Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Looking for a solid side dish to pair with any protein? This Oven Roasted Cauliflower is a simple classic that takes a handful of simple ingredients and less than 45 minutes. Golden brown and always delicious, this cauliflower recipe is a family favorite! Makes 6 servings.

overhead image of a white bowl holding roasted cauliflower on marble next to a pink linen

When I was a kid, broccoli and cauliflower were a mainstay on our dinner table. I’m assuming because my sister and I actually ate these veggies and my parents considered them a win. (Fun fact: My kids are also obsessed with both.)

While we would normally make a version of this Cheesy Cauliflower Bake, we’d sometimes have straight-up roasted cauliflower, like this one. It’s one of the best ways to enjoy cauliflower, in my opinion.

And it’s still satisfying to this day… because we all need solid side dishes.

Why I love this recipe:

I developed this recipe to use as a base for Roasted Cauliflower Soup years ago, and it has not done us wrong.

It’s an easy recipe that’s incredibly simple, but the simplicity is where this recipe shines. After all, we don’t need fancy things every night of the week or in every meal. Right?

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    The cauliflower is tossed in olive oil before seasoning with salt, pepper and a little bit of sweet paprika. And then it roasts until fork tender and golden brown.

    One of the best things about this cauliflower recipe, other than the taste itself, is that you can pair it with pretty much any protein or meal to add some veggies.

    We’ve eaten this alongside Broiled Steak, Roast Chicken, Roasted Salmon, Cinnamon Pork Chops and more. And it is always satisfying!

    More oven roasted vegetable recipes: Oven Roasted Tomatoes | Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts | Oven Roasted Okra | Oven Roasted Green Beans

    ingredients to make roasted cauliflower on a marble surface with a pink linen next to a sheet pan

    What you need to make this recipe:

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    You’ll also need to grab the following ingredients:

    • Cauliflower — you can purchase a large head of fresh cauliflower and chop it down or you can grab a bag of cauliflower florets. Personally, I like to use a whole head of cauliflower, but you do you. You’ll probably have to chop down the cauliflower from the bag into small florets since those tend to be large.
    • Extra virgin olive oil — or another neutral oil, like avocado oil
    • Kosher salt — or another medium-grain salt, like sea salt. I do not recommend table salt because it is saltier than kosher salt.
    • Black pepper — I like to grind my own, but you can use ground black pepper, too. Just be mindful when you’re sprinkling it because it can sometimes come out of the canister more quickly.
    • Sweet paprika — this adds a lovely sweet smokiness without overwhelming the earthy flavor of the cauliflower itself. If you like smoky paprika, use that!

    Variations and Ingredient Swaps

    This recipe is incredibly simple for a reason, but you can add some different elements, if desired. Use your favorite seasonings or even some cheese to make this a more unique and delicious side dish! 

    ​Here are some ideas:

    • Seasonings, like garlic powder, chili powder, onion powder and curry powder are fabulous to toss on top of the cauliflower
    • Citrus, like lemon juice or lemon zest
    • Grated cheese, ​like parmesan cheese, cheddar or mozzarella, adds some crunchiness and creaminess
    • Herbs, like fresh parsley or fresh cilantro, are great to add after roasting and give the cauliflower some color, as well as the delicious brightness of fresh herbs

    How to Roast Cauliflower

    Prepare. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

    Chop the raw cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces — we’re not making cauliflower steaks or whole roasted cauliflower, friends. Place them on a rimmed sheet pan. (Alternately, you could do this in a large bowl, but I really like the less mess situation of just seasoning them in the pan itself.)

    Make sure the cauliflower is a uniform size so they all roast in about the same amount of time. If you have larger and smaller pieces, they will cook unevenly, which will lead to one being underdone or overdone.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    The roasting time will depend on how large your cauliflower florets are. The smaller you cut them, the faster they cook through.

    Season the cauliflower florets. Drizzle on the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

    Spread them out on the a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. You may line the pan with parchment paper, but it’s not necessary.

    Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, or the cauliflower can become mushy.

    Bake the cauliflower in the preheated oven until fork tender, about 25-35 minutes.

    Enjoy with your favorite proteins when ready or make this a star in a homemade grain bowl or a salad.

    roasted cauliflower on a baking pan after roasting

    How to store leftovers:

    Store the leftover cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3-4 days.

    Reheat in the microwave in 30-second bursts until warmed through.

    a fork holds a floret of cauliflower above a bowl of roasted cauliflower

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    Listen. I know it’s not always exciting, but sometimes, you gotta decide on a side dish to pair with dinner or with a dinner party… and this Oven-Roasted Cauliflower is excellent for various reasons.

    Here are some things I would do if I were sharing this roasted cauliflower recipe with friends:

    • Chop the cauliflower early. Unlike other veggies, it doesn’t wilt or brown when chopped, so you can cut it up in advance.
    • Double the recipe. Depending on how many people you’re hosting, you might want to make more!
    • Switch out the seasonings. I love to make this very Plain Jane with the salt, pepper and paprika, but the world is your oyster here. Sprinkle on herbs, like basil or oregano or even an Italian seasoning blend, to give it an Italian spin.
    close up of a white bowl of oven roasted cauliflower wrapped in a pink linen

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is my roasted cauliflower mushy? 

    If you add too many cauliflower to the pan, it could become mushy because it does not have the proper space to roast and crisp up slightly.

    Should cauliflower be washed before roasting? 

    Yes. You should always wash your vegetables before cooking them.

    Why is my roasted cauliflower hard? 

    If you don’t cook your cauliflower for long enough, it will remain hard and too crunchy. You will know your cauliflower is done when it is golden brown and fork tender, meaning you can grab it with a fork easily.

    Here’s how we make this amazing roast cauliflower!

    a spoon sits inside a bowl of roasted cauliflower

    Roasted Cauliflower

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Looking for a solid side dish to pair with any protein? This Oven Roasted Cauliflower is a simple classic that takes a handful of ingredients and less than 45 minutes. Golden brown and always delicious, this cauliflower recipe is a family favorite!
    5 from 1 vote
    Servings 4 servings
    Calories 115 kcal
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Total Time 45 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 large cauliflower about 1 ½ lbs. or 6 cups chopped
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
    • Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
    • Bake the cauliflower in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, or until fork tender. This time will depend on how large your cauliflower florets are. The smaller you cut them down, the quicker they bake.
    • Once golden brown and fork tender, remove from the oven and serve!

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1 servingCalories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 645mgPotassium: 634mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 63IUVitamin C: 101mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword cauliflower, cauliflower recipe, Christmas side dish, date night side, easy side dish, holiday side, holiday side dish, quick side dish, roasted side dish, side dish, side dish recipe, side dishes, Thanksgiving side dish, Vegetarian
    Course Side Dishes
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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