Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

5 from 2 votes

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The best way to cook cauliflower, ever. And only 5-minutes of prep time!

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

So, you’ve steamed or boiled enough cauliflower to fill a minivan, and you need to change things up, at least a little bit. Roasting, baby, roasting is the answer. Roasting concentrates the flavor by caramelizing the natural sugars in the vegetable, and provides a slight and very appealing sweetness.

Red baking dish of Roasted Cauliflower.

As you will see from the recipe list below, we love roast cauliflower in our house, so much so that I continue to tinker with it in perpetuity. This recipe, however, is your basic simple roasted cauliflower—no frills, no adornments, just perfect caramelized tender little nuggets of vegetable.

If you want to switch it up, make some broccoflower instead. Not a whole lot of difference in flavor, but a change of color.

Dish of Roasted Cauliflower on a plate with other vegetables.

How to Roast Cauliflower:

It’s truly easy. Full recipe below, but here’s the scoop: cut the cauliflower into florets (or if you are looking for a shortcut, you can absolutely buy precut florets which are available in bags in the produce section, or sometimes even cut in the store in containers, also in the produce section. They are usually also in the produce section, near other store-cut vegetables.

Roasted Cauliflower on a lined baking sheet.

How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets

You can follow the natural separations of the cauliflower head, and cut the vegetable into small little pieces. Then you shouldn’t waste the stems: cut them into 1-inch pieces as well and use them as you do the little flowers (florets).

My favorite way to cut up cauliflower for roasting is to cut the cauliflower head into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices and then use a knife or your hands to break those slices into 1-inch or so pieces. The flat surfaces allow for more caramelization.

Roasted Cauliflower in an oblong, red baking dish.

However you do it, don’t toss any little bits that break or crumble off. Add the to the pan, and they will brown, more quickly than the bigger chunks, which will give you lovely little browned bits interspersed with the larger more tender chunks.

Place the cauliflower on a rimmed sheet pan. You can line it first with aluminum foil or parchment paper if you like, to make clean up easier.

Toss Cauliflower with Oil and Salt:

Drizzle the oil and salt over the cauliflower and toss. You could use a spoon or spatula for this, but your hands are really the best tools for making sure the cauliflower is evenly and thoroughly coated with the oil and salt. If you prefer to do this in a bowl first, and then spread it out on the sheet tray, go ahead, but then you have one more bowl to wash.

Roast Cauliflower at High Heat

Roast in a preheated oven at a high temperature. Preferably 400° to 450°. It’s flexible, so if you have the oven set in that range for another dish, don’t feel you need to adjust the temperature, just keep an eye on it, because it might take from 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the temperature, and how much else is cooking in the oven. More food in the oven means the cauliflower might take more time.

How Long to Roast Cauliflower?

At 400 degrees a tray of cauliflower florets should be tender and browned in 25 to 30 minutes. Toss midway and spread back out on the baking sheet if you remember! At 450 degrees it should take about 20 to 25 minutes, and at 425 degrees right around 25 minutes.

Also take a look at 7 Ways to Use Leftover Roasted Vegetables!

Roasted Cauliflower on a baking sheet lined with foil.

This easy addictive side dish (with only 5 minutes of prep!) goes with everything.

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Utensils grabbing Roasted Cauliflower from a baking dish.

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5 from 2 votes

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

The best way to cook cauliflower, ever. And only 5-minutes of prep time!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
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  • 1 big head cauliflower (about 2 ½ to 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


  • Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack placed in the lower third of the oven.
  • Cut the cauliflower into florets. Place in a large baking sheet with sides and gently toss 2 tablespoons with of the olive oil (your hands are really the best tools for this) and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper, if desired. Roast until slightly browned and tender, turning gently with a spatula once or twice, about 25 minutes.


If you want to switch it up, make some broccoflower instead. Not a whole lot of difference in flavor, but a change of color.


Calories: 98kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 43mg, Potassium: 430mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin C: 69mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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  1. jane woods says:

    indeed this is perfect…and simple!

    1. Katie Workman says:

      it’s one of our go to sides all during the colder months.