How To Make Cauliflower Taste As Good As French Fries: Roasted Curried Cauliflower

by | Jul 30, 2012
Roasted Curried Cauliflower

Roasted Curried Cauliflower

I’ve resisted publishing this recipe for months because I was worried it was too simple for an entire blog post. But every time I cook it for someone (which I do all the time because it is so easy and delicious) they ask me for the recipe so they can try it themselves. Now I can just send them a link 🙂

What’s weird is that this is just roasted cauliflower, it couldn’t sound any less glamorous. But for some reason roasting cauliflower completely transforms it from a vegetable people are pretty sure they don’t like into something they just can’t get enough of.

The coolest part of all is that anyone (like ANY anyone) can make this. I like to add curry powder to mine, but you can play around with whatever spices you like, or just make it plain. The trick is to use a very hot oven, around 450-500 degrees. Covering the cauliflower for the first 15 minutes steam cooks it. Then when you remove the foil the high heat browns and caramelizes it, giving the cauliflower a slightly crisp texture and complex flavor that is irresistible.

It still freaks me out how good this recipe is.

Roasted Curried Cauliflower Recipe

Serves 2-4


  • 1 large cauliflower (or several small ones), ~2 lbs
  • Curry powder
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Break cauliflower into medium-small florets and place into large bowl or baking pan. Be sure the pieces are as evenly sized as possible, or they will cook unevenly. The smaller you make the pieces, the quicker they will cook and the more caramelized they will become, which I consider a good thing.

Drizzle cauliflower pieces generously with olive oil and season well with salt and curry powder. Distribute evenly in a single layer at the bottom of a baking pan. If necessary, use a second baking pan to be sure the pieces aren’t too crowded.

Cover the pans with foil and place into the oven. Roast, covered for 10-15 minutes. The cauliflower should be slightly soft and start looking translucent. If not replace foil and cook another 5 minutes.

When the cauliflower has finished steaming, remove the foil and toss with tongs. Continue to roast, stirring every 8-10 minutes until the tips of the cauliflower begin to brown and become crisp as pictured. Approximately 30-35 minutes.

Adjust salt to taste (you will probably need another sprinkle) and serve.

Have you ever tried roasted cauliflower?

Originally published July 21, 2010, and is widely considered my best recipe of all time.

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165 Responses to “How To Make Cauliflower Taste As Good As French Fries: Roasted Curried Cauliflower”

  1. Kerry says:

    Just discovered your site from…tried this the other night, it was great. I also made your squash noodles and everyone loved them. I found with the squash noodles I need to make a lot to fill my husband and son up, but it’s a great alternative to pasta!

  2. David Nicholson says:

    Aw man was that good! I had friends over and we scarfed the cauliflower down like it was candy. My friend had abdominal surgery about 10 days ago and is just getting back to eating real food. He was in hog heaven.

    Thanks for a great recipe.

    BTW, where can I get this smoked paprika? Can’t wait to put some on my eggs.


  3. Rony Zanto says:

    Just made this as a side dish for dinner tonight… half of it didn’t even make the serving bowl and went in my tummy. 🙂 It’s delishhhh! THANK YOU for sharing this simple but AWESOME recipe Dr. D!~

  4. Lisa says:

    Very keen to try this but for some reason I can’t use foil in my oven (manufacturer recommendation) as it damages the lining of the oven somehow. It did think this was a load of baloney and did experiment with foil and the result was a very expensive new lining. Do you think if I just cover the pan with another pan that it would steam effectively? Any other suggestions?

    • Darya Pino says:

      Wow, that’s bizarre. If my new oven has that stipulation I’m gonna be pissed! You can certainly try covering with another pan. The goal is steaming with it’s own moisture, so anything that accomplishes that should work. You could even potentially microwave it beforehand, though I have not tried this.

  5. Lisa says:

    I agree – bizarre, hence my experimenting! Thanks for the suggestion

  6. Lisa says:

    Great recipe – I solved my problem by just covering with a smaller baking pan and they steamed perfectly. Thanks heaps!

  7. These look awesome! Have you ever tried mashed cauliflower “potatoes”? They are a great way to trick your brain into thinking its getting real potatoes!

  8. Katharine says:

    I just made it and burned it and it was still yummy.

  9. Tallulahbluebelle says:

    OMG. Only I tossed the cauliflower with oil, curry, and salt in a big bowl before putting on the pan and baked at 400(could just be my oven).

