These Easy Honey Orange Glazed Carrots get a head-start in the microwave and are finished on the stove top, with a simple glaze made from honey, butter and a splash of orange juice. Finished with fresh herbs and orange zest for an extra burst of fresh flavor!
Easy Honey Orange Glazed Carrots are a super simple and quick side dish, excellent for Easter or any springtime party. These honey orange glazed carrots are so delicious - they are sweet of course, but not overly so (in my opinion). And the fresh orange flavor nicely balances out that sweetness. If taste alone doesn't convince you, here are a few other reasons why I love this recipe:
- These carrots have a beautiful, super shiny glaze. So there's a bit of a "wow" factor there, especially when garnished with extra orange zest and coarse sea salt!
- They travel well: the glaze isn't overly wet so they are easy to take on the go for a potluck or get-together.
- The whole recipe is ready in about 20 minutes and uses the microwave to steam the carrots before finishing in a skillet. Super easy, and no need to drain any boiling water!
So, if you need an easy and quick side dish recipe for Easter or any other upcoming get-together, you can't go wrong bringing these easy glazed carrots!
Here's what you'll need to make these easy glazed carrots:
- Carrots: of course! I use baby carrots for this easy recipe; for a discussion of why and how to substitute regular carrots, see the next section below "What kind of carrots should I use?"
- Orange: you just need one medium orange, and you will be using both the zest and the juice.
- Salt and pepper: I used Kosher salt for this recipe but you can use regular salt too. There are no precise measurements on this one, just salt to taste!
- Butter: this helps add a nice shine and rich flavor to the honey orange glaze.
- Honey: I like using raw honey; it has a more intense "honey" flavor in my opinion. But you can use any type of honey you like or that you have on hand.
- Fresh herbs: this adds a nice pop of green color and some fresh flavor. I used parsley, but have made this recipe with dill and that is also fabulous! Chives would be another good option.
- Optional additional garnishes: I added an extra grind of black pepper on top, plus a few more bits of fresh herbs and some coarse sea salt. This adds some additional visual interest and a bit of extra flavor (never a bad thing!). But, these are optional so feel free to leave out if you wish.
What kind of carrots should I use?
As I mentioned, I like to use baby carrots for this recipe. There's a couple reasons for this:
- Save five or more minutes on prep time: I actually started testing this recipe using regular carrots, and it took me between 5 and 6 minutes to peel and chop all the carrots. With baby carrots, there is no peeling or chopping at all!
- Size consistency: having a consistent size for the carrots is important for even cooking. When I used regular carrots, I had to pay a lot of attention to how I was cutting them to get consistent sizing, even having to go back and cut down a few that I thought were too big. Still totally doable of course. But, I wanted this recipe to be super duper easy. Grabbing a couple bags of baby carrots that are already cut into consistent sizes is definitely the easier option!
What if I still want to use regular carrots?
Of course you can still use regular carrots! I understand - maybe you already have them in your fridge, or you just like the way regular carrots look (a tad fancier perhaps!).
If you want to use regular carrots, just peel them all and cut them into consistent, bite sized pieces. (Maybe slices cut on an angle, or in sticks?) Then follow the rest of the recipe as written, except you will need to adjust the microwave time if your carrot pieces are larger than a typical baby carrot (which is roughly about ½ inch in diameter and 2 inches long).
Just add an extra minute at a time on top of the regular cook time, stirring and checking with a fork in between, to see when they are just starting to cook through but are still firm. I talk more about the fork test in the Helpful tips section below.
Here are a few quick tips for this Easy Honey Orange Glazed Carrots recipe:
A couple prep tips:
- Make sure you zest the orange before you cut it in half to juice it. It is much easier to zest a whole orange than two, already squeezed halves! And when you zest, don't go past the top layer of orange skin, or the whole dish will end up tasting bitter.
