Easy Carrot Saute with Honey and Thyme

You’re going to love this quick and easy Carrot Saute! Made on the stove top in less than 15 minutes, these carrots are browned and caramelized, with a touch of thyme and a honey glaze.

A serving plate of sauteed carrots.

Quick Carrot Saute: A Super Easy Side Dish

Meal planning has been a life saver for me since having kids, but it does have its drawbacks. Sometimes you simply can’t predict the busy-ness of your week or that you’ll be craving tacos and definitely not soup on Thursday. So while I need the structure of a meal plan to keep our nights from being utter chaos, I also love being able to switch things up should necessity or inspiration require it.

This Honey Carrot Saute was one of those instant inspirations. I spotted it on a recent episode of Queer Eye, in which Antoni convinced a steak-loving farmer to make and enjoy a vegetable for once in his life. His recipe was made with colorful rainbow carrots and looked elegant and utterly delicious, and it immediately got added to our dinner plans for the next night.

Luckily, this recipe requires very little planning, and it can go with almost any main dish that’s on the menu tonight. We served it alongside the Sous Vide Filet Mignon we had planned to make and we LOVED it. Like, really, really loved it.

Fresh carrots on a cutting board with a vegetable peeler.

Why You’ll Love this Sauteed Carrots Recipe

While roasted carrots are delicious (see this Roasted Carrot Salad with Feta for proof), this carrot saute delivers the deep flavor of roasted carrots in half the time. This recipe is:

  • Made in 15 minutes. It’s so fast and simple, which is a must for me when it comes to side dishes.
  • Made with simple ingredients. Who doesn’t have a bag of carrots hanging out in their produce drawer right now? They’re just waiting for their moment to shine.
  • Gluten free, vegetarian, and kid approved!
  • Irresistibly delicious. Listen, I don’t care if it’s the easiest recipe ever, if it doesn’t taste amazing, it’s never getting shared here. But this carrot saute is truly top notch. The edges are browned and caramely and it’s all covered in a subtly sweet honey butter glaze that’ll have you coming back for seconds (and thirds).

I’ll be honest, my recipe states that this serves four people, but that’s kind of like when the box of Oreos claims 2 Oreos is 1 serving. I could eat the entire pound of these carrots by myself.

I was picking them out of the flaming hot skillet, not even caring if I singed my fingertips off. They are that good. Let me show you how to make them!

Ingredients prepared on a board for a carrot saute.

Key Ingredients

  • Carrots– Use any type you have on hand. Rainbow, orange, and even baby carrots could work.
  • Butter and olive oil– I like using a blend of each for the best flavor.
  • Thyme– Just a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves adds so much flavor and makes these feel fancier than they have any right to be.
  • Honey– I never liked those sickly sweet cooked carrots growing up, but these honey sauteed carrots are just right.
  • Red pepper flakes– These are optional, but oh my that hint of heat is such a pleasant surprise.

How to Saute Carrots

  1. Heat the butter and oil in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the carrots, cover, and cook undisturbed for four minutes.
  3. Uncover, stir, and add the thyme, salt, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Cook an additional two minutes, then stir in the honey.
  5. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until the carrots are browned and fork tender.

Tips for Success

  • Be sure to slice your carrots into sticks of a similar thickness. Skinny carrots can be left whole; larger ones can be halved or quartered. I like the look of sticks, but you can cut them into thick slices if you prefer.
  • Sauteeing the carrots without stirring in the beginning is the key to getting the browned, caramelized edges. Resist the urge to stir!
  • If your skillet doesn’t have a lid, a baking sheet works great for covering the pan.
  • These will take less time than you think they will. I overcooked my first batch a tad and they were softer than I prefer. After uncovering, keep a close eye on them. Depending on the thickness of your carrots, yours may take slightly more or less time. Just cook until they’re fork tender and no longer.
Carrots being sauteed in a skillet

Storing and Reheating Sauteed Carrots

  • Make ahead: Cut the carrots up to 24 hours in advance. Pro tip: If you want to store cut carrots for longer than a day, place them in a container with a little bit of water so they don’t dry out.
  • Store: Leftover carrot saute can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Reheat: Reheat leftovers in a pan on the stove top over low heat, or heat individual portions in the microwave.

What Goes with Cooked Carrots?

This carrot saute is a super versatile side dish you can pair with all sorts of main dishes. We especially enjoy it alongside simple meats, like Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Cast Iron Ribeye Steak, Steak and Scallops, Crispy Air Fryer Pork Chops, or Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.

It also goes well with grilled meats, like Italian Dressing Chicken, Grilled Tilapia in Foil, Marinated Skirt Steak, or even a Mushroom Swiss Burger.

Round out a meal with Easy Drop Biscuits or a simple Garden Salad.

Sauteed Carrots with honey and thyme on a serving platter.

More Quick Side Dish Ideas

If side dishes leave you stumped, try these other ideas for fast sides:

Carrot saute in a skillet with herbs and honey.

Carrot Saute with Honey and Thyme

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes

Sauteed carrots are cooked in butter then finished with a drizzle of honey and fresh thyme for an amazingly delicious and quick side dish that pairs well with any meal!


  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 thyme stalks, leaves removed from the stem
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • A few pinches Kosher salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Chop the carrots into similar sized pieces. I prefer 2-3 inch long sticks, about 1/2 inch thick. You can also chop them into thick slices if you prefer.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a cast iron skillet or other heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  3. Add the carrots, cover, and cook undisturbed for four minutes.
  4. Uncover, stir, and add the thyme, salt to taste, and red pepper flakes, if desired.
  5. Cook an additional two minutes, then stir in the honey.
  6. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until the carrots are browned and fork tender.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 109mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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  1. O my gosh I am making this for my daughter birthday dinner I can’t believe I found this recipe I also seen this episode of queer eye and was looking for how to make these carrots thank you so much.

  2. Let me start by saying we loved this dish! I didn’t have fresh thyme available, so I ended up using Italian seasoning and it worked out okay in a pinch. My question is did you peel you carrots as it wasn’t mentioned. I did not and the recipe turned out fine, but I wanted to ask before I made it again.

    1. It depends! I always scrub the carrots clean. If the peel is really gnarly I peel them, otherwise I don’t! It’s more your personal preference.

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