Slow Cooker Carrots
Elevate everyday carrots with slow cooker carrots, an incredibly easy recipe that’s packed with flavor! This makes an elegantly simple side for every day dinners, your next brunch, and special holiday spreads. With just a handful of ingredients you’ll have an impressive vegetable side dish that everyone will enjoy (and that goes with almost anything)!
about this slow cooker carrots recipe
I’ll tell you right now, this recipe is easy enough to make for a weeknight dinner, but also special enough for a holiday spread – think Easter brunch, Thanksgiving dinner, and more!
Today, we’re giving humble carrots the star treatment.
Sliced and slow cooked with velvety butter, bright lemon zest, a sprinkling of salt and a touch of sweetness from maple syrup, these taste rich & decadent but are made with lots of good-for-you ingredients.
A few easy to find staples and a crockpot, is really all you need to make it happen.
But the best part is that these slow cooker carrots are versatile enough to serve with almost anything.
They pair perfectly with everything from chicken dinners to holiday roasts, grain bowls, salads, quiches, egg bakes & more (the sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned!).
why the slow cooker’s a great choice for making vegetable side dishes
I love using the slow cooker because it completely simplifies the process of adding veggie sides to any meal.
And, because nearly all of my slow cooker vegetables are dump-and-go (meaning there is no pre-browning or sautéing required) the prep is fast and easy.
Just chop, stir and go!
As a bonus, the slow cooker takes the load off the oven and stove top, making it a fantastic option for potlucks, parties, and holiday meals.
process & tips
This dump & go crockpot recipe truly couldn’t be simpler!
You just chop and drop all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it work its magic.
Before you know it you’ll have a tasty veggie side ready to pair with almost any dish.
Note that you do not need to add any additional liquid other than the maple syrup and butter called for in this recipe.
how to make savory slow cooker carrots
This recipe is completely refined sugar free, but if you want a completely sugar free option, I recommend you take a savory route by simply skipping the maple syrup.
The results will still be delicious and slightly sweet from the natural sweetness of the carrots, and without any added sugar!
now, I know you’re going to ask: can I use baby carrots for this recipe?
The answer is…it depends.
I tested this recipe with baby carrots and the flavor was definitely not the same, and I found the results a bit bland and not nearly as flavorful.
That being said, I completely understand the convenience of bagged baby carrots, so if that’s all you have time for, try to find the freshest, sweetest option you can!
If they don’t taste good raw going in, they are definitely not going to taste good coming out.
how to find the best carrots to use as a side dish
I found the best results for this recipe came with fresh carrots that had the tops on (which I’m happy to say I’ve been able to find in more and more grocery stores these days!).
In this case, I didn’t even bother with peeling, I just gave them a good scrub, chop, and drop and we were good to go!
If you happen to find very thin carrots with tops on, you can remove the tops, give the carrots a scrub, and use them whole – this makes for a more elegant presentation like what you might find in a fancy farm-to-table style restaurant.
ingredients & modifications
Carrots: If possible, look for fresh carrots that still have the green tops on. I find these yield the best flavor for this recipe. But if you can only find baby carrots be sure to see my tips above for how to get the best results with those!
Butter: There’s no extra liquid or water required for this recipe, the butter and maple syrup help keep the carrots moist & tender during the slow cook time. You can use either traditional or vegan butter, either one will give your carrots some velvety flavor & richness. Be sure to use a dairy free plant-based version to keep this recipe vegan and paleo-friendly.
Maple syrup: I love the flavor of maple syrup paired with these carrots (it’s one of my favorite refined sugar free sweeteners), but you can also use honey if you prefer. Be sure to use maple syrup for a vegan-friendly version.
Lemon zest: Adding a bit of lemon zest really helps to elevate this simple side dish into something that feels extra special. Using the zest without the juice brings some subtle citrus flavor without being too overpowering to the other flavors in the dish.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
tips for make-ahead & storing leftovers
These can be made ahead a few days in advance, stored & refrigerated in a tightly sealed lidded container, and easily reheated.
Just note that the butter will harden upon refrigeration, but it will melt again upon gentle reheating.
You can even use the slow cooker to reheat by warming the cooked carrots on low for 30-60 minutes, covered.
Definitely a great option to keep in mind for anytime you need to feed a crowd quickly & easily (plus it frees your hands up to work on the rest of the meal as it gently reheats).
this recipe is…
Slow Cooker Carrots
- 2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and cut into ¼ inch thick on a bias
- 3 tablespoons melted butter, divided (or plant-based for dairy-free or vegan)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
optional serving suggestion:
- chopped flat leaf parsley, flaked sea salt
- Add the carrots to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add 2 tablespoons butter, maple syrup, lemon zest, and salt, stirring to combine.
- Cover and cook 4-6 hours on low or 2-3 on high, or until the carrots are just tender. Do not uncover during this time.
- Uncover, add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, stir and taste. Add additional salt, maple syrup, or butter if desired. Toss with chopped parsley and flaked sea salt, if using, and serve.
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