Memorize this formula, and you can roast any veg you have in your crisper drawer.
Roasted vegetables are a uniquely special side. They’re tender and creamy but crisp and crunchy. The long, high-heat roast also gives them a delicate bit of char or caramelization that’s delicious and almost impossible to repeat with any other cooking technique.
Many vegetables can be roasted. Obvious choices are root veg like carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. But crucifers like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower roast well, too. More delicate veggies like cabbage, tomatoes, onions, and squash roast spectacularly well.
Temperature and times may vary, but the same general rules apply to roasting every vegetable, from sweet potatoes to bell peppers. Keep this formula in mind, and you can turn your crisper drawer or farmers market haul into a salad, veggie bowl, breakfast hash, or simple side.
Step #1: Cut or trim into bite-sized pieces
Cutting larger vegetables, like potatoes and squash, into smaller bite-sized pieces will make cooking go faster. It’ll also give you more surface area for delicious char.
Of course, depending on what you’re planning to make, you could cut the veg into wedges or slices, too. Just keep in mind that the smaller the pieces are, the faster everything cooks.
Step #2: Toss with oil and season
You want a good bit of oil—enough to coat each piece—but you don’t want so much that the oil pools on the sheet pan or in the bottom of the mixing bowl. For eight cups of vegetables, about four chopped potatoes, you can use just one to two tablespoons of oil.
Olive oil is good, but oils with higher smoke temps may be better if you plan to roast above 400°F. Avocado oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil all have smoke points at 400°F or above, and their fairly neutral tastes won’t mask the vegetables’ natural flavors.
To ensure you properly coat each piece, you may want to get your hands in the mixing bowl. Gently toss the chopped veggies several times, until each piece has a light coating.
Lastly, season well with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and any other seasonings you want. Again, be generous here, but don’t overdo it. One to teaspoons will be plenty for about eight cups of veggies. Scale down for smaller batches. The vegetables are coated with oil, so seasoning will adhere better.
Step #3: Give the pieces some space
Cover a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spread the prepped veggies on the foil or parchment. Leave a bit of space around each piece.
If you don’t, the close quarters will cause the vegetables to steam, not roast and char. Steamed veggies are delicious to eat of course, but that’s just not the result of all this work aims to achieve.
If you don’t have enough room for each piece to sit untouched, get out another rimmed baking sheet, and divide the mixture. It’s better to dirty up two pans (the aluminum foil or parchment paper will help reduce cleaning duty) than to get sub-par roasted veggies.
Step #4: High heat, watchful eye
Place the sheet pans into an oven pre-heated to about 425°F. You can go lower, to about 400°F, or even higher, to 450°F. The perfect temp will depend on how much time you have and how small the pieces of vegetable are.
Petite pieces may burn too quickly at 450°F, but small pieces may take too long to cook at 400°F. Consider 425°F the happy medium that’ll get you the tender vegetables you’re seeking with the caramelized char you’re craving.
Roast the vegetables until you begin to see browning and the pieces are fork tender. For some vegetables, that happens in as little as 15 minutes, so it’s a good idea to give the veggies a quick peek every quarter hour. Stir the vegetables each time you do check on them. That’ll guarantee they’re evenly cooked and brown all the way around.
General roasting times
Size of vegetables and temp will determine how long it takes, but these temperatures are a good gauge.
- Sweet potato – 35 minutes
- Brussels sprouts – 35 minutes
- White potato – 30 minutes
- Tomatoes – 30 minutes
- Butternut squash – 25 minutes
- Parsnip – 25 minutes
- Eggplant – 25 minutes
- Cabbage – 25 minutes
- Carrots – 20 minutes
- Broccoli – 20 minutes
- Cauliflower – 20 minutes
- Green beans – 20 minutes
- Onion slices – 15 minutes
- Bell pepper strips – 15 minutes
- Okra – 12 minutes
- Snap peas – 10 minutes
- Zucchini – 10 minutes
- Summer squash – 10 minutes
- Sugar peas – 8 minutes
Step #5: Don’t remove too early
When the browning appears and the pieces are tender enough to pierce with a fork, let the veggies keep cooking. You want all the pieces to pick up a bit of brown char on the edges, so resist the urge to pull as soon as you begin seeing darkening.
When you’ve reached the desired degree of browning or caramelization, pull the sheet pan from the oven, and serve veggies immediately. Don’t worry if you go a little longer than you think is right. A bit of extra time—and browning—isn’t going to do harm. It just adds more flavor.
How to Roast Veggies That Cook at Different Times
Different vegetables have different cook times. Potato cubes take longer than delicate onions or peppers; broccoli will be done long before butternut squash pieces will be. To make sure you get a wide array of veggies in the most efficient manner, you can use one of these veggie-roasting techniques:
- Roast individual vegetables: Cook one type of vegetable at a time. You can roast potatoes by themselves, then later roast onions. Combine them when both are cooked.
- Group similar vegetables: Some vegetables have similar cook times, even if they’re not quite the same. Potatoes and butternut squash, for example, cook at about the same pace. Onions and bell peppers, and broccoli and cauliflower do, too.
- Cook in steps: Cook the hardiest vegetables, like potatoes, first. Then add medium-length vegetables, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, to the sheet pan, and cook until almost tender. Lastly, add quick-roasting vegetables like peppers and peas. Finish roasting everything all together.
Popular Roasted Vegetable Recipes:
- Savory Roasted Root Vegetables
- Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Vegetables
- Parmesan Roasted Acorn Squash