5 Mistakes to Avoid When Roasting Vegetables

published Oct 23, 2016
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Faith Durand)

If roasted vegetables have you dreaming of the rich, caramelized edges of Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and carrots, make sure you know what mistakes to steer clear of for garantueed roasted veggie bliss.

1. Not cooking the vegetables with enough (or too much) fat.

The key ingredient to superbly roasted veggies is the fat. Don’t use enough and vegetables turn out dry. Use too much, and they’re way too greasy.

Follow this tip: Give vegetables a good coating of oil — enough so that everything is fully coated, but not so much that the vegetables are swimming in a pool of oil. As a rule of thumb, use 1 tablespoon of oil per pound of veggies.

2. Not cutting vegetables into equal sizes

How you cut your veggies matters. When cut to different sizes, the vegetables won’t cook evenly. Smaller pieces cook faster, with more potential to burn, while larger pieces don’t get cooked through.

Follow this tip: To ensure even cooking, cut vegetables to roughly the same size. Between one to two inches is a good place to start.

3. Forgetting to flip the vegetables during cooking.

Roasting is not a set-it-and-forget-it method of cooking. Forget to flip the vegetables, and they’ll end up unevenly cooked, with one side that’s deep brown (or burnt), while the other has no color.

Follow this tip: At least once, although preferably twice, toss the vegetables around the sheet pan. This is how you get roasted vegetables that are beautifully browned all the way around and evenly cooked.

4. Cooking at too low of a temperature.

While setting the oven at a low temperature will certainly cook vegetables, it’s not enough to achieve the kind of deep brown, caramelized, crisp exterior that makes roasting so wonderful.

Follow this tip: Roasted vegetables demand high heat. As a rule of thumb roast at 400°F to 450° F. This is the temperature that will produce vegetables that are crisp and cooked through in the center.

5. Overcrowding the pan.

You want to fit as many veggies on the sheet pan as possible — I get it. When the pan is packed to the gills with veggies, pushed up next to one another, or worse yet, in a double layer, vegetables will steam rather than roast. As they cook, vegetables give off moisture, and when arranged too close together it results in a soggy outcome.

Follow this tip: To achieve beautiful browning and crisp, roasted perfection, vegetables need some breathing room. Arrange vegetables in a single layer and don’t overcrowd the pan.