How to Roast Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables I had to learn to love. On its own, I find it kind of boring. I wanted to like it, because it’s really healthy– cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are known to lower your risk of cancer, and nutritionists recommend that you eat them at least 3-5 times per week. Cauliflower is full of antioxidants, and it has anti-inflammatory properties as well. It’s also loaded with fiber. But I was never too excited about cauliflower… until I discovered the magic of roasting.

When you roast cauliflower, it’s transformed into something so tasty, you almost forget you’re eating veggies. All you need is a touch of oil, salt and pepper to turn ordinary cauliflower into something extraordinary. The dry heat of the oven makes the cauliflower perfectly tender, and the roasting pan caramelizes the flat surfaces and edges. The secret to roasted cauliflower’s amazing flavor comes from that caramelization. I’ve provided roasting instructions below, along with slicing instructions to ensure that you have lots of flat surfaces on your cauliflower pieces– this will increase caramelizing to a maximum.

It’s difficult to measure cauliflower florets (more technically known as curds) in cups because of their bulk and strange shape. I prefer to measure them by weight. Here is a rough guide that will tell you the weight of florets that differently sized cauliflower heads will produce. Bear in mind that each head of cauliflower is different, so this chart is a rough estimate:

How many florets will my cauliflower head yield?

1.5 lbs. cauliflower head = 1 lb. florets
2 lbs. cauliflower head = 1.5 lbs. florets
2.5 lbs. cauliflower head = 2 lbs. florets
3 lbs. cauliflower head = 2.5 lbs. florets

If you need to know how many cups of florets you’ll have, an average sized cauliflower (2 lbs.) will produce roughly 3-4 cups of uncooked florets. After roasting, the florets shrink up quite a bit.

Olive oil, salt and pepper are really all you need to make mouthwatering roasted cauliflower. You can certainly add other ingredients to enhance the flavor– I’ve suggested a few ideas below. Parmesan cheese is most popular. Garlic adds a lovely aroma. Depending on the type of meal you’re making, you can enhance the flavor with a variety of herbs and spices (smoked paprika is a favorite of mine). Feel free to get creative. Enjoy!

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How to Roast Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Ingredients

  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp your favorite herb or spice (oregano, smoked paprika, thyme, and red chili pepper flakes work well)
  • Lemon zest
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh lemon juice

You will also need

  • Baking sheet
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum foil (optional)
Total Time: 25 - 30 Minutes
Servings: Varies
Kosher Key: Pareve or Dairy depending on add-ins
  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil for easier cleanup, if desired.
  • Pull the leaves off of the cauliflower base. Cut off the lower part of the stem.
  • Cut the head of cauliflower into four quarters.
  • Slice each quarter into 6-8 pieces. You want as many flat surfaces as possible on each floret-- the flat surfaces caramelize best. Caramelization is the key to giving the roasted cauliflower flavor.
  • Give all the florets a thorough rinse in a colander. Shake them dry.
  • Spread the florets out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Reserve any small bits of cauliflower that have fallen away from the florets in a small bowl.
  • Drizzle the florets evenly with 1 tbsp olive oil. I use a measuring spoon of olive oil for this step, which makes it easier to gauge how much oil I'm using, rather than pouring straight from the bottle. Toss the florets to coat them fully with oil-- I use clean hands for this.
  • Sprinkle the cauliflower florets evenly with salt and pepper. At this point, you can also sprinkle them with your choice of optional herbs or spices - garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, etc. - to taste. If using parmesan or lemon juice, sprinkle those on at the end of roasting.
  • Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and let the cauliflower roast for 10 minutes.
  • While cauliflower is cooking, drizzle 1/4 tsp of olive oil into the small bowl of reserved cauliflower bits that have fallen away from the florets and toss to coat. You will add these to the sheet a little later so they won't burn.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use tongs to turn over the florets, making sure that the florets with flat surfaces are pressed directly against the baking sheet. This will enhance caramelization.
  • Sprinkle the reserved cauliflower bits onto the baking sheet.
  • Return the baking sheet to the oven. Let the cauliflower roast for 10-20 minutes longer till tender. When it's ready you will be able to pierce it easily with a fork.
  • The flat surfaces should be nicely caramelized at this point.
  • If you plan to add parmesan cheese and/or lemon juice, now is the time. Sprinkle evenly to taste.
  • Serve hot.

