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40 carrot recipes for springtime cooking

From soup to slices of cake, these are our favorite ways to cook with carrots.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Carrots are heavy hitters of the vegetable world. While most of us grew up hearing how carrots were a good source of potassium, this versatile vegetable is so much more. Carrots are beloved for their naturally sweet flavor and versatility in the kitchen.

You can bet there’s a carrot dish that pays homage to any given country’s flavor profile. They’re an essential part of mirepoix and sofrito, which both add a base of flavor to a wide variety of dishes. Roasted, steamed or raw, there’s endless ways to prepare carrots. Available year-round, carrots are one of those vegetables you should always keep stashed in your crisper drawer. Plus, carrots happen to be one of the only vegetables that hold up in the refrigerator for weeks without any sign of aging.

The real joy of carrots is that they can be used in sweet or savory preparations. For savory side dishes, try our recipes for Balsamic-Honey Roasted Carrots, Moroccan-Spiced Carrot Salad and Zucchini-Carrot Waffles with Spicy Maple Syrup. Carrots are often used as mirepoix in soups, but Carrot-Beet Borscht and Carrot Soup with Ginger and Curry make them the star of the show. If sweets are more your thing, you’ve got to make One-Bowl Carrot Cake, Carrot Halwa Bars or Carrot-Ginger Bundt Cake.

Don't forget to put carrot tops to good use! We love using the whole carrot with recipes like Carrot and Ginger Soup with Carrot-Top Pesto and Maple-Charred Heirloom Carrots. Read on for 41 of our favorite carrot recipes for every season and occasion. 

This carrot recipe promises to be the star of the table by maximizing flavor with a handful of pantry staples. All it takes is combining olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey to make a glaze. The carrots are tossed in the mixture and then roasted until caramelized. 

Bacon makes just about everything it touches better, so why not try it with carrots? Here, carrots are wrapped in a strip of bacon until fully enclosed. The carrots roast in the oven until tender while the bacon crisps up around it, imparting a ton of flavor. 

Hot honey is the star of the show here. Skin-on airline chicken breasts are seared until golden brown and glazed in the honey while the carrots roast in the oven. Top with a nutty hazelnut pesto made with fresh basil and parsley. 

Bacon Cheese Carrot Fries

Vegetable fries are a great way to get all the joy of regular French fries with a more nourishing bite. In this recipe, carrots are the fry vehicle of choice. Once roasted, they’re topped with cheese, bacon and scallions and broiled until the cheese has melted. 

Roasted Tri-Color Carrots

The color alone on these roasted carrots is enough to get a crowd excited. Tossed with melted butter, brown sugar, cardamom and cloves, these roasted carrots take on a slightly sweet, spiced flavor. Of course, if you can’t find tri-colored, regular ole’ orange carrots will work just fine. 

Don’t throw out those carrot tops! This recipe from Matt Adobo makes use of the frilly tops, which happen to be totally edible, by turning them into an herbaceous pesto to drizzle atop the soup. For the soup, combine carrots with aromatics and coconut cream to create this silky smooth, totally vegan dish. 

If you’ve never experimented with waffles beyond the usual chocolate chips and fruit, now’s the time to do it — just about anything ingredient can get the waffle treatment. By grating carrots and zucchini directly into waffle batter, you’ll get a confetti of color and nutrients in every bite. To add a little heat to the dish, spike maple syrup with Sriracha and drizzle it over the waffles. 

Roasted Carrots, Spiced Yogurt and Pistachios

Creamy and crunchy, this favorite dish from New York hot spot Via Carota never misses. The carrots are steamed and then  roasted, resulting in the perfect balance of a tender bite with just a bit of char. Serve them over a bed of yogurt with chopped pistachios and drizzle of salmoriglio, an herby condiment from Southern Italy. 

Braised Cabbage and Carrots

In Jamaica, cabbage is often served as a side to jerk chicken and rice. To make this dish a bit more interesting, carrots are added to the cabbage and braised in a mixture of coconut milk, citrus, garlic and ginger. This aromatic side is good enough to eat all on its own, and happens to be completely vegan. 