    Brilliant. Oh and the soup idea for the leftovers, duh.

  10. Katharine says:

    I made it again! (see burned post up above, lol) This time I paid more attention to the time and the temp. You’re all right; it came out perfect this time.
    I said something about it on Facebook and people are interested, so linking you up to there. Look out Darya, you’re getting cauliflower famous!

  11. Brandi says:

    I just made this recipe and it’s amazing!!! LOVE IT!

  12. Chris says:

    Wow! I cannot believe that I at a 1/2 head of cauliflower and didn’t hate it. SO GOOD!

  13. Jimmy says:

    500 degree oven + olive oil = smoke 🙁

  14. Sarah says:

    OK..So first off, I have NEVER replied to any blog..EVER, and secondly I have made roasted curried cauliflower a handful of times before. BUT this..this was absolutely one of the yummiest foods! My husband and I both love Indian food and we were making so many noises (ya know yummy noises) and then he said this tastes like it’s from Saffron, our fav Indian restaurant, so needless to say will be making again and again.
    Thank you for what you do!

  15. leila says:

    Not a terribly experienced cook I’ll state upfront. Was planning to cook a pork loin tonight with the roasted cauliflower and brussell sprouts tonight. I have one oven, which do I cook first – the pork loin or the vegetables? And can I just mix the cauliflower and b sprouts together and roast all in the same pan?

  16. Renee says:

    I’ve recently fallen in love with cauliflower. I love this recipe. I add potato, onion and paneer to it and turn it into a main course with something small to go on the side. It’s delicious.

  17. Jennifer says:

    I tried this tonight. Very excited b/c I am a vegetable HATER to the extreme. I steamed it in the oven as you stated (I did it in a bar pan/cookie sheet) for 15 min, then took off the foil and set the timer for 35 minutes. My husband got home from work while I was working out and told me that they were all burnt. It had only been 21 minutes. I tried one anyway as I was excited and think I would have liked it had they not been burned. So now I am not sure what to do to keep them from burning but still getting them roasted. Forgive my lack of cooking knowledge. I do have coconut oil and canola oil too, but I did it with Olive oil as you said. ADVICE please:-)

    • Darya Pino says:

      Sounds like you forgot the part about stirring every 8-10 minutes…

      • Jennifer says:

        Thank you! You have officially given me the first EVER vegetable recipe that I like! I tried them again tonight, stirring every 8-10 minutes like you said and they turned out great. The exterior had a slight crunch and the interior almost melts in your mouth. Amazing! This may be the first time I have ever eaten cauliflower!! THANK YOU!!!

    • Darya Pino says:

      Hooray! Glad we solved the mystery of the burnt cauliflower, and congrats on liking your first vegetable. I promise, they all have the potential to be this amazing 🙂

  18. jennifer says:

    Oh my word, this is one of the best things I have EVER eaten! And, my kids love it!! Thank you!!

  19. Ken says:

    Love this recipe. Finally was able to get my kids to eat cauliflower. Used to steamed it but this is a more flavor-able spin on it. Thanks, Now I plan to try broccoli the same way.

  20. Sanjay says:

    There is a very similar dish that is common in the eastern part of India. My mom used to make it, and now I make it regularly to have with rice and indian style lentils. In a teflon coated pot (with lid) add a tablespoon or two of oil (I use grapeseed, but olive oil works), When the oil is hot, sizzle for about 10-15 seconds half a teaspoon of whole cumin seeds, and if desired, one Thai/Indian style green chili – sliced in half. This flavors the oil. Then throw in the cauliflower pieces. Stir the cauliflower for about two – three minutes till coated with the oil. Then cover the pot and leave it to cook, stirring every 5 – 7 minutes till the cauliflower edges are browned, and the cauliflower is cooked but still slightly crunchy. Add a bit of salt towards the end. Enjoy. If you wish, you can garnish with chopped cilantro before. serving.

  21. Dee says:

    I tried it. I made it this morning for today’s lunch . I roasted for 15mins, The roasting adds a new dimension to the taste. Good.

  22. Shawn says:

    My wife just made this recipe and it was really good. Looking forward to having it again!

  23. Lindsay says:

    Really good, I could not get enough of them. My boys loved them too!

