Simple Steamed Carrots With Butter

Simple steamed carrots with butter in a white bowl with a spoon

The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 2 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
83 Calories
6g Fat
8g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 83
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 194mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 2mg 10%
Calcium 21mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 137mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There are a few different ways to go about steaming carrots—you can even do it in the microwave. This steamed carrots recipe uses an easy stovetop method that doesn't require an actual steamer basket. A small amount of water is added to the pan, creating a steam environment in the pan and cooking the veggie until perfectly tender. Steaming is a healthy option for cooking vegetables like carrots since it does not require large amounts of oil for cooking.

Butter and a small amount of sugar accentuate the natural sweetness of these carrots, making this easy steamed carrot recipe a crowd-pleaser. Since carrots are one of those vegetables that kids try to avoid, this version is a bit sweeter to appeal to picky eaters. Attractive rainbow carrots are an excellent option as well, and the novelty of the different colors might tempt kids enough to give them a try. Also, white or yellow carrots are milder in flavor and somewhat sweeter than orange carrots and other colors.

This dish calls for sliced carrots, but baby carrots are another option. You can also cut the carrots into small 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch matchsticks. For extra-fancy carrots, purchase a "wavy knife" and make crinkle-cut carrot slices. Serve with another veggie like broccoli, green beans, or peas alongside baked chicken, ham, or a vegetarian main.


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"This recipe takes bland, boring carrots and turns them into a family favorite. I love the smell of the cooked carrots; it reminds me of chicken soup and I find it so comforting. Once your carrots are tender, tossing them in butter and adding seasoning make this a great side dish." —Tracy Wilk

Simple steamed carrots with butter in a bowl
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 5 medium carrots

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or chives

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for simple steamed carrots with butter gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  2. Scrub the carrots and peel them. Cut off and discard the stem end and slice into thin coins on the diagonal. 

    Carrots peeled and sliced into coins on a wooden cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  3. Put the sliced carrots in a medium saucepan. Add the water, salt and sugar.

    Sliced carrots in saucepan with water, sugar, and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  4. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

    carrots cooking in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

    Carrots cooking in a covered saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni

  6. Drain the carrots and toss with 2 tablespoons butter and chopped parsley, if desired.

    Simple steamed carrots with butter and parsley in a blue bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Kristina Vanni


  • To make matchstick carrots, remove a thin slice (lengthwise) from one side of a carrot. Place the carrot on its flat side on the cutting board, so it won't roll as you cut. Cut the carrot lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices. Stack a few slices on top of each other and slice them lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. Cut the strips crosswise into 2- or 3-inch lengths, as desired. Or cut the strips into 1/4-inch lengths for diced carrots.
  • Baby carrots are convenient for cooking and snacking because there's no need to peel them. Baby carrots are, essentially, larger carrots that have been cut down to the smaller size. They also might be treated with chlorine during the processing. For the freshest and healthiest choice, use fresh, unpeeled carrots for snacking and in recipes.

Recipe Variations

  • For additional flavor, replace the granulated sugar with brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Garnish the carrots with some chopped fresh parsley, chives, or cilantro.
  • For sweeter glazed carrots, try honey-glazed carrots or brown sugar-glazed carrots.
  • For a healthier version of steamed carrots, replace the butter with a drizzle of high-quality olive oil and use a dollop of honey to sweeten (or leave out altogether).