and salt/pepper, tried these and the next trip to the grocery, 2 1 pound bags of carrots appeared in the refrigerator *laughs*. It’s now added to our staple of veggie recipes.

      Miss Brown Eyes on Jan 2, 2010 @ 4:10 am Reply
    15. 15

      Going to try this tomorrow, thanks :)

      I love caramelized onions, I’m sure I’ll love this too.

      Özcan on Jan 13, 2010 @ 1:38 am Reply
    16. 16

      I made this dish for the second time tonight, this time with a couple changes. I sliced two onions and left out the extra salt because the beef broth I used is very salty.  The larger onions make the dish less attractive, but I’m a huge onion fiend so I don’t care. The beef broth also goes very well with the curry powder. This recipe is my favorite for carrots, and the dinner company I served it to loves the dish as well. Thanks!

      kxo on Jul 26, 2010 @ 4:28 am Reply
    17. 17

      Garlic burns very easily, and becomes bitter if over cooked.  This is why it’s always added at the end or at least close to.

      Amanda on Feb 18, 2012 @ 8:02 am Reply
      1. Only when it’s not followed by liquid fast, Amanda. Garlic burns really fast and that’s when it becomes bitter. Onions also release liquid during cooking so the chance of garlic burning while it’s being with the onions is very slim.

        Kay on Feb 18, 2012 @ 8:17 am Reply
    18. 18

      Is it me or is the printable version blank?

      Tim on Feb 23, 2013 @ 6:14 pm Reply
      1. Right below the printable is a link that says ‘Click here to print recipes older than 2010’!

        Kay on Feb 23, 2013 @ 6:18 pm Reply
    19. 19

      This was really delicious – made it last night to serve with a chicken dish when we had friends over for dinner. A real winner!  Your recipes are fantastic. Love the beautiful photographs.

      Colleen on Aug 3, 2013 @ 10:35 pm Reply
    20. 20

      Made this tonight with one slight change, at the very end, just before serving, I drizzled the carrots with real maple syrup, it was oh so good! Love you site.

      johanne on Dec 16, 2013 @ 3:07 am Reply
    21. 21

      I always test recipes before I publish. These were indeed as delicious as you touted. I fed them to my family of four (Picky Eater included) and there weren’t nearly enough. Next time I am doubling the recipe. When your kids ask for seconds on a vegetable, it’s a Home Run in my book. Thanks for sharing. And for the record, you mentioned your pic wasn’t pretty, I totally disagree. I have a meal plan service and have to take pics of all the meals before I post them, so I have an understanding of the challenges. You rocked that pic!

      Jill on Nov 24, 2014 @ 2:14 pm Reply
    22. 22

      I made this recipe recently and it was delicious! I accidentally grabbed our cinnamon shaker instead of the black pepper and didn't realize it until I'd already added some generous shakes. Luckily it was still so yummy with that accidental addition! Thanks for sharing.

      Tara on Mar 29, 2015 @ 3:06 pm Reply
    23. 23

      I made this with some Italian seasoning as I did not have everything listed there. It was great!

      Janet on Apr 11, 2015 @ 6:47 pm Reply
    24. 24

      Hi there! I love the idea of your recipe! However, when I tried it tonight the onions and carrots never caramelized. Could this have been because I was cooking them too high?

      kayla on May 31, 2015 @ 5:21 am Reply

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