How to Sous Vide Carrots Step by Step and a Killer Carrot Recipe
A step-by-step guide to sous vide carrots along with a spiced honey-butter carrot recipe that changes your carrot game forever!
Carrots often make it to our serving plate as a side dish. When done right, they perfect your whole meal, leaving you feeling satisfied and balanced. You can sauté carrots, roast them, add them to your hearty soups or make a classic carrot cake. But if you try cooking sous vide carrots once, you’ll never go back to the traditional cooking methods to cook them! It’s THAT good.
It’s because with sous vide, your carrots are bagged and vacuum-sealed, then cooked at a precise temperature inside and out in their own juice. So they’re tender but not mushy, moist and juicy without any waste. In fact, any root vegetables turn out phenomenal when prepared sous vide-style.
When you put butter, honey, and some fresh thyme sprigs into the sealed bag with your carrots, can you imagine the intense flavor after cooking? Optionally (but highly recommended), finish your already heavenly carrots by sprinkling some smoked paprika, ground cumin, and freshly ground pepper on top. Oh my! There’s truly no going back.
And that’s the killer carrot recipe you will find at the end of this detailed step-by-step guide on how to cook sous vide carrots. But first, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this carrot business.
- How to Cook Carrots in a Sous Vide
- How to Tell If the Carrots Are Done
- How to Keep Your Bag of Carrots under the Water
- How to Sous Vide Carrots Step by Step
- How to Reheat Sous Vide Carrots
- Spiced Honey-Butter Sous Vide Carrots
- About the Author
How to Cook Carrots in a Sous Vide
What Kind of Carrots to Use
You can use absolutely any kind of carrots for sous vide. Whether it’s machine-cut baby carrots, carrot coins, whole organic baby carrots, rainbow carrots, tender and soft carrots from your local farmer’s market, or those gigantic carrots from a supermarket, sous vide will change their destiny!
How Long to Sous Vide Carrots
Just like any other sous vide recipes, the cooking time of carrots depends largely on the water temperature you set as well as the kind of carrots you choose. Let’s start by looking at the different cooking times with different temperatures.
183°F for 1 Hour
The most common temperature and cooking time for sous vide carrots are 183°F for one hour. This is my preferred way. It works perfectly well for whole baby carrots, small tender carrots from a farmer’s market, and the big roots from a supermarket. For those large woody carrots, I’d suggest cutting them into sticks before cooking.
194°F for 15-25 Minutes
If you want your carrots to cook faster, set a higher temperature of 194°F. They will usually take between fifteen and twenty-five minutes, depending on the size and type of carrots.
We know that one of the benefits of sous vide is that overcooking food is all but impossible. However, please note that at this temperature, if you leave your carrots in the water for an extra ten to fifteen minutes after the timer goes off, they may be a bit too soft.
176°F for 1-2 Hours
Want to walk away and run some errands without worrying about overcooking your carrots? You can also sous vide carrots at a lower temperature of 176°F for one or two hours. The carrots will still come out firm and bright at this temperature, and you’re way less likely to overcook them.
How to Tell If the Carrots Are Done
Now, with those temp options and time ranges, how do you know when your carrots are perfectly done?
Check the texture after fifteen minutes at 194°F or after an hour at 176°F or 183°F. If your carrots bend a bit, they’re ready. If not, leave them in the water bath for a bit longer.
Most of us use vacuum bags for the best results when sous vide cooking. You’ve neatly packed all your carrots in one vacuum bag and sealed it for sous vide. After a certain amount of time, you want to check the doneness. You open that vacuum-sealed bag, and the air goes in. You check the carrots and think they could still use a little bit more time to get to that heavenly texture. Now you will have to take out the opened bag, seal it, suck the air out, and put it back into the water bath again. What a hassle!
Here’s a tip: do not put all your carrots in one sous vide bag. Use a Ziploc bag with fewer carrots for the purpose of checking the doneness. This way, if your carrots need a bit more time to cook, you can leave the main vacuum-sealed bags undisturbed.
Whether you use sous vide bags or Ziploc bags, now the question is, how do you keep your bags of carrots submerged? Read on.
