Bourbon Carrots – Four Ways

Carrots cooked in bourbon, sweetened with honey and topped with dill


Who doesn’t love carrots?  Carrots are one of those vegetables that are as good raw as they are cooked, and when cooked, the possibilities are endless.  The market where I shop has some of the tastiest organic carrots. They are fresh, large, and so sweet.  Needless to say, I buy them a lot; therefore, I have a number of carrot recipes.  I posted one of our favorite recipes a while back – Glazed Carrots with Sage. Bourbon carrots with a little oil or butter then topped off with an herb or spice, is another of our favorites.

Why bourbon?  The flavor of bourbon is such a great complement to the flavor and sweetness of carrots. I’ve tried vermouth as well as cognac, but wasn’t as crazy about the results. In these recipes, the carrots are first steamed in a little bourbon. By the time the carrots are cooked, the bourbon has evaporated but its sweetness has incorporated into the carrots.  You’ll be surprised how good these carrots taste before you even add anything else. Once cooked, the carrots are tossed with a touch of butter or your favorite oil, then topped with an herb or spice.  You can also add a touch of honey or maple syrup for a little more sweetness.  Below are four different ways that I serve these carrots, and this is only four of many.

Carrots cooked in bourbon and finished off with a little butter, honey and dill


Bourbon Carrots with Dill

Serves 2 to 4 (depends on the size of the carrots)
Prep and Cook time: 15 minutes
Recipe author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen


4 large carrots, sliced diagonally
½ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ tsp. salt

Bourbon Butter dill

½ Tbsp. butter or butter substitute or olive oil
¼ tsp. dried dill weed or ½ tsp. chopped fresh dill weed
salt to taste

Bourbon Honey Butter Dill

½ Tbsp. butter or butter substitute or olive oil
A drizzle of honey or maple syrup (to taste)
¼ tsp. dried dill weed or ½ tsp. chopped fresh dill weed
salt to taste


  1. Scrub or peel the carrots, then slice on the diagonal.
  2. Pour bourbon into a large skillet (large enough to spread the carrots out into one to two layers) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add carrots. Cover 4 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and cook on medium high until carrots are tender and bourbon has evaporated.
  5. Add butter, honey or maple syrup (if desired), and dill weed, and additional salt, if needed.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Be sure to read the Kitchen Notes below for even more ideas.


Now for a spicier version…

Sweet and Spicy bourbon carrots - Add a little maple syrup and chile powder



Bourbon Carrots with Chile

Serves 2 to 4 (depends on the size of the carrots)
Prep and Cook time: 15 minutes
Recipe author:  MJ of MJ’s Kitchen


4 large carrots, sliced diagonally
½ cup whiskey bourbon
¼ tsp. salt

Spicy Bourbon

½ Tbsp. fat (butter, chile infused oil, olive oil)
Generous dusting of chile powder
Salt to taste

Sweet and Spicy Bourbon

½ Tbsp. fat (butter, chile infused oil, olive oil)
½ Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (to taste)
Generous dusting of chile powder
Salt to taste


  1. Scrub or peel the carrots, then slice on the diagonal.
  2. Pour bourbon into a large skillet (large enough to spread the carrots out into one to two layers) and bring to a boil.
  3. Add carrots. Cover 4 minutes, stirring once after 2 minutes.
  4. Remove cover and cook on medium high until carrots are tender and bourbon has evaporated.
  5. Add your choice of fat, maple syrup (optional), chile powder, and additional salt if needed.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately.



sliced carrots and a little bourbon make a great side dish


Kitchen Notes

Bourbon alternatives – If you don’t like bourbon you can play around with other alcohols, but let me just say that grape based alcohols didn’t work for me.  If you don’t cook with alcohol at all, then substitute the bourbon with apple juice or apple cider.  I have use a sparkling apple cider many times with excellent results!

The fats – I do love using butter with the dill, but if you are vegan, olive oil or a truffle oil is a great substitute. For the chile version, I really like using a chile infused oil in addition to the chile powder, but again, butter or olive oil works great as well.

Herbs and spices – Here is where you can go crazy.  The dill can be substituted with thyme, tarragon, or sage.  The chile powder you choose to use can be whatever you have – New Mexico Red chile, ancho, cayenne, chipotle, or paprika.  However, I would not recommend a chili powder blend – just too much going on there.

Christmas 2013 – Made the Bourbon carrots with chile but replaced the chile powder with 1/2 tsp. curry powder. Awesome!!!

Making it sweet – To add a sweetener or not is your preference.  For me, it all depends upon what I’m serving the carrots with and if sweet carrots would complement the main entree’ or not.  My two preferences for the sweetener are honey and maple syrup.  I’ve never tried anything else, but I can’t imagine that agave nectar wouldn’t work.  Oh – and if you do use a sweet apple juice, you really don’t need any additional sweetness.  The apple juice will take care of that.

