Future Adult Erin behavior that would have shocked Childhood Erin: I routinely, willingly, and with gusto inhale an entire pan of Roasted Broccoli like candy.
Adding to the list of shocking behavior: that I use the words “candy” and “broccoli” in the same sentence as synonymous.
Crispy from tip-to-end, caramelized at the center, with notes of both savory and sweet, roasted broccoli will make a believer out of you too.
We didn’t grow up with roasted vegetables.
As a kid, my understanding of veggies in general was as something mushy that came out of a can. They were a horror to be endured for The Greater Good (dessert).
Roasted vegetables changed my perspective entirely. Instead of being an aspect of the meal that I dread, vegetables are now something I legitimately enjoy.
In fact, I’m such a fan of roasted veggies, I created a complete “Every-Night Roasted Vegetables Guide” in my cookbook. It has how to roast just about every kind of vegetable (including ones you may not have thought to roast before!), plus FIVE different ways to season them.
I also have a stellar collection of roasted vegetable recipes here on Well Plated, including these famous Roasted Brussels Sprouts (and their fancy cousins Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Balsamic Brussels Sprouts, and Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts).
Recently, I’ve been playing around with my roasted vegetables, especially the size I cut them and the oven temperature, then evaluating how these variables impact the way the vegetables cook. Yes, this is the kind of thing I do for fun. How do I have friends?
The results surprised me! Today, I’m sharing a recipe for how to make the BEST EVER roasted broccoli.
This perfect roasted broccoli excels in flavor and in texture. It’s perfectly crispy (especially those yummy tips!), and the sweet, caramelized notes are more pronounced.
Better yet: I’ve found a way to have less waste!
Ready to roast broccoli seriously? Let’s see what I learned.
Tricks to the Best Roasted Broccoli
Here’s what I learned about how to make perfect roasted broccoli.
TIP 1: Cut the Broccoli Florets LARGE
While you might think that the smaller you cut vegetables for roasting the better, I found the opposite to be true.
- Smaller pieces of broccoli tended to burn on the ends before the insides could fully caramelize. The flavor didn’t develop.
- The larger the pieces of roasted broccoli you cut, the more surface area you have for caramelization. The inside of the broccoli had plenty of time to caramelize and become tender before the florets darkened.
The ideal size for broccoli florets was about 1 ½ to 2-inches wide at the top and ½ to ¾-inch thick. For comparison, most recipes call for florets that are about ¾ to 1-inch at the top. The larger pieces do take longer to roast, but the trade-off of a fully caramelized inside and crispy outside floret was well worth it.
ADDED BONUS: Bigger pieces are quicker to cut! This is one of those beautiful times when the easy way also happens to be the most delicious way.
TIP 2: Add a Pinch of Sugar
I learned this tip when testing Roasted Frozen Broccoli.
- A tiny pinch of sugar helps kickstart the caramelization process. Don’t worry, it won’t make the broccoli overly sweet.
TIP 3: Don’t Skimp on the Oil
The tender, fuzzy “tree” tips of roasted broccoli florets are the most delicious, but they are also quick to burn.
- Make sure the florets are well-coated with olive oil so that they do not burn.
TIP 4: Roast Broccoli at 425 degrees F
After testing just about every temperature, this one hit the sweet spot.
- 425 degrees F is hot enough so that the broccoli crisps nicely, but not so hot that it burns.
- 20 minutes into baking, flip the broccoli pieces over and rotate the pan 180 degrees to promote even browning.
TIP 5: Don’t Skip the Stems
Don’t throw away those broccoli stems. It’s not only the broccoli crowns (florets) that make delicious eating. Broccoli stems are delicious when roasted too.
- While the outsides of the broccoli stems are bitter, the inner core is delicious. It rivals the florets.
- Simply cut away the outside of the stems, then slice the inside part of the core into pieces and roast it right along with the florets.
Benefits of Roasted Broccoli
We make roasted broccoli several nights a week. Here are a few reasons why I love it:
- It’s Good For You. With oodles of fiber, protein, and vitamins, this little green veggie packs a major nutrition punch (read more health benefits here).
- It has Fabulous Flavor. The caramelized outsides and tender insides make for a lightly sweet and rich flavor that is truly addictive. Even broccoli skeptics can’t resist!
- It’s Easy to Make. With my easy chopping method, you can have the broccoli ready to roast in minutes.
