How To Roast Vegetables

This mix-and-match recipe will be delicious no matter which vegetable you choose.

Roasted vegetables
Photo:

Photographer: James Ransom, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
Servings:
6

Roasted vegetables are like the chocolate bonbons of the vegetable side dish world: They're special, loaded with flavor, and a treat any time you can eat them.

But like working with chocolate and sugary confections, roasting vegetables take a bit of know-how to get right. Here, we look at the best techniques for roasting vegetables so that each tray turns out crispy, caramelized, and packed with flavor.

Related: Should You Microwave Vegetables Before Roasting Them?

Secrets to the Best Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is straightforward. Sort of. There are techniques, small at that, that make a big difference. Do them, and you'll have crispy, delicately charred vegetables. Don't do them, and you could have a pile of limp, steamed veggies—which are great if that's what you're going for. But when you are craving the delicately caramelized, toasty flavors of roasted vegetables, steamed just won't do.

Cut Evenly

Different types of vegetables cook at different times, but you can level the playing field (er, roasting pan) by cutting vegetables to as close the same size as possible. Or, in some cases, you'll want to cut smaller pieces of thicker, harder vegetables (think: sweet potatoes) beside larger pieces of softer vegetables (think: bell peppers). More on that later.

Use the Oil

Don't shy away from oil. You'll want to use several tablespoons, depending on how many vegetables you're roasting. For 1 to 2 pounds of veggies, you'll use 3 to 4 tablespoons of oil.

Getting a good coating of oil on vegetables not only helps them cook better, they can keep the vegetables well hydrated during the roasting process so they don't turn chalky. The oil will also help seasonings adhere to the vegetables so you don't lose them at the bottom of your bowl.

Season Well

Speaking of seasoning, don't shy away from the salt and pepper shakers. Like the oil, you don't need a lot, but you do need enough to make sure all the vegetables have a decent coating. Use about 1 teaspoon for every 1 pound of vegetables.

You can also branch out to other spices. For a smoky flavor, reach for smoked paprika or ground chipotle peppers. Turn up the heat with ground red pepper, cayenne, or sriracha seasoning. Consider your final dish, and seasonal appropriately.

Don't Crowd the Pan

Vegetables need their space. When you pour the oil-coated vegetables on a baking pan, spread them out so they have elbow room. If you don't, the vegetables will steam, and you won't get the beautiful caramelization you're seeking.

If you think the pan is too crowded, break out another pan, and divided the vegetables. It's better to give the vegetables more space, not less.

Rotate the Pan

If your oven has hot spots, rotate the pan 180 degrees half way through roasting. Got two baking pans? Move the top one to the bottom shelf, and the bottom pan to the top. This will help make sure all the vegetable pieces are roasted evenly.

How to Roast Vegetables

Follow the recipe below for a great guide to roasting vegetables, but we'll look at them more in depth here:

Step 1. Chop the vegetables. If you're planning to roast several kinds of vegetables together, harder vegetables, like root vegetables, will need to be chopped smaller. Softer vegetables, like bell peppers and tomatoes, won't need to be quite so small.

chopped broccoli and bell peppers

Dotdash Meredith

Step 2. Toss with oil and seasoning. In a mixing bowl, combine all the vegetables with oil and salt, pepper, or other seasonings. The type of oil you use is up to you, but we recommend neutral options like extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil. Both can handle the high temperatures of roasting without changing the flavor of the roasted vegetables.

Special Toppings

For extra flavor or for special occasions, use our recipes (below) for Bacony Almonds, Cheese Straw Crumbles, or Crispy Shallots and Mushrooms to top platters of roasted vegetables.

Step 3. Spread on pan. Once the vegetables are oiled and seasoned, pour the vegetables onto a sheet pan. You can line the pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper to make cleanup easier. Scrape remaining oil and seasonings from the bowl onto the vegetables.

roasted vegetables on a sheet pan

Dotdash Meredith

Step 4. Roast vegetables. Different kinds of vegetables will cook at different times, so keep the timeline below in mind before you pack the vegetables onto a roasting pan. On average, start checking their doneness after about 20 minutes if you're roasting thicker vegetables; 10 minutes for the thinner ones.

Roasted vegetables are done when they're fork tender and have brilliantly caramelized or charred bits around the edges. It's OK to go a little bit longer so you get that flavor-maximizing char.

How to Roast Different Kinds of Vegetables

Carrots won't roast as quickly as bell peppers, and onion wedges will cook faster than beets. Use these techniques to get the vegetables roasted and out of the oven without over- or under-cooking anything.

Roast Individually - If you have multiple kinds of vegetables you want to roast, you can separate them into like kinds (all winter squashes together, for example) and roast them together. Then, when everything is roasted, combine them for your final dish.

Pair Vegetables That Cook Alike - Divide your vegetables into groups that cook at roughly the same speed. Cauliflower and broccoli go together. You can also combine potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets. Then you can adjust the time the pans go into the oven so everything cooks perfectly. Start with the longer-cooking vegetables, then add the sheet pan of more tender vegetables.

Roast in Stages - If you're working with smaller batches of vegetables, you can start with the vegetables that cook the longest, then add softer vegetables later. You can use the same sheet pan for smaller batches, or work with multiple sheet pans to get everything roasted.

What Is the Right Temp for Roasting Vegetables?

You can roast vegetables at temperatures between 350°F and 450°F. But we recommend a higher temperature, or around 425°F. This helps the vegetables cook quickly and get nice caramelization and browning.

How Long to Roast Vegetables

Use this chart to get perfectly roasted vegetables:

Roasted Vegetable Times
Vegetable category Vegetables Size Time
Round root vegetables Beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes 3/4-inch pieces 30-45 minutes
Long root vegetables Carrots, parsnips 1/2-inch slices 20-35 minutes
Winter squashes Butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash 1-inch pieces 20-40 minutes
Crucifers Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts 1-inch pieces  15-25 minutes
Soft vegetables Bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash 3/4-inch pieces 10-20 minutes
Thin vegetables Asparagus, green beans Leave whole 10-15 minutes
Onions Red onions, sweet onions Slice into wedges 25-35 minutes
Tomatoes Cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes Leave whole; quarter larger ones 15-20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. (1-inch) broccoli florets, halved Brussels sprouts, or trimmed green beans 

  • ¼ cup olive oil 

  • 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt 

  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper 

Directions

  1. Place an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet on middle rack in oven; preheat oven to 425°F. Place vegetables in a large bowl; toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper until fully coated. Once oven has preheated, carefully spread vegetables evenly over hot baking sheet, using a rubber spatula and scraping remaining olive oil and seasonings from bowl over vegetables. Roast until browned and tender-crisp, 14 to 16 minutes, tossing halfway through. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with desired toppings, and serve.

  • Bacony Almonds

    Place 6 slices chopped thick-cut bacon in a large skillet over medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until rendered and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving 1 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 3/4 cup sliced almonds, and cook, stirring often, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove almonds from pan; toss with cooked bacon.

  • Cheese Straw Crumbles

    Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Crumble 1 1/2 cups cheese straws into skillet, and cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves.

  • Crispy Shallots and Mushrooms

    Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add 2 shallots (sliced into rings); cook, stirring, until browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Remove shallots with a slotted spoon. Add 8 oz. sliced wild mushrooms to skillet; cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan; toss with shallots and 1/2 tsp. flaky sea salt.

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