There’s spicy roasted cauliflower, and then there’s spicy roasted cauliflower. You know, as in a soggy-in-some-spots-and-still-crunchy-in-other-places bland excuse for a side dish versus a perfectly tender and gently spiced specimen of cruciferous loveliness that you can’t stop noshing. Guess which kind of roasted cauliflower this recipe makes?

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Why Our Testers Loved This

Our testers had many reasons to munch happily on these crispy cauliflower bites. They loved that the dish was only mildly spicy, making it perfect for everyone at the table and that it was easy to make and could easily double as a snack or side dish.

L. Fraser commented that, “This roasted cauliflower with spices is almost addictive. I kept thinking I was done and I’d go back for more.”

What You’ll Need to Make This

Ingredients for spicy roasted cauliflower -- spices, cauliflower, salt and pepper, and olive oil.
  • Cauliflower–The recipe was designed for a small head of cauliflower, weighing about 1 pound. If you use a large head, increase the spice mixture accordingly. Avoid using frozen cauliflower, which may end up mushy.
  • Fat–Depending on your preference, you can use oil, butter, ghee, or coconut oil for making your spice blend. To keep the recipe dairy-free, don’t use butter or ghee.

How to Make This Recipe

Raw cauliflower florets in a glass bowl and a separate glass bowl with oil being poured into a spice mix.
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break the cauliflower into small florets.
  2. Combine the spices and oil in a glass bowl.
A person whisking oil and spices in a glass bowl and cauliflower florets tossed in the glass bowl.
  1. Whisk the oil and spices until smooth.
  2. Add the cauliflower to the spice paste and mix to coat.
Cauliflower florets on a baking sheet shown before and after baking.
  1. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  2. Roast until golden and slightly crisp. Cool before serving.

Common Questions

What should I serve this with?

Serve these cauliflower bites alongside a protein, like roast pork tenderloin or pan-seared chicken breast.

How can I make my cauliflower extra crispy?

This recipe produces browned and lightly crisped cauliflower. If you prefer it extra crispy, increase the oven temperature to 425°F, or use a convection setting, if available.

How do I avoid mushy cauliflower?

Make sure your cauliflower is thoroughly dried, and in a single layer on the baking sheet, with some space between the florets. A crowded sheet will result in steamed cauliflower. Also, avoid using frozen cauliflower.

Helpful Tips

  • You may only need part of the spice mixture to coat the cauliflower. If you prefer a lightly coated or mild cauliflower, halve the spice mixture.
  • Use a glass bowl for mixing your cauliflower and spices, as the turmeric can stain plastic bowls.
  • Leftover roasted cauliflower can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
  • This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets.
Florets of spicy roasted cauliflower on a white plate and on a baking sheet beside it.

More Great Roasted Cauliflower Recipes

Write a Review

If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David

A plate filled with spicy roasted cauliflower florets.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

5 / 4 votes
This spicy roasted cauliflower recipe is just florets tossed with spices and baked in handy bites that are spicy but not too spicy, if you know what we mean.
David Leite
Servings2 to 4 servings
Calories113 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour


  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the cauliflower into small florets or break it into pieces the size of popped popcorn. Reserve the stalks for another use or toss them in the compost.
  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, paprika, cumin, turmeric, and salt and season with pepper. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared baking sheet, letting any excess spice blend drip back into the bowl. Spread the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheet to cool completely, about 30 minutes.


  1. Adjust the spice level–You may not need the full amount of spice mixture to coat the cauliflower. If you prefer a very lightly coated or mild cauliflower, halve the spice mixture.
  2. Mixing bowl advice–Use a glass bowl for mixing your cauliflower and spices as the turmeric can stain plastic bowls.
  3. Storage and reheating–Leftover roasted cauliflower can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in a 425°F oven for 10 minutes or until heated through and crispy.
  4. Dietary–This recipe is suitable for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan diets.
The Gut Health Diet Plan Cookbook

Adapted From

The Gut Health Diet Plan

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 113 kcalCarbohydrates: 9 gProtein: 3 gFat: 9 gSaturated Fat: 7 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 624 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 3 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2016 Christine Bailey. Photos © 2016 David Leite. Photo © 2016 Watkins Media Limited. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This was a family pleaser. We all loved it, and it disappeared pretty fast.

Breaking the cauliflower into small pieces took the longest while making this. I could have added a bit more seasoning. After 20 minutes, the cauliflower was fully cooked. I left it in the oven, hoping it would crisp, but after 45 minutes, it still was not crunchy, so I turned the oven to broil for 3 minutes, turned them a bit, and then broiled them for two more minutes.

The result was a very addictive, healthy little snack.

This spicy roasted cauliflower was extremely tasty as a side dish and would be great as part of a tapas meal. Tons of flavor from all that spice!

This roasted cauliflower with spices is almost addictive. I kept thinking I was done and I’d go back for more.

Make sure you have plenty for everyone. We had a total of 3 people eating it at a barbecue dinner. I would suggest making another batch if you have more people.

The cauliflower ended up being very tasty indeed! The flavors came out to be just right and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cauliflower isn’t a favorite vegetable of mine, so I only cook it every once in while, but I was curious to see how we would like it roasted and spiced. It was easy to put together and cooked fairly well. The cauliflower soaked up all the spices and olive oil.

I had thought the olive oil and spices were too scant before cooking, but once it started cooking, it was clearly enough. I turned the cauliflower every 15 minutes, and I couldn’t get it crisp, even with an additional 10 minutes of cooking time.

Even without getting crispy, the cauliflower was tasty. My husband said it could be addictive, and both my sons liked it, including my picky vegetable eater. It served four of us—two kids and two adults—with leftovers.

I reheated the leftovers the following night in a 425°F (218°C) oven for 10 minutes and finally got the dark crispy pieces I originally hoped for. I’d definitely make this again but at a higher oven temperature.

Cauliflower always rings the no-guilt bell for me, especially as a snack, appetizer, or stand-in for buffalo wings or rice. This spicy roasted cauliflower recipe was mild, not punchy, like cauliflower buffalo wings. It was good.

I could recommend this to folks who don’t eat spicy food as it’s not too spicy for kids or a timid palate.

It’s nearly perfect, and with a higher temperature (or added convection), the crispiness would be perfect. At 350℉ (177°C), it is difficult to get to the crisp exterior you expect, but it was nicely golden brown and coated with just enough flavor to make it interesting, yet not oily or messy. I gave it an hour in the oven, checking it every 15 minutes.

I did my prep the night before: washing, trimming the cauliflower, breaking it into small pieces (saving the core and leaves for use in soup or a stir-fry), and bagging it in the fridge. The next day I ground up fresh cumin, mixed it with the spices and oil, and gently tossed the cauliflower for a long while to capture every bit of the spice slurry.

I used a glass bowl to keep from staining a plastic one with the turmeric or paprika. When I had tossed the cauliflower, it left a nearly clean bowl with no excess oil. It made a single layer on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment without overcrowding. 

It served two as a veggie course and could serve four, if other tapas were offered, although no one would know if you kept the entire bowl to yourself and settled in with a good movie or TV show.

This spicy roasted cauliflower recipe was a snap to make. I cut the cauliflower into small chunks. After mixing the wet and dry ingredients, I added the cauliflower. Initially, I did not think the topping would be enough to coat the cauliflower, but it turned out to be just the right amount.

The cauliflower was perfectly coated, leaving just a slight residue in the bowl. I roasted the cauliflower for the full 45 minutes, stirring once. They were not as crisp as I would have liked, but still tasty nonetheless. This recipe is a tasty, easy-to-put-together, healthy low-carb snack or side dish.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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