This Instant Pot Caramelized Carrot Soup is delectably silky and the carrots are elevated to sweet perfection thanks in the Instant Pot.
I learned this technique from Modernist Cuisine where they explain that the baking soda helps intensify the Maillard reaction, which is the browning affect that produces the really intense flavor.
The baking soda is added to the carrots and butter in the pressure cooker and in 20 minutes you have these incredible carrots.
There is truly something incredible about this soup. The addition of a little bit of baking soda in the Instant Pot with the carrots really allows them to get an intense caramelization that makes them so tasty.
The only issue with the Modernist Cuisine recipe is that it’s a bit difficult for home cooks. It includes techniques and ingredients that are harder to source. But I love this recipe so much that I had to adapt it to make it easier. So this is my home version of that recipe.
Ingredients You Need for Carrot Soup
Using just 5 ingredients, this soup really elevates the carrot flavor. You won’t believe how amazing it tastes. It’s the best carrot soup I’ve ever tasted, and probably my favorite soup, period. (Okay, I also really love Borscht – I’m a beet fan).
- Carrots – fresh, crisp carrots right out of the garden are the best and sweetest, but it’s fine to use a bag of little carrots.
- Butter – salted or unsalted; you can add more salt to taste
- Baking soda – just a small amount is needed. The baking soda helps intensify the Malliard reaction, which under pressure in the Instant Pot will make sure the carrots caramelize, and that’s the basis of this recipe. Without the baking soda, it won’t reach that caramel level.
- Chicken broth – the original recipe calls for carrot broth so you can use that if you can find it, otherwise chicken or vegetable broth both are fine
- Salt – the carrots need a bit of salt to counteract the sweetness
Why Use An Instant Pot?
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
How to Make Caramelized Carrot Soup
You will need an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker for this recipe. I’ve tried it on the stove top and it doesn’t turn out the same. It’s not possible to caramelize the carrots on the stovetop, like you can in the Instant Pot.
Peel and cut the carrots into quarters, then remove the tough inner core. This part of the carrot can be quite bitter, so it will enhance the flavor and texture to cut the core out.
Cut the slices into 2” pieces or sticks.
Press the saute mode of your Instant Pot and melt the butter in the pot. Then add the carrots and stir them to coat with butter. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the carrots and pour in the water. Then give it all a good stir.
Secure the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure when it’s done.
You’re going to love the aromas that come from the pot when you open the lid. You can instantly smell the caramelization. It’s heavenly.
Add the chicken stock to the pot and then puree the soup, in the pot, with an immersion blender until smooth. The immersion blender really is the way to go here. You won’t have to dirty another pot and it’s so quick and easy. Just blend it until all the chunks are gone and the puree starts to form small bubbles. This is when it becomes silky and smooth.
Heat the soup on saute mode until hot, about 3 minutes. My Instant Pot heats up really fast on saute mode and takes a while to cool back down, so I only leave it on saute mode for 3 minutes. Any longer and it might burn on the bottom.
Turn off saute mode and add the final bits of butter. Then puree it again with the immersion blender until the butter has melted and blended into the soup.
Tips for the Best Outcome
- Use the best quality carrots you can find and be sure to remove the inner core, which can add bitterness to the soup.
- Don’t skip the baking soda. It allows the carrots to become extra caramelized, as it enhances the maillard reaction.
- You can use salted or unsalted butter. If you use unsalted, you may need to add additional salt, to taste.
- It’s necessary to blend the soup until it turns creamy. It takes a bit longer than you might expect, but just keep blending until some air gets incorporated into the soup and it looks creamier.
>> You might also like this Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup.
Instant Pot Pro Plus
Now you can control your pot wirelessly through an app. Cool-touch handles on the pot itself, and an automatic locking pressure release valve for greater safety. This one does it all.
Do I Need An Immersion Blender For This Recipe?
No you don’t, though we highly recommend using one. They are very handy, easy to use and keep you from using extra dishes. You can use a blender or food processor if that is what you have. Just remember that the steam from hot liquids can build up inside the blender and can blow the lid off making a mess and potentially burning you.
Can I Freeze Carrot Soup?
Frozen carrot soup will store for up to six months and reheats perfectly, from frozen, on the stovetop over low heat. You can also add the frozen soup to the instant pot and cook under pressure for 0 minutes with a 5 minute natural pressure release.
Do I Have to Peel the Carrots?
Yes, you want to peel the carrots to remove the tough outer skin. This also removes impurities that get caught in the crevices and takes away any bitterness from the skin.
To go a step further, you also need to cut the carrots in quarters and remove the inner hard core. There is a lot of bitterness in the core too and that can affect the sweetness of the soup.
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Instant Pot Caramelized Carrot Soup
Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot
- 1 lb carrots peeled and cores removed
- 1/2 cup butter 113g
- 1/8 cup water 30ml
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 2.5g
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Cut the carrots into quarters and remove the tough inner core. Cut the slices into 2” pieces.
- Press the saute mode of your Instant Pot and melt the 1/2 cup of butter. Add the carrots and stir to coat with butter. Sprinkle over the salt and baking soda. Pour in the water. Stir.
- Secure the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 20 minutes. Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Add the chicken stock and puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender (or in a blender or food processor) until smooth. Heat on saute mode, no longer than 3 minutes. Turn off saute mode.
- Add the final 2 tbsp of butter and again puree with the immersion blender until the butter has melted and blended in.
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.