Vegetable

We Asked, You Answered: The "Right" Temperature to Roast Vegetables

November  5, 2016

Last week, the conclusions of my highly scientific study proved that roasting vegetables below 400° F is, in most cases, suboptimal.

Unless you're going for a very low and slow roast (200° and 250° F for upwards of an hour, so that your vegetables are silken through and through), the goal is to cook the outsides before the insides, so that you get crispy outer edges before inners get mushy—and this takes place at higher temperatures.

When we asked the audience their go-to roasting number, 48% said 400° F.

But the recipes for commonly roasted vegetables on our site suggest that we should have listed 425° F as an option, too. It may be the most common roasting temperature (though, as you'll see below, there are a few recipes that thwart the rule and go for 375° or 500° F).

Mushrooms

Carrots

Cauliflower

Sweet Potatoes

Beets

Photo by James Ransom

So with all this variation—in recipe method and opinion—what's a person to do?

  • Consider your vegetables and group like with like.
    Vegetables are individuals. Treat them as such. ChefSteps recommends sorting your lot: Group squash, roots, tubers, and alliums together (on the same baking sheet, if you want!). They require a longer cooking time (ChefSteps recommends 45 minutes). Brassicas (cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli) and mushrooms can be baking sheet buddies (they need only about 25 minutes). For both groups, ChefSteps suggests—you guessed it—425° F.
  • Cut the vegetable pieces so that they're more or less the same size.
    Otherwise, the 1/2-inch cubes will be done long before the 2-inch ones.
  • Don't crowd the pan.
    On a too-full baking sheet, your vegetables will steam each other, resulting in sog rather than crisp.
  • Use enough oil.
    The oil moistens the vegetables (to prevent them from sticking to the pan) and it helps to transfer the heat from the baking sheet to the food.
  • Flip halfway through.
    Give both sides of the pieces a chance to interact with the direct heat of the baking sheet.
  • Or go above and beyond.
    Some commenters on the last vegetable roasting post advised blanching and shocking vegetables before roasting. By starting with almost-cooked veg, the oven has one job: crisping up the outer edges.

This article originally appeared on March 1, 2016. We're re-running it because Thanksgiving's right around the corner (really!).

5 Comments

kimmiebeck March 22, 2017
At what temperature do you roast vegetables? (Not what temperature do you roast vegetables at). Sentences that end in a preposition, among other things, drive English teachers batty.
 
Mrs B. November 5, 2016
One might find quite interesting a comparison of roasting vegetables with parchment vs. without. A NotRecipe posted earlier this year suggests this intriguing inquiry: https://food52.com/not-recipes/55690 Many thanks.
 
PHIL November 5, 2016
425 seems to do the trick,
 
Reed K. March 3, 2016
I usually roast veggies at 425, but sometimes crank it up to 450 if I need to try and crisp up the outsides even more. But I like a little char on my roast veggies (crispy charred brussels sprouts are my favorite!). I also tend to use a lot of oil, and just a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sometimes I'll add some balsalmic vinegar to the mix as well.
 
Jennifer March 1, 2016
In my pretty extensive experience, it's more important to keep pan uncrowded than to add lots of oil. Because I have to watch my weight, I usually use 1 t. oil per 3/4 lb. of veggies (or even 1 lb, depending on veggie)--less than many recipes call for. But they're inevitably delicious. (Is more oil tastier? Often, yes, but it's important to realize that excellent results can be had on a more moderate amount.) 425 is my default roasting temp, although it could vary down or up depending on what else is going in the oven.