Vichy Carrots are cooked according to a classic French method but there is nothing fancy or tricky about this recipe. Earthy carrots are simply cooked down with butter, sugar and fresh thyme to create a sticky glazed and rather decadent side dish. Think carrots are boring? Think again!
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I don’t really go in for a lot of classical french cookery. Almost none in fact! When when I first saw a chef on TV cooking their carrots “vichy style” many years ago, I knew I had to try it. Lets be honest, almost everything tastes better in a butter and sugar glaze, especially vegetables.
This isn’t how I cook carrots every time but for special occasions like Christmas Dinner or an Easter Feast, this is the recipe I go to. It is decadent with it’s James Martin levels of butter but so so worth it.
Carrots are one of the few veg that I have always eaten, even as a super picky kid. But I bet if you’re struggling to get kids to eat veg, these would be great gateway carrots.
How to Serve Glazed Carrots
You must serve these carrots hot. If they are left to cool, the butter will start to harden, turn opaque and become oddly claggy. It is however super easy to reheat them in a matter of moments so this isn’t a disaster.
It will depend on the kind of meal that I’m serving whether veg sides get served with a big spoon in the middle of the table or dished up onto the plate. Chances are that with an occasion roast meal, I am more likely to serve them “family style”.
Make Vichy Carrots into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
90% of the time I serve Vichy Carrots with a roast meal, whether that is Roast Chicken, Roast Beef, pork, lamb or even duck. And always with my Christmas Roast Turkey!
Of course there are always potatoes, whether they’re traditional Roast Potatoes or Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Naturally Yorkshire Puddings and Gravy are absolute musts and then there is usually a selection of other veg like Roast Parsnips, boiled cabbage or cauliflower cheese. And 90% of the time there is stuffing like my Homemade Sage & Onion Stuffing.
A true feast will always include pudding. My favourite hearty puddings for after a roast are my Peach Crumble or Chocolate Bread Pudding. For a lighter summer option, I’ll turn to something like my Black Forest Poke Cake, Peanut Chocolate Cheesecake or Lime Meringue Pie. At Christmas and Easter I like to go for my twist on a classic trifle – Sherry Trifle Cheesecake!
Don’t miss my comprehensive collection of ideas for classic Christmas sides. I’ve included simple basic recipes and ways to level up each dish.
There is everything from roast potatoes, numerous stuffing ideas and red cabbage dishes to cranberry sauces and even a vegan gravy option.
The other 10% of the time, I’m serving these glazed carrots with something else hearty like Puff Pastry Chicken Pie or Pan Aggie. There are already carrots in Pan Aggie but I am easily swayed into doubling up!
Don’t forget to head over to my Feast Collection pages to find all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my recipe index to create your own awesome Feast!
Ingredients for Vichy Glazed Carrots
I look for the big one that are easy to peel. I totally appreciate that the bunches of small pointy carrots from a farmer’s market are really the ideal. But for this recipe, I like to have big slices with maximum surface area.
That doesn’t stop you using any carrots you fancy, even the cool looking purple and yellow ones. It is also possible to use frozen sliced carrots , you just need to use barely any water.
To what level of “done” you cook the carrots is up to you. The more water you put in the pan, the softer the end result will be. I don’t mind a little bite but I prefer them mostly cooked through. I have not truck with how they “should” be cooked – only how you want them to be cooked.
I grow fresh thyme because its fairly indestructible and useful year round so grabbing a few fresh sprigs is simple. It is also readily available in shops.
If you can’t get hold of fresh, simply add in a small pinch of dried thyme instead. Just remember that dried herbs tend to be stronger than fresh so you can use less.
You can apply this method of cooking an glazing to other root veg. Beetroot lovers could use this on small beets. Baby turnips/swede (rutabaga), celeriac (celery root), Jerusalem artichoke and salsify would all love this treatment.
I would however avoid parsnips and sweet potato as I think they are sweet enough already.
There are so few ingredients that there isn’t much else to vary except to say that if you don’t like thyme, just leave it out. Oregano would make a good alternative.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
Vichy carrots are suitable for vegetarians.
To make this recipe vegan, you simply need to replace the butter with a vegan substitute. You will want to look for something as flavourful as possible – not just a generic baking fat.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from egg, gluten and nuts.
