Looking for a rustic and mouth-watering holiday side dish that’s also affordable and easy to make?
Look no further. These Cracker Barrel baby carrots are the answer.
Crunchy carrots are coated in a thick brown sugar and butter glaze. It’s such a simple concept, but one that works like magic.
The combination of crisp carrots and sweet glaze will convert carrot haters into fans. Yup, these baby carrots are kid-approved.
Apart from the flavor, what makes these baby carrots even more perfect for the holidays is that they are a breeze to make.
It takes just 4 ingredients and 15 minutes. It doesn’t get any easier than that!
Make your holiday extra memorable with copycat Cracker Barrel baby carrots. They’re so good, they taste even better than the original.
Cracker Barrel Baby Carrots
Let’s be honest, while carrots make a great ingredient, they’re rarely the star of the meal.
That’s what makes the recipe extra special.
With the use of the most basic pantry ingredients, it elevates carrots into a whole new level of deliciousness. It may be simple, yet delivers maximum flavor.
With just a tablespoon of brown sugar, two tablespoons of butter, and a pinch of salt, you can transform the humble carrot into a stunning side dish.
It’s the easiest and least expensive way to impress friends and loved ones.
Baby carrots. This will make your life a lot easier, but in case you can’t get a hold of them, regular carrots will work just fine. You’ll just have to take the extra effort of peeling and slicing them yourself. Rainbow carrots will make the dish extra glamorous.
Sugar. Because baby carrots are already inherently sweet, you won’t need much to flavor them. Just a tablespoon of brown sugar is all you need to flavor 2 pounds of carrots.
Butter. Together with brown sugar, it turns into a thick golden glaze that coats the carrots beautifully. Stick to butter for this recipe, as nothing can replace that rich flavor. You’ll use unsalted butter for this recipe, but salted works, too. You need not add more salt in that case.
Salt. Just a teaspoon is enough to enhance the flavors of the sugar and butter even further. Again, if you’re using salted butter, there’ no need for this ingredient.
Tips for Making the Best Carrots
- Do not overcook the carrots! What makes glazed carrots extra amazing is their perfect crunch. Don’t go beyond 14 minutes, otherwise, they’ll be too soft and mushy.
- If you accidentally overcook the carrots, don’t throw them out. Process them in a blender with butter and transform them into carrot mash.
- Drizzle over some honey or maple syrup and olive oil for more flavor.
- A splash of lemon juice brings out the sweetness of carrots and sugar.
- Don’t substitute butter for margarine or shortening. Butter adds key flavor to this dish. While margarine is cheaper, the taste is nowhere close to real butter.
- Instead of water, you can also boil the carrots in low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. This will make your carrots even more flavorful.
- Again, for more flavor, garnish the carrots with fresh or dried dill, rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, or thyme. It will also add a rustic look to the dish.
- Make orange glazed carrots by adding a teaspoon of orange zest and cooking the carrots in orange juice. This simple addition makes the dish extra drool-worthy!
- Give the dish more crunch by adding chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
- Spice things up a little with some paprika, chili powder, or jalapenos.
- Make it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, and it will taste just as fresh as the day you made it.
- This dish already comes together in no time, but you can speed things up even further by using the Instant Pot. Four minutes, and it’s done!
- Want a thicker glaze? Just cook it for an extra minute longer without the lid on.
- For a more vibrant, colorful dish, use rainbow carrots.
What If I Don’t Have Baby Carrots?
Baby carrots are perfect for this recipe since they come peeled, which cuts down preparation time by a lot.
Using baby carrots means you can have the side dish ready in under 15 minutes.
If you don’t have baby carrots on hand, you can use regular carrots instead.
The only thing is, you’ll have to peel the carrots yourself and slice them into baby carrot-sized sticks.
You can peel and slice the carrots in advance, store in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
But if you’re fine with unpeeled carrots, by all means, leave the skins on. Carrot peels are perfectly safe to eat!
Just make sure to wash and scrub them well.
What Dishes Go Well With These Carrots?
Glazed baby carrots is a perfect holiday side dish because it goes so well with turkey and other special occasion meats.
Since it’s such a breeze to make, it’s also a fantastic weeknight side dish to any meaty or entrée such as pork chops, fried chicken, pot roast, and steamed fish. Yum!
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