31 Days of Vegetables

Carrots: The Best Ways to Pick Them, Cook Them, and Eat Them

updated Jul 8, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

When you think of a Legitimate Vegetable, in a quintessential, picture-next-to-the-dictionary-entry sort of way, isn’t a carrot what you picture? I do! Carrots are earthy, crunchy, orange, nutritious, and often simply taken for granted in their place as the most iconic vegetable of all. Here’s a trip through the best of what carrots give us, with instructions for the best glazed carrots and a behind-the-scenes tour of how baby carrots come to life.

The Carrot Top 5

Five must-know things about carrots.

  1. Why carrots sometimes turn green in baked goods.
  2. Do this before adding carrots to smoothies.
  3. Pulled bbq, with carrots!
  4. In defense of carrot puree (it’s not just for babies).
  5. Why some carrots taste soapy.

How to Choose the Best Carrots

Do you have a recipe that calls for 1 pound of carrots? Educate your eye on how to grab those carrots at a glance, no weighing needed:

When you choose those carrots, look for smaller carrots, with smooth skin and no dried tips or rootlets.

What Are Baby Carrots (and How Are They Made) ?

So wait: what are baby carrots, exactly? Here’s the secret: baby carrots are made, not grown. They are whittled down from full-sized carrots in a factory. Want to see how baby carrots go from field to the grocery store? This tour is an amazing look behind the scenes:

How to Store Carrots

The most important thing to know about storing carrots is: if they came with the tops, remove the tops first and store them separately. (The tops will continue growing and sap moisture and freshness from the root, the carrot.)

Secondly, store carrots in an enclosed space in the fridge. If you really want to keep them fresh longer, store them in a water bath.

How Long Do Carrots Last?

Stored in the fridge, carrots will last four to five weeks. You can tell they’re going bad when they look shriveled up, mushy, or soft. As long as there is no mold on the carrot, however, you can still use these old carrots in stock for flavor.

The Best Ways to Use Up Leftover Carrots

The very best way to use up leftover carrots is the easiest. Kick the can down the road and save them for later. Throw carrots into the freezer and save for making chicken stock or vegetable broth.

How to Freeze Carrots

If you are just going to use carrots in stock or soup, just throw them in a bag and freeze them whole.

Want to freeze carrots for eating (not just soup-making)? First, quickly blanch whole or cut-up carrots. Then freeze flat on a tray in the freezer so the carrots freeze solid as quickly as possible. Then transfer to a sealed bag and store for up to a year.

Do You Always Have to Peel Carrots?

Nope, not at all! Carrots can have thick or knobby peels, or tender and delicate peels. If you like the taste of the peel and it’s a little more delicate, don’t bother peeling! It’s really up to you.

But if you DO peel your carrots, use the peels up in carrot peel pesto!

Our Favorite Peeler (You Get Three!)

Here’s one of our all-time favorite peelers. It’s so inexpensive and it comes in a colorful pack of three.

Are Carrot Tops Poisonous?

There is a persistent misconception that carrot tops are poisonous, but this just isn’t true. They are bitter yes, but so good as an herb and pesto base.

How to Cut and Julienne Carrots

Want some pretty little matchsticks to roast or steam or tuck into your summer rolls? Here’s how to cut carrots like a pro.

But maybe our favorite way to cut carrots (certainly the most fun!) is into flowers:

The Best Ways to Cook Carrots

A few essential ways to cook carrots.


Are Carrots Keto-Friendly?

Carrots are very nutritious. Depending on your net carb budget, yes carrots are friendly to low-carb and keto styles of eating. Two small carrots (100g) have about 7g of net carbs. This amount of carrots also has triple your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A.

The keto and low-carb eating practices rely on eating lower amounts of net carbs (carbs minus the fiber). Depending on one’s carb budget, carrots can be a smart and satisfying way to eat nutritiously while following this eating practice.

Our Top 20 Carrot Recipes

From grilled to glazed to carrot cake: these are your must-make carrot recipes.

What’s your favorite recipe or use for carrots? Any favorite way to cook it?

31 Days of Vegetables: How to fall in love with vegetables in 31 days. How many of these splendid veg have you eaten this month? Take a look at the whole list and take our July challenge to eat every single one!