This recipe for Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips is so easy and ready in just 30 minutes. This is the perfect easy side dish for your Sunday lunch, Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas lunch.
Root vegetables are perfect for roasting, it brings out the sweetness in them and they come out perfectly tender adn charred at the edges. If you have picky eaters in your house roasting your root vegetables is a very good way to get kids to eat their veggies!
This carrot and parsnip recipe is our favourite side dish for a special Sunday lunch or Christmas dinner. I've been making this for years and it never fails to impress guests and family alike. It's such a simple but delicious side dish. Easy to make and the whole family will love it!
I usually serve these honey-roasted carrots and parsnips with my Mushroom Wellington or my Nut Roast en Croûte. This is a tried and tested recipe that my Mum handed down to me and has been a family favourite for a long time.
Why This Recipe Works
- Roasting carrots and parsnips is the perfect way to bring out their natural sweetness!
- Adding honey, wholegrain mustard and thyme enhances the earthy flavour of the carrots and parsnips.
- Toasted walnuts add texture and warmth.
- They are the perfect easy side dish for your holiday dinner.
What You'll Need
This recipe calls for a few simple ingredients. The combination of carrots, parsnips, mustard and honey, makes a tasty side dish to your favourite roast dinner.
- Carrots - When buying your carrots make sure they are firm and the skin is an even orange colour. For this recipe, I would choose carrots of a similar size so they cook at the same time. If you buy carrots with the tops on, make sure they are fresh and not wilted. Smaller carrots are best for this recipe as larger carrots could have a woody core which you may want to remove before cooking.
- Parsnips - Choose parsnips that are on the smaller side, they will be more tender than larger parsnips that can have a woody core. Look for parsnips that are firm and not limp and have smooth skin.
- Honey - I use runny honey to make these roasted carrots and parsnips. I would avoid set honey or honey that is too strong in floral flavours. If you are vegan you can use maple syrup, I would reduce the amount by a tablespoon and go for light in colour maple syrup. I have had great results using vegan "honey".
- Mustard - Wholegrain mustard is best for this recipe, you can make this without if you wish. I have made this with Dijon mustard too but wholegrain mustard will give you the best results.
- Herbs - Thyme is the best herb for this recipe, I have used a little chopped fresh rosemary with good results too.
- Walnuts - Lightly toasted, chopped walnuts add great texture to this dish but this is optional. I have used almonds too which worked really well. You can also leave these out if you prefer
- Oil - I use a light olive oil for this recipe you can use sunflower oil if you prefer.
Step By Step Instructions
This is just a visual guide, please see the recipe card below for the full ingredient list and instructions.
- Peel the carrots then cut lengthways into halves or quarters depending on how thick they are.
- Peel the parsnips then cut lengthways into halves or quarters depending on how thick they are. Place the carrots and parsnips in a single layer on two baking trays, drizzle oil over them and toss until they are completely covered. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Toast the chopped walnuts until slightly brown.
- Take each baking tray out of the oven. Add the honey, mustard and thyme and toss until the carrots and parsnips are covered. Put the trays back in the oven and cook for another 10 - 12 minutes.
- Choose carrots and parsnips of a similar size to ensure even cooking. Make sure and cut the carrots and parsnips into similar sizes too. I cut off the ends of the parsnips, if they are too thin they will burn.
- Make sure the carrots and parsnips are at room temperature before you start making this dish. If they are really cold from being in the fridge they will take longer to cook.
- Don't forget to preheat the oven, for the best result I also heat the baking trays before I add the carrots and parsnips to the oven.
- Cook the carrots and parsnips for 10 minutes before you add the thyme, mustard and honey. This will stop the thyme and the honey from burning.
- Don't overcook the walnuts, they only need to be lightly toasted. They will be too bitter if overcooked.
- Be careful not to overcrowd your veggies, I use two baking trays to make these. For best results make sure the carrots and parsnips are spread out evenly and do not overlap.