- It’s Great Leftover. One of the major benefits of roasting veggies like broccoli in large quantities is that they’re delicious leftover and will pair well with meals all week long.
How to Roast Broccoli – Step-by-Steps
- Cut away the outer layer of the broccoli stem and discard. Slice the inner portion into rectangular-shaped pieces.
- Cut the crowns into large, flat florets.
- Toss the broccoli pieces with oil, sugar, and spices.
- Arrange the broccoli in an even layer on a baking sheet. Give them lots of room!
- Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F. Flip the broccoli pieces, rotate the pan, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. DIG IN!
How to Flavor Roasted Broccoli
Like my similarly versatile Roasted Broccolini, this perfect roasted broccoli recipe is an excellent place to start. Here are a few more ways to play around with it.
- Parmesan. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top of your finished broccoli.
- Lemon. When your broccoli has finished roasting, squeeze 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice over the top.
- Garlic. Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder to the broccoli with the other spices or toss with peeled, smashed garlic cloves and roast as directed.
- Cheese. In the final few minutes of roasting, sprinkle grated cheese (cheddar would be tasty) over the top of the broccoli. It will melt into gooey perfection!
- Balsamic Glaze. Use a store-bought balsamic glaze, or make your own by simmering balsamic vinegar on the stovetop until it reduces. Drizzle the glaze over the top of your roasted broccoli for an elegant touch.
- Everything Roasted Broccoli. Finish off your roasted broccoli with an everything bagel seasoning (like Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning).
Storage and Reheating Tips
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover broccoli in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm broccoli on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- I do not recommend reheating roasted broccoli in the microwave if possible, as it will become mushy.
What to Serve with Roasted Broccoli
- Chicken. Roasted broccoli is a perfect side for chicken dishes like this Chicken Cacciatore or Crock Pot Chicken Marsala.
- Pasta. Pair your broccoli with Pasta al Limone or Mediterranean Pasta.
- Fish. Roasted broccoli and Pan Fried Cod or Grilled Salmon in Foil would be tasty.
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Baking Sheet. I use this kitchen tool almost daily.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. Great for cutting broccoli with ease.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. Plenty of space to cut your broccoli.
Are roasted vegetables like broccoli a part of your healthy eating routine? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what kinds of side dishes you are craving.
And if you try this roasted broccoli recipe, please comment below to let me know how it came out. Reading your feedback is so important to me and keeps me going.
- 1 large head broccoli about 1 3/4 pounds or 2 small broccoli crowns
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch red pepper flakes optional
- Toppings of choice: Parmesan balsamic glaze, or a squeeze of lemon
- Place a rack in the center of your oven (if baking the broccoli on one sheet pan) and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For easy clean up, line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (If you will be using two sheet pans, place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and line two baking sheets.)
- Prep the stem: Cut the broccoli stalk away from the head with florets. Place the stem on your cutting board, and trim off the outer edge along one of its long sides (you want to cut away about ¼ inch). Turn the cut side down onto your cutting board and trim off the next side. Repeat with the remaining two sides. You should be left with a rectangular-shaped piece of the stem’s core (and it is delish!). If your remaining stem is large, cut it into pieces that are about 2 or 3 inches long and ½-inch wide. Place the cut pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Discard the outer parts of the stem you chopped away.
- Cut the crowns into large, flat florets: If your crowns are small (about 3 or 4 inches in diameter), cut them into 8 wedges. If they are larger, cut them into 10 wedges. You want the florets to be roughly 1 1/2 to 2-inches wide at the top and 1/2 to 3/4-inch or so thick. These will be a bit larger than the florets you are used to seeing, but TRUST ME, it works. Add them to the sheet with the stems. (See photos in the blog post for guidance).
- Drizzle the broccoli with the oil and sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and pepper. Toss to combine and evenly coat.
- Spread the broccoli into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet, ensuring that the pieces have plenty of room for air to circulate. If the broccoli is crowded, divide it between two sheets. Flip the florets so that the largest cut side is touching the pan.
- Bake the broccoli for 20 minutes, then flip. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and continue baking for 5 to 10 additional minutes, until it is tender and the tips of the florets are turning dark and crispy (if baking on two sheet pans, switch the pans’ positions on the upper and lower rack when you flip). Add any toppings of choice. Enjoy immediately.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover broccoli in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm broccoli on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
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