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A simple guide to making easy sugar or maple glazed carrots on the stovetop (or oven/air fryer) in under 15 minutes with just a handful of ingredients and several flavor variations – perfect for Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas!

completed glazed carrots against a white surface

Perfect Holiday Easy Glazed Carrots (Stovetop, Oven, Air Fryer)

It’s that time of year again. When the type A personalities (and the generally more organized of us) are busy planning holiday menus, writing up plans for the perfect Thanksgiving side dishes. Alongside the slightly more time and labor-intensive classics like vegan stuffing, green beans casserole, and candied sweet potatoes, the table needs some simple, fuss-free, crowd-pleasing versatile sides like easy glazed carrots.

Through years of serving these sugar/maple-glazed carrots up to our nearest and dearest, we’ve tried it all. White or brown sugar-glazed carrots, unrefined maple-glazed carrots, adding spices, orange juice, herbs, and more. Now it’s time for us to pass on our wisdom with this guide for how to make glazed carrots. But don’t be intimidated; it’s easy peasy!

With just a tiny amount of sugar (or maple syrup), oil or vegan butter, vinegar, and salt & pepper, humble carrots transform, leaning into their already natural sweetness for a delicious sweet and salty, melt-in-the-mouth, caramelized-tasting side dish that compliments almost any dish.

Plus, making the vegan glazed carrots stovetop style allows you to free up valuable oven space. It is as great during the holidays and during an easy weeknight meal, too, and the entire family, kids included, will love them. Plus, this recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegan, and pretty foolproof to boot!

It’s not only vegan glazed carrots you can make with this glaze, either. Try pairing it with butternut squash, pumpkin, or sweet potatoes! Along with the holidays, you’ll love these carrots alongside plant-based pot pies or crispy baked tofu

The Ingredients and Substitutes

This easy recipe for glazed carrots is truly minimal, with just 3 budget-friendly ingredients, plus salt, pepper, and oil. You won’t even need to make a trip to a store!

ingredients for Glazed Carrots measured out against a white surface
  • Carrots: We recommend using small carrots (about ½-inch in diameter) for this recipe. However, any size will work (as you can cut them). Orange or rainbow carrots will work, just as whole or baby carrots will.
  • Sugar: White sugar is great for an all-purpose vegetable glaze. However, if you want some molasses flavor, use brown sugar.

For a refined sugar-free option, use maple syrup to make delicious maple glazed carrots. This is more costly but tastes delicious.

  • Vinegar: A tiny splash of sherry or cider vinegar adds brightness and depth to this candied carrots recipe.
  • Oil: Use a neutral-tasting cooking oil like canola oil or vegetable oil. For more flavor and richness, use vegan butter (like Miyoko’s or Earth Balance).
  • Salt & black pepper: Season to taste. Use soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari) instead of salt for added umami and flavor depth.

How to Make Glazed Carrots?

You can prepare this quick and easy glazed carrots recipe in three simple steps.

  • 1) First, peel and chop the carrots into 4-inch pieces.

If you have thin carrots of equal width, cut the entire carrot. If you have larger carrots, cut them into quarters lengthwise. You could alternatively cut the carrots into ½-inch coins at a bias, but the cooking time may be shorter.

  • 2) Then, transfer all the ingredients to a large enough skillet (the carrots should be in a single layer), and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • 3) Immediately reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the carrots, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and the pan is dry (about 10 minutes). Then serve immediately and enjoy!

If they aren’t cooked by the time the liquid evaporates, add a tablespoon of water and continue to cook until the sugar/maple carrots are ready.

For alternative cooking methods, refer to the FAQs section below.

Glazed Carrots on a white plate in a white background

FAQs

Can I make roasted glazed carrots?

First, preheat the oven to 400F/200C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, toss the prepared carrots with the glaze ingredients until well-coated.

Transfer them to the oven and cook, tossing them every 15 minutes, until tender in the middle and browned and caramelized on the edges. This will take between 35-55 minutes based on the size of the carrots.

We recommend testing from 25 minutes by piercing the thickest part of a carrot with a fork until they’re fork-tender. This oven method leads to more caramelized edges but takes quite a bit longer.

Can I make air fryer glazed carrots?

To make glazed carrots in an air fryer, follow the roasted method, but spread the carrots in a single layer in your air fryer basket and cook at 400F/200C for 15-20 minutes (based on their size and thickness and how tender you prefer), tossing every 6 minutes.

Can glazed carrots be made the day before?

Technically, yes, you can, though we recommend making them fresh. If made ahead, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat as needed in a vegan buttered pan.

