This easy roasted cauliflower recipe converts bland florets into crispy, golden and flavorful perfection. A coating of panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and seasonings gives the cauliflower great crunch and rich flavor. Roast until golden brown for a satisfying and hearty vegetable side dish or vegetarian main if you add a sauce. Though often overlooked, cauliflower shines when roasted to bring out its natural sweet, nutty notes.

Getting roasted cauliflower crispy requires a few simple tricks. Generously coat the florets in olive oil before roasting to help them brown. Finish under the broiler for extra crunch. Avoid overcrowding the pan so the cauliflower gets maximum exposure to hot air for crisping.

The best bites feature crunchy, caramelized edges enveloping tender, sweet interiors. The salty Parmesan cheese perfectly balances the vegetable’s natural sweet nuttiness. Roast up extra cauliflower to use in meals throughout the week.

roasted cauliflower with parmesan on sheet pan overhead

How to Roast Cauliflower in the Oven

Roasting is the key to transfiguring cauliflower into irresistibly crunchy, caramelized florets. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F and place rack in lower position for maximum browning.
  2. In a bowl, toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, garlic, spices, and half the Parmesan cheese until coated. This allows flavor to permeate and aids browning.
  3. Spread seasoned cauliflower out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure not to overcrowd. Sprinkle with remaining panko breadcrumbs.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip florets and roast until golden brown and tender-crisp, about 15-30 minutes total.
  5. Finish with remaining Parmesan for a final hit of salty flavor. For extra crunch, broil for 5 minutes.
  6. Let the cauliflower soak up all that delicious olive oil and seasoning as it roasts. The result is sweet, nutty cauliflower with crispy edges and tender centers – roasted to perfection.

Tip: Move your oven rack to the bottom of the oven so the cauliflower can brown from the bottom.

cauliflower florets on cutting board

How To Cut Cauliflower into Florets

There is nothing too complicated about cutting cauliflower. You will want to make sure to cut the florets into a uniform size to ensure even cooking.

  1. Halve the head: Using a sharp knife, slice the cauliflower vertically through the core from top to bottom.
  2. Quarter the halves: Cut each cauliflower half into quarters by slicing vertically again.
  3. Remove the core: Trim away the tough core from each quarter, leaving just the tender florets.
  4. Separate florets: Use your hands to gently pull large florets away from the remaining core.
  5. Chop florets: Finally, chop the larger florets into smaller, evenly-sized pieces. Aim for a consistent bite-size shape.

Add-in Ingredients

You can go super simple with just oil, salt and pepper, but adding some panko for extra crispiness and parmesan for salty goodness will go a long way. Here are some more options so you can customize to your taste.

  • Garlic – either fresh chopped garlic cloves (you have to be careful because they can burn in the oven) or garlic powder for a more subtle garlicky note.
  • Nutmeg – Warm, nutty spice complements cauliflower so well.
  • Lemon zest – Brightens up the flavor
  • Parmesan cheese – Salty, savory topping (I see this as a must)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes – Adds a touch of heat
  • Fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme – Earthy flavors. Other fresh herbs like parsley can be added at the end for garnish.
  • Spice blends like Italian seasoning or smoked paprika – For extra flavor
  • Cumin or curry powder – Warm, aromatic spices
  • Lemon juice at the end – for a touch of acidity

How Long to Roast Cauliflower?

Roast time for cauliflower depends on the size of your florets and your oven’s specifics. For 1-2 inch florets, expect roast times between 15-30 minutes at 425°F or higher. Smaller, thinner pieces will cook faster, while larger chunks need more time. Check for crispy browned edges and tender centers as it roasts, adjusting time as needed based on your taste and oven. Cauliflower roasts relatively quickly compared to other veggies.

Alternate Cooking Methods

Take your cauliflower roasting beyond the oven with these cooking methods:

  • Air Fryer: Toss cauliflower florets with oil and seasonings. Air fry at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, shaking halfway, until browned and crisp.
  • Pizza Oven: Cook in a blazing hot pizza oven for 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently until the cauliflower edges golden and it’s tender.
  • Grill Pan: Place in a perforated grill pan right over the flames, tossing frequently until golden and cooked through.

The high heat of these methods mimic oven roasting, allowing you to achieve that same caramelized flavor. Crisp up your cauliflower with the convenience of an air fryer or the fun of an outdoor pizza oven or grill pan.

golden roasted cauliflower on sheet pan vertical

Storing and Reheating Roasted Cauliflower

  • Storage: Place roasted cauliflower florets in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-5 days.
  • Reheating: To serve roasted cauliflower warm again and get it crispy, spread florets on a baking sheet and reheat in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes until hot. You can also microwave in 30 second bursts, but keep in mind this will soften the texture (which isn’t a huge deal.

What to Make With It

Don’t stop at just a side dish, get creative with your roasted cauliflower and use it with all kinds of meals.

  • Tacos: Roasted cauliflower makes a flavorful vegetarian taco filling or an addition to meat tacos.
  • Pasta: Toss roasted florets with pasta, olive oil, garlic, and Parm for a veggie-packed dish.
  • Pizza: Top pizza crust with roasted cauliflower, mozzarella, and any other desired toppings.
  • Salad: Roast cauliflower to add warm, crispy bits to any salad with roasted sweet potatoes, or make it the star over greens.
  • Sandwiches: Add crispy roasted cauliflower to sandwiches and wraps for crunch.
  • Soups: Blend up some of the roasted cauliflower into a velvety cauliflower soup.
  • Breakfast: Yes, even breakfast! Add to hash, frittata, scrambled eggs or avocado toast.

More Veggie Recipes You’ll Love

With all the ways to enjoy the pork, here are a few really delicious ways.

Check out all my go-to vegetable recipes

roasted cauliflower with parmesan on sheet pan horizontal

Roasted Cauliflower

Crispy, caramelized roasted cauliflower made with just a few pantry ingredients. This easy recipe transforms mild florets into irresistibly sweet, crispy perfection.
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Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 102kcal


  • 1 head cauliflower  (cut into bite-size florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil , plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper


  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cloves garlic minced


  • Preheat oven to 425° F position the rack at the bottom for browning.
  • In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, olive oil, garlic (if using), garlic powder, half the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and half of the panko. Season with plenty salt and pepper.
  • Transfer the ingredients to a parchment-lined sheet pan or a baking dish. Sprinkle remaining panko on top.
  • Roast for about 15 minutes or until they start to brown. Turn with a spatula and continue to roast until golden brown and tender yet slightly on the edges, about 30 minutes total.
  • Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan cheese. To crisp up further, you can place under the broiler for about 5 minutes.


  • You can skip tossing the ingredients in a bowl but they won’t get as evenly distributed and you will end up drizzling more oil on.
  • You can preheat the sheet pan as the oven heats to brown the cauliflower more quickly faster browning.
  • Use the convection setting in your oven for crispier results. The hotter the oven, the crispier the cauliflower will be.
  • Oil is key to browning and overall flavor along with seasoning with plenty of kosher salt.


Calories: 102kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 145mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 48IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg

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