These brown sugar glazed carrots with bourbon could be mistaken as candy, they’re so irresistible! Great for Thanksgiving or any other meal! 

Black nonstick skillet with glazed sliced carrots in it.
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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.

Recipe 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!

Black nonstick skillet with glazed sliced carrots in it.

How to make these 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.
Black nonstick skillet with glazed sliced carrots in it.

Can’t wait to hear what you guys think of this recipe! Don’t forget to rate it after you make it!


Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots with Bourbon

4.47 from 43 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 14 minutes
Total: 29 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
These brown sugar glazed carrots with bourbon could be mistaken as candy, they’re so irresistible! Great for Thanksgiving or any other meal! 
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  • 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.



Serving: 2/3 cup, Calories: 82kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 154mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did You Make This?Share a comment and rating below! I love hearing what you think!

Verdict: Love these! They’re so easy to make but seem fancy and treat-like. That’s a win in my book.
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!

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4.47 from 43 votes (42 ratings without comment)

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  1. Suzanne Van Engen says:

    5 stars
    Whenever I am making something, I check to see how your have made it. Your recipes always win.
    This carrot recipe is the best. I offered to ring something to my son’s house to complement the dinner and asked what I could bring. Thos carrots you make – everyone chimed in. Thanks Rachel!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Oh I love that! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Tia Sullivan says:

    Is there a good way to prepare these a day or two in advance – will they reheat ok?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      They should reheat fine! You could even throw them in the slow cooker on warm. I’d just maybe slightly undercook them so they don’t get mushy when you reheat them.

  3. Sebastian C says:

    I put the carrots in to the smoker with the meat and when they are still kinda hard i pull them out and let them cool….the flavor is outstanding

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Oh my goodness, that sounds absolutely amazing! I’m going to try that!

  4. Lou says:

    My wife and I were looking for a carrot side dish to go with our meal and came upon your site. This was very quick and easy to make and very tasty. The bourbon is a nice touch and we also love cooking with it. We will definitely make this again. Thanks Rachel!!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So glad you liked this recipe! It’s one of my favorites, too!

  5. Heather says:

    I’m thinking of trying Salted Caramel Crown Royal instead of bourbon. 

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I think that will work great, sounds delicious!

  6. PaulaJo says:

    You add the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Yes, sorry about that! Add it when you’re sautéing them.

  7. peter d maurer says:

    you could make this with any veg. ,everything tastes good with butter and honey or sugar on it,green beans cauliflower,no end in sight

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      For sure! Thanks for the comment!

  8. Karen Luhmann says:

    Oh my goodness, I made a double batch of these last night, they are soooo good!! Part of my weekly meal prep was done in a snap!! One pan, a handful of ingredients I already had on hand, perfect!! I love all the suggestions and substitutions offered too.  Thanks for the great recipe Rachel!! Bring on Thanksgiving, I’m ready with side dish number 1.  

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      So happy to hear that you liked these, Karen! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  9. Bekah says:

    These look delicious and perfect for fall meals! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thanks Bekah! I hope you love them!

  10. denise says:

    nice way to kick up the flavor on something I already make

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Thanks Denise!