These brown sugar glazed carrots with bourbon could be mistaken as candy, they’re so irresistible! Great for Thanksgiving or any other meal!
It’s not too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving, is it? Because I am. These carrots are insanely delicious any time of the year but I tend to go vegetable heavy on my Thanksgiving menu and these definitely secured a spot. When I’m planning a Thanksgiving menu or any type of entertaining, I try to think about what I can prep ahead.
You can prep these carrots by peeling and slicing them, storing them in an airtight container in your fridge, and then when you’re ready to cook them, they’re done in 20 minutes or less!
Also worthy of note is that these taste amazing without the bourbon, too. I love the flavor it adds, but butter and brown sugar are pretty great on their own too. So if you’re prepping for a crowd that likes to stay away from alcohol, you can still easily make this recipe work for you. The alcohol will cook off but I understand it’s still not for everyone.
The combination of the butter and brown sugar makes the carrots caramelize…you won’t even feel like you’re eating a vegetable.
Tip: Want to make these even quicker and easier? Use baby carrots! I personally think they don’t taste nearly as good but they’re great in a pinch (I have some roasted baby carrots in my fridge as I write this, actually! Someone left them at my house and they were easy to roast and then I tossed them onto my salads all week. You could also use frozen carrots or canned carrots, I suppose. I haven’t tested those personally, so cooking time may vary, but I’m sure they would work if that’s all you have. My recommendation is the real thing though! Fresh is always best, but I know life is crazy!
How to make these brown sugar glazed carrots:
These are ridiculously easy but there are a couple steps in the recipe that are done intentionally for a specific purpose. (As always, the full recipe is in the printable recipe card!)
- Start by cooking over medium high heat with olive oil. DO NOT STIR more than once. This will give the carrots some nice color and help to caramelize them. This color = flavor. (Hint – you could also roast them first and then toss them in the glaze, but I prefer to get it done all in one pan).
- Next you’ll reduce the heat to medium, add a bit of water (watch out for steam!), cover and steam the carrots. This will ensure they’re nice and soft and tender and no longer crunchy.
- Once they’re tender, take the cover back off, add the bourbon (or whiskey!) and let the alcohol cook off for a couple of minutes. Most of the liquid should be gone at this point, but the flavor will still be there!
- Then you’re going to reduce the heat again, this time to low. Add the butter, brown sugar, and cayenne and let the magic happen! Once it’s caramelized, shiny, and irresistible, it’s time to eat!
Ways to adapt these glazed carrots:
- Not a fan of spice? Leave out the cayenne. I love the hint of spice contrasting all the sweetness of the carrots, bourbon and brown sugar, but if that’s not for you, leave it out.
- Already mentioned it, but these would be great without the booze, too. Just skip that step. Or you could substitute orange juice in that step, that would be delicious too.
- Prefer honey or maple syrup to brown sugar? Both are great options and will taste fantastic. I love honey on carrots and either honey or maple will pair perfectly with both the bourbon and carrots.
- Already mentioned this too, but if you need to, you can substitute baby carrots, canned carrots, or frozen carrots. Cooking time may vary slightly.
- Want to double the recipe? I don’t blame you! Try to choose a large enough pan where the majority of the carrots will contact the pan in that first step with the olive oil. This will help them to brown evenly and give you the most possible flavor.
- Want to add some crunch? Sprinkle some toasted chopped walnuts on the top right before serving.
Can’t wait to hear what you guys think of this recipe! Don’t forget to rate it after you make it!
- 5 medium-sized carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (coins) - about 3 cups cut carrots
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or whiskey
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- Pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- Flaky sea salt for serving, optional
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a medium-sized skillet.
- When oil is glistening and hot, add carrots and salt and saute for 5 minutes, stirring once.
- Reduce heat to medium, carefully add 1/4 cup of water (watch out for steam!), cover and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Remove cover and if water has not evaporated, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until water evaporates. Carrots should be fork tender at this point, but if they are not, continue to cook, stirring frequently, until they are tender.
- Add bourbon and cook until reduced, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to low and add butter, brown sugar, and cayenne. Stir to combine. Cook until butter is melted and sugar no longer looks grainy (1-2 minutes).
- Serve immediately, topped with flaky sea salt if desired.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: Ben loved these! The cayenne was a little much for him (we ate them the next day and I think the flavor intensified a little), but I’ve made them multiple times and he devours them with a little less cayenne.
Changes I would make: None are necessary but check out my ideas above!
Difficulty: Very easy!