The Right Way to Roast Vegetables in the Oven

Roasting is one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables — and it should become a favorite cooking method of yours, too, if you haven’t already given it a try. Roasting is not only easy, but it also intensifies the flavor of many veggies, making them even more delicious than they would be on their own.

Roasting vegetables is a great way to cook them because it is very hands-off, meaning that you can throw the vegetables in the oven and let the heat do the work, while you keep an eye on other dishes (or catch up on your Facebook feed).

What Vegetables Can You Roast?

You can roast just about any vegetable, from asparagus to zucchini. The primary difference between vegetables, when roasting them, is the amount of time needed to cook them. Thinner and softer vegetables cook much more quickly than hard root vegetables.

How Do You Roast Vegetables?

Here are some basic steps that will work for all vegetables:

  1. First, preheat your oven to 400 F. You can increase the oven temperature if you want a darker roast and crispier edges on your vegetables, but I aim for 400 F because it works well for just about every vegetable.
  2. Next, toss your vegetables with some olive oil or other vegetable oil. The oil not only helps prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pan, but it helps them cook evenly on all sides and brown nicely.
  3. Finally, roast the vegetables until they are browned and tender. While the cooking time varies from carrots to cauliflower, every roasted vegetable will be tender when it is done baking. You can check vegetables for tenderness by inserting the tip of a sharp knife into the vegetable. If tender, the knife should slide easily in and out without getting stuck.

How Long Do You Roast Vegetables in the Oven?

As I mentioned, the amount of time that vegetables need to cook completely varies. Look to these as guidelines, but don’t forget to check the veggies for tenderness.

  • Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cauliflower) take approximately 30-40 minutes to roast. While these veggies can be roasted whole, try to make all your vegetables the same size when roasting. Removing the florets from the stems, or cutting the sprouts in half, will typically give you the best results.
  • Summer vegetables (like summer squash, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus and green beans) take approximately 15-20 minutes to roast. These vegetables can be cut into uniform pieces or roasted whole, in the case of thinner vegetables like asparagus.
  • Hard or root vegetables (like carrots, potatoes, beets and winter squash) should be cut into 1″ cubes and roasted for 45-60 minutes. These vegetables are very firm and they take the longest to roast. Be sure to cut them in uniform pieces to ensure that they all cook completely.
  • Onions should be roasted the same time as other vegetables on the cooking tray. Onions can be cooked alongside any other vegetables. Cut them into thin slices to match the cooking time of more tender vegetables, or into larger chunks to match the cooking time of starchier veggies.
  • Garlic gets a different treatment for roasting. Garlic is not only delicious roasted, but it gets a little different treatment than most other vegetables we roast.