This simple recipe for sous vide carrots makes a delicious side dish. Carrots are cooked to precise crispness and glazed with a maple bourbon sauce. Sous vide cooking let carrots cook in their own juices and releases their natural sweetness!
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When I first started using my sous vide cooker I basically used it to cook meat. Whether it is sous vide chicken breast or sous vide beef tenderloin the precise temperature control is invaluable for cooking meat.
And this precise control is excellent for cooking vegetables too. These sous vide carrots are delicious – with an intense natural sweetness and an amazing texture that is firm but still tender.
Why Use Sous Vide for Carrots?
The biggest advantage of cooking carrots sous vide is the texture of the carrots. They have a nice crisp texture that is soft without being mushy. My family really hates mushy vegetables, so this is important to us.
I also think that sous vide cooking really brings out the flavor of the carrots. They are very intensely flavored when cooked this way and it seems to make them sweeter.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide cooking uses a immersion circulator to heat up a water bath. The item you are cooking is vacuum sealed and placed in the water to cook. This results in a dish that is very difficult to over cook.
The precise control of the water bath temperature means that you know exactly the maximum temperature that the food can reach. So whether you cook meat or vegetables the food will be cooked perfectly.
Temperature for Cooking Carrots
These sous vide carrots should be cooked at the temperature of 183 F. This is the point at which the pectin in the carrots begins to break down. This results in sweet and tender carrots that are still firm.
This cooking temperature is pretty high for sous vide cooking. Most meat will cook at a much lower temperature, like rib eye steak which cooks at 130 F.
What Kind of Carrots to Sous Vide
I’ve made this recipe a bunch of times with both baby carrots and sliced carrot rounds from larger carrots. When I decided to take pictures for the blog I decided to use a bag of baby rainbow carrots, because I thought this would make the pictures prettier.
But actually in the final step when you glaze the carrots with bourbon the purple from the purple carrots bleeds out and colors all the carrots a purply brown. The carrots still tasted delicious, but they didn’t look very appetizing. So I’d suggest sticking with orange carrots.
Make Ahead and Serve Later
The sous vide cooker makes it easy to prep these carrots ahead of time and serve them later. The carrots can be stored in the refrigerator for a week before using.
For Christmas dinner this year I cooked a large bag of carrots a few days before the holiday and put them in the refrigerator. Then about 5 minutes before dinner was ready, while my husband carved the turkey, I put the carrots in a hot skillet to heat and glaze them.
It was so convenient to know that my vegetables were ready to go and I could concentrate on other, more time intensive side dishes.
How to Make Sous Vide Carrots
1. Set up the Immersion Cooker
Bringing a large pot of water up to 183 F takes a while. So get the sous vide cooker set up and turn it on before you start preparing the carrots.
2. Prepare the Carrots
It works best if the carrots are a uniform size. This way they will all cook at the same rate. My carrots were about half an inch thick at their widest part.
Cut the carrots if necessary so they are uniform size and not wider than 1/2 an inch. You can cook the carrots whole if they are skinny or slice them into 1/2 thick rounds.
3. Package the Carrots
The carrots are cooked in the sous vide water bath with butter, maple syrup, salt and pepper. All these ingredients are put into the sous vide bag with the carrots.
Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer, Includes 10 Precut Bags, For Sous Vide and Food Storage200 Quart Vacuum Sealer Storage Bags Size 8 x 12 Inch for Food Saver, Seal a Meal Vac Sealers BPA Free, Heavy Duty Commercial Grade Freezer & Sous Vide Vaccume Safe Universal Pre-Cut Bag Avid Armor
Because of the high temperature used for cooking carrots it works best to use a vacuum sealer to package the vegetables. If you use a zipper seal bag with the water displacement method air bubbles in the bag can expand causing the bag to float.
So if you are not using a vacuum sealer be prepared to weigh the bag down with a mason jar full of water or spoon.
4. Cook the Carrots
Once the sous vide comes up to temperature put the carrots in the water. Let them cook for about 1 hour. Check periodically to make sure the bag of carrots doesn’t need to be weighed down.
5. Glaze the Carrots
If you are not serving the carrots right away you can put the bag of cooked carrots in the refrigerator to glaze later. The steps for glazing the carrots are the same whether you are doing it right away or later in the week.
Put a heavy skillet on a burner over medium-high heat. When it is hot open the bag of sous vide carrots and add all the contents to the skillet. Stand back when you do this because it will generate steam.
Stir the carrots and let them cook as the carrots caramelize in their own juices and the liquid thickens. After 2 minutes add 2 Tablespoons of bourbon, if desired. Continue to stir the carrots for another 2 minutes until they are nicely glazed in the sticky sweet sauce.
How to Serve Sous Vide Carrots
These carrots don’t need much added to them to serve. Some more salt and pepper or some thyme sprinkled on top are all that is needed to make them an elegant and easy side dish.
Can I Cook These with Sous Vide Meat?
The optimal temperature for cooking the carrots is too high for cooking meat sous vide at the same time. So if you want to serve the carrots with a sous vide main dish like beef tenderloin you need to make adjustments because you can’t cook them simultaneously in the same water bath.
Personally I just cook the carrots ahead of time. If I just finished making a steak dinner for my family and have the sous vide already set up it takes very little extra effort to raise the temperature and throw a bag of carrots in to cook for an hour. Then I have a side dish ready to go later in the week, which I can serve with anything, whether cooked in sous vide, air fryer, oven or whatever.
This versatility is why this has quickly become one of the sous vide recipes I make the most often. It is delicious, simple, quick to make and I always have carrots on hand.
- 1 pound carrots
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoon bourbon
- Set up your sous vide immersion cooker and set it to 183 F.
- Cut the carrots if necessary so they are a uniform size. If leaving them whole make them not wider than 1/2 an inch. Or slice them into half inch rounds.
- Put the carrots, butter and maple syrup in a vacuum bag. Add salt and pepper if desired. Seal the bag.
- If using a zipper sealed instead of a vacuum sealer the bag is likely to float during cooking. Be prepared to weigh it down.
- Once the sous vide reaches 183 F add the carrots to the water bath. Let them cook for at least one hour. They can cook up to three hours with no loss of flavor.
- If you aren't serving the carrots right away put the bag in the refrigerator. Continue with the next step when you are ready to serve them.
- Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot open the bag of carrots and dump them in the skillet along with all the contents of the bag.
- Stir the carrots and let them cook and start to caramelize. After 2 minutes add the bourbon to the skillet if desired.
- Continue to cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes until the carrots are nicely shiny and glazed.
If you use purple carrots the color will bleed into the orange carrots.
If you don't want to use bourbon leave it out, the carrots will still taste delicious.
The carrots will keep for a week in the refrigerator if you want to sous vide this ahead of time and finish the recipe later.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 8mg Sodium: 93mg Carbohydrates: 6g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 3g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 0g