Roasted Cauliflower (Two Ways!)

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Roasted Cauliflower is the BEST way to enjoy this vegetable — the high oven temperature yields beautiful caramelization with crisp edges and a tender interior. This recipe includes how to prepare a basic, all-purpose Roasted Cauliflower recipe and a show-stopping Parmesan-breadcrumb-crusted version.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower Is A Great Simple Side Dish!

Cauliflower is one of the most versatile veggies — from pizza crusts to a low-carb rice replacement to even being part of a cauliflower smoothie (yes, we went there and it’s amazing!).

And while few cauliflower recipes beat this Cauliflower Soup, the two oven-roasted cauliflower recipes we’re sharing are certainly fair competition. Not only is pan-roasted cauliflower a ridiculously easy side dish to prepare, but it is also incredible how much flavor the oven heat imbues on this otherwise humble veggie. 

I can barely get them transferred from tray to serving platter without most being snatched up by hungry hands nearby (okay, yes, mine included).

Roasted Cauliflower FAQs

1Why isn't my cauliflower crispy?

Cauliflower has a high water content so it won’t ever get crispy if it is overcrowded on the pan. Give each floret plenty of room when roasting.

2What is the healthiest way to eat cauliflower?

The healthy Roasted Cauliflower option is the basic recipe included below, which includes just cauliflower, olive oil, and seasonings. When you get right down to it, of course, raw would be the absolute healthiest way to eat it!

3Should cauliflower be cooked?

Cauliflower can be eaten without cooking, but roasting cauliflower is going to deliver the best flavor!

Roast cauliflower pieces until they are tender-crisp which means florets are cooked all the way through but still have some snap to them.

Roasting cauliflower for too long will result in mushy cauliflower.

4Is Roasted Cauliflower healthy?

Cauliflower is a great source of nutrients and antioxidants.

Roasted Cauliflower nutrition information is shown directly under the written recipe.

5What main dish goes with roasted cauliflower?

We love to make extra roasted cauliflower and enjoy it as a side dish one day and then as part of the main course the next (think — dice up leftovers and pack in a quiche, frittata, tacos, quesadilla, pita, a salad, in a creamy risotto, in a casserole, etc.!).

Our favorite mains that pair nicely:

6Does Roasted Cauliflower reheat well?

It’s never as good as the first day, but you can reheat it. Reheating in the microwave will yield less-crisp veggies. For the crispiest leftover cauliflower, pop it on a sheet pan in the oven at 350 degrees until hot (don’t add extra oil!).

Ingredient shot-- ingredients used in this side dish

Shopping For Cauliflower

Let’s quickly chat about how to pick cauliflower so you can prepare the best Roasted Cauliflower possible:

Look for even and creamy white color, lack of blemishes or browning, and densely packed florets.

Avoid any heads that show signs of softness or spoiling. Smell the cauliflower. If it has a strong smell, it is past its prime and will likely have an unpleasant taste.

Choose a head that is as fresh as possible and feels heavy for its size. Vibrant leaves indicate a recently harvested cauliflower.

Storage: Most grocery stores wrap cauliflower in cellophane which traps moisture and promotes rotting. Once you get home, unwrap it immediately and transfer it to a loose plastic bag with a paper towel in it to absorb the moisture.

How long does cauliflower last? Whole cauliflower heads can be kept in the fridge for 4-7 days (Once cut, use within 3-4 days).

Proces shots-- whole cauliflower, quartered cauliflower, core removed, and finally cut into small pieces.

How To Clean And Prepare Cauliflower 

Once you’ve got the perfect cauliflower, here’s how to prepare it to roast:

Cut the cauliflower in half and then half again to get four quarters. Slice diagonally to remove the inner cores from each quarter. Cut into bite-sized florets optimizing for flat edges (which will increase the caramelization and consequently the flavor, since there is more direct contact with the pan!).

Rinse the cut-up pieces in a colander. 

Dry the pieces thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. 

QUICK TIP

If the cauliflower florets are at all wet, they will steam instead of roast and you’ll be missing out on the amazing caramelization, flavor, and texture. Take the time to thoroughly dry before roasting for the best Roasted Cauliflower!

Process shots-- drizzle cauliflower in oil and butter; add seasonings; toss to coat; add Parmesan and panko.

How to Roast Cauliflower

  • Toss prepared cauliflower with olive oil, butter, and seasonings. Mix everything in a bowl instead of tossing directly on the tray for best results.
  • Spread across the tray, being sure to not overcrowd the pan. The more space the cauliflower florets have (the less crowded they are), the better they roast. When vegetables are overlapping on a sheet pan, they end up steaming instead of roasting. Additionally, the bigger the pan, the quicker the cauliflower will roast!
  • Use fresh cauliflower. Frozen won’t ever get as crisp or as flavorful as fresh.
  • The high oven temperature is vital to getting perfectly caramelized and beautifully crispy roasted cauliflower edges– which will yield the best flavor!

