How to CookRoastingTips & TechniquesVegetables

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

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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.

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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).

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Mushrooms

Roasted Mushroom Salad

Roasted Mushroom Salad by cucina di mammina

Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan

Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Parmesan by Merrill Stubbs

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata

Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata by Kenzi Wilbur

Pomegranate Roasted Carrots

Pomegranate Roasted Carrots by Melissa Clark

Carrots

Cauliflower

Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Tahini Drizzle

Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Tahini Drizzle by kedivine

Mustard-Roasted Cauliflower

Mustard-Roasted Cauliflower by Maja Lukic - Veggies & Gin

Sweet Potatoes Roasted in Coconut Oil

Sweet Potatoes Roasted in Coconut Oil by Gena Hamshaw

Sautéed Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Poached Egg Holiday Toast

Sautéed Kale, Roasted Sweet Potato and Poached Egg Holida... by Cristina Sciarra

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!).

Tags: roasting, vegetables