Why Baby Carrots Are An Unfit Swap For Normal Carrots

Sometimes, when you're cooking, you're going to need an ingredient swap. It's not always the ideal thing to do, but it inevitably happens to everyone — you find yourself prepping a recipe that you were so certain you had all the ingredients for before realizing there's one little thing missing, and you're going to have to improvise. There are some truly adventurous substitutions that don't seem like they should work, yet they do, such as swapping vodka with absinthe in a martini or swapping mayo with Italian dressing for a BLT. On the other hand, swaps that seem intuitive might be completely off the mark, like substituting baby carrots for regular carrots.


Baby carrots are not actual miniature carrots. They are regular carrots that have been peeled and cut down to 2-inch spears. You would think this makes them an effortless swap for full-sized carrots, as they are really the same thing, but the process by which baby carrots are made and sold takes a serious toll on their flavor, and can leave your dish tragically bland.

Baby carrots aren't as flavorful as regular carrots

To make baby carrots, full-sized carrots go through a lengthy industrial process that turns them into a shadow of their former selves. Be cautious buying baby carrots because they are often cut from older, lower-quality carrots. Age is of the utmost importance when it comes to carrots because they gradually lose their natural sugars the longer you store them. If you compare the taste of a fresh, whole carrot to that of a baby carrot, you'll find the former is much sweeter.


Baby carrots are also rinsed with chlorine before packaging, and without a protective outer peel, they spoil much faster than regular carrots do. They may become slimy or develop a white film, which is a sign of dehydration. And if that weren't bad enough, baby carrots are also more expensive by weight than regular carrots. Why swap the real thing with a more expensive, inferior version? No matter your recipe, it's better to avoid baby carrots altogether and keep a steady stash of the regular carrots on hand.