- Be careful when you remove the bowl of carrots from the microwave. The bowl itself will be hot so use oven mitts or a thick cloth. Plus, some steam and condensation will have accumulated under the cover. So use caution when you lift up the lid!
Use a fork to test doneness of the carrots after microwaving
- Cook the carrots in the microwave until they are just on the verge of being cooked through. Yo don't want to go overboard because the carrots will continue to cook a little bit in the pan with the glaze.
- The carrots are done microwaving when you can stick a fork in one, but it still takes a little effort (versus just easily sliding in).
- You can tailor this process to your own tastes. I found that when microwaving them 8 minutes (the amount called for in the recipe), the final result is tender but still a bit firm. So, if you like your carrots softer, microwave them for an extra minute or two. Just remember, they will end up being a little bit more cooked than how they came out of the microwave.
When is the glaze finished?
Finally, I thought it would be helpful to give you a visual to know when the glaze is finished. Most of the moisture from the pan should be evaporated. And, the glaze should be shiny and completely coating the carrots:
I hope this easy side dish helps make your upcoming springtime celebrations happy and stress free! If you’ve tried this recipe for Easy Honey Orange Glazed Carrots, please let me know what you thought about it in the comments down below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more delicious recipes from Nibble and Dine!
If you need a few more easy side dish recipes to round out your springtime party menu, check these recipes out:
- Cilantro Garlic and Lime Cauliflower: the secret ingredient in this delicious roasted cauliflower recipe is mayo!
- Bacon Blue Cheese Pasta Salad: bacon and blue cheese are a match made in heaven - and with pasta? Even better!
- Creamy Tomato Cucumber Salad: this simple salad is as easy to make as it is refreshing.
An easy side dish that uses the microwave to start the cooking process! Carrots are then finished in a pan with a simple honey orange glaze.
- 2 pounds baby carrots (see note 1)
- juice and 1 teaspoon zest from 1 medium orange
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- ½ cup fresh chopped herbs (suggested herbs: parsley, chives, and/or dill)
- optional garnishes: additional herbs, black pepper, and coarse sea salt
- Zest the orange until you have collected enough for 1 tsp. Set aside.
- Place the baby carrots in a large microwave-safe bowl. Squeeze the juice from the zested orange over the carrots and sprinkle generously with salt. Stir to combine and then cover the bowl with microwave-safe plastic wrap or a microwave-safe lid with vents. If using plastic wrap, make sure to leave a small space uncovered to act as a vent and that there is at least a 1 inch gap between the carrots and the plastic wrap.
- Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir, then microwave for an additional 4 minutes. (Be careful of hot steam when removing lid from the carrots.) The carrots are done when they are still firm but can be pierced through with a fork with some resistance. If carrots are still too hard, or if you like softer carrots, microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until desired doneness is achieved. (See note 2.)
- Add the butter to a large skillet set over high heat. Using a slotted spoon, immediately remove the carrots from the bowl and into the pan with the butter; reserve carrot cooking liquid. (Be careful, butter may spatter when wet carrots are added).
- Add 1 tbsp. of cooking liquid from the carrots, honey, another sprinkle of salt and a sprinkle of black pepper to the carrots. Cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the glaze is shiny and thick enough to coat the carrots, about 6 - 7 minutes.
- Stir in the 1 tsp. orange zest and fresh herbs. Taste a carrot and add an additional sprinkle of salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with additional herbs, black pepper, and coarse sea salt (optional).
- Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days. To reheat, microwave on high in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until heated through. Or, reheat in a skillet over low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through.
- You can also use regular carrots instead of baby carrots. Just peel and chop the carrots into thick slices or sticks. If the carrot pieces are much larger than a baby carrot, you will likely need to increase the microwave cooking time.
- I found that microwaving the carrots for 8 minutes total as directed resulted in carrots that were cooked through but still firm after finishing them in the pan. If you like soft, tender carrots, microwave them for a minute or two longer. But, just keep in mind they will soften up just a little bit more in the pan after microwaving.
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