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Baby Carrots vs Carrots

Baby carrots and carrots are both essentially normal carrots, just processed in different ways. Both regular carrots and baby carrots are the perfect vegetable, packed full of vitamins and minerals. Carrots are great as a stand-alone snack, used in a stew, or added to a sweet dessert like cake..

This is a fresh cluster of carrots on a wooden table.

While both carrots and baby carrots are made from the same root vegetable, there are some stark differences between the two. Carrots are traditionally the whole root vegetable, unaltered.

Comparatively, baby carrots have been cut and processed from ugly carrots that could not be sold as an entire carrot. Both healthy and nutritious, carrots and baby carrots are perfect for snacking, stews, soups, or desserts. 

Although baby carrots and carrots may taste identical, there are some stark differences between the two. Not only are these carrots different in appearance, but they can be used in different cuisines and different applications. Below, let’s take a closer look at the differences between traditional carrots and baby carrots and learn the pros and cons of both. 

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Baby Carrots vs. Carrots

They’re both orange, both taste great, and are both healthy and largely beneficial. So what is the big difference between baby carrots and carrots? Below, let’s take a look at some of the main differences between these two seemingly similar vegetables. 

Regular Carrots

A bunch of young fresh carrots on a chopping board.

Regular carrots are grown naturally in the soil and offer a range of health benefits. These larger carrots must be cut and cleaned before eating to remove any soil residue. Compared to other carrots, like baby carrots, regular carrots have higher levels of Vitamin C and beta-carotene. These are very important vitamins and minerals that help to make this carrot so healthy. 

Compared to a baby carrot, though, regular carrots must be prepared before eating. The carrot should be washed and peeled. Of course, it is possible to eat a whole peeled carrot, but most people prefer to cut the carrot down into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to eat. 

Baby Carrots

This is a bowl of fresh baby carrots on a chopping board.

Compared to their bigger brother, baby carrots are much smaller in size. These carrots are not naturally grown this way but are rather the result of taking a wild carrot with an odd shape or size and putting the carrot through a machine. Ugly carrots then get new life as baby carrots that can be sold in the grocery store.

The regular carrot is then cut down to a smaller size to have the look and appearance of baby-cut carrots. These smaller carrots are often more desirable because they are cut and peeled and cut into easy-to-eat pieces. 

Although these are also whole carrots, they do not have the same health benefits as regular full-size carrots. While they lack some Vitamin C and beta-carotene found in regular carrots, they have several other benefits and have a different nutrient count. These baby carrots have more selenium and lutein.

One cautionary tale about baby carrots is the high amount of chlorine that is used in the processing. This chlorine is used to help give the regular carrot brighter orange color. Before eating baby carrots, it is good to give the carrot a proper wash to remove any residual chlorine used in the processing and manufacturing. 

How Can I Eat Carrots?

This is a fresh bunch of carrots on a dark wooden table.

The carrot vegetable is a really practical, functional, and versatile food option that can be used in several different meals and cuisines. Eaten alone, normal carrots are the perfect healthy snack. Both regular carrots and baby carrots are perfect for snacking and taste wonderful when eaten with any type of dip or dressing. A carrot can be eaten raw and used in many salads or vegetable trays.

Or, carrots are wonderful cooked as well. Try eating carrots steamed or sautéed. Carrots can make a wonderful addition to many stews and soups and help give meals a sweat yet healthy taste. Due to their sweet flavor, carrots are also a popular additive into desserts. The many types of carrot variety available make it possible to find just the right carrot to add to a cake or muffin. Enjoy a dessert with a healthy and beneficial vitamin and mineral addition. 

Where Is the Best Place to Buy Carrots?

This is a bunch of fresh carrots with fresh leaves on top.

Carrots are a common staple food that many people rely on to get the right balance of healthy vitamins and minerals in their diet. It is possible to find both regular carrots and baby carrots at the local grocery store. These carrots are regularly available as organic carrots, eliminating many of the chemicals and pesticides that can be dangerous for people to eat. Be prepared to pay slightly more for the organic variety of carrots. 

It is also possible to buy this root vegetable from a local carrot farmer. Many farmers will grow carrots for food sales because they are relatively easy to grow. These carrots can then be purchased from a local farmer’s market. Carrots from a farmer’s market are usually safe, tasty, and local. Be sure to ask your local carrot farmer about how the carrots were grown. It may be possible to find local, organic carrots at a farmer’s market. 

FAQs

This is a close look at a variety of colorful carrots on display.

Choosing to buy carrots to add to your daily meal routine is a wonderful idea to stay healthy and get much-needed vitamins and minerals. Carrots can be used in any application, ranging from simply snacking to making elaborate desserts. Below, let’s look at some commonly asked questions surrounding carrots and baby carrots to learn which is the best for you. 

What is the difference between carrots and baby carrots?

The biggest difference between carrots and baby carrots is the size. Carrots are usually at least 6 inches long, while baby carrots are rarely over two inches. While both of these carrots are extremely healthy, the baby carrot lacks much of the Vitamin C and beta-carotene found in a regular carrot.

How do you eat baby carrots?

Baby carrots can be eaten exactly like regular, full-size carrots. They can be eaten alone as a snack, raw and just dipped in some salad dressing, or they can be cut and cooked in meals like you would eat a regular carrot. Baby carrots are exactly the same as a regular carrot, only cut down and packaged into smaller, easier-to-eat sizes. 

How are baby carrots grown?

Baby carrots start out as regular carrots and are grown just like a regular carrot. When carrots grow to be small or ugly, they often are not sold in the grocery store. Instead, these carrots are put into a machine that cuts and processes the regular carrot into a smaller carrot size. 

What is bad about baby carrots?

Although baby carrots are just the same as regular carrots, they are often labeled as bad for you. This opinion is largely linked to the way baby carrots are prepared. After the larger, ugly carrots are cut down into the baby carrot size and shape, manufacturers often add chlorine to the carrots.

The added chlorine helps to make the carrots brighter in color, giving them a more appealing orange color. This added chlorine can be dangerous to eat if the carrots are not properly washed and prepared ahead of time. Other than chlorine, baby carrots contain much of the same vitamins and minerals as regular carrots have.