I hope you enjoy these Bourbon carrots.  I encourage you to create your own version of bourbon carrots with different herbs and spices. If you do, please feel free to share.  We all love new ideas!

These Bourbon Carrots have been shared with Foodie Friends Friday, Weekend Potluck   .


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51 Responses to “Bourbon Carrots – Four Ways”

  1. Marlys @ This and That August 11, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    This sounds like a delicious way to serve carrots. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.

  2. Amber @ The Cook's Sister May 17, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    What a great way to serve carrots! I like your recipe with the chile!

  3. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes May 12, 2013 at 5:54 am #

    Did you say bourbon? with carrots? How could I miss that?!?! I love both ingredients SO much. This will be made asap in my kitchen.

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook May 10, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    You are amazing MJ! You can excite someone (I bet all of us) with fantastic carrot recipe! I will DEFINITELY try it. I’m excited to find out the flavors. 😉

  5. Charles May 10, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Hi MJ – what an intriguing idea. I’m trying to think whether I’ve had bourbon before. I’m not a big drinker, and as such possibly have never had it, but I might have had a glass or three over the years. I really can’t imagine the flavour it might lend to the carrots though – lovely idea – would be really interested to try it!

  6. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb May 8, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    I have never had carrots this way. I am sometimes lost with carrots, not that creative at all. =/ But then you are there to give me some ideas. =D It might be because I used to dislike carrots in my childhood (name one child who likes carrots!). Nowadays I do enjoy them much more and I wished I could grow them in our garden without that the insects finish them off. whiskey bourbon… hm I have no idea what it tastes like so I am curious. Dill? That’s just brilliant together with carrots MJ!

    • mj May 8, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Thanks Helene! What kid likes vegetables? 🙂 I wasn’t that crazy about carrots as a kid, but they weren’t as bad as cooked spinach and okra. The whiskey bourbon adds a bit of an apple sweetness to the carrots. That’s why apple juice is a great substitute if you don’t have bourbon. Hope you get a chance to try them. Oh and the dill – GREAT with carrots!

  7. Nads May 7, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

    I’m putting in my order now – bourbon of course, with butter, maybe a little, but very little, maple syrup, and you pick the herb. Sounds divine!!!

    • mj May 8, 2013 at 8:26 am #

      You got it! It’s on the menu for next week. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying your trip and can’t wait to see you two!

  8. Gourmantine May 7, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Oh, Bourbon sounds like a wonderful addition to carrots, I especially like the sweet and spice one!

  9. Katerina May 7, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    I agree bourbon has such a distinctive taste and I am sure the after taste after these carrots have been cooked would be so sweet with an idea of salt. I love both your versions but I would definitely go with the first one as I have a very sensitive stomach!

  10. Nancy/SpicieFoodie May 7, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    I love carrot raw and cooked every way too. Both of your versions are absolutely brilliant! My mouth waters just reading your recipe. Thanks for sharing the Bourbon alternatives, it isn’t something we keep so wine was my initial thought — now I know better. Thanks MJ!:)

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      Thank you Nancy! Yep – wine just didn’t work for us, so I’ll never be trying that again. But that is our taste. If you don’t like bourbon, you could substitute apple juice. For some reason the result is very similar, just a little sweeter.

  11. Swathi May 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    That is a keeper recipe MJ, This glaze makes any ordinary carrots exquisite looks.

  12. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies May 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    These look so tasty and colorful–the perfect way to use up those spring carrots!

  13. Liz May 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    I bought some “real” baby carrots and the family went nuts for them…they actually tasted like carrots of my childhood. Love your recipe…I’ve added bourbon and maple syrup to my carrots…next I’ll try bourbon and sage.

  14. ChgoJohn May 6, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    I love this kind of post, MJ. You’ve provided not one but 4 different ways to prepare carrots and each one is very appealing to me. Best of all, none are difficult nor time consuming to prepare, which is important to me if I’m going to make the dish for myself some evening. Thanks for another great post!

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks so much John! Posting 4 posts was the result of not being able to make a decision as to which ONE to post – so I just posted them all. 🙂

  15. Sissi May 6, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    MJ, I am in awe of your ingenuity! An everyday, simple vegetable, but prepared in such an unusual, sophisticated way. Your pure, beautiful photo also suits this side-dish perfectly. I don’t have bourbon, but I suppose I could use some not too expensive whisky instead. Dill is one of my favourite herbs and I actually already have my own on the balcony, so I will also be preparing lots of dishes with it.
    By the way, have you ever frozen dill? My mum has always repeated that dill and chives are one of the rare herbs which freeze perfectly and she was right. They hardly lose their aroma (much better than dried).

