This study was executed to determine phytochemical content i.e. total carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids, and antioxidant ability expressed in the form of FRAP, CUPRAC and ABTS activity among different coloured tropical carrots (orange, red, yellow, rainbow and black carrot) developed at ICAR-IIVR, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Overall, within different colour group, the extent of variation ... [Show full abstract] for various phytochemical content and antioxidant potentiality is narrow i.e. ranged from 1.04- to 3.21-fold; but at the same time, the genotypic variability across genotypes is too wide which varied 20.90- to 57.92-fold for phytochemical and antioxidants is an indication of broad genetic base of carrot germplasm. Among all the carrots, black carrot had an exceptionally high content of total phenolics and flavonoids, and thereby led to the highest antioxidant ability in the terms of FRAP, CUPRAC and ABTS activity expressing about 76–83% relative potentiality followed by rainbow carrot, and least in orange, red and yellow carrot (black carrot > rainbow carrot > red carrot ≈ orange carrot ≈ yellow carrot). The content of phenolics and flavonoids were highly correlated with antioxidant activity (0.955** to 0.992**). However, the most cultivated and consumed carrots, orange and red one, possessed higher amount of carotenoids. The content of carotenoids negatively correlated with total phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidants activity (− 0.612** to − 0.627**). Broad genetic base and selection based on total phenolics content could be pivotal in the future breeding to harness the genetic wealth of carrot efficiently.