How to Keep Your Bag of Carrots under the Water
Alrighty, folks. Let’s get technical. Unlike a dense chunk of meat, vegetables like carrots are usually lighter and in shapes that allow lots of room for air in the bag. The more air, the easier for the bag to float on top of the water, which isn’t what we want when cooking sous vide.
Now, let’s explore ways to keep your carrots (or any vegetables that you want to sous vide) under the water.
Weigh the Bag Down
I’ve found three options to add weight to your bagged carrots to keep them from floating up in the water bath.
Option #1: Add weight inside your sous vide bags.
For example, a butter knife or two can do the trick. Since they’re usually made from food-grade stainless steel, they won’t contaminate your carrots.
Option #2: Add weight outside your sous vide bags.
Clip a bag of coins or pie weights onto your sous vide bags. The benefit of this method is that you don’t have to take out the butter knives and clean them after cooking.
You can also put a metal pot lid on top of the carrot bags. You might need to adjust the lid to find the perfect angle to keep the carrots down. Other things you can use directly from your kitchen for the same purpose are mugs, water glasses, heavy ceramic plates or bowls, or even Mason jars. Fill these containers with water from the water bath so they sink.
Use a Rack
If you use sous vide container instead of a large soup pot for cooking sous vide, a dish drying rack, a lid organizer, or even a file organizer can be used to hold your carrot bags in place, as long as the rack fits into your cooking container.
Invert a Steamer Basket
Place a steamer basket upside down on top of your bagged carrots. The flat bottom of the steamer basket provides a good foundation to add additional weights like plates, glasses, or bowls to submerge your bags. It also allows water to circulate. Whoever came up with this idea is a genius!
How to Sous Vide Carrots Step by Step
Now that you have the knowledge to cook the best carrots EVER, let’s get to work. Here’s the step-by-step guide to sous vide carrots.
Step #1: Step up the Sous Vide
Preheat water to your desired temperature. I set my temperature to 183°F.
Step #2: Prepare Carrots
Scrub your carrots clean or peel them.
If you’ve got big carrots, cut them into one-inch-thick pieces. I prefer cutting my carrots lengthwise. By the way, I save the carrot peels for homemade vegetable broth. No food waste in my kitchen.
Step #3: Bag the Carrots
Prepare a couple of sous vide bags or Ziploc bags. Fold the tops of the bags down a bit. Evenly divide carrots and slide them into the bags.
For basic carrots, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and a pinch of salt in each bag.
For the Spiced Honey-Butter Carrots in the recipe below, add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon honey, a pinch of salt, and a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme in each bag. Tossing the carrots with all the other ingredients until they’re evenly coated isn’t necessary when it comes to sous vide. Once the cooking starts, the butter and honey will melt, and the flavor will be evenly distributed inside the bag throughout the cooking process.
If you are using different colors of carrots, pack them separately by color so they don’t bleed.
Add some weight inside your bags if you prefer this weight-it-down method. Use your hand outside the bag to move the carrots around a bit to make them lie in a single layer as much as possible. Now vacuum-seal the bags or use a hand pump as I do. If using Ziploc bags, don’t seal them yet.
Step #4: Place the Bagged Carrots in the Water Bath and Make Sure They Stay under the Water.
Gently lower the sous vide bags into the heated water bath. For Ziploc bag users, use the water displacement method to slowly lower each bag into the water and let the water push the air out of the bag, seal it, and clip the top to the side of your sous vide container. Add weight to keep the carrots under the water if necessary. As mentioned earlier, there are several ways to do so. I tilt a pot lid and place it on top of the carrots to keep them in place.
Step #5: Set the Timer.
Choose your cooking temperature and set the timer accordingly.
Step #6: Finishing: Spiced Carrots or Glazed Carrots or Both. (Why Not?)
The finishing step is totally optional. Your carrots are already outstanding once the timer goes off. To make your carrot dish even better, you could spice it up or make a simple glaze to drizzle over.
For spiced carrots, sprinkle a little smoked paprika, ground cumin, and freshly ground black pepper on top after you transfer the carrots onto a serving plate. It’s to die for!
