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.

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.

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

How to Make Roasted 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.

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

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.

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

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.

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

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

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Other Roasted Cauliflower Recipes to Love:

Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

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Perfect Simple Roasted Cauliflower

The best way to cook cauliflower, ever. And only 5-minutes of prep time!
Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 big head cauliflower about 2 ½ to 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse 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.

Nutrition Information

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

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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