Try microwave carrots for one of the easiest vegetable side dishes you can make. The trick to get them perfect is to steam them, not boil them. Try this super simple recipe for the next time you need a quick and easy side dish!
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How to Steam Carrots in a Microwave
Steamed carrots make a great side dish for many meals. Steaming them 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, ahem).
You could also one of my other favorite super quick side dishes: microwave steamed broccoli, microwave corn on the cob, microwave steamed cauliflower. Or, if you have an air fryer, try air fryer roasted vegetables.
Ingredients and equipment
Carrots or baby carrots: You can use baby carrots, or regular carrots cut into ~2 inch sticks, or rounds.
Water: You just need a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of the bowl, around one inch of 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.
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.
Step 3: Microwave carrots. Microwave the carrots on high for 2-4 minutes (refer to table below, 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 minute to allow the carrots to steam.
How long to cook carrots in the 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 minute 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 for 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 a different wattage microwave ovens using the chart below:
|Wattage||Cook time||Steam time|
|400W||6 min||1 min|
|500W||5 min 40s||1 min|
|600W||5 min 20s||1 min|
|700W||5 min||1 min|
|800W||4 min 40s||1 min|
|900W||4 min 20s||1 min|
|1000W||4 min||1 min|
|1100W||3 min 40s||1 min|
|1200W||3 min 20s||1 min|
You may need to use a little trial and error to get perfectly cooked carrots, but don’t give up!
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!
How to serve microwaved carrots
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
Yes you can. However the cook times will likely be a little longer than in the table above. Try adding one minute to the cook times initially and simply cook for another minute or two if needed.
Blanching carrots means quickly heating 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
How to steam carrots in a microwave.
- 4 medium carrots, or 16 baby carrots
- ½ cup water
- A sprinkle of kosher salt (to serve)
- Butter (to serve)
- 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 4 minutes [Note 1], then leave to steam for a further 1 minute 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.
- Cook time for a 1000W microwave. Refer to table in recipe post for estimated times for other wattages.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 25Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 44mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 1g
You may also like:
- Microwave steamed broccoli
- Air fryer roasted carrots
- Microwave steamed green beans
- Microwave steamed edamame
- Air fryer honey glazed parsnips
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