How to roast cauliflower in the oven for crispy, tender, and addicting roasted vegetable side dish to accompany any meal.
Cook delicious cauliflower florets by washing and prepping the head. Arrange the florets on a baking sheet with a coating of olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast for 30 minutes in a 425°F oven.
The best way to cook cauliflower for vegetable lovers or haters is by roasting it in the oven. The edges get browned and crispy while the center stays fork-tender and soft. This easy and fast roasted cauliflower recipe might just turn even the staunchest cauliflower avoided into a fan.
With the right cooking method, get ready to fall in love with cauliflower!
What is Cauliflower?
Cauliflower is a vegetable that’s part of the brassica family. This family of vegetables includes broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbages, collard greens, kale and turnips.
The most common variety of cauliflower is off-white with green leaves and thick white stems. Other varieties are yellow, orange, and even purple. Cauliflower is grown in cooler climates and most of the cauliflower in the US is grown along the coast of California. Other popular growing regions for cauliflower include Italy and along the Mediterranean. The cauliflower season runs from late June through November.
Cauliflower is enjoyed around the world, from Asia to Europe to America. In Asian cuisines, it’s often stir-fried with bold, spicy flavors. In Italy, you may find cauliflower served with pasta or covered in melty cheese. And still, there are constantly new and tasty ways to showcase this versatile ingredient.
Can I Eat Raw Cauliflower?
Yes, cauliflower is technically edible in its raw state. Some people love it as a crudite for dipping into ranch and other sauces. But cooking the vegetable brings out its natural sweetness and softens up the tough fibers in this cruciferous vegetable.
Should I roast, sauté, or steam cauliflower?
There are millions of tasty ways to cook cauliflower. From pizza crusts to gnocchi to simple steamed vegetables, people are always thinking of new, innovative ways to transform this popular vegetable. And it makes sense! Cauliflower is healthy, low calorie, and low-carb. It also has a mild flavor that pairs well with any of your favorite seasonings.
But what’s the best way to cook cauliflower? We recommend trying them all, but we’re partial to roasting. This mostly hands-off cooking method gives you crisp, golden cauliflower florets with a tender crunch.
Other popular and easy ways to cook cauliflower include steaming, boiling, sautéing, and even braising it. Steaming and boiling cauliflower results in soft, tender vegetables. This is a good option if you plan to turn your cauliflower into a purée, a soup or a sauce. In fact, pureed cauliflower is a popular substitute for cream and other thickeners in soups to reduce calories.
Do I have to Cut Cauliflower Before Cooking?
You can cook cauliflower whole or broken down into florets too. A whole roasted cauliflower makes a dramatic presentation, but it also takes longer to cook. By cutting the head into bite-sized florets, the veggies cook quickly and there’s more surface area for crispy edges.
How to Roast Cauliflower
Ready to get cooking? These are the step-by-step instructions for how to cook cauliflower florets in the oven:
First, you’ll need to get out your ingredients. This simple recipe calls for four simple ingredients:
- 1 head cauliflower
- Olive oil
Prepping the cauliflower
Step 1: Preheat the oven
Preheat the oven at 425°F (or 220°C).
Step 2: Wash the cauliflower
The first step and the cardinal rule of all things vegetables is to thoroughly wash your produce before cooking.
Give your cauliflower a good rinse under running water to remove dirt, sand, and other things you shouldn’t eat.
Step 3: Dry your cauliflower
Using paper towels or a clean, absorbent dish towel, gently dab the cauliflower dry.
Step 4: Cut the cauliflower into florets
Place the cauliflower head on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, separate the base from the rest of the cauliflower. You can eat the stem too, so if your cauliflower has a lot of stem, save it for roasting.
Divide the cauliflower head into four quadrants. Slice off the inner core holding the florets together, and cut the four pieces into eight. Now your cauliflower should naturally be falling apart into individual florets. Set any bite-sized pieces aside and halve any larger pieces. You want equal-sized florets for even cooking.
Step 5: Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet
Grab a baking sheet and spread the cauliflower florets in a single layer on the sheet.
Step 6: Season the cauliflower
Drizzle the florets with olive oil and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss the cauliflower and coat them on all sides in the seasonings and oil. then spread the cauliflower out again, leaving as much space between the pieces as possible. If you crowd the pan too much, your cauliflower will steam instead of crisp up in the oven. If necessary, use two baking sheets.
How to Roast Cauliflower
Step 1: Roast the cauliflower
Place the baking sheet with your seasoned cauliflower pieces in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and stir the cauliflower. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
The cauliflower will be ready when it’s golden brown on the edges and fork-tender in the center. There should be some resistance when you poke the cauliflower with a fork; you want it a bit snappy, not mushy. If necessary, continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
How do you know when cauliflower is done?
The best way to check whether cauliflower is done or not is by piercing it with a fork. Cauliflower should be cooked until it’s tender-crisp. Check whether cauliflower is ready to eat or not by sticking a fork or a knife in it – if it feels crisp on the outside but tender inside, you’re good to go! Otherwise, you might have to wait a little bit more.
Cauliflower is a hardy vegetable with a long shelf life if properly stored. Keep whole, fresh cauliflower in the crisper drawer in your fridge in an airtight bag for up to two weeks. Once it’s cut, the cauliflower will break down faster. It’s best to use cut cauliflower within four days. Be sure to keep it tightly wrapped in the fridge.
You can store leftover roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. This is a great recipe to make a big batch of and add to salads, pastas, and even wraps all week long.
One serving of cooked cauliflower (without oil) contains 25 calories, 2 grams of protein, 5.3 grams of carbohydrates, 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of fat.
Cauliflower Flavor Pairings
This white vegetable has a fairly mild flavor that’s a bit sweet, but pairs well with a wide range of seasonings and other flavors. Some common and unique flavors to mix up your cauliflower dishes include:
- Citrus, like oranges, grapefruit, and lemon
- Briney olives or capers
- Crunchy toasted walnuts, almonds or pistachios
- Oregano, basil, and thyme
How to Cook Cauliflower
- Cutting board
- Chef's knife
- Baking sheet
- 1 large head cauliflower
- olive oil
- Salt and pepper to tate
- Rinse the cauliflower well and pat dry with paper towels.
- Cut the cauliflower into quadrants, remove the core, then cut into eights. Break any large florets in half so all are about the same size.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread the florets into a single layer with as much space between as possible.
- Roast for 30 mintues, flipping the cauliflower halfway through.