Roasted Whole Carrots are a scrumptious, easy to prepare side dish that provides lots of color on the plate!

Oven Roasted Multi-Colored Carrots on platter

Oven Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Often when I’m creating a menu, one challenge is finding a side dish that adds color to the plate – especially a bright color, like red or orange. After all, Mom always said that we eat with our eyes first! Fresh, plump tomatoes are a great provider of color, but unfortunately not always in season. The other day, I looked around the produce section at our grocery store for other colorful vegetables and zeroed in on carrots.

Robert and I both love carrots, and I’m able to find fresh (good) ones year-round. So, I started creating fun, easy carrot recipes that not only provide delicious flavor and a bit of crunch, but also add that “pop” of color that makes the whole meal even more appealing. These Oven Roasted Carrots are one of my newest carrot recipes, that’s not only colorful and delicious, it’s easy to prepare too!

Cooking Carrots in the Oven

I love roasted vegetables – pretty much any kind. Carrots are naturally sweet, and the slight caramelization that comes with roasting them brings out their sweetness even more. Plus, it concentrates and amps up the carrot flavor, too.

While you could prepare this recipe with larger carrots, I like to use smaller ones (around 4 to 6 inches in length). You could also use baby carrots – just try to find the real ones, that usually have the greens still attached. Actually, most “baby” carrots in bags (the ones that are around 1 to 2 inches long and look like logs) are just carved large carrots, not babies at all! Look at the shape – and the greens are a sure way to tell as well.

I think this dish also looks pretty if you can find a bunch of the multi-colored (sometimes labeled “rainbow”) carrots – like the ones in my photos here.

Oven Roasted Rainbow-Colored Carrots with Serving Pieces

How to Roast Carrots in Oven

My favorite easy method for cooking almost any vegetable is oven roasting; it brings out the natural sweetness in the food – especially carrots! Here are the easy steps to roast whole carrots:

  1. Prep oven.
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Prep and season carrots.
    Peel carrots, trim off green tops to around 1-inch long. (You can also cut the tops off completely, but they are edible and add look nice!) Place carrots in a single layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and toss (I like to use my hands).
  3. Cook.
    Roast carrots for around 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until just tender (poke with a small fork near the green tops) and not mushy.
  4. Garnish and serve.
    Remove carrots from oven and place on a serving platter. Garnish with chopped parsley and nuts (if using). Serve warm or at room temperature.

How long to Roast Carrots

In a 425 degree oven, roast whole carrots for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes. They should be tender but not mushy.

How to Roast Baby Carrots

Roast baby carrots the same way you roast whole carrots (follow the directions in this post). Depending on their size, they may cook faster, so start checking them for doneness at 20 minutes.

Flavor and Spice Variations to Cook Carrots in Oven

There are many, many ways you can amp up the flavor of oven roasted carrots. Here are a few seasonings you can add to this recipe. I’ve divided them into herbs and spices to toss with the carrots before roasting, and those to add after cooking:

Before roasting, add:

  • chopped fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme leaves
  • ground cumin
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • ground ginger
  • ground cinnamon

After roasting, add:

  • chopped fresh dill
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped fresh chives
White platter showing rainbow-colored Oven Roasted Carrots

FAQs for Cooking Carrots in the Oven

Do rainbow carrots taste different?

Taste differences between various colored carrots (orange, purple, white, yellow) are minimal – and more like to be noticed when eating carrots raw.

Is it better to boil or roast carrots?

It’s really personal preference. I prefer roasting as it enhances the carrots’ natural sweetness, and adds a subtle caramelized flavor.

Do you have to peel carrots before roasting?

Yes, I believe you should peel carrots, before eating raw or cooking. In fact, Cook’s Illustrated conducted a series of tests on peeled vs unpeeled carrots – eaten raw, cut into slices and glazed, and roasted. In all three cases, tasters preferred the peeled carrots, reporting that, after cooking, the unpeeled versions were wrinkled, tough, gritty, and too earthy tasting.

Should I cover carrots when roasting?

Never cover carrots – or any vegetable – when roasting. The cover traps in moisture that is released during the cooking process, and that moisture will steam the carrots and prevent them from developing a nice, caramelized crust.

Storing and Reheating Oven Roasted Whole Carrots

Store any leftover roasted carrots in an airtight container in the refrigerator; they’ll last for around 3 days. To reheat, place carrots in a single layer in a shallow pan or rimmed cookie sheet in a 325 to 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or just until warm.

How to Serve Roasted Whole Carrots

These roasted carrots are a great side dish to serve with almost anything – I like them with lamb, beef or pork. They are a wonderful addition to my Easter Dinner Menu, too.

Pin it now to save for later!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Oven Roasted Rainbow-Colored Carrots with Serving Pieces

Oven Roasted Whole Carrots

  • Author: by Lee Clayton Roper
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side dishes, vegetables, easy, gluten free
  • Method: roasting
  • Cuisine: Easy
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Roasted Whole Carrots are a scrumptious, easy to prepare side dish that provides lots of color on the plate!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds (around 20) small-ish carrots (4 to 6 inches in length)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, for garnish
  • Chopped roasted nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.), for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Peel carrots, trim green tops to around 1-inch long.
  3. Place carrots in a single layer on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, and toss (I like to use my hands). Roast for around 25 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until carrots are just tender and not mushy.
  4. Remove from oven and place carrots on a serving platter. Garnish with chopped parsley and nuts (if using).
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lee Clayton Roper

Welcome!

I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
Learn More

Access more recipes in Lee's award-winning book, Fresh Tastes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating