Everything You Need to Know About Roasting Vegetables

updated May 1, 2019
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We’re not quite sure where we’d be without roasted vegetables. They’re a simple weeknight side dish staple, a meal prep go-to, and generally our favorite way to load up on good-for-you produce. While it’s easy to roast vegetables, a few general guidelines ensure you’re set up for success. Here’s everything you need to know, from temperature and cook time to seasonings and more.

Be generous with oil, salt, and pepper.

All roasted vegetables really need to achieve deliciousness is to be tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper — but you don’t want to be stingy here. The vegetables should be well-coated in oil and well-seasoned in order for them to roast properly and taste great. A good rule of thumb: 1 tablespoon of olive oil + 1 teaspoon of kosher salt + 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, per 1 pound of vegetables.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Embrace high heat.

The true secret to incredible roasted vegetables is one simple thing: high heat. If you roast them at 350°F or 375°F, they’ll steam rather than caramelize. We like to crank the oven to 425°F to ensure crispy roasted vegetables that are charred here and there — and perfectly tender.

Base time off type of vegetable.

With 425°F as our go-to temperature, the next big question is how long? That depends on what type of vegetable you’re roasting. Firm vegetables like carrots and potatoes need more time to cook and get tender than soft veggies like zucchini. Timing also depends on how big or thick the vegetables are. Thin veggies like asparagus roast quickly, while cubes of butternut squash roast faster than large pieces or chunks.

(Image credit: The Kitchn)

How Long to Roast Vegetables at 425°F

Root vegetables (beets, white and sweet potatoes, carrots)

30 to 45 minutes

Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash)

20 (cubed) to 45 minutes (halved)

Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)

15 to 25 minutes

Summer squash (green & yellow zucchini)

10 to 20 minutes

Thin vegetables (asparagus, green beans, snap peas)

10 to 20 minutes

Soft vegetables (cherry tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers)

15 to 25 minutes

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Don’t forget to jazz things up.

While not essential, where roasted vegetables get fun is the extras. Dig around your spice drawer for things like smoked paprika, cumin, curry powder, and za’atar to toss your vegetables with, in addition to salt and pepper. Top them with grated Parmesan cheese after they’re cooked and stick them under the broiler for a minute or two to let the cheese melt. Or simply toss them with a bit of balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to brighten them up.