There are numerous ways of enjoying carrots – you can steam them, roast them, bake them, and even fry them. But if you’re looking for a quick nutritious snack or just want to make a quick side dish with minimum prep, then microwaving is the way to go.
You just need to pop them in the microwave for a few minutes and they’ll be ready to eat. And let me tell you: try it once and you will no longer reach for your pots and pans the next time you want to cook a quick carrot side dish.
Can you microwave carrots?
Yes, you can microwave carrots; you just need to make sure you prep them first. This involves cleaning, peeling, and cutting them.
Before anything else, you first need to thoroughly clean the carrots. Trim both ends a bit with a sharp knife and peel them. While you can do so with a knife, a vegetable peeler makes the job easier. Then cut the carrots into thick rounds of about half an inch.
Of course, you don’t need to chop baby carrots. And if you have store-bought carrots, wash them with cold water first before putting them in the microwave.
You can also directly microwave pre-washed, bagged baby carrots without any prep. Just make sure you don’t microwave them in the plastic bag that they come in. Instead, use a microwave-safe container.
Is it safe to microwave carrots?
It is safe to microwave carrots if they have sufficient moisture; otherwise, they might catch fire. To prevent that from happening, wash the carrots. If they’re already washed, add around a tablespoon of water before microwaving.
While it is safe, you should know that you can’t get the exact softness level or crunchiness from a microwave that you get from a roasting pan or steamer basket. But you can ensure even cooking by stirring the carrots every 30 seconds, instead of just setting the timer and preparing your main dish.
There have been reports of carrots catching fire in the microwave because of something called arcing. Not just carrots, but kale, green beans, and bell peppers can also catch fire. This is because such nutrient- and mineral-rich foods consume electricity when they’re cut into pieces, resulting in a spark.
While all vegetables contain minerals from the soil, carrots collect considerably more since they are a root vegetable. More minerals mean a higher chance of electrical charge. And if the environment is too dry, it can result in fire.
To minimize the chances of that happening, you just need to add a little bit of water to the carrots before microwaving them.
And if your carrots spark or catch fire, don’t worry. They are still edible, even though they won’t taste as good and will have a burnt taste.
How to microwave carrots?
To microwave carrots, wash them, trim the ends, and put them in a microwave-safe dish with a loose lid. Nuke the carrots for 3 minutes on high. Once done, poke through the carrots using a toothpick or fork. If they’re not soft enough, continue microwaving them until they’re at your desired softness level.
Wash the raw carrots using cold water and lightly scrub using a vegetable brush. Don’t worry if you don’t have one; you can just use your hands to get rid of the dirt. Then peel them and cut them in whatever shape you like.
Put the cut carrots in a microwave-safe bowl and add water. As a rule of thumb, you should use one tablespoon of water for one cup of cut carrots. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, a paper towel, or a lid. If you’re using plastic wrap, just make sure it doesn’t touch the carrots since it can melt on them.
Set your microwave on high and nuke the carrots for 3-5 minutes. Stop midway and stir the carrots to ensure even heating. Once the five minutes are up, remove the lid or plastic wrap very carefully and quickly stir the carrots. Doing so once again will allow carryover heat to evenly cook all carrots.
How to microwave baby carrots?
To microwave baby carrots, take 2 cups and put them in a microwave-safe container. Add salt and pepper according to your taste along with 4 tablespoons of water. You can also use some butter spray for better taste.
Microwaving baby carrots takes less time than microwaving regular-sized carrots. While most people prefer boiling them, you can also microwave them for a quick, healthy snack. And the process is very easy, too.
Simply add baby carrots to a microwave-safe container and cover it with a lid. Just make sure that the lid has some venting holes to let steam escape or it is loose. Add around 4 tablespoons of water and then microwave the carrots for 5 minutes on high. Once the time is up, use oven mitts to take out the dish and lift the lid very carefully to prevent the steam from burning your face.
To check if the carrots are done, take a paring knife or fork and pierce the carrot to check if it is as soft as you’d like. If there’s water left behind in the container, drain it out, and sprinkle in some salt and pepper along with butter to enhance the flavor.
How long does it take to microwave carrots?
Generally, you can expect to microwave carrots for around 8-10 minutes, but this really depends on many things. These include the microwave’s power, the thickness and amount of carrots, and even the way they’re cut. And of course, frozen carrots will take longer.
If you have a high-power microwave (let’s say 1000 watts) and you have thin carrots cut into small cubes or slices, then nuking them for about 3 minutes should be enough. Meanwhile, thick strips might take up to 5 minutes, and whole raw carrots can require up to 10 minutes.
Adding water to the carrots cuts down the cooking time since it tends to steam them. I also recommend microwaving in 1-minute increments with a 30-second break after each increment to cook the carrots without consuming a lot of power.
When using frozen carrots, make sure you microwave them until their internal temperature is 165°F so that they are safe to consume.
Tips to microwave carrots
Why bother cutting and chopping carrots beforehand when you can just microwave them instead?
Microwaving carrots is an easy and simple job and results in soft, tender carrots if done right. With that being said, here are some tips you should keep in mind:
- Don’t forget to use a loose lid when covering the carrots. An airtight or locked lid can build up steam and lead to an explosion. If you’re using microwave-safe plastic wrap, poke a small hole in the corner to allow steam to release. You can also use a damp paper towel instead.
- The best option for microwave cooking is ceramic and glass dishes. Steer clear from Ziploc containers, Tupperware, and Ziploc bags. Heating these may melt or warp the plastic and cause dangerous chemicals to enter your food.
- I recommend using a microwave steamer to keep the carrots out of the water. This will preserve the carrot’s texture and avoid overcooking.
- The best time to add butter is halfway through the cooking time. The butter will melt and you can easily stir it to coat all your carrots.
- Don’t immediately open the lid once you’re done microwaving. Let the carrots sit for a couple of minutes to allow the steam and remaining heat to soften them.
- Apart from butter, you can season your carrots with salt & pepper and fresh herbs. You can even add your favorite dressing, sauce, or marinade.
The Bottom Line
You now know how you can microwave carrots. It is not only fast, safe, and simple, but it also retains the flavor of the carrot while making it as soft as you like. If you’re still skeptical, try it out once and I’m sure you’ll be glad you did!