Roasted frozen cauliflower is an easy side dish that's lightly spiced and packs tons of flavor. This recipe uses frozen cauliflower to save time and prep work - it's ready in less than 30 minutes!
Don't settle for soggy, overcooked cauliflower. This recipe uses cauliflower straight from the freezer that turns out perfectly cooked, tender, and flavorful. Inspired by my recipe for oven roasted frozen broccoli!
The secret? Preheat your sheet pan beforehand. This prevents your frozen veggies from thawing slowly on the sheet pan while it heats up, sitting in puddles of water. A hot sheet pan immediately helps excess water evaporate, ensuring your cauliflower turns out perfectly cooked, not soggy.
Plus, this oven roasted cauliflower packs tons of flavor with the addition of a few common pantry spices. Dip your cauliflower in ranch dressing for a tasty snack, or pair with your favorite main course for dinner.
Ingredients and substitutions
Frozen cauliflower - About 15 to 20 ounces of frozen cauliflower will work in this recipe. Cauliflower can be substituted with frozen broccoli - or, try my recipe for parmesan roasted frozen broccoli.
Olive oil - Coating your cauliflower in oil encourages browning, adds flavor, and helps prevent sticking to the sheet pan.
Spices - Paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper add depth of flavor to your cauliflower. This gives your cauliflower a mild heat level, but plenty of spicy flavor.
Preheating your sheet pan
The most important tip when baking frozen cauliflower is this: preheat your sheet pan beforehand.
After your oven has preheated and while prepping your cauliflower, place your sheet pan in the oven (with nothing on it) for five minutes.
Carefully, using oven mitts, remove your hot sheet pan from the oven. Give it a quick spray with cooking spray and spread your prepared cauliflower across the baking sheet. Return it quickly to the oven to bake.
Why preheat your sheet pan? When pouring frozen cauliflower onto a preheated sheet pan, the veggies instantly begin to defrost. Any water released from the cauliflower will quickly evaporate, instead of slowly forming puddles for your veggies to sit in (making them soggy and mushy).
Frequently asked questions
Will my cauliflower be crispy? No, baking cauliflower will not make it turn out crispy. However, it also won't be limp or soggy, as long as it's not overcooked. This cauliflower will have a tender-crisp, slightly firm texture. Cauliflower is 92 to 94% water, so unless you're dehydrating it, it won't ever truly have a crispy texture.
Why did my cauliflower turn out mushy? Roasted cauliflower will turn out mushy for a few reasons: cooking for too long, overcrowding the pan, and not preheating your pan beforehand.
How to prevent cauliflower from sticking to the pan: Give your sheet pan a light spray with cooking spray, or add a sheet of parchment paper before adding the cauliflower.
Should I thaw my cauliflower beforehand? No, there is no need to thaw frozen cauliflower for this recipe.
Can I use fresh cauliflower? Yes, fresh cauliflower will also work in this recipe, but will need slightly less baking time (start checking after about 15 minutes).
Can I use other frozen vegetables? Yes, this recipe works well with any hearty frozen vegetables, like broccoli or brussels sprouts. Delicate vegetables like green beans will need less cooking time.
Roasted Frozen Cauliflower
- 16 ounces frozen cauliflower florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Five minutes before baking, place your half sheet pan (with nothing on it) into the oven to preheat.
- In a large bowl, add your frozen cauliflower florets. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt, paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlid powder, and pepper over top. Toss to evenly coat.
- Carefully, using oven mitts, remove your preheated baking sheet from the oven. Lightly spray with cooking spray, or line with a sheet of parchment paper. Pour prepared cauliflower onto baking sheet and spread out evenly.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until cauliflower is lightly browned around the edges and is crisp-tender (can pierce through with a fork with little resistance).
- Why preheat your sheet pan? When pouring frozen cauliflower onto a preheated sheet pan, the veggies instantly begin to defrost. Any water released from the cauliflower quickly evaporates, instead of slowly forming puddles for your cauliflower to sit in (making it soggy and mushy).
- Leftover cooked cauliflower will keep for 3 to 5 days in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.