 

Comments (63)Post a Comment

  1. to make it easier regarding the oil and other ingredients, i’d just toss everything in a storage bag and shake up and spread on cooking pan…

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      Great recipe love it. Here’s a tip for Susan recycle (wash) you’re bags then you do not have to worry about landfill.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I love roasted cauliflower or any roasted veggies! Have you tried indian spices with it, such as curry, garam masala, or tandoori masala over the cauliflower? It is delicious with those flavors!

  3. Hi! I do a variation of this. I cube up some sweet potato and toss it in a giant Ziplox bag with the cauliflower. I add olive oil and the Osem chicken consomme powder. It is sooooo good. My daughter loves this stuff. I have to make 2 heads of cauliflower to account for the shrinkage.

  4. I also shake in a bag.

    Try summing niter kibbeh for your oil and rost it on a rack for even more crispy caramelized cauliflower goodness.

  5. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    One of our favorites….the only way my kids would eat cauliflower besides raw, which they loves for afterschool snacks. Have you ever tried cauliflower steaks? Delicious vegetarian meal…we love this veggie!
    link to bonappetit.com
    Love your blog Tori!

  6. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    My son and I love roasted cauliflower! (still working on hubby and daughter)

    I love adding a bunch of smashed but still in big pieces of garlic, it roasts up do sweet & tasty. I want to try curry powder one day soon.

    Love this post!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I haven’t roasted cauliflower yet but your looks wonderful. I am definitely going to try it, think I will add some garlic and something spicy. I really like that roasted look in your photos. Nice!

  8. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    We eat roasted cauliflower A LOT! I just toss them in a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and a good grating of Parmesan cheese. The two of us have been known to put away a large head of it in one sitting. Delicious! When I was a little girl, my mother used to bread and pan fry cauliflower and that taught me to love this veggie.

  9. Oh wow, I’ve never roasted mine. I usually steam them or do them in a saute pan. I am so trying this Tori. Thanks for showing me a new way to do them up. I love cauliflower. It’s so underused in most kitchens.

  10. Now I know what I’m having for lunch! I’ll just use olive oil spray and give a sprinkle of salt and pepper before tossing in the oven. So easy! Thanks! :)

    I love most all the different types of veggies, but never considered roasting, for some reason! I’m learning roasting works for nearly all of them.

  11. Hi Tori, My mother made cauliflower all the time. It was not as healthy as your recipe but it was incredible. She dipped the florets in egg wash and then in breadcrumbs mixed with salt and pepper and then she sauteed it in oil until golden and crisp.

  12. Being vegan, I make this frequently, but always add turmeric in addition to sea salt and black pepper. Don’t go overboard unless you are familiar with turmeric. Start with adding 1/4 teaspoon to the olive oil and you’ll see how it enhances the color and flavor. Turmeric is also an anti-inflammatory so it boosts the immune fighting power of the cauliflower.

  13. I made it several times already, my daughter ate the whole rosted cauliflower yesterday. It’s really good.

  14. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and then toss to combine. That is my favorite method for spreading oil and seasongs to every surface. It can be fun to get a loved one to sprinkle while you toss. I know how it sounds. So what! I ain’t changing it!

    I’m trying this roasted califlower recipe tonight! Right Now! Gotta go!

    1. Awesome Larry! It’s my favorite way to make cauliflower. The roasting makes it so tender and flavorful… love that you added the pepper flakes. Spice it up!

