How to Steam Carrots ♥

How to Steam Carrots, another healthy technique ♥
Today's "recipe" is one of the basic techniques for cooking vegetables, here applied to colorful, nutritious and inexpensive carrots. It's as simple as can be and produces "plain" (but delicious!) cooked carrots inviting simple embellishments that turn them into "special" carrots you'll be gobbling up like never before.

Fresh Vegetables, Fast & Healthy. Year-Round Kitchen Staple. Budget Friendly. Little Effort, Big Taste. Weeknight Easy. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real or Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly. One of My Very Favorite Carrot Recipes!

You've Got Carrots. Now, What's the Best Way to Cook Them?

Choices abound. In the famous A–Z Alphabet of Vegetables, the special page listing all my Carrot Recipes offers many basic techniques. These are my favorites.

Roasting in the oven. (See How to Roast Carrots & Carrot Fries with Cumin & Bourbon-Glazed Roasted Carrots)
Boiling on the stove, especially with other flavors. (See Butter-Simmered Carrots & Maple-Glazed Chicken with Easy Skillet Creamed Carrots & Onions.)
Cooking in a slow cooker. (See Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots.)

But week in and week out, I decide to use the very most basic way to cook carrots, with steam. Why?

Steaming is the fastest way to cook carrots.
Steaming is the simplest way to cook carrots.
Steaming is the only way to cook carrots without adding moisture (getting soggy) or losing moisture (shrinking).
Steaming is the healthiest way to cook carrots, leaving all the nutrients intact.

But most of all, I steam carrots because once they're fully cooked, there's a "blank slate" of cooked carrots and the real fun begins.

Leave the carrots plain? Sure. This is great for meal prep.
Toss the carrots with a little bit of "sauce" made from ingredients in the pantry? Absolutely. Let creativity and curiosity guide your next choices!

About This Recipe

Steaming carrots is super easy. Just peel the carrots, trim off the stem and root ends, cut into chunks and arrange the carrot pieces in a steaming basket to cook over a small amount of boiling water. It takes about 10 minutes!

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Do the carrots have to be peeled? It depends. Loose carrots, the ones that come with carrot tops, usually have skins that are so pretty, no peeling is required. Bags of carrots can be almost as pretty but more often, the skins are a bit gnarly. With a carrot peeler, it takes just three or maybe four minutes to peel a pound of carrots.
FYI I'm picky about vegetable peelers and favor an old-fashioned, low-tech vegetable peeler that stays sharp and is dishwasher safe. They're kinda hard to find anymore, consider buying a couple!

Can "baby" carrots be steamed? Yes. But Please Don't. I know, I know. Those so-called baby carrots are soooo convenient. But they're not young carrots at all, in fact, they're manufactured from giant carrots. Worse, they just have no flavor. If you have baby carrots, I've only found one way that makes them delicious, see Easy-Easy Slow Cooker Honey Carrots. But if baby carrots are what you have on hand and you're determined to steam them, sure, they'll steam just fine.

Do you have a recommendation for a good steamer basket for vegetables? Yes! If you really love to steam vegetables (and steam eggs), keep an eye out for a special three-piece pot (the pot itself, a steaming insert, the lid), it's really useful. But steaming baskets that fit into your existing pans are very useful and effective. Typically the baskets are either silicone or metal, please see these two options.
A soft silicone steaming basket (affiliate link) won't scratch your pots but the soft sides also make it less stable, dumping vegetables out.
A metal collapsible steaming basket (affiliate link) collapses down to take up a small amount of space but retains a concave shape that holds vegetables in.

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe inspires you, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

How to Steam Carrots, another healthy technique ♥


Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4
Just Carrots + Pantry Staples

1 pound carrots, preferably whole carrots not baby carrots

SETUP Find a steaming basket (recommendations above) and insert it into a pot, it should lie flat or almost flat against the sides of the pot. Add water to the pot, it should be lower than the bottom of the basket. Pull out the basket, you'll fill it off heat. Bring the water to a boil, since there's so little water, this should take no more than a couple of minutes, even faster if you keep the lid on the pot.