  24. Mmmmm…I LOVE roasted cauliflower! It’s one of my most favorite veggies. 🙂 I also love adding curry powder, or sometimes the Mrs. Dash seasonings or even just salt, pepper, and fresh garlic. I like how you are steaming the cauli first in the oven and then browning it. I par-boil mine, only for a minute or two, and then drain off completely and toss into the oven to get brown. Takes less time, but your way sounds easier as I would not have to get a pot of boiling water going. Will try it this way next time.

  25. Janice Fontaine says:

    My husband and I love this and have been eating it for years! I’ve always been a fan of cauliflower, but the roasting *does* add a new dimension of taste. Our favorite spice mixture is curry powder too. Although I used to have a spice mixture from New Orleans called “Carnival Seasoning” which was pretty delicious with roasted cauliflower too.

  26. James says:

    Just made this for dinner (a small batch). I don’t think I had it quite right, and I didn’t have any curry powder, but WOW! I absolutely love this dish. I will be making it often.

  27. cassie's mom says:

    i had roasted cauliflower at a restaurant recently and became an instant addict! i’ve never tasted anything so insanely delicious made with cauliflower (and i already like cauliflower). i’m going to try your recipe tonight and share it with friends! i’m going to try the curry but i’m wondering if something like smoked paprika would work? might it be too bitter? i discovered smoked paprika when i made an UNBELIEVABLY SCRUMMALICIOUS recipe for grilled eggplant. definitely the yummiest eggplant recipe i’ve ever tried too.

  28. cassie's mom says:

    i decided to do a raw taste test with the smoked paprika and decided it’s gonna be SOOO delicious! i just popped them in the oven less than a minute ago!

  29. Linda says:

    I think I have commented on this recipe before, but let me say again, this is pretty much the only way I make cauliflower anymore. And I don’t even use the curry. Just olive oil and salt does the trick. And my whole family agrees it is absurdly good. Thanks!

    • Darya Pino says:

      Thanks! I have about 25 different recipes for it now. Try sprinkling on some chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro at the end. Sooo good.

      • Lucinda says:

        I’ve roared cauliflower for years — my family likes best without the curry. Nevertheless, I make my kale chips in a similar fashion sprinkled with a curry, cayenne, and salt combination I mix up myself — and they are an absolute hit!!!!

  30. maggie says:

    this was amazing!! i have never been to this site before but when i googled “curried roasted cauliflower” (hey when a craving hits, it hits) this was among the first to come up. absolutely delicious – can’t wait to make again 🙂

  31. george slim says:

    you can substitute the curry powder with smoked paprika and it will taste great!

  32. RedGold&Green says:

    Try this with Romanesco (Mandelbrot!) cauliflower and towards the end of cooking, sprinkle with grated Parmesan or similar hard cheese and the tiniest slivers of butter – absolute heaven.

  33. Joanna says:

    I made this tonight just as an experiment. My 9 yr old son, who despises cauliflower, actually liked it. My 12 yr old daughter had to be chased off or she would have eaten the whole batch. It was a big hit with everyone, and we are a far cry from a “health nut” family. Kids wanted to know if this is something I’d be willing to make for them to take to school for lunch. They did find the curry a little on the spicy side, so next time I’ll play with garlic salt, seasoned salt, or smoked paprika.

  34. Caroline says:

    This is delicious!!! Even my 2-yr old gobbled it up. Joanna, if your curry is hot, try a sweet curry. My daughter doesn’t care for hot curry but loves sweet. Penzey’s is great!

  35. Lucinda says:

    I’ve been roasting my cauliflower for years, but don’t bother with the tin foil — just place it on the cookie sheet tossed in olive oil, salt, and whichever seasoning I choose to use or not use — 15-20 minutes just about does it! Delicious! And like you, most ask me how I prepared it!

  36. Tina says:

    Ok, I tried it (for Mother’s Day, no less). Instant success! My brother in law, who prides himself on never eating vegetables, loved it. It was such a hit that I just checked my voicemail and had a message from my mom, wanting the recipe. She wants to make it- TONIGHT! 🙂 Thanks so much!!

  37. Andrew says:

    Been wanting to try this for a few days and finally got to it. My first recipe on my quest towards a healthier life (about halfway through the book right now). The first thing I’ve cooked in a long time for that matter.

    Really good! Already looking forward to trying it again so I can try another seasoning, or even a different ratio on this recipe. I think I broke my cauliflower up too much though. I had a lot of “crumbs”, which were great too, but I think I missed out on having some bigger pieces.

    Will try again soon! Looking forward to checking out more of the site too!

