Free up your oven and stove top and make these delicious Maple and Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots in your slow cooker. The perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, made easily and hands free. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and perfect for the whole family. You will not have to tell them to eat their veggies when you serve up this special side. Great for making ahead, and for potlucks too!
Have you ever had a family style potluck Thanksgiving Dinner? If not, I envy you! Everyone is asked to bring a side or two, and then you get to bicker and bargain about who gets to use the oven to reheat their beloved offering to the family table. No one wants to serve up their dish cold, and thus risk being thought of as a bad cook, and so the competition is real y'all!
Forgo all the drama and instead do as I do: bring a Slow Cooker side dish. All you have to do is plug it in, set it to "low" or "warm" and walk away. Pour yourself a nice glass of Pinot Grigio and go watch Football with the men. 😂 You can thank me later.
An Easy Slow Cooker Side Dish
It isn't just Thanksgiving that benefits from Slow Cooker dishes! A good crock pot can get you through Christmas, New Year's, Easter, potlucks, BBQ's, church fellowship meals, and pretty much any event you can think of. As long as there is an outlet, you can make your meal in advance, strap it into the car, and reheat when you get there. Everyone (especially the host) will appreciate a warm meal that does not compete for the beloved and much coveted oven space.
These Slow Cooker Maple Glazed Carrots are delicious, sweet, warm, and so satisfying for your favorite Fall meals. You're going to love the easy prep, and the comforting flavors that this yummy side dish brings to the table. I hope they will become a new tradition in your home, as they have in mine.
- Baby carrots: You will need a total of 2 pounds of baby carrots. You can use one large bag, or several smaller bags. If you prefer to use fresh whole carrots you can definitely do that! Peel and chop your carrots into sticks or coins for the best results.
- Maple syrup: Because the maple flavor is a focus here, I highly recommend that you use real maple syrup for this recipe. While substitutions can be made (see the "Substitutions" section below), there is nothing like the real thing!
- Brown sugar: You will need about ¼ cup of packed brown sugar. Dark, light, or regular are all perfectly fine options! If you don't have brown sugar, you can make your own with sugar and molasses.
- Butter: You will need ⅓ cup of cubed, salted butter. This adds such a lovely flavor to these carrots! Since we have a good amount of sweetness in this recipe, I love to use salted butter, but you can use unsalted if you prefer.
- Cinnamon: Is it even Fall if you haven't added cinnamon to literally every food?
- Salt: Just a little bit of salt balances the flavors perfectly. If you used unsalted butter, you may want to increase the total salt in the recipe by a little bit.
How to Make Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots
Add the baby carrots to the insert of a 6qt slow cooker.
Sprinkle in the salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir well to combine.
Pour in the maple syrup and toss well to distribute the maple syrup.
Spread the coated carrots out evenly in the slow cooker.
Top with the cubes of butter, and add the lid to the slow cooker.
Cook on "high" for 3 hours, or on "low" for 5-6 hours. If possible, stir the carrots 1-2 times during the cook time.
Thicken the Maple and Brown Sugar Glaze
Method 1: remove the lid for the final 30 minutes of cooking, and switch onto "high". Cook until the glaze has thickened.
Method 2: transfer the carrots to a large bowl and cover with a plate to keep warm. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk, cooking until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Of the two methods to thicken the glaze, the saucepan method works the best.
Maple syrup: If you can't find real maple syrup, you may substitute it for honey, corn syrup, or pancake syrup. You can also opt to increase the brown sugar to ¾ cup and omit the maple syrup.
Baby carrots: If you do not have baby carrots, you can use fresh whole carrots. Peel 2 pounds of carrots, and cut into strips or coins. Cook until a knife can easily pierce through the center of your carrot pieces.
Dairy free: Substitute the butter for ⅓ cup of butter-flavored coconut oil, or dairy free spread.
Refined sugar free: Substitute the brown sugar for ¼ cup of coconut sugar, 3 tablespoons of honey, OR increase the maple syrup to ¾ cup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Carrots will soften and cook thoroughly in a slow cooker, so long as they are cooked for long enough. Carrots need a longer cook time than softer vegetables, so they should only be used in recipes that cook for at least 2 ½ hours on high, or 4 ½ hours on low. If you have difficulty with your carrots cooking all the way through, try cutting them into smaller pieces.
Glazed carrots reheat incredibly well, so you can make them in advance if needed. Just reheat in the microwave, in a slow cooker set to "low or "warm", or in a foil-covered baking dish in the oven.
The most important thing about cooking vegetables in the slow cooker is making sure you do not overcook them. Some vegetables are firm and require a longer cook time (potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc), and some require very little time to cook thoroughly (peas, corn, beans, etc). For the best results, add any soft vegetables close to the end of the cook time to avoid overcooking.
You can overcook almost anything in a crock pot, but carrots are much more difficult to overcook. You would need to cook them for a very long time in order to do this, so be sure to follow the cook time in the recipe.
More Fall Inspired Recipes
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Fluff
- Slow Cooker Funeral Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Swiss Chicken Casserole
- Instant Pot Creamed Corn
Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots
- 2 pounds baby carrots
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup real maple syrup
- ⅓ cup butter cubed
- Add the baby carrots to the insert of a 6qt slow cooker.
- Sprinkle in the salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir well to combine.
- Pour in the maple syrup and toss well to distribute the maple syrup.
- Spread the coated carrots out evenly in the slow cooker.
- Top with the cubes of butter, and add the lid to the slow cooker.
- Cook on "high" for 3 hours, or on "low" for 5-6 hours. If possible, stir the carrots 1-2 times during the cook time.
- To thicken the glaze, remove the lid for the final 30 minutes of cooking and switch to "high." Cook until the glaze has thickened. Alternatively, transfer the carrots to a large bowl and cover with a plate to keep warm. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Whisk, cooking until thickened, about 5 minutes. The saucepan works the best for this particular recipe.
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