I’m always playing around with different ways to roast carrots since they are difficult to cook properly. While straight-up roasted carrots (cut in half lengthwise first) are delicious and handsome, and carrot “fries” are yummy straight out of the oven, especially with a dipping sauce, both dry-heat techniques have their shortcomings. (Read "Three Ways to Roast Carrots.")

One day I decided to apply a French technique for cooking potatoes (that I learned in culinary school) to carrots. It’s a cross between braising and roasting and basically involves cooking the vegetables in butter and a little bit of water, covered by a piece of parchment paper, in the oven. (A Pyrex baking dish is ideal for this.) For the first half of cooking, the carrots steam in that butter bath under the parchment, which helps them ultimately be very tender. But because you take the parchment paper off and continue roasting the carrots (uncovered) until the water has mostly cooked off and the bottoms of the carrots are browning in the buttered pan, the final texture of the carrot isn’t mushy—it’s tender. The carrots are also lightly caramelized so the flavor is excellent. And in this version, I brush a little dark (local) honey on the tops as well to give an extra flavor dimension. You could serve with a squeeze of lime if you like.

This method is just a tiny bit more fussy than roasting carrots on a sheet pan. But the results are elegant enough to serve with a special meal — though perfect with meatloaf, too. (If you want to double the recipe, use two pans.)

Serves 3 as a side dish

Susie Middleton
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus more for rubbing the pan)
  • 1 pound carrots (choose carrots of similar thickness, if possible, though length does not matter), peeled, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise (use a very sharp knife to do this!)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon local honey (I like a darker honey), warmed to loosen up if necessary
  • Lime wedges (optional)


1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Rub the bottom and sides of a 9” x 13” Pyrex baking pan (or similar-sized ceramic baking dish) with softened butter.

2. Arrange the carrot halves (cut side down) in one layer across the bottom of the pan. You may need to fiddle around a bit to get them all in, but they should fit. Gently pour the ¾ cup of water into the pan so that it covers the bottom. (It will surround the carrots but will only come up the sides a bit.)

3. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. Use a pastry brush to thoroughly brush the tops of the carrots with the butter. Sprinkle each carrot with a bit of kosher salt (about ¼ teaspoon total).

4. Cut a piece of parchment paper so that it just fits inside the baking dish on top of the carrots. Place it on top of the carrots and transfer the dish to the oven.

5. Cook for 25 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven (for easier handling) and remove the parchment paper (be careful of steam). Use your pastry brush to baste the carrots with pan juices and then brush the tops of them with the honey. Return the pan to the oven, uncovered.

6. Continue to cook for about another 15 to 20 minutes, basting every 5 or 6 minutes, until the carrots are tender and browning in places. Most of the water will be evaporated. (When basting, use the brush to “wash” the sides and corners of the baking pan where the browning is intensifying. If necessary, you can dip the brush in some water first to do this.) You can also carefully move the carrots around if the ones on the ends are browning more.

7. Remove from the oven, baste again with anything left in the pan (you can flip the carrots over at this point and baste the other side), and serve warm right away, with a squeeze of lime if you like.