PREP Peel the carrots (or not, your call). Trim off and discard the carrot tops and if they're gnarly, a bit off the carrot bottoms. Chances are, the carrots are too big to fit into the steamer basket like this. So you'll need to cut them into chunks or lengths. If the carrots are fat, you might want to cut them in half or even quarters at the top end before cutting into chunks or lengths and even "carrot coins" or cute little carrot cubes. The goal is to end up with carrots of about equivalent thickness, this helps them to cook evenly.

STEAM Once the water comes to a boil, fill the steaming basket and lower it into the pot. Cover the pot and lower the heat to maintain a slow boil, one where the boiling water doesn't slosh up into the carrots in the steaming basket. Steam the carrots for 5 - 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes to check if the carrots have reached the level of doneness you're looking for, just stick the tip of a small knife into a carrot or two. The smaller the pieces of carrots, the quicker they'll cook but timing also depends on where you set the temperature. Here, I usually cut carrots into chunks and they're done after 10 minutes on medium heat. Once the carrots are cooking to your liking or your purpose, lift the steamer basket out of the pot.

LEAVE PLAIN? Taste a carrot and decide if you want to embellish ... or not. Plain steamed carrots are pretty special all on their own, their natural sweetness is quite wonderful. I usually set aside at least some plain carrots to refrigerate and use later.

OTHERWISE NOW COMES THE FUN PART! Here's where I like to play around, matching the carrot flavor with other ingredients I already have on hand. Here are a few ideas but truly, check the condiments in your fridge, you'll likely find something that sounds good.

Toss with a teaspoon of butter, a teaspoon of brown sugar and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
Toss with a teaspoon of butter and some finely chopped fresh herbs.
Gently toss with a little Dijon mustard mixed with a little cream and/or half 'n' half or a pre-made mustard sauce like Homemade Finnish Mustard or Famous Mustard Sauce (Carolina BBQ Mustard Sauce). So good!
Toss with a little sour cream mixed with orange marmalade.
Toss with a little mayonnaise mixed with BBQ sauce or teriyaki sauce or oyster sauce.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .

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Still Hungry?

More Vegetables Cooked with Steam

~ Steamed Butternut Squash in a Collapsible Steamer Basket ~
~ Cabbage Roses ~
~ Never-the-Same Steamed Broccoli ~
~ Steamed Broccoli Raab ~
~ Steamed Leeks with Chopped Egg ~
~ Herbed Potatoes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Cauliflower Salad with Fresh Herbs ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

More Favorite Carrot Recipes

~ Bourbon-Glazed Carrots ~
~ Creamy Carrot Purée ~
~ "Wonderful" Glazed Turnips & Carrots ~
~ Chilled Carrot Soup with Honey ~
~ more carrot recipes ~ from A Veggie Venture

~ Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup ~
~ Mashed Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Baked Cabbage Wedges ~
~ Celebration Salad (Maple-Roasted Carrots with Arugula, Dill, Cranberry Vinaigrette, Pomegranate and Glazed Pecans) ~
~ more carrot recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Seasonal Eating: Late Summer Across the Years

Hurricane Rice with Shrimp & Sausage Roasted Zucchini with Feta Zucchini Pizza with a Twist How to Steam Carrots Stuffed Pattypan Squash Simple Pattypan Squash with Squash Blossoms Cherry Tomato & White Bean Salad Baked Eggs, Tomatoes & Anchovies Summer Vegetable Curry (<< this week's favorite!) Warm Sweet Potato Salad Spaghetti Squash Salad with Tomato, Basil & Feta Tomato & Sour Cherry Gazpacho Quinoa Salad with Tomato-Balsamic Vinaigrette Mighty Perfect Cabbage & Broccoli Coleslaw Favorite Seasonal Vegetable Stews (<< great collection!) Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuits & Goat Cheese

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous Asparagus-to-Zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables where recipes range from seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.