Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower is an easy side dish that is healthy, bursting with flavor, and works with all your favorite dinners.

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This easy Roasted Cauliflower with fresh garlic, lemon, and Parmesan cheese is the perfect side dish for your next meal. The edges get browned and crispy and you will be fighting for the last bite. It's a favorite along with this Roasted Cauliflower Steaks and Grilled Cauliflower.

When it comes to cauliflower, I am happy to eat it pretty much any way it is served. But my all-time favorite version is roasted every time. There is nothing better than the charred edges and we love it in our house so much, we fight to grab the almost burnt tiny florets from the pan. Usually, half the tray is gone before it even makes it to the table.

This version gets tons of flavor from fresh minced garlic, bright lemon juice, and then a good dose of Parmesan cheese. It's light, fresh, and tastes good with pretty much anything you serve it with. Believe me, once you start adding lemon juice and Parmesan cheese to your roasted cauliflower, you won't want to eat it any other way.

What's the best way to roast cauliflower?

There are a few important steps to take to make sure your roasted cauliflower comes out with all those delicious charred edges and is still cooked so it's tender. Here's what important when roasting cauliflower.

  1. Lightly coat with oil: Grab any oil you like and lightly coat the cauliflower florets so they have a slight sheen. Many people think if you use more oil, it will produce more crispy cauliflower, but that won't happen. Instead, the cauliflower will just get weighed down and be really oily. 
  2. Add seasoning: Cauliflower is like a blank canvas and works with all different spices and herbs. Match the flavors in your meal. We love garlic, like the recipe today, paired with salt and pepper. I also love roasting cauliflower with curry powder, cumin and paprika, or herb blends. 
  3. Spread out in a single layer: This is the most important thing when roasting vegetables. Spread them out on a baking sheet so that they have some room to breathe. When you overcrowd the pan, the cauliflower steams and you won't get any of those crispy bits.
  4. Roast in a hot oven: Another common mistake when roasting vegetables is not to cook them at a high enough temperature. In order to get some browned and almost burnt edges on your cauliflower (which you absolutely want!), you need to have a hot oven. Not so hot that the cauliflower burn before getting cooked on the inside but so too low where they never brown. We find that 425 is perfect.
  5. Add more flavor: Another trick to making really amazing roasted vegetables is adding flavor when they come out of the oven. Add citrus, like the lemon in this recipe, fresh herbs, cheese, vinegar, or some extra olive oil.

Roasted cauliflower on a black plate with  lemons, Parmesan cheese, and garlic.

Any tricks for making sure it is tender?

Personally I love tender-crisp cauliflower and find it gets plenty soft by simply roasting it in the oven. However, if you have struggled with your cauliflower not being as tender as you like, try this easy trick. Start by wrapping the baking sheet in foil for the first 15 minutes of cooking. This traps some of the steam and will help soften the cauliflower. Then carefully remove the foil and roast for another 10-15 minutes to get the nice, crispy exterior.

How to cut a whole cauliflower into florets?

The key to cutting a whole cauliflower head into florets is removing the core. Start by removing any large leaves from the stem. Then cut the cauliflower head in half and then cut into quarters. Cut at an angle to cut out the stem. Once you have removed the stem, simply run your knife between the florets to cut into smaller pieces. In a rush? There is no shame in buying pre-cut cauliflower florets, in fact, sometimes it is even cheaper than buying a whole head.

Recipe Ideas for Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Like all of my recipes, I like to share ideas for customizing this recipe for your family and preferences. Here are some favorites:

  • Swap out half the cauliflower for some broccoli. 
  • Add some cherry tomatoes to the baking sheet and toss everything with pasta for a complete meal.
  • Add some red pepper flakes along with the garlic to add some heat.
  • For a smoky flavor, try adding a light dusting of cumin. 
  • Instead of Parmesan cheese, sprinkle some feta cheese or goat cheese on top. I love this option for Mediterranean dishes like these Greek Meatballs.
  • To kick up the flavor, add some sliced red or sweet onions to the baking sheet. 
  • If you don't have fresh garlic, garlic powder will work as well. 
  • Top with fresh chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro.

What to Serve with Roasted Cauliflower

In our house, roasted cauliflower is a side dish that goes with pretty much any meal. With that said, here are some favorites:

The Recipe
Lemon garlic roasted cauliflower with Parmesan cheese and lemon slices on a black plate.

Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

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  • 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

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Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.


Toss the cauliflower with olive oil, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper.


Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender with browned, charred edges. Shake the pan halfway through cooking and/or flip the cauliflower.


Remove from oven and top with lemon juice, lemon zest, and Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 107
Calories from Fat 65
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 5mg
Sodium 146mg
Total Carbohydrate 8g
Dietary Fiber 3g
Sugars 2g
Protein 5g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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