Toaster Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Nutty, flavorful, and simple to customize, this easy roasted cauliflower is the perfect veggie side dish for any meal. Try making a batch in the toaster oven or air fryer today! 

Close up of golden roasted cauliflower florets on a sheet pan.

Roasting cauliflower in a toaster oven is as simple as tossing cauliflower florets with oil, adding some spices, and popping everything into your hot little oven (or air fryer). The hardest part is choosing the seasonings!

We like to make our cauliflower with smoky chili seasoning, roasted jalapeño slices, and a big squeeze of fresh lime juice. These extra ingredients result in a mouthwatering side dish that also works well as a taco filling or avocado toast topping.  

But if you’re looking for a more basic roasted cauliflower side dish just use the oil, salt, and pepper. Your cauliflower will still taste delicious.

Head of cauliflower, olive oil bottle, cilantro, jalapeno, lime, and seasonings on a cutting board.

Ingredient Notes

Raw Cauliflower: This recipe uses half a head of cauliflower (about 12 ounces of florets). It’s the perfect amount for feeding two people and the most that will fit on a quarter sheet pan in a single layer. If the pieces are piled on top of each other they will steam instead of roasting.

Seasoning: Cauliflower seasoned simply with salt and pepper tastes great but if you’re looking for something different, try it with Chili seasoning. It’s a flavorful blend of herbs and spices like chili powder, cumin, garlic, and oregano. 

Citrus: A quick burst of acid perks up the savory roasted cauliflower. While lemon is always a good option, for this recipe we used half a lime to highlight the flavors of the chili seasoning.  

Step By Step Instructions

1. Adjust the toaster oven’s cooking rack to the lowest placement, select the BAKE setting, and preheat to 425°F.     

Overhead view of coring and cutting up a head of cauliflower on a cutting board.

2. There are a bunch of ways to break down a head of cauliflower. If you’re looking to make big thick slabs check out our cauliflower steaks recipe.

For basic roasting (or air frying) we usually cut the cauliflower florets into smaller bite-size pieces. 

  • First, remove any outer leaves from the cauliflower. 
  • Slice it in half and then into quarters. Carefully cut the core from each piece. 
  • Then break the florets apart with your hands and slice through the stems as needed to create small similarly-sized pieces (about 1 to 1½ -inch thick pieces).

Oh and don’t toss the stem! I like to slice any gnarly pieces off of the core/stem and then chop it up for roasting. Just like when making toaster oven broccoli, because the core is heartier than the florets, you’ll want to chop it into smaller pieces. The leaves are also edible and can be chopped up for salads or roasted alongside the cauliflower.

3. Once you’ve got the cauliflower cut up, stir together the olive oil, chili seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower and toss well to coat all of the florets. Pour onto a sheet pan and arrange in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes. 

Seasoned cauliflower spread out on a rimmed sheet pan.

4. To keep the jalapeño slices from burning I like to add them halfway through the cooking time when I stir the cauliflower. Toss the slices with any oil left in the bowl from the cauliflower (or add a quick drizzle of more oil if needed). Remove the cauliflower from the oven, add the jalapeño slices, and toss everything together. 

Pan of roasting cauliflower stirred with a green rubber spatula.

5. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the cauliflower is browned and fork-tender, about 5 to 10 minutes more. The total time will depend on the size of the cauliflower florets, ours usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes. 

6. Squeeze the lime over the cauliflower, sprinkle with cilantro, and dig in. 

Plate of cauliflower with chopped cilantro and lime wedges.

Can You Roast Cauliflower in an Air Fryer?

Yes, but with a few changes to the temperature and cooking time. 

  • Preheat the air fryer to 370°F or 375°F. 
  • Arrange cauliflower in the air fryer basket and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing and adding the jalapeño slices halfway through cooking.
  • The total cooking time will depend on your specific machine. The cauliflower cooked in our drawer-style Cosori air fryer was ready after 11 minutes, while the air fryer toaster oven batch took about 15 minutes. 

Drawer-Style Air Fryer Tip: Add A Little Water

In the new America’s Test Kitchen’s Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, they found that tossing certain vegetables (like broccoli) with both oil and a little bit of water before air frying kept them from drying out. 

We gave it a try with this recipe, whisking 1 teaspoon of water with 2 teaspoons of oil and the seasonings before adding the cauliflower.

Unfortunately, the air fryer toaster oven batch ended up really steamy which was not great. But the batch we made in our drawer-style Cosori air fryer was deliciously browned, tender, and not at all dried out!   

Air fryer basket with cauliflower and jalapeno slices.

More Toaster Oven Vegetable Recipes

Golden roasted cauliflower florets on a sheet pan.

Toaster Oven Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Roasting cauliflower at a high heat turns it from crunchy and bland to tender, nutty, and subtly sweet. Smoky chili seasoning and jalapeño add a flavorful punch to this simple side dish but it can be seasoned with just salt and pepper if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • ½ Head Cauliflower (about 16 ounces), rinsed and dried well
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Chili Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • Lime Wedges
  • 1 tablespoon Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Instructions

  1. Adjust the cooking rack to the lowest placement, select the BAKE setting, and preheat the toaster oven to 425°F (400°F Convection).    
  2. Remove any outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut them into small bite-size pieces. Slice larger florets in half or quarter so all of the pieces are a similar size. If desired, chop the core into small pieces too.  
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, chili seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add the cauliflower and toss well to coat all of the florets. Pour onto a sheet pan and arrange in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes. 
  4. While the cauliflower cooks, toss the jalapeño slices with any oil left in the bowl adding a quick drizzle of more oil if needed. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, add the slices, and toss everything together. 
  5. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking until the jalapeño has softened and the cauliflower is browned and fork-tender, about 5 to 10 minutes more. The total time will depend on the size of the cauliflower florets. 
  6. Squeeze the lime over the cauliflower, sprinkle with cilantro, and dig in. 

Notes

Pre-Cut Cauliflower Florets: 10 to 12-ounces of fresh florets can be substituted for the unchopped cauliflower.

To Make In An Air Fryer: Reduce temperature to 370°F or 375°F and preheat for 5 minutes. Add cauliflower to the basket and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing and adding the jalapeño slices halfway through cooking. *If using a drawer-style air fryer, stir 1 teaspoon of water into the oil mixture before tossing with the cauliflower.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 cup to 1-1/4 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 7.3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 345mgCarbohydrates: 11.8gFiber: 5gSugar: 4.7gProtein: 3.7g

2 Comments

  1. i LOVE cauliflower, it’s quickly becoming my favorite vegetable. i like this preparation, because though i have no complaints about the texture of properly cooked cauliflower, it does often need a punch of flavor. nicely done!

    1. Thanks Grace! Yeah I don’t think anyone will be accusing cauliflower of being bold 🙂 Hope you enjoy the spicy punch of flavor!

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