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Microwave Steamed Carrots

Looking for a quick and easy side dish? You can microwave carrots if you are short on time. The trick to getting them perfect is to steam them, not boil them. Check out this super simple recipe for how to steam carrots in the microwave the next time you need a quick and easy side dish!

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Microwave steamed carrots on a white plate with butter.
How to steam carrots in the microwave.

How to Steam Carrots in Microwave

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, ahem…).

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.

The best option when cooking carrots in the microwave is to steam them. Boiling carrots in the microwave will almost always lead to soggy overcooked carrots, and the nutrients can leach out into the boiling water much more easily than if they are steamed.

You can also steam carrots very quickly and easily in an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker. Check out my recipe for more details: Instant Pot steamed carrots.

You could also one of my other recipes for steaming vegetables in the microwave:

Or, if you have an air fryer, try air fryer carrots, or air fryer roasted vegetables.

Scroll down for the printable recipe card for microwaving carrots, or read on for all the details.

Ingredients and equipment

Carrots or baby carrots: You can use baby carrots, or regular carrots cut into ~2-inch sticks, or rounds.

Water: 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.

Directions

Step 1: Prep 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.

Step 2: Place carrots in microwave-safe bowl. Add fresh water to microwave bowl (~1 inch depth), add trivet (if using), and place the sliced carrots into the bowl/trivet.

Baby carrots (scrubbed clean) on a wooden board.
Scrub or peel carrots. Cut off the tops and bottoms (if preferred).
Baby carrots in a green steamer basket in a glass bowl.
Add trivet or steamer basket to microwave safe bowl, and place carrots in it. Add water (1-inch depth).

Step 3: 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 should be bright orange.

Step 4: Leave carrots to steam. When the microwave time is up, leave the bowl with the lid on for an additional two minutes to allow the carrots to steam.

glass bowl containing green microwave steamer basket and carrots in microwave.
Microwave carrots on high for 4 minutes, until bright orange.
Carrots in microwave bowl with steam.
Leave carrots to steam in the bowl for an additional minute.

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:

WattageCook timeSteam time
400W6 min2 min
500W5 min 40s2 min
600W5 min 20s2 min
700W5 min2 min
800W4 min 40s2 min
900W4 min 20s2 min
1000W4 min2 min
1100W3 min 40s2 min
1200W3 min 20s2 min
Estimated cook times for different microwave wattage

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!

Microwave Steamed Carrots on a white plate
Microwave Steamed Carrots

How to serve microwaved carrots

I serve microwave carrots as a side dish to many types of meal, some of my favorites are air fryer roast pork, air fryer rack of lamb, or air fryer steak.

To serve them, I usually top with melted butter, but here are some other fun ideas to try:

  • 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

FAQs & Tips

Can you cook frozen carrots in the microwave?

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.

How do you blanch carrots in the microwave?

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.

Microwave steamed carrots recipe card

Microwave steamed carrots on a white plate with butter.
Yield: 4 servings

How to steam carrots in the microwave

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

The best way to cook carrots in the microwave is to steam them. This helps them to retain their texture and their nutrients. Read on for all the details on how to steam carrots in the microwave.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium carrots, or 16 baby carrots
  • ½ cup water
  • A sprinkle of kosher salt (to serve)
  • Butter (to serve)

Instructions

  1. Scrub or peel carrots.
  2. If using full sized carrots, cut into 2 inch long sticks or rounds. Baby carrots do not need to be cut.
  3. Place steamer basket or trivet into a microwave safe bowl. Add the water. Add the carrot pieces.
  4. Cover the bowl with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap (pierced with a fork), and place in the microwave.
  5. 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.
  6. If they require additional cooking, microwave for further 1 minute intervals until they are tender enough for your liking.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve microwave steamed carrots topped with butter and seasoned with salt. 

Notes

  1. Refer to table in recipe post for estimated times for wattage-specific cook times.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g

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Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food. Whether you are short on time, skills, or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes for dinner, lunch, side dishes, and more. Our recipes use everyday ingredients, for quick delicious meals your family will love! Read more…

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