There are times when you need super easy, quick, hands-off vegetarian side dish ideas…one that is nutritious and that the whole family will love. And those times call for steamed carrots.

Bowl of steamed carrots with herbs.

Roasted whole carrots are a delicious side dish to make, yet even better, steaming them in the Instant Pot makes them perfectly fork-tender each and every time, while freeing some time up for you to prep the rest of the meal, take care of the kiddos, or sit back for a few minutes.

But it won’t be long, because this recipe is really quick.

Ingredients You’ll Need

The most important ingredient is for this steamed carrot recipe is, of course, carrots. But what kind of carrots? Is it better to use baby carrots or whole carrots for this recipe?

I’m happy to report that either type of carrot will work.

Baby carrots are great for the times when you want zero prep… when you need to throw the ingredients in the Instant Pot and that is it.

Whole carrots are a great option for buying in bulk, as long as you have time to peel and cut them into about 2-inch pieces, similar in size to baby carrots.

Bowl of sliced carrots next to parsley and water.

How To Steam Carrots in the Instant Pot

Ok friends, this truly is so, so easy. You don’t need any special equipment either in addition to your Instant Pot. A steamer basket is helpful for this recipe, however, you can absolutely make these without a steamer basket (or any other accessories!).

Carrots in the Instant Pot.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the inner bowl of the Instant Pot.
  • Add a steamer basket or steam rack. If you don’t have a steamer basket — no worries!! — place the steam rack that comes with your Instant Pot in the bowl.
  • Add the carrots. Place the carrots (baby or prepped whole carrots as discussed above) on top of the steam rack, positioning them to keep them on the track as much as possible, although it’s ok if some fall through.
  • Close the lid. Place and close the lid of the Instant Pot, making sure the vent is set to sealing before you turn it on to steam.

How Long To Steam Carrots

The most time-consuming part of this entire process is waiting for the pressure cooker to do its thing and come to pressure, not the actual cooking part. Like I said…this recipe is SO hands-off.

Set the Instant Pot to cook for 2 minutes on high pressure for perfectly fork-tender carrots. If you like softer carrots, you will want to add one more minute to the cooking time.

Once they have pressure cooked for 2 minutes and the Instant Pot is done, quick pressure release carefully. Remove the carrots from the Instant Pot.

I find using tongs to remove them is the easiest method if you’re using the steam rack, otherwise, just remove the steamer basket. Transfer them to a serving dish or bowl to toss with butter.

Carrots in Instant Pot after steaming.

Finishing the Side Dish

Alright, now that the cooked carrots are ready, it’s time to toss them in whichever butter variety you’ve chosen (see below for two of my favorite varieties).

The beauty of this recipe is that you can prepare the butter mixture while the carrots cook, and once they’re done you can toss and enjoy!

Make them classic and toss them in butter, salt, and pepper. Or mix it up and add your own favorite spices and herbs. There’s truly so much variety in this side dish recipe!

Bowl of cooked carrots with spoon.

Seasoning for Steamed Carrots

Included in this steamed carrot recipe are two varieties for seasoning the carrots.

You know you can’t have carrots without melted butter and salt, but these two varieties are sweet and savory, to meet the needs of everyone around the table and mix-and-match the side dishes for whichever kind of meal you’re having.

Fresh Parsley Carrots

Toss the steamed carrots in melted butter with fresh parsley for a bright, fresh, savory side dish. You can also use dried parsley, or substitute another herb of choice.

Don’t forget the salt, too! Be sure to taste test while assembling to be sure the flavors are spot on, which is why I recommend using unsalted butter in order to control the salt to your preferences.

Bowl of melted butter with parsley.

Cracker Barrel Steamed Carrots

If you’ve had Cracker Barrel carrots, then you know they are a deliciously sweet version of a carrot side dish. Buttery, brown sugary, and deliciously sweet. Since carrots are inherently sweet, they don’t need much brown sugar to amp up their sweetness.

If you’d like an alternative to brown sugar, you can use maple syrup for deliciously glaze-like results, too. I recommend throwing in a pinch of fresh or dried thyme because the combination is unreal!

Of course, be sure to toss in some salt, even though we’re going a little sweet here because it enhances the flavor and balances out that sweetness.

Bowl of melted butter, brown sugar, and thyme.

Common Questions

Can I make steamed carrots on the stovetop?

Yes, you can steam carrots over a pot of 2 inches of boiling water in a steamer basket. Make sure they are even in size, similar to the pressure cooker recipe, so they cook evenly. Steam for about 4-5 minutes until tender.

Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh ones?

Yes, you can substitute dried herbs in place of fresh herbs as needed, just halve the amount because they are more potent.

How do I make Instant Pot carrots without a steamer basket?

Just use the steam rack that came with your Instant Pot to elevate the carrots off of the water.

More Vegetable Side Dish Recipes

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!

Bowl of steamed carrots with spoon.
5 (3 ratings)

Get the Recipe 10-Minute Instant Pot Steamed Carrots

Make these fork-tender steamed carrots in the Instant Pot for a super easy side dish. Perfect for busy weeknight dinners or elaborate family meals, these carrots are ready in about 10 minutes. Serve the cut carrots (baby carrots work well too!) with with a sweet brown sugar topping, or as a savory side dish sprinkled with fresh parsley.


  • 1 pound carrots, baby or whole carrots in 2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Parsley Topping

Brown Sugar Carrots



  • If using whole carrots, peel and slice them into evenly sized pieces, approximately 2 inches in size.
    1 pound carrots
  • In the bowl of an Instant Pot, add the water and salt. Place the steam rack or a steamer basket in the Instant Pot, then place in the carrots. Cover and make sure the vent is set to sealing.
    1 cup water, 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 2 minutes. Once it is complete, quickly release the pressure.
  • While the Instant Pot is coming to pressure and cooking, prepare the butter mixture of choice. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in the parsley or brown sugar and thyme (depending on the recipe using). Toss the cooked carrots in the melted butter mixture and salt to taste.
    2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, Salt


  • Storage: Place any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Calories: 155kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 229mg, Potassium: 372mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 19320IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!