Cooking Tips

Browning Makes Carrots Taste Better

Raw is for rabbits. High heat and good browning make carrots taste sweeter and more delicious. 

Published Jan. 6, 2023.

I like carrots. Raw, steamed, sautéed in butter—they’re all great. But carrots become their best selves when you roast them hard

Cook’s Country Test Cook Mark Huxsoll recently developed a recipe for Butter-Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut Crumble and Goat Cheese that is off-the-charts good. The butter, the crumble, and the cheese give the dish flare, but the deeply roasted carrots are the star: dark brown, caramel sweet, complex, and utterly delicious. 

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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.

5 Keys to Deeply Browned Carrots

  1. Cut: Quartering carrots by first halving them crosswise and then halving those pieces lengthwise provides flat surfaces that readily brown against the hot surface of a rimmed baking sheet. 
  2. Fat: These carrots are cooked in butter, which adds deep flavor, but olive oil works well too. The key is to use enough fat to encourage browning. Make sure to use a rimmed baking sheet to contain the hot fat.
  3. Oven temperature: Go hot or go home. Setting the oven at 450 degrees ensures that the pieces are perfectly tender by the time they are deeply browned. (You needn’t flip them.)
  4. Rack position: Placing the rack in the lowest position is the best way to get browning here (you cook the carrots on a rimmed baking sheet placed on that lowest rack). The heating element for most ovens is at the bottom, and you want your carrots as close to that as possible for good browning. 
  5. Time: Good browning can’t be rushed. At 450 degrees, the carrot pieces take about 45 minutes to achieve ideal browning and flavor. 
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