My Husband Cracked the Code to the Best-Ever Roasted Carrots

Roasted carrots

As a longtime food editor and enthusiastic home cook, I'm all for trying out elaborate recipes. Lucky for me, my husband, Matt, is all in for these culinary projects too. In fact, he might be willing to go a bit further than I am. Case in point: When I married him he showed me the pizza oven he built himself in his front yard.

But even for us, the reality is that most of the time we're cooking simple things. We have jobs and a kiddo and errands and all the other life stuff. And so when we can find simple things that also make us happy as cooks we're all in. One of those things is Matt's maple miso carrots.

What Are Maple Miso Roasted Carrots?

A few years ago, Matt ran across a maple miso butter sweet potato recipe that he made and we all loved. He made it a few times and then started playing around with other things to do with the sweet-savory butter, a simple mixture of unsalted butter, maple syrup and white miso paste.

Matt's dad (the same guy who makes this great beef stew) makes a mean honey-roasted carrot dish, so Matt decided to try the maple miso butter on roasted carrots. When we all dug in we knew this was the one. The carrots were tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside, thanks to the sugar in the maple syrup and the miso brought its salty umami flavor to the party. And then there's the butter, which just makes everything better.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for Making Salmon That Tastes Like It Came From a Restaurant

How to Make Maple Miso Roasted Carrots

The other great thing about this recipe is that it's incredibly easy. Pick up some whole carrots. Medium-size carrots work best, but if you can only find large ones, you can halve or even quarter them before cooking. If Matt's making these for a special occasion (like Easter dinner) he'll get carrots with the tops on just because they look nicer, but any type of carrot will work.

The prep is also super simple. Matt doesn't even peel the carrots. He just scrubs them well. If he's using carrots with the tops, he'll remove the greens, leaving about an inch of the tops.

For the butter, heat equal parts maple syrup, miso paste and unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Matt likes to make a big batch of the butter to stash in the fridge, so he uses 1/2 cup of each ingredient, but if you're just making one batch of carrots, you can start with 1/4 cup of each ingredient. You'll definitely have leftovers, but that's not a bad thing (see below). Whisk until the mixture is smooth and combined. You're not trying to cook the sauce here, you just want to combine the ingredients.

Toss the carrots in olive oil, sprinkle with a little bit of salt (remember that miso is salty, so go easy) and roast on a baking sheet at 400° until the carrots are a little browned. (Start checking them around the 20-minute mark.)

Brush them all over with the butter and continue roasting until they're very tender and browned in spots. You can do the brushing step a few times during cooking, if you really want them to be lacquered, but that's not a have-to thing. Once they're done cooking, brush them with more butter and transfer them to a platter.

What Else Can I Do With Maple Miso Butter?

This savory-sweet spread is good on so many things, which is why we encourage you to make more than you need and stash it in the fridge. Toss roasted diced sweet potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips or roasted Brussels sprouts with some of the butter. Brush it on at the tail end of roasting salmon or add a pat of the butter to baked, air-fried or grilled salmon. Also, this is butter, so it's also great on things like biscuits (canned or homemade), cornbread or even your morning toast. 

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