  15. this turned out pretty awesome. I love finding simple plant based recipes to add to my lot of recipes. I used nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan cheese. Next time I will try the bag idea.

    Cheers,
    Teresa

  16. Any one know an old way of cooking cauliflower with vinegar and bread crumbs been looking for 20 yrs I know it was cooked in a foil pack in oven or BBQ

  17. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I made a home made tomato sauce and pour it over the cauliflower some cilantro and brown rice for a healthy meal. Is super yummy!!!

  18. Roast with olive oil, a little parm, Spanish smoked paprika. Serve with warm Marcona almonds for a little crunch. Spectacular!!

  19. I made your recipe last night and my shiksa loved it. Next time I’m going to ratchet up the oregano and add toasted almond crumbs at the risk of making it too crunchy. After 34 year of marriage she’s still Catholic but definitely a convert to cauliflower.

  20. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Just made this and it turned out great!! The only thing I would change is adding the minced garlic a little later in the cooking. It burns if it is added at the beginning.

    1. I haven’t too much of an issue with the garlic burning (a few pieces blacken here and there, nothing major though). That said, ovens do vary in terms of heat distribution. You can certainly add it halfway through roasting to be safe, or even 5 minutes before removing it from the oven. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  21. Oh, so simple and so good! Thank you for showing me how to cut up the cauliflower. My two year old is eating this now.

  22. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I just roasted a rather big cauliflower. It took longer than the time you stated – maybe by 20 minutes. But it is delicious and I will serve it to my company for Shabbat dinner. Thanks so much.

  23. Finally cauliflower my husband not only ate, but devoured. There was none left. I sprinkled with Spike seasoning for my herbs. I plan to do this again and try some other seasoning suggested here. thanks.

  24. Hello.
    Love baked cauliflower.
    Another way I bake it is to trim and wash a cauliflower head
    dry it, then slather it totally with mayonaise then sprinkle
    with powdered cheese and bake until the cheese blackens.

  25. I have done this using cumin (or cominos as we call it around here). Kids love it. We also like cubed sweet potato treated in this way.

  26. I just don’t see any mention of the temperature setting for the oven; my oven does not have a ‘roast’ setting. What temperature should the oven be set at for this recipe. Otherwise, this is a very instructive step-by-step recipe.

  27. My oven has a convection roast setting. Can I use this and at what temperature setting and for how long…???? I have never been on your site before. Convection cooking does differ from regular bake

  28. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi! Great recipe! I’ve done roasted cauliflower before, but your tip on cutting for optimum carmelization is priceless. The carryover here is, if you can bring your self to terms with not eating a batch fresh from the oven, is to make soup out of it when roasted this way. Just amazing!! So savory and versatile!! Thanks for your great recipe!

  29. I like to bake it for a bout 7 minutes then put it in the smoker with whatever meat is on there. 10 minutes or so.. Wow!!

  30. Our first monster head of cauliflower came out of the garden this afternoon, and we are trying this recipe tonight.

  31. I really appreciate all of your efforts! I just cut out the core with a paring knife and then you don’t have to cut the florets. They are more organically shaped and you don’t get all the ‘crumbs’ when you cut through them.

  32. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I’m on a low sodium diet so I used light olive oil, pepper and Mrs. Dash sodium free garlic & herb blend. It was still delicious! This will be on my regular menu for now on. Thanks!

  33. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Super easy delicious recipe. Thank you for publishing. Although we are not Jewish, I love Jewish/ Kosher homemade foods as does my family. Have to look up your site for more deliciousness.

  34. I love this recipe…especially with garlic, cayenne, and lemon…but for some reason it takes me double this time to get that nice caramelization happening. I wonder if I’m doing something wrong or if my oven just sucks…

    1. Hi Samantha, next time try roasting at 450 degrees F and see if that cuts your time down. Your oven may not run quite as hot as mine. Glad you like the recipe!

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