Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables. They’re a fantastic way to satisfy a sweet craving with a cool and crisp crunchy bite either on their own or while sipping into a dip of your choice. But the thing that takes them to the next level is roasting them, until they become soft like butter and their flavors produce an almost caramelized, candy-like flavor. All it takes are six (or seven) ingredients and minimal work to put this side dish that is roasted carrots on the table – and they will be raved about. As a bonus, I not only tell you how to do this in your oven, but in your air fryer as well!
Pre-Heat The Oven
Prep The Carrots
Roast The Carrots
The Taste Test
- 2 pounds medium-sized carrots, peeled and kept whole (see Jeff's Tips)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon light or dark brown sugar (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the oven or air fryer to 400°F.
- In a large bowl, add the carrots and all the remaining ingredients. With clean hands, toss until all the carrots are coated in the seasoned oil. You'll have some leftover so set that aside for the finishing touch.
- Roast in one of two ways:
- Oven: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the oiled carrots on it in a single layer. Once the oven or air fryer is heated, place on the center rack. Bake for 50 minutes for medium carrots and up to 10-15 minutes longer if they’re larger. Regardless of size, after 30 minutes of baking, check on the carrots by sticking a fork in one. If they’re soft and tender, they’re done. If not, bake for 10 minutes more or until fork tender.
- Air Fryer: Place the oiled carrots on it in a single layer in the air fryer basket (NOTE: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in a few batches). Bake for 20-30 minutes for smaller carrots and up to 5-10 minutes if they’re larger. Regardless of size, after 20 minutes of baking, check on the carrots by sticking a fork in one. If they’re soft and tender, they’re done. If not, bake for 10 minutes more or until fork tender. Brush the remaining seasoned oil onto the carrots. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve topped with more salt and pepper, if desired.
Brush the remaining seasoned oil onto the roasted carrots. Let cool for 5-10 minutes and serve topped with more salt and pepper, if desired.
If using large, thick carrots, cut them in half and then quarter them lengthwise after peeling.
Want to save time? You can use baby carrots which are already peeled for you AND they'll cook quicker! Keep them whole and bake for 30 minutes in the oven and about 15-20 minutes in the air fryer (both at 400°F). Just make sure they're fork tender. If not, cook a little longer until they are.
If you want the carrots super roasted to the point where they're nearly blackened, add an additional 10-20 minutes. Just keep an eye on them so they don't burn as all ovens vary.
If you want the carrots even sweeter, after 30 minutes of roasting, brush some pure maple syrup onto them before completing the roasting time until they're fork-tender.
The sugar is optional because carrots are sweet as is and even sweeter once baked. But I do like it with a little extra sweetness to them.
These carrots also taste great cold! If you have leftovers, put them in an airtight container and place in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.