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Roasted Carrots, No Oven Required

By Andrea Geary Published

A skillet can color carrots and concentrate their flavor three times faster than your oven.

Roasting deepens carrots’ earthy sweetness like no other cooking method, but the process monopolizes your oven for at least 45 minutes. I wanted great roasted carrots—with streaks of char, a tender bite, and a concentrated flavor—in less time and on the stove.

To soften them quickly, I needed to steam the carrots first. I selected 1 1/2 pounds of large carrots from the bulk bin, since their thickness would translate into more cut surfaces for browning than skinnier bagged carrots. I cut them crosswise and then lengthwise into even pieces. When I placed the carrots in a nonstick skillet with 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a tablespoon of oil, they didn’t fit in a single layer, but steaming fixed that: After about 8 minutes of covered cooking, the carrots had shrunk enough that, with a shake of the skillet, they settled into an even layer.

Most of the water evaporated during that time, too, but to cook off more moisture and create as much deep browning and char as I could, I kept the heat on medium-high and let the carrots cook undisturbed for about 3 minutes. I then flipped the pieces so their pale sides were on the bottom and cooked them for a couple minutes more. This method was speedy—less than 15 minutes—but while the carrots were browned, no one would mistake them for oven-roasted.

Raw carrots shrink as they steam and release water, so what initially looks like an overcrowded pan will become a snug fit.

I had two fixes: First, I increased the oil to 2 tablespoons, since fat facilitates the transfer of energy between the cooking surface and the food and would allow the sugars in the carrots to caramelize fully. Second, while the first side of the carrots seared, I pressed them against the skillet with my spatula for maximum contact with the pan.

The finished carrots were richly browned, with concentrated sweet-savory flavor. If I hadn’t made them myself, I would have sworn these carrots had been roasted in the oven.

Crunch Factor

To take these tender, sweet-savory carrots to the next level, finish them with a crunchy topping. We like smoky spiced almonds or boldly seasoned panko bread crumbs.

Recipe Skillet-Roasted Carrots with Smoky Spiced Almonds and Parsley

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A skillet can color carrots and concentrate their flavor three times faster than your oven.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.