How to Glaze Carrots and Other Vegetables. Better Tasting Side Dishes Every time!

Updated on March 17, 2016

Growing up, I always wondered why the vegetables served at good restaurants always tasted better than the one’s I boiled or steamed at home – wondering how they could boil vegetables so much better than I!?!

Well, eventually, I figured out that it wasn’t the way they prepared the vegetables that made the difference, it was the way they finished them off, by adding a quick vegetable glaze - a glaze sauce that truly makes a world of difference, especially when used on root vegetables, like carrots.

Glazed vegetables are lustrous and appetizing, and each cut piece of vegetable is perfectly seasoned with a flavorful half-absorbed buttery sauce – lovely stuff, and since it only takes about 1 minute to glaze up a batch of carrots or other rot vegetables, there no reason why you shouldn’t glaze every time.

How to Glaze Carrots

(This works equally well for other root vegetables)

  1. Boil your cut vegetables in well salted water until you have just barely reached the desired tenderness.
  2. Drain off all but 2 or 3 Tbls of liquid from the pot.
  3. Add in a Tbls or so of butter (more if you’re feeling decadent) and return the pot to the heat.
  4. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until the water and butter have combined to form a sauce and continue cooking until that sauce is almost completely absorbed into the carrots.
  5. Salt, taste and salt again.

It doesn’t sound like much, but taking the time to do this one extra step will transform an everyday side dish to something that will steal the limelight on any plate.

And when you get used to making this very simple glaze, you can move on to more advanced combinations!

A glaze is composed of a liquid and a fat that are simmered together to coat a vegetable. The simplest form of glaze is simply one like that described above, which uses butter and water, but you can bring more flavors to the party if desired.

More Carrot Glaze Ideas

  • For carrots, a little sweetness works magic, and so to the above recipe, try sprinkling in a little brown sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • Instead of just water for the liquid, try combining other flavorful variations, like vegetable or chicken stock, rum or bourbon, white wine or any number of juices (mmm…apple juice glazed butter carrots)
  • You can also add in flavorings through the addition of herbs and spices. Flavors that go well with carrots include garlic, cumin, ginger, mint, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, or most any of the ‘sweet’ spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, coriander seed, etc. (remember that you can always add in more spice, so take it easy when adding flavorings to a glaze – you just want an accent, not an OVERPOWERING flavor!)

Once you get the hang of making a glaze, you can mix and match between different liquids,, fats, sugars and flavorings to create an infinite number of dinnertime variations.

Boiled carrots will never be boring again!

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        aarush 6 years ago


      • RussellLHuey profile image

        RussellLHuey 6 years ago

        I love it.

      • Beatrice Jordan profile image

        Beatrice Jordan 7 years ago from North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

        I will certainly try this at the weekend it sounds yummy. My mother always added a little sugar to the water with the salt. She said it improved the flavour and colour. For many years I have added a good dollop of thick cut marmalade to the water - this leaves lovely pieces of orange peel and a tangy flavour with the carrots when drained.

      • craftybegonia profile image

        craftybegonia 7 years ago from Southwestern, United States

        Looks delicious!

      • almurray profile image

        Alan Murray 7 years ago from Ipswich, United Kingdom

        This is a brilliant article. Very useful. Thank you very much.

      • profile image

        veggiehater 8 years ago

        Thanks for the idea! It's so simple but I never would have thought of adding fat to cooking water. I've just started a hub on my adventures trying to find ways of cooking veg for people who don't like veg (ie me) so I'll have to have a go playing around with this.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Yum! I also like carmelizing some onions and cooking them with carrots. So many things one can do with this versatile vegetable.