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Sissi, thank you so much for such nice comments! I’m blushing! Whiskey works great. I actually use a bourbon whiskey. Oh fresh dill – lucky you! No, I have never tried freezing dill. I usually buy a bunch each year and dry it, discarding last year’s because it’s lost its punch. I will definitely be giving it a try this year. Last year, I started freezing little basil cubes and those worked great! BTW – I’m trying cilantro again this year. I bought a couple of starter plants and both are doing quite well thus far. It’s in a very sunny area, so hopefully it will work this year.

  16. Marta @ I love breakfast May 6, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    I like carrots for sure. I prefer it cooked, yummy. I’ve never tried it with dill or bourbon, but why not 🙂

  17. Lesley May 6, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Love it! My neighbor just gave me a new jar of her home made chile oil and I have a ton of carrots in the fridge!

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 9:42 am #

      What a great neighbor! I hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

  18. Zsuzsa May 6, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Here is girl after my own heart. She cooks with booze and does not overcook her vegetables. I saw those cruchy tender carrots!

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 9:41 am #

      Thanks Zsuzsa! Yep, we like them with a tender crunch, not like the carrots I grew up eating – soft and soggy.

  19. Judy @Savoring Today May 6, 2013 at 7:05 am #

    Always looking for new vegetable recipes and this is so simple. Thanks for the creative new way to make carrots. 🙂

  20. Soni May 6, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Gorgeous looking carrots and takes it another level 🙂 Will have to try this!Love the chili version too 🙂

  21. Karen (Back Road Journal) May 6, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Great idea for taking carrots and making them special.

  22. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen May 6, 2013 at 5:09 am #

    These looks like they’re magic carrots!

  23. Giulietta | Alterkitchen May 6, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    I love carrots.. well, I’m not precise… I LOVE carrots!
    These recipes are amazing: simple and yet super tasty!
    I love mine with cumin, but yours are delicious!

    • mj May 7, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Thanks Giulia! Actually, I love yours with cumin as well! I tried them a while back and both of us loved them.

  24. Raymund May 6, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Looks like a tasty glaze.
    BTW nice photos

  25. Angie@Angie's Recipes May 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    We LOVE carrots! Seriously, even my picky husband LOVES carrots. These carrot variations are super. MJ.

  26. Debra May 5, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I am loving these carrot variations! I have a ton of carrots I need to pull from the hoop house before we transition to the late spring garden. Perfect to use for this.

  27. Ramona May 5, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    MJ, They look like lovely little coins. I would eat them any way you make them. 🙂

  28. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I love carrots with halved grapes, butter and honey. That’s before I saw this. Truffle oil or bourbo? woo !

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Thanks Maureen! I’ve made a carrot salad with raw grated carrots and grapes, but never cooked carrots. That sounds delicious with the honey and butter! I will have to try that one!

  29. Tessa May 5, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Great carrot recipes! I’m really liking the bourbon carrots with the chili! Next time I prepare carrots, I will be sure to try them with bourbon. Lovely photos MJ!

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

      Thanks Tessa! I hope you like them!

  30. Choc Chip Uru May 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    I love love love carrots, thank you for this post 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  31. Carole May 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Love this carrots – I am going to link this in to Food on Friday: carrots – and pin it so others can see it. I know you won’t mind. Have a great week.

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

      Thanks Carole and of course I don’t mind! 🙂 Pin away Darlin!

  32. Michelle@SimplifyLiveLove May 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    These look fabulous, MJ! I’m not sure if we have bourbon at home, but if so I will give this a try!

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks Michelle! If you don’t have bourbon, you can always use apple juice or cider.

  33. john@kitchenriffs May 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Great looking dish! We’ve been eating a lot of carrots lately, so I’m always looking for new idea. I’ve made a similar dish in the past, but it’s been years and years (I used smoked paprika, as I recall, instead of chile – but I think I like your chile idea better). Good stuff – thanks.

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks John! I love the carrots recipes that you have published lately and I have the Moroccan Carrot Salad listed as a salad this week. Smoked paprika sounds like a great spice for this carrots! I’ll have to try it. 🙂

  34. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles May 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    How great is this?! You know one of the things I love most about your blog MJ is that you have a way of appreciating everyday ingredients and elevating them to star status with the use of herbs, spices — and other flavorings ;-). I love the idea of using bourbon here and I can well imagine (even taste) how well it would marry with carrots… (you can’t see me right but I’m licking my lips!). Love carrots too and they are one of those rare vegetables that is actually more nutritious cooked than raw (cooking brings out the carotenoids in carrots/tomatoes :)).

    • mj May 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      What a nice thing to say Kelly!! Thanks! 🙂 I did not know about the advantage of cooked carrots over raw. Thanks for that information! For years I cooked carrots in apple juice, then one day I was out of it, so I grabbed the bourbon. Now I use apple juice only when I run out of bourbon. 🙂


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