For glazed carrots, don’t discard the carrot juice. You’ve got butter, honey, and the carrots’ natural juice in the bag. Pour it into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then switch to medium heat and let it cook down to half. Add more salt if desired. Once the liquid is thickened, drizzle the shiny glaze on top of your carrots. It’s so good!
How to Reheat Sous Vide Carrots
But wait, don’t we use sous vide to bring food to its best self with the optimal temperature, eliminating the risk of overcooking? If we microwave or pan-heat already perfectly cooked carrots, it means recooking them. The texture of the carrots won’t be as good as when they were just out of the water bath.
If you are short on time, by all means, use your microwave. After all, that’s the good old way to reheat leftovers for most of us.
If you have some extra time on hand, or if you have someone you want to impress with your cooking, use your sous vide machine to reheat your carrots or pretty much anything to simply bring food to its best self again.
Here’s how to reheat carrots with sous vide.
Assuming that you have a bag of sous vide carrots that need to be reheated, set the temperature one or two degrees below the original cooking temperature. Drop the bag of carrots in the heated water and cook for roughly the originally cooking time. If you leave the carrots in the water bath long enough, they will eventually overcook, but by setting the temperature slightly lower, there’s a longer runway for you to walk away and not worry about it.
I sous vide-cooked three bags of carrots at 183°F for an hour, enjoyed one bag with steak and refrigerated the other two bags. I reheated leftover carrots at 181.5°F for about 45 minutes the next day. You could not tell the difference—they were just like freshly sous vide cooked carrots.
Here you have it – a step-by-step guide to sous vide carrots. If you get a chance to make some of the BEST carrots in your life using a sous vide machine or any other cooking methods, share your experience in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.Print
Sous vide carrots cooked in butter, honey and infused with fresh thyme, then boldly finished with smoked paprika, ground cumin, and freshly ground black pepper.
- 2 pounds carrots, any kind, peeled and cut into 1-inch chucks if using large carrots
- 2–3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2–3 talbespoons honey, divided
- Kosher salt
- Fresh thyme sprigs
For finishing: (optional)
- Smoked paprika
- Ground cumin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Salt flakes
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnishing
- Preheat water to 183°F using a sous vide machine. (I use Anova.)
- Use two or three large sous vide bags, evenly divide prepared carrots, and put them in the bags. If using rainbow carrots, separate them by color.
- Add 1 tablepsoon butter, 1 tablespoon honey, and a pinch of salt into each bag. Drop 1 or 2 thyme sprigs, then vacuum-seal the bag. You can use a vacuum sealer or a hand pump.
- Lower the bags into the heated water bath and set the timer for 1 hour. Add weight to keep the carrots under the water if necessary.
- Once the carrots are done, remove the sous vide bags from the water batch and transfer the carrots onto a serving plate.
- For finishing, sprinkle smoked paprika, ground cumin, freshly groud black pepper, and salt flakes, and garnish with thyme leaves.
- For a vegan version, substitute coconut oil or olive oil for butter and brown sugar for honey.
- Once the cooking is done, remove the sous vide bags from the water bath and let them cool. At this point, you can transfer your carrots (stil lin the sous vide bags) directly into the fridge to store for up to one week.
- To make glazed carrots, simply pour the carrot cooking juice into a small saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer until it’s cooked down to half. Drizzle over the carrots and enjoy!
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots, a pinch of salt, smoked paprika, ground cumin, freshly ground black peppers, 5-6 fresh thyme sprigs and toss to coat in butter. Transfer the skillet into the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the carrots are fork tender.
- Once the carrots are done, use oven mitt to carefully transfer the skillet back onto the stovetop. Drizzle with honey and gently toss to coat. Add more salt and pepper if desired. (Be careful not to burn yourself. The skillet is VERY HOT.)
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 145
- Sugar: 15.8g
- Sodium: 105.5mg
- Fat: 6.1g
- Saturated Fat: 3.6g
- Carbohydrates: 23.1g
- Fiber: 4.3g
- Protein: 1.5g
- Cholesterol: 15.3mg
Keywords: sous vide carrots, how to sous vide carrots
About the Author
Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, an author and a sous vide fanatic who believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she's on a mission to help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.