Slow cooker honey garlic carrots are one of the best set-it-forget-it healthy side dishes for any gathering. Coated with a touch of honey and seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, and onions, these carrots are cooked to perfection without taking up oven or stovetop space. Includes Instant Pot directions, too.
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If you're looking for a healthy side dish to bring to a potluck, family event, or holiday gathering, look no further than these delicious carrots made in your slow cooker!
I have been making these for a few years to take to holiday potlucks and everyone loves them - they have just a touch of honey (2 tablespoons for eight servings) that enhances the carrots natural sweetness.
The addition of lemon juice adds a brightness that gives it a bit of sweet-sour flavor, and the garlic and onions just make them SO good.
While I love the flavor most of all, I also love that they are e.a.s.y. and inexpensive, using a vegetable we often have in our fridges.
You can prep everything the day before, start the cooking at your home and then take the whole crockpot to wherever your gathering is, never needing to find room in the oven or on the stovetop.
And we all know how those are in short supply at most gatherings.
I've even taken these to outdoor potlucks because they stay warm in the crock of the slow cooker for so long.
Delicious, versatile, healthy, and easy to make and take - see what I mean? These are the answer to your potluck side dish problems!
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Carrots with Onions
You only need six ingredients for this recipe, in addition to salt and pepper:
- Carrots, peeled and cut into similar sizes (you can use baby carrots, but if some are really thick, cut them in half lengthwise to match the thinner carrots).
- Onions, chopped or sliced - your choice (if you want to leave the onions out, you can - I just really like the flavor they add to the whole dish).
- Butter - you can substitute a mild oil in place if needed.
- Lemon juice
- Honey (maple syrup is good, too, and nice in the fall).
- Minced garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 quart, 4 quart, or 6 quart slow cooker (choose smaller size for less carrots, bigger for more) OR Instant Pot/electric pressure cooker
- 4-quart glass measure
- Chef's knife, cutting board, spoon
After prepping the carrots and onions (using baby carrots can make this go faster), you simply melt the other ingredients together and pour it over the vegetables.
Give it all a good stir and then set to cook, either 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.
I like firm carrots, so I usually cook for 3 hours on high. If you would like them softer, choose the longer cooking time.
This really is one of my favorite side dishes for large dinners - the honey-butter-garlic mixture makes them seem a bit more special and they are a nice choice for almost any type of main dish.
From turkey and ham to BBQ chicken or ribs, a spoonful of delicious honey glazed carrots adds just the right touch.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Carrots FAQs
Yes, you can cook vegetables too long which would make them mushy. This is more likely to happen with produce like broccoli and asparagus. Carrots (along with potatoes, cauliflower and other denser vegetables) can take more time to cook all the way through and are more suited to longer slow cooker times (3-4 hours on high or 6-7 on low).
Sometimes it will be based on personal preference - if you like soft carrots, cook them a little longer, if you prefer more firm carrots, cook them a little less.
It is generally recommended to use the low setting when possible to allow the food to simmer together longer for more flavor. It may also help large cuts of meat become more tender and keep chicken breast from drying out.
That said, if you don't have the time for the low setting, go with high - both the cooker and most recipes are made for either. I personally can't tell much of a difference and most people I know base the decision on what their schedule allows and it's all good. Specifically for this recipe, I choose high for the shorter time because I like firmer carrots.
Yes you can use frozen carrots - it would be a time saver, though they won't be firm if you like them that way.
For best results you'll want to thaw them for about an hour before using, as they'll cook more evenly. If you can't do that, you can place the frozen carrots in a colander and run water from the tap over them for 5-10 minutes.
Then proceed with the recipe, checking at an earlier time for doneness, though, since the frozen carrots might not need as long.
Yes - prepare the recipe as written and place in the crock of the slow cooker, then place the crock in the fridge overnight (if you can't fit the crock in your fridge, you can transfer the carrot-onion mixture to a gallon baggie, then to the crock the next day).
This is actually the best way to use frozen carrots in this recipe since they'd have time to thaw overnight while marinating!
While you can make glazed carrots in an electric pressure cooker, this recipe as written won't work - you need to add water to essentially steam cook the carrots, which would dilute the glaze.
It's not as hands-off, but to get around this, you can use a steamer basket inside the Instant Pot, placing your cut carrots (or baby carrots) and chopped onions in the basket with 1 cup of water in the pot underneath. Cook on High pressure for 2 minutes and do a quick release and remove the vegetables to a large bowl and drain the liquid from the pot.
Turn the IP to sauté and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until butter is melted and everything is combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and onions back to the Instant Pot and stir everything together, keeping on warm until you need to serve them.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Carrots with Onions
- 3 to 6 quart slow cooker
- 2 to 2½ pounds carrots, peeled & sliced*
- 1 large onion, peeled & diced or sliced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons honey (or maple syrup for a different flavor)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- Prep the carrots and onions, placing them in the bowl of the slow cooker when done. (Note: it's best to cut the carrots about the same size for even cooking.)
- Add the butter, honey, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a microwave safe bowl or saucepan. Heat slowly just until melted, about 1 minute in the microwave or a couple minutes on the stove.
- Pour the butter mixture over the top of the vegetables and stir everything together well.
- Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 6-7 hours.**
Instant Pot Directions (more hands-on time, but less time overall)
- Use a steamer basket inside the Instant Pot and place the cut carrots (or baby carrots) and chopped onions in the basket with 1 cup of water in the pot underneath. Cook on High pressure for 2 minutes and do a quick release and remove the vegetables to a large bowl and drain the liquid from the pot.
- Turn the IP to sauté and add the remaining ingredients, stirring until butter is melted and everything is combined, 1-2 minutes. Add the carrots and onions back to the Instant Pot and stir everything together, keeping on warm until you need to serve them.