You can skip the stovetop when you know how to steam carrots in the microwave. Yes, you can microwave carrots for a fast veggie side dish when you are short on time. They make a quick and tasty side dish with minimal fuss – weeknight side dishes don’t get easier!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Steaming carrots in the microwave is super quick and easy, and a great option if you are extra short on time (like if you forgot to cook a side dish and dinner is almost ready 🤦♀️)
- It’s hassle-free, it’s fast, and it’s good for people who like to eat healthy
- Steamed carrots go with many different types of cuisine, making them a perfect side dish for almost any meal
Scroll down for the printable recipe card for microwaving carrots, or read on for all the details.
What do you need?
Carrots or baby carrots
You can use baby carrots, or regular carrots cut into ~2-inch sticks, or rounds.
You need around a cup of water in the bottom of the bowl, around one inch depth.
There needs to be enough water to fill the interior of the bowl with steam once it gets heated enough (i.e. boiled), but you don’t want to boil the carrots along with the water.
Microwave safe dish
To steam carrots in your microwave you will need a microwave safe container with a well-fitting lid.
You could also use plastic wrap or a plate on top, but make sure it is close-fitting so the steam can’t escape during cooking (though be sure to pierce the plastic wrap, you don’t want it to be air-tight).
Optional microwave steamer or microwave-safe trivet
The carrots in the bottom of the bowl will be sitting in the water and may get a little overcooked. They will still taste delicious but may be a little soft and look a little wilted.
You can avoid this by raising the carrots up out of the water before cooking using a microwave trivet or steamer basket, like this Joie silicone vegetable steamer*, or a microwave steamer.
How to steam carrots in the microwave
This recipe is very simple to make, there are just a few key steps to getting it just right:
- Prepare the carrot pieces. Wash and scrub the raw carrots (or peel if preferred). Chop the tops and ends off, and cut into 1-2 inch pieces.
- Place carrots in microwave bowl. Add fresh water to microwave bowl (~½ inch depth), add trivet (if using), and place the sliced carrots into the bowl/trivet.
- Microwave carrots. Microwave the carrots on high for 3-6 minutes (refer to table below, as the time needed depends on the power of your microwave). They will be bright orange and tender when they are cooked.
- Steam carrots in microwave. When the microwave time is up, leave the bowl with the lid on in the microwave for an additional two minutes to allow the carrots to steam.
How long to steam carrots in microwave
You will need to microwave the bowl of carrot slices until the water is boiling and the bowl has filled with steam. It needs to boil continuously for around a minute, and then should be left for at least 2 minutes with the lid on to allow the carrots to finish cooking in the steam.
However, the total length of time you will need to microwave the carrots depends on the power of your microwave.
The cook times in the recipe card below are perfect for my 1000W microwave, so if you have a different wattage you may need to increase or decrease the times a little.
You can estimate cooking time for different wattage microwave ovens using the chart below:
|Wattage||Cook time||Steam time|
|400W||6 min||2 min|
|500W||5 min 40s||2 min|
|600W||5 min 20s||2 min|
|700W||5 min||2 min|
|800W||4 min 40s||2 min|
|900W||4 min 20s||2 min|
|1000W||4 min||2 min|
|1100W||3 min 40s||2 min|
|1200W||3 min 20s||2 min|
You may need to use a little trial and error to get perfectly cooked carrots, but don’t give up!
I like to steam baby carrots for a slightly shorter time to retain more of the crunch. If you like softer carrots you might like to steam them for longer.
I would recommend printing off the recipe card below and making a note of how long worked for your microwave to make it easier next time!
Serve these microwave steamed carrots topped with melted butter. or dress them up with one of these fun ideas:
- Make a maple syrup or honey glaze and drizzle over the cooked carrots
- Top with garlic or herb butter
- A simple sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt and pepper
- Dress them with a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon
Storing and reheating
If you have any leftovers, simply place them in an airtight container and pop them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to five days.
To reheat your steamed carrots, place them in a microwave-safe dish with a few tablespoons of water. Cover the dish with a lid or plastic wrap, making sure to create a small vent for steam to escape. Heat on high for 1-2 minutes, then stir the carrots and continue to heat in 30-second intervals until they reach your desired temperature.
FAQs & Tips
Yes you can. However, the cook times will likely be a little longer than if you are cooking fresh carrots. Try adding one minute to the cook times initially and simply cook for another minute or two if needed.
Blanching carrots means quickly heating and then cooling to destroy enzymes. It is often done before freezing. You can blanch carrot pieces in the microwave by following this recipe, but plunging them into iced water once the cooking time has finished (do not leave them to steam). Leave them in the iced water for 5 minutes, then dry and freeze.
How to steam carrots in the microwave
- 4 medium carrots or 16 baby carrots
- ½ cup water
- Scrub or peel carrots.
- If using full sized carrots, cut into 2 inch long sticks or rounds. Baby carrots do not need to be cut.
- Place steamer basket or trivet into a microwave safe bowl. Add the water. Add the carrot pieces.
- Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap (pierced with a fork), and place in the microwave.
- Microwave carrots on high for 3-6 minutes [Note 1], then leave to steam for a further 2 minutes until they are tender. Check carrots for doneness with a fork.
- If they require additional cooking, microwave for further 1 minute intervals until they are tender enough for your liking.
- Take care when removing carrots from the microwave, the bowl and the steam will be very hot. Carefully remove the cooked carrots from the bowl using tongs or a fork.
- Serve microwave steamed carrots topped with butter and seasoned with salt.
- Refer to table in recipe post for estimated times for wattage-specific cook times.
Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.