  38. maddie says:

    Hey Darya, just wondering if this would work without oil? I can’t have it but this sounds delicious?

    • Darya Rose says:

      I think it would burn and not become crunchy. You could try first steaming (on stove) then roasting at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, but I’ve never cooked anything without oil. Sorry :/

    • peggy says:

      Hello. I make the cauliflower too and always get the Same response Darya gets! Folks love, love, love it! Sometimes I do steam or boil the caulifloWer for 15 or 20 minutes to decrease roasting time. Garlic, evoo, salt, pepper and a 450 degree oven does wonders! Enjoy. You, your family and guests will not be disappointed!

  39. Jess says:

    This sounds fantastic as the weather gets colder here. I am going to scatter some sourdough breadcrumbs lightly fried with some organic butter and maybe a touch of garlic. Can’t wait for dinner.

  40. Carter says:

    I have hated cauliflower for 50 years. I’ve made this recipe twice this week, and I’m considering a third! Thanks for adding another veggie to my life!

  41. John says:

    I tried this with a “Fiesta Lime” Ms. Dash and grapeseed oil and it was delicious… seemed that garlic would have been a nice addition.

  42. Brina says:

    This recipe sounds fab- can’t wait to try! Can I use this with frozen cauliflower?

  43. GS Robinson says:

    I have just tried this recipe for my lunch. Wow! i was a fan of cauliflower before, but this has pushed the flavour over the edge, amazing! I would recommend it to anyone! thanks.

  44. rossinhawaii says:

    If you find your Curry too spicy, find another brand. No two curries are the same; they are all mixtures. If you can find a market that sells Indian food products, as the salesperson to help you find a mild curry. Some have no heat and add just wonderful flavors to your dish.
    For example here is a blend that is sometimes used:
    4 parts Coriander
    2 parts Turmeric
    2 parts Ground yellow mustard powder
    2 parts Chili powder
    1 part Cayenne powder
    1 part Ground cumin
    1/2 part ground cardamom
    By adjusting the spices, you can adjust the flavor/heat. Decreasing the cayenne and chili will give you a milder flavor.

    Read More at [link removed]

  45. Katie says:

    I heard you mention this blog title in your interview with Srinivas Rao and thought it sounded interesting so I came to check it out. I was checking out his podcast for the first time and picked your interview to listen to because I love learning new health/food tips. I love roasted cauliflower and eat it often in the fall! Two questions for you about the prepping of the cauliflower in your recipe. I am hoping that your scientific background will help settle these things for me. 1- I’ve heard cooking olive oil at high temps changes the chemical properties of the oil and makes it unhealthy. Since you used olive oil do you know that to not be true? 2 – I’ve heard that it isn’t good to heat food in foil – can’t remember why offhand – I think it releases something into the food. Do you have any info on either of these? Thanks! Looking forward to checking your blog out more!

    • Kathy Gallucci says:

      Hi Katie:
      I asked similar questions in August of 2011. Darya recommended grape seed oil which apparently does not degrade at higher temperatures, but I found the flavor is not as good as olive oil.

      • Katie says:

        Yes, I use grapeseed oil too. Whenever I hear of people using olive oil for dishes that I usually wouldn’t because of the high temp it always sounds so tasty so I was hoping maybe there’s new info I didn’t know. I agree that grapeseed does not taste as good as olive.

  46. marshay says:

    I tried to like this recipe. I really did. It tasted like potatoes for maybe a split second before something akin to broccoli decided to make itself known. I guess I just don’t have a taste for cauliflower as it is. Maybe I’ll eat some raw and see if it makes a difference but for now roasted cauliflower is a no go. Thanks for the recipe anyway though

  47. lynda maccagnan says:

    luv this recipe and so does everyone who ever tasted it among friends and family. I agree with some of the posts, I found you do not have to cover with foil. 15 min. per side will give you the same yumminess!

  48. Ashleigh says:

    I mean, I made it and ate the entire head of califlower in one sitting…HOW can it be that good?!! Amazing. Even 4 years after the original post!!

  49. Laura says:

    I make two full heads of this and my three kids devour it (at least once a week). I parboil first and then broil, but will try the foil vent to save on a pot. They mix the pieces into their plain pasta so I am generous with the olive oil.

    Broccoli is also amazing roasted (I barboil this also). My kids love the stem “trunk” of the broccoli because I peel it and thin it out.

    Of both veggies, the burnt pieces go the quickest!

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