This silky smooth carrot soup is the perfect appetizer for a holiday meal, but also works as a main with a side of crusty bread. Curry powder, samal oelek, makrut lime leaves, coconut milk and lime juice are all added to the carrots to create a real depth of flavor. Make this soup in advance and reheat it the day of serving to let the flavors bloom. 

Berbere-Roasted Carrots with Oranges

Berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend, brings the flavor to this carrot side dish. Along with citrus, honey, vinegar and mint, the carrots take on a light and bright flavor, which works well paired with heavier proteins. To properly roast the carrots, make sure not to overcrowd the pan or you’ll run the risk of steaming the carrots and miss out on all that great char. 

Citrusy Candied Carrots with Yogurt Sauce

This boldly flavored carrot dish is exciting enough to become the focal point of your dinner spread. Grated ginger and ground cardamom are added here to enhance the natural sweetness of the roasted carrots. Spiced yogurt acts as the base, which ensures a balance of creamy tang in every bite. 

Maple-Charred Heirloom Carrots

This colorful carrot side dish makes use of the whole vegetable from tops to tip. Maple syrup and olive oil caramelize the carrots further once broiled, leaving them with a great charred exterior. Use the carrot tops to make a simple pesto along with tarragon to serve over the carrots and feta mousse. 

Carrot Fries

These roasted carrot fries are the perfect balance of crispy edges and tender interior. To make them, slice the carrots into uniform pieces and drizzle with olive oil and salt. The fries are roasted in the oven until they start to brown on the edges for a crunchy bite. 

This Mexican-inspired salad delivers a beautiful combination of textures and flavors. Roasted carrots and charred corn are the base of the dish and are topped with cilantro, corn chips, avocado and cotija cheese. Finish it with a spicy  citrus dressing. 

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Carrot ginger soup is a classic for good reason. The ginger brings out the sweetness of the carrots without overpowering its natural flavor. Along with aromatics, vegetable broth and non-dairy milk, this vegan soup comes together quickly, making it a great weeknight dinner option. 

Add this shredded carrot salad to your weeknight dinner repertoire for an easy way to add brightness and nutrients to any meal. The key to get this salad right is to use the large holes on a box grater. Toss the carrots with a simple vinaigrette made with lemon juice, mustard, salt and honey. 

Spaghetti and meat sauce is always a crowd-pleaser. While we love this dish on its own, a side of balsamic and brown sugar-roasted carrots turns out to be the perfect pairing. The carrots add brightness while ensuring that the whole family gets their daily dose of vegetables. 

You can’t order from a Japanese restaurant must-order without receiving  a side salad tossed with that famous ginger carrot dressing. Luckily, it happens to be easy enough to make at home! All it takes is combining carrots, ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce and oil in a blender until smooth. 

Chargrilled 'Burnt' Carrots

Most people don’t think of grilling carrots, but we’re here to inspire you to try this method. On the grill, carrots take on a smoky flavor as they soften and char. Top them with crumbled goat cheese, honey and chili flakes to serve. 

Carrot-Beet Borscht

This vibrant soup is an absolute showstopper. Served chilled, this spin on borscht combines both beets and carrots to get its signature color. Instead of stock or water, use carrot juice to simmer the vegetables, which adds even more carrot flavor to the dish. 

If you’re a fan of banh mi, you know that this Vietnamese sandwich requires a generous helping of quick pickled carrots and daikon. The pickles add much needed acidity to the protein and crusty bread, ensuring a balanced bite. 

Moroccan-Spiced Carrot Salad

In a long line up of roasted carrot dishes, we love this boiled version, which keeps the flavors light and bright. While the carrots boil, make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, harissa and spices. After tossing the carrots in, add a shower of tender herbs and sesame seeds to serve. 