Process shots-- toss with seasonings; space out on the sheet pan and roast.

How Long To Roast Cauliflower

When preparing Roasted Cauliflower, the bake time will vary, depending on the actual size of the cauliflower, actual oven temperature, how spaced out the cauliflower is on the tray, how many trays are roasting at the same time, and your preference for doneness.

  • Smaller pieces will roast anywhere from 15-20 minutes.
  • Larger pieces will take anywhere from 20-25 minutes.

How do I know when cauliflower is done roasting? Test doneness by piercing with a fork (it should pierce through easily) and by visually looking for a golden, caramelized exterior.

For a quicker roast time: Make sure the oven is fully preheated, only roast one tray in the oven at a time, and space out the cauliflower generously.

Freshly roasted cauliflower

VARIATIONS

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe Variations

  • How to prepare Roasted Broccoli and cauliflower: Replace half of the cauliflower with broccoli florets — roasting time will be the same. 
  • How to prepare a whole Roasted Cauliflower (cauliflower head): Check out this recipe!
  • Roasted Cauliflower Curry: Prepare the “basic” cauliflower recipe and then add it to this Vegetable Curry at the end. (It doesn’t need to be cooked in the liquid if it is roasted.)
  • How to prepare Roasted Cauliflower and carrots: Replace half of the cauliflower with carrots — roasting time will be the same. (Reference this roasted carrots post for how to cut the carrots!)
  • Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: Add some red pepper flakes on top of either recipe after removing them from the oven. Alternatively, add 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper to either recipe and mix in with other spices.

Up-close overhead image of the Roasted Cauliflower

Pair Roasted Cauliflower With Another Roasted Veggie:

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Roasted Cauliflower (2 Ways!)

5 from 1 vote
Roasted Cauliflower is the BEST way to enjoy this vegetable -- the high oven temperature yields beautiful caramelization with crisp edges and a tender interior. This recipe includes how to prepare a basic, all-purpose Roasted Cauliflower recipe as well as a show-stopping Parmesan-breadcrumb-crusted version.
Print Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower (2 Ways!)

5 from 1 vote
Roasted Cauliflower is the BEST way to enjoy this vegetable -- the high oven temperature yields beautiful caramelization with crisp edges and a tender interior. This recipe includes how to prepare a basic, all-purpose Roasted Cauliflower recipe as well as a show-stopping Parmesan-breadcrumb-crusted version.
Course Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword roasted cauliflower
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 as a side
Calories 75kcal
Cost $4.12

Ingredients

Basic Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 pounds (~2 heads; 8 cups (930g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt & 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, paprika (optional)

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

  • 2 pounds (~2 heads; 8 cups (930g) cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons (35g) olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, garlic powder, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup (40g) Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup (43g) grated Parmesan

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F. Use an extra-large sheet pan (15x21-inches) or 2 smaller sheet pans. Cut the cauliflower in half and then half again to get 4 quarters. Slice diagonally to remove the inner cores from each quarter. Cut into bite-sized florets optimizing for flat edges, which will increase the caramelization and improve the flavor!
  • BASIC: Toss cauliflower in a large bowl with oil and seasonings. (You can do this on the tray, but you'll need a touch more oil). Space florets evenly on the tray, taking care not to overcrowd the pan (Note 1). Roast for 17-20 minutes, flip the cauliflower with a spatula and roast another 5 minutes until caramelized and tender. Serve immediately.
  • PARMESAN-PANKO: Generously grease a sheet pan with cooking spray. Toss cauliflower in a large bowl with oil and melted butter. Add seasonings and gently toss to coat. Finally, add in panko and Parmesan and toss until well coated. Space evenly on tray. Sprinkle any panko/Parmesan that was left behind in the bowl on top of the cauliflower. Roast 15 minutes. Flip cauliflower, roast another 5-10 minutes until you have golden edges and florets are tender. Serve immediately.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Roasting time will vary, depending on the actual size of the cauliflower florets, actual oven temperature, how spaced out the cauliflower is on the tray, how many trays are roasting at the same time, and your preference for doneness.
  • Smaller pieces will roast anywhere from 15-20 minutes.
  • Larger pieces will take anywhere from 20-25 minutes.
How do I know when cauliflower is done roasting? Test doneness by piercing with a fork (it should pierce through easily) and by visually looking for a golden, caramelized exterior. For best results, make sure the oven is fully preheated before adding the sheet pan in, space the cauliflower florets out generously on the sheet pan, and only roast one tray in the oven at a time.
Nutrition information is for the basic recipe version.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 34mg | Potassium: 339mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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