To save on prep time only, you can peel and slice the carrots in advance and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, ready to cook when needed.

Can I use a sugar alternative?

To make keto-glazed carrots, you could use a brown sugar alternative or sugar-free maple syrup and keto-friendly oil like avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.

Do I have to peel the carrots?

If you scrub them well, you don’t have to peel them for this sugar/maple glazed carrots recipe unless preferred.

Are these the same as candied carrots or caramelized carrots?

Yes, the sugar is what makes the glaze that candies/caramelizes the carrots, so all three terms apply.

Top Recipe Tips and Notes

  • Cut even-sized pieces: They won’t cook uniformly if they aren’t even in size.
  • For more tender carrots: You can par-boil the carrots for 5 minutes before starting the pan-fried steps.
  • For more of a sear: Don’t stir them too often as they cook to give them a chance to sear. However, don’t leave them too long, or they’ll burn.
  • Adjust the sweetness: Increase or decrease the amount of sugar used to taste. If you find them too sweet, add a small amount of additional sea salt to cut the sweetness.
  • To reduce cooking time: Cut the carrots into thinner batons/slices, and they’ll take less time to cook through.
Glazed Carrots on a white plate in a white background

What Could I Add To This Sweet Carrots Recipe?

With a basic glazed carrots recipe under your belt, now it’s time to have a little fun. Experiment with different spices, liquids, and aromatic ingredients for perfect sweet glazed carrots no matter the occasion.

Spices: The easiest way to add flavor to these easy glazed carrots is with herbs and seasonings, like:

  • Cinnamon (to complement the sweet elements of the dish)
  • Nutmeg (alongside cinnamon, just a tiny pinch)
  • Chili powder (or cayenne powder, for heat)
  • Paprika (sweet or smoked for subtle smoked glazed carrots)
  • Garlic powder (added to taste)
  • Ginger (make ginger glazed carrots with finely minced ginger)

Fresh herbs: To sprinkle over the vegan glazed carrots when serving.

  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Dill

You could also mix and match various elements. For example, orange-glazed carrots also pair wonderfully with ginger. Cinnamon and chili powder work well, etc.

Storage Recommendations

Though these sugar/maple syrup carrots are amazing straight from the skillet, if you have any leftovers, allow them to cool, then store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You could also freeze any leftovers in a freezer bag for up to 4 months.

To reheat the candied carrots, pop them back into a pan with a bit of oil or vegan butter over low heat until heated through. You could also use a microwave in 30-second increments, but the results will be mushier.

More Vegetable Side Dishes

You might also enjoy browsing through this list of 45 vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Glazed Carrots on a white plate in a white background

How To Make Glazed Carrots [+ Flavor Variations]

5 from 60 votes
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 13 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Here's a simple guide to making easy sugar or maple glazed carrots on the stovetop (or oven/air fryer) in under 15 minutes with just a handful of ingredients and several flavor variations – perfect for Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas!

Ingredients 

  • ½ pound of carrots peeled and cut into 4-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable or canola oil, or margarine
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of sherry or cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon of salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon of freshly ground or black pepper, or to taste

Instructions 

  • Put all ingredients into a saucepan large enough so that the carrots all fit in one layer. Turn the heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until the carrots are cooked through and the pan is dry, around 10 minutes. This should, ideally, all happen at the same time – if for some reason the carrots aren't cooked through when the liquid has all evaporated, add a tablespoon of water and continue cooking until the carrots are done. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Cut even-sized pieces: They won’t cook uniformly if they aren’t even in size.
  • For more tender carrots: You can par-boil the carrots for 5 minutes before starting the pan-fried steps.
  • For more of a sear: Don’t stir them too often as they cook to give them a chance to sear. However, don’t leave them too long, or they’ll burn.
  • Adjust the sweetness: Increase or decrease the amount of sugar used to taste. If you find them too sweet, add a small amount of additional sea salt to cut the sweetness.

Nutrition

Calories: 83kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 1gFat: 0.3gSaturated Fat: 0.04gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 660mgPotassium: 370mgFiber: 3gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 18947IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 0.4mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Stefan
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: accidently vegan, carrot, carrots, dairy free, gf, gluten free, glutenfree, holiday recipe, holidays, quick, side dishes, sides, simple, sweet recipes, thanksgiving, vegan, vegetarian, veggies
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

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  1. 5 stars
    I love cooked carrots and this recipe with the glaze is just delicious.I saw the suggestion for spices and added cinnamon which added the perfect flavor.