Background: The Apiaceae family includes several vegetable and spice crop species among which carrot is the most economically important member, with similar to 21 million tons produced yearly worldwide. Despite its importance, molecular resources in this species are relatively underdeveloped. The availability of informative, polymorphic, and robust PCR-based markers, such as microsatellites (or SSRs), will facilitate genetics and breeding of carrot and other Apiaceae, including integration of linkage maps, tagging of phenotypic traits and assisting positional gene cloning. Thus, with the purpose of isolating carrot microsatellites, two different strategies were used; a hybridization-based library enrichment for SSRs, and bioinformatic mining of SSRs in BAC-end sequence and EST sequence databases. This work reports on the development of 300 carrot SSR markers and their characterization at various levels.