Air Fryer Carrots are a fast, healthy, and delicious way to roast everyone’s favorite vegetable so they’re golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside. This simple savory side dish can be ready in about 20 minutes and you don’t even need to peel or cut the carrots!
These tender, mildly sweet air fryer roasted carrots are a cinch to make. Plus, they look fancy and are a kid favorite! Personally, I much prefer roasted carrots to the raw variety because the sweetness and carrot flavor are intensified by the high heat. They taste great hot, warm, or chilled, so I always make extra to throw into salads or to serve as a simple veggie side dish.
Why use an air fryer instead of an oven?
You can definitely roast carrots in the oven, but an air fryer cooks them faster and more evenly. In the air fryer, you can cook whole carrots at 380°F for 18 to 20 minutes; in contrast, it takes at least 30 to 35 minutes in a 425°F oven (and that’s after you wait for the oven to preheat). Even if you have a convection oven, carrots won’t cook as quickly or as evenly as in an air fryer because the oven fan isn’t as close to the food or as powerful.
What is my favorite air fryer?
I’ve tried several types of air fryers over the years (including a Philips, Breville Smart Oven Air and an Instant Pot Omni Plus), but my current favorite is the 6-liter Instant Pot Vortex Plus. This model is easy to clean, heats evenly, and the basket capacity is large. It’s also Cook’s Illustrated’s highest-rated air fryer. (It’s not perfect, though: the things I don’t love about this model are the non-stick lining and the fact that there is a weird plastic-y smell the first time you use it.)
- Carrots: I like to pick carrots that are no more than 1-inch thick in diameter and are about 7-inches long. My favorite variety is Nantes because the root is nearly cylindrical the whole way down and they have a mild sweetness when roasted. If you decide to use baby carrots, they’ll cook a little faster and you’ll need to start check on them at the 12 minute mark.
- Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil: coating the carrots lightly with oil helps them brown evenly.
- Diamond Crystal kosher salt: I like to keep the seasoning simple by just using salt, but sometimes I add a little garlic powder, ground cumin, or smoked paprika to perk things up.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Acid: I like to drizzle aged balsamic vinegar or squeeze some lemon juice on top to add a bright hit of acid to these air fryer carrots. You can also spoon on one or more of the flavor-boosting sauces listed below.
- Fresh herbs: Minced chives, tarragon, scallions, Italian parsley, and chervil are some great ways to add a pop of green and some extra flavor to this side dish.
Optional sauces and toppings
Although these carrots taste great straight out of the air fryer, I love to spoon a tasty sauce on top!
- Sesame Ginger Dressing
- All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce
- Arugula Pesto
- Tonnato Sauce
Instructions for Air Fryer Carrots
Season the carrots
Wash and scrub the carrots and pat them dry with paper towels. Place them on a plate or in a bowl and drizzle on some extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil.
Sprinkle on some salt and toss well to make sure the carrots are coated with the oil and seasoning.
Air fry the carrots
Preheat the air fryer to 380°F (if necessary) and set it to cook for 20 minutes. (I found that 400°F can brown the carrots too quickly)
When the air fryer reaches the set temperature, place the carrots in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
Air fry the carrots for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping or shaking them at the halfway point. If your carrots are irregularly sized, you may have to take the smaller ones out earlier. The carrots are ready when they’re easily pierced with a knife and the skin is golden brown.
Garnish the carrots
Transfer the roasted carrots to a platter. Add some freshly ground black pepper and drizzle on your favorite acid or sauce. These carrots taste especially delicious with my Sesame Ginger Dressing.
If you’re feeling fancy, sprinkle with fresh herbs and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!
How to save leftover air fryer carrots
You can save the leftover carrots in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. The air fryer carrots taste great cold so make for a delightful addition to packed lunches or a simple veggie side right out of the fridge!
Want more air fryer recipes?
Here are some of my faves!
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Cracklin’ Chicken
Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPhone and iPad app, and in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).
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