How to Cook Carrots

The carrot is a wonderful addition to many meals and can be eaten raw, but below, we are going to outline how to cook the perfect carrot.

This very versatile root vegetable is typically orange in colour, but if you have a kind word with your local vegetable sellers, you can buy white, red, black and yellow cultivars! Daucus carota, to give it its proper Latin name, is native to Europe and Asia.

It is fantastic to think that over 40 million tons of carrots and turnips are grown annually, with almost half of this production coming from China. Most nations have their own favourite recipes and methods of utilising the carrot in a huge variety of dishes. Whether they are served besides a pork chop or stir-fried in a wok, the carrot is a great splash of nutritious orange to every plate.

Cooking Carrots in 10 Minutes

Here is our guide to cooking carrots in less than 10 minutes.

Firstly, let's get prepared and suggest what you need to make sure this is hassle-free and as simple as possible.

You will need the following to cook carrots:

  • A vegetable peeler
  • Chopping board
  • Medium-sized cooking pot
  • Sharp vegetable knife

Did you know that carrots actually release more beta-carotene when cooked. According to data, when eaten raw only 3 percent of beta-carotene is ingested but up to 39% when cooked and mashed!

So, if you have gathered your items and feel organised in the kitchen, then you can get started. First, grab your peeler and remove just the outside of the carrot. Keep the peelings for the compost or a neighbour’s rabbit if possible! Secondly, measure enough water to cover your carrots in the pot.

Chop, Boil and Timing

Now comes the fun bit of chopping your carrot into bite-sized slices. The size is pretty much up to personal taste. For most chefs, the most important thing is to chop at regular size so that they will all cook at the same speed.

Bring your cooking pot to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Then slide the chopped carrots directly from your chopping board into the boiling water. Timing is now everything, so start a timer on your phone or a kitchen clock, and allow 3 to 4 minutes. It is a little quicker and hence more efficient to cook with a lid on, but many of us like to be able to see what’s cooking!

One good tip is after 2 to 3 minutes, push a fork into one of the cooking carrots, let it cool a little and see how tender or hard they are. Always bear in mind that by the time you sit down to eat with friends or family, the carrots are still softening slightly.

It's an obvious thing to say, but really important that you should make sure that whatever meal you are serving is now also ready to plate up as then we can ensure that our carrots will be served in the best and freshest way. Everything, including your guests, should be ready to eat!

So here is a checklist for cooking:

  • Chop equal size slices
  • Boil water and add salt
  • Set timer for 3-4 minutes
  • Check if tender
  • Drain off excess water
  • Serve and season to taste

Roasting Carrots

Well, it is the season for roast dinners, and carrots can be absolutely delicious when roasted. The most important thing is to allow enough time for the carrots to oven-roast. The best way is to allow 30-40 minutes in a hot oven making sure you turn the carrots over half way through to avoid them sticking to the baking tray.

First make sure that you chop these much bigger than you would if boiling or blanching. You can if you like blanch first as this will reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes or so. The main thing is to make sure that your sliced carrots are all completely covered in cooking oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. These can be cooked alongside other root vegetables such as turnips and parsnips.

Turn over the carrots with a large long wooden spoon or similar and be gentle with the carrots.

Suggestions for Cooked Carrots

Naturally, you can add butter or a drop of olive oil at the end of the cooking time if you want to add a touch of luxury to this plain and simple root veggie. Why not add your cooked carrots to a shepherd's pie or a casserole dish? There are also many reasons to blanch, which really just means to boil until just softening after 2 minutes or so.

With blanched, or we can say par-boiled carrots, you can add these to a multitude of different dishes. You can add these to a consommé style soup or to a whole variety of one pot meals that may be then cooked in the oven. Time to celebrate this orange gem of a root vegetable!