Panzanella becomes a year-round dish, thanks to this recipe that highlights the best of fall produce. Carrots, squash, beets and turnips are roasted before getting tossed with arugula, goat cheese and hunks of torn ciabatta. To serve, drizzle the salad with a versatile cider vinegar dressing. 

This vegan pesto swaps basil for carrot tops and Parmesan for cashews. It’s got the same signature green as pesto genovese, but has an earthier flavor. Serve it with pasta, on sandwiches or even as a dip. 

Carrot dessert recipes

This recipe is reminiscent of those choose-your-own-adventure books. You can add in walnuts, shredded coconut or even raisins, depending on your flavor preferences. The only non negotiable here is the addition of cream cheese frosting that envelopes the cake on all sides. 

When it comes to carrot cake, Milk Bar keeps it classic. A double dose of fat from butter and grapeseed oil give this cake an incredibly tender crumb. It’s a great base to experiment with different frosting combinations, or enjoyed as is. 

Rather than shredding carrots, this recipe steams them in until tender, coaxing out their natural sweetness. Made in a Bundt pan, this cake is perfumed with freshly grated ginger. The cake is moist and tender, so much so that you won’t even miss the cream cheese frosting. 

This gluten-free cheesecake is perfect for those with dietary restrictions in your life. The cake is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting. This dessert can be easily made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Carrot Cake Bites

Sometimes just a bite of something sweet is all you need. These sweet treats combine shredded coconut, cashews, dates, carrots and spices in a food processor until smooth. The best part is, there’s no baking required — just roll them into balls and pop them into the refrigerator to chill. 

Why have one dessert when you can have two? Here, classic cheesecake and carrot cake are paired together in bar form. The recipe swaps a graham cracker crust for a layer of carrot cake that gets topped with cheesecake batter. 

Carrot Cake Baklava

Baklava — the Middle Eastern dessert made of layers of phyllo dough, nuts, spices and honey — is always a crowd-pleaser. This version takes a spin on traditional baklava and marries it with carrot cake. Between the layers of phyllo is a mixture of spiced shredded carrots for a totally unique springtime treat. 

Carrot Cake Baked Oats

This protein-packed snack works just as well for breakfast as it does for an afternoon sweet treat. The oats are placed in a blender along with carrots, bananas, spices, eggs and agave and blended until smooth. Once baked, top them with a dollop of cream cheese frosting. 

Imagine a carrot cake so good that it’s still requested a whopping 25 years after getting divorced. This moist cake is flecked with plump raisins, crunchy walnuts and shredded coconut, which add great texture. After the cake has cooled, smear a cream cheese frosting on all sides. 

These sandwich cookies bring all the joy of carrot cake in hand-held form. Soft and cakey, the cookies are heavily spiced and combined with oats, shredded coconut and of course, grated carrots. Sandwich the cookies together with a classic cream cheese frosting. 

Carrot Halwa Bars

Indian halwa is made by simmering vegetables, fruit or different flours with ghee, sugar and milk. Here, carrots are the star as they’re grated and folded into the cake mixture. As a nod to carrot cake, top it off with a vegan cashew cream frosting sweetened with maple syrup. 

One-Bowl Carrot Cake

This one-bowl, one-layer carrot cake is our ideal dump-and-stir dessert. Ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, grated carrots and raisins add a ton of flavor to this easy cake. To finish it off, spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting over the top of the cake. 

Carrot and Zucchini Cupcakes

For zucchini bread and carrot cake fans, these moist, spiced cupcakes are for you. While the cupcakes bake, make an aromatic glaze with orange juice, crème fraîche and rosemary. 

If you’re a carrot cake lover, you’ll adore these individual cupcake portions. The cake is made with whole wheat flour, which adds some nuttiness to the batter, along with allspice, cinnamon, golden raisins and grated carrots. Finish the cupcakes with a smear of classic vanilla icing. 

This take on a mug cake brings all the flavors of carrot cake in an individual portion. Made with store-bought boxed cake mix, spices and grated carrots, the batter cooks quickly in the microwave. Top it off with an easy two-ingredient frosting made with cream cheese and maple syrup.