How to Cook Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

Just as cauliflower comes in more than just beige, it also lends itself to many ways of cooking it including roasting. This post will give you all the inspiration you need to learn how to cook cauliflower!

I receive many texts and messages about cooking techniques but one of the most common is about how to cook cauliflower. My first suggestion is almost always to roast it – it’s an easy and delicious preparation.I first wrote about roasting vegetables in late September 2010 as I was cooking my way through a heat wave.  But now, while we ready ourselves for the chilly days of fall and winter, it seems like a good time to learn to cook cauliflower by firing up that oven and enjoying the ambient heat and delicious results.

Roasted CauliflowerHow to Cook Cauliflower: Inspiration from the Farmer’s Market

On a visit to the farmer’s market, I realized not everyone thinks of popping their cauliflower in the oven. A woman was staring at the gorgeous cruciferous heads in green, purple, and off white, apparently pondering her purchase. So I struck up a conversation and she asked me how to cook cauliflower. I suggested roasting and she looked at me a bit surprised. “Really? What do you flavor them with and how long do they need to cook?”

Roasted Cauliflower

How long should they cook?

I start by cutting the heads into florets. Then I pop them on a parchment-lined pan (a huge timesaver for clean-up), drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I place them in the oven on 400 degrees convect roast or 425 degrees regular bake. About 15 minutes later they will be ready – a bit crunchy on the outside, just tender on the inside, and completely devoured by the end of dinner. When I take them out of the oven, I drizzle them with meyer lemon juice. Then we usually grab them straight from the parchment to add to our dinner plates.

Roasted CauliflowerHow should I flavor my cauliflower?

Other flavor choices could be za’atar – a middle-eastern spice blend – which tastes glorious on cauliflower. Parmesan cheese added before or after roasting marries beautifully with the lemon juice. Or how about a bit of that pistachio dust from the cookbook RIPE by Cheryl Sternman Rule? You can also add other veggies that will cook in similar time frames such as broccoli or carrots. Think about what your main course is, what’s in your veggie and spice drawer and just draw inspiration from those elements. But honestly, the olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice will work with almost any main course and bring out the best of the cauliflower every time.

Don’t forget roasted cauliflower when preparing your holiday dinner menus – it makes a nice side dish with so many proteins and pairs so well with other vegetables.

What’s your favorite cauliflower preparation? Have you ever roasted it? Have you ever tried the other colors and do they taste the same to you as white? Leave a comment below – let’s talk about cauliflower!

cook cauliflower
5 from 3 votes

How to Cook Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

Roast your way to a delicious side dish with this simple preparation - versatile enough to use with many other vegetables as well.
Course Vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 6 kcal
Author Beth Lee


  • 1 large head cauliflower or 2 small
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • meyer lemon juice from 1/2 medium lemon optional or just use regular lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 convection roast (if you have this setting) or 425 degrees regular cook.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets - relatively the same size. Spread them on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  3. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each) then mix the florets around a bit to be sure they are evenly coated with the oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook for about 10 - 12 minutes, open the oven door, and check for tenderness with a fork and move them about with some tongs. Cook for about 5 - 8 minutes more depending on how hot your oven is and how large you cut the florets.
  5. Remove from oven when crisp but tender when pierced with a fork or you take a bite.
  6. Drizzle all over with lemon juice immediately, then serve piping hot or let sit until the rest of the meal is ready. They are delicious even if cooled down a bit.


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24 Responses to How to Cook Cauliflower – Roast your Way to Success

  1. sandy corman March 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    sounds very tasty and certainly different. Haven’t seen the colored cauliflower but I will look the next time I visit the farmers market.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

      yes – your farmer’s market is a good one – I’m sure you’ll find some.

  2. Michelle | DailyWaffle March 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Totally agree this is the best way to cook cauliflower. I’ll have to add the lemon next time. If we don’t do just salt & pepper, I’ll do an Indian-inspired spice mix. Delish!

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Michelle – I was thinking just that. Also – the cauliflower dish with hazelnuts from Jerusalem is a fantastic dish and you start by roasting the cauliflower. Your pictures from Kauai are killing me!

  3. Pam March 14, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    That looks so good! I love cauliflower, but I’ve never made it this way. Stopping by from SITS. I love your blog header, BTW. Very unique! New follower.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks Pam – so happy to have you following! Definitely try roasting it – you’ll love it even more.

  4. Hannah March 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I wish I could bump into you at my farmer’s market for inspiration, Beth! What stunning pics and gorgeous heads of cauliflower. I am a huge, huge fan of cauliflower, especially roasted. Sounds like our families are similar – our cauliflower never makes it off the roasting pan to a serving bowl either! Lately I’ve also been making cauliflower “rice”, inspired by Alyssa ( and it’s a marvelous alternative to ladle stews and stir-fries over.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      I am so intrigued by the cauliflower rice idea – what a great way to cut down on those carbs. Going to head over and check it out!

      I wish we could bump into each other at farmer’s markets too!

  5. Raquel @ Organized Island March 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I recently tried colored cauliflower at a restaurant. I had never had it before. It was on a pizza and was delicious! Stopping in from SITS.

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

      Wow – on a pizza. That’s unique but i think it could work – what else was on the pizza with it? Thanks for stopping by Raquel!

  6. Lizthechef March 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    Our favorite way to prepare my husband’s favorite vegetable – once in a while, I bake it with a little cream and blue cheese. Makes your arties scream, though 😉

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      Oh my – I’ve never done that – perhaps I shouldn’t even try it – probably just too good!

  7. Phil March 15, 2013 at 3:35 am #

    I LOVE cauliflower, but alas just boiled it to death! Thanks, Beth!

    • Beth Lee March 15, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

      Repeat after me Phil – R O A S T, not B O I L! And report back when you’ve done it properly 🙂

  8. Tricia March 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    I agree – roasting is absolutely the best way to go with cauliflower. I recently worked out a new favorite recipe:

  9. Rhonda February 12, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    I roast mine the same way BUT….. I add fresh garlic and rinsed capers…. OMG yummy…..

  10. Rhonda February 12, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    I roast mine the same way BUT, I add fresh sliced garlic and rinsed capers..OMG yummy!

  11. cakespy April 20, 2017 at 6:11 am #

    Just bought green cauliflower for the first time – roasted it according to your instrux but used no lemon and subbed sesame oil. Delicious!

    • Beth Lee April 20, 2017 at 7:45 am #

      Love it! Thanks for sharing. Roasting cauliflower is still one of my absolute favorite things to do. Sesame oil is a brilliant change-up.

  12. Jennifer Banz September 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    Awesome, thank you for sharing!

    • Beth Lee September 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

      Thx for stopping by Jennifer!

  13. Nellie Tracy September 28, 2018 at 10:01 pm #

    This really is the very best way to prepare cauliflower!

    • Beth Lee September 28, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

      Right – so easy and so good!


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