Dairy Free: As advised to make the recipe vegan, a tasty butter substitute will need to be used.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Vichy Carrots
I highly recommend getting a decent speed peeler. They are useful for peeling veg without gouging out half of the actual veg and I find them the safest variety too.
A small heavy based saucepan is best to use here. The heavy base will distribute the heat around the pan and minimise the risk of the butter and sugar catching on the bottom.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
I often cook these carrots to within a couple of minutes of being done. I them put them to one side and finish them off just before serving. You can do this up to a couple of days ahead or even freeze them at this stage.
Leftover Glazed Carrots
Throw them in the fridge or freezer for another meal.
I would be a little cautious about incorporating them into another recipe as the sweetness of them could affect that recipe. You could always rinse them in hot water to remove most of the glaze if needed.
Vichy Carrot Tips
Cutting the carrots on an angle not only looks a bit fancy with minimal effort but the larger surface area of the carrot will help it cook quicker and absorb more flavour. A good tip whether you are glazing them or not.
Do keep a close eye on the carrots when cooking. You can go from a beautiful glaze to burnt caramel in moments.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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More Simple Side Dishes
Vichy Carrots with Thyme
- 400 g Carrots
- 3 sprigs Thyme
- 30 g Salted Butter
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Top, tail and peel 400g Carrots. If they’re super fresh, you can just rub the skin clean.
- Cut the carrots on an angle into 1cm thick slices. The wider the angle, the more surface area the carrots will have to soak up flavour.
- Put the carrots into a saucepan and just cover with cold water.
- Add 3 Sprigs Thyme, 30g Salted Butter, 2 tbsp Sugar and 2 tsp Sea Salt Flakes. Give the water and carrots a stir.
- Put the pan on a medium heat and bring the water up to a boil then reduce it to a gentle boil.
- Leave the water to largely evaporate as the carrots cook. Give it a little stir or shake every few minutes to make sure the butter hasn’t caught.
- If the carrots aren’t cooked enough for your liking as the water has mostly gone, add a little more water and continue to cook.
- The carrots are ready once all the water has evaporated and the butter/sugar has created a glaze on the carrots. The time will depend on a number of factors but it should take roughly 20 minutes from boiling.
- Keep a close eye on the carrots towards the end of cooking. You are looking for a glaze, not a caramel!
- Remove the thyme stalks and serve.
What a lovely way to extra flavour to carrots.
Its hard to go wrong with more butter!!!
Jacqueline Bellefontaine says
I learnt to make these at college back in the day. Can’t understand why they are not more popular. Especially in winter when carrots can be a bit lacking in flavour.
I’m always amazed they’re not more mainstream too!
Cat | Curly's Cooking says
I love carrots and thyme together. This is such a tasty recipe for when you want to make your carrots that little but more special.
Yup, bit of a treat but sooo worth it for the extra flavour!
Michelle Rolfe says
Yep – now you’re talking – someone else that agrees – veggies love butter! I love carrots like this! Michelle x
I might actually be James Martin!!!
Eb Gargano | Easy Peasy Foodie says
I love carrots done like this! They taste soooo good 😀 Eb x
Its impossible to go wrong with more butter on veg!
Rebecca - Glutarama says
Veggies are boring….there I said it 😁 I’m always looking for ways to make them taste better so this o will certainly be trying.
Ha ha! They certainly can be, but not if I have any say in the matter (and I do lol)!!!!
Beth Sachs says
My Mum used to make these when she was having a dinner party. A perfect side dish to a roast dinner!
I do love a lil bit of fancy every now and again!
You’ve just reminded me how good vichy carrots are. I haven’t made them for years and now I’m craving a bowl full. Not sure I’ve ever added thyme, but it sounds like a lovely addition as does the James Martin amounts of butter. Love carrots, they are just so vibrant – what’s not to love?
Pinned to remind me.
Yes they’re something I often forget about for a while then remember again and kick myself!
Michelle Frank | Flipped-Out Food says
You had me at “James Martin levels of butter.” Seriously, tho—I need to make everything shown on that plate. YUM!
Ha ha, the fella sure knows how to use butter 😂