- Make a vegan version, you can swap the honey for maple syrup if you want to make this vegan. I would use slightly less syrup though as it can be a lot sweet than honey.
No, you don't need to parboil the parsnips. I would only parboil them if they were quite big, this would prevent them from being tough and chewy.
If I buy organic carrots and parsnips then I wouldn't bother peeling them, I would just give them a good scrub with a vegetable brush under running water. Otherwise, I would wash and peel them both.
You can peel and chop the carrots and parsnips the day before, I often do this on Christmas Eve when I make this for Christmas dinner. I keep them in a bowl of water to stop them from drying out. Just make sure they are completely covered in water.
Yes, you can reheat roasted carrots and parsnips. If you have any leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. For best results reheat in the oven. Place the carrots and parsnips in an ovenproof dish, cover it with foil then cook for about 20 minutes at 180C/356F degrees in a fan or 200C/392F conventional oven. They may not be as firm when they are reheated.
This recipe is best made fresh, however, if you need to freeze them I would not add the honey, mustard, thyme or the walnuts. To freeze, leave them to cool on the trays then place the trays in the freezer for 2 or 3 hours. Once hard transfer the carrots and parsnips to a freezer-friendly container. They will keep for 3 months. To cook from frozen place them evenly on baking trays and bake at 180C/356F fan or 200C/392F conventional oven for 35 minutes. Add the honey, mustard and thyme about 20 minutes before the end of cooking.
More Tasty Side Dishes
For an indulgent Sunday lunch side dish try my Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, or my perfectly Creamy Mashed Potatoes, they're both so good with veggie sausages or casseroles. My Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts Salad is another great side dish, perfect for feeding a crowd. Or try these Air Fryer Potato Wedges, they're the perfect side dish for a quick and easy weeknight meal!
Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips
- 500 g /17.6 oz/ 1.1lb Carrots washed peeled then cut into halves or quarters lengthways.
- 500 g /17.6 oz/ 1.1lb Parsnips washed peeled then cut into halves or quarters lengthways.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoon runny honey
- 2 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 4 tablespoon chopped walnuts
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C/356F fan or 200C/392F conventional oven. Leave the trays in the oven to heat them up.
- Spread the carrots and parsnips evenly over two baking trays then drizzle 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil over them.Toss the carrots and parsnips until they are completely covered in oil. Be careful the trays will be very hot! I use a spatula for this.Sprinkle about ½ a teaspoon each of sea salt ad freshly cracked black pepper over both trays of veggies.Place trays in the oven for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes remove trays from the oven. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of runny honey over the carrots and parsnips, add 2 tablespoons of wholegrain mustard and 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme.If you have two trays you will need to divide the honey, mustard and thyme between both trays.Using a spatula gently toss the carrots and parsnips until they are covered in honey and mustard.Return the trays to the oven and cook for another 10 - 12 minutes.The carrots and parsnips will be cooked through and the parsnips will be golden brown at the narrow parts.
- While the carrots and parsnips are cooking toast the walnuts.Heat a small frying pan over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of chopped walnuts to the dry pan then cook until they are slightly brown. Toss the pan occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- To serve, add the cooked carrots and parsnips to a serving dish then sprinkle the toasted chopped walnuts over them.Season to taste.
- Carrots and Parsnips - I peel my carrots and parsnips for this recipe. If you are using organic vegetables then you don't have to peel them if you don't want to. Just give them a good wash and scrub them with a vegetable brush before cooking. Make sure and use small to medium parsnips for this recipe larger parsnips will have a woody core which will be quite tough.
- Honey - Runny honey is best for this recipe, I would avoid any honey that is too floral or too strong. You can substitute the honey for vegan "honey" or maple syrup. I would reduce the quantity if you use maple syrup.
- Trays - You will probably need two baking trays to make this recipe. You will get the best results by not overcrowding the vegetables as they will steam and go soggy if you do.
- Nutritional Information is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It is based on one serving of 6.
- For US readers - I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy. For best results, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.