Subtly caramelized wedges of perfectly roasted fennel make an elegant presentation, especially when capped with something a little indulgent and surprising: a hearty rye bread crumble starring a generous amount of earthy caraway seeds and nutty Parmesan.—America’s Test Kitchen

Roasted Fennel with Rye Crumble FAQs

Why don’t you core the fennel wedges in this recipe?

Usually, a recipe will tell you to core a fennel bulb. The core’s tough and fibrous. But here, ATK says not to core the bulb before cutting it into wedges because the core helps to hold the layers of fennel together during cooking. Just cut around it when eating.

Why do you cover the fennel with foil?

Covering the dish with aluminum foil for the first half-hour of roasting ensures that the edges don’t dry out. Once the fennel wedges are nearly tender, uncover the dish and sprinkle the topping evenly over the top. Then bake until the crumble is crisped and deep golden brown and the fennel is perfectly tender.

a white casserole dish of roasted fennel with rye crumble

Roasted Fennel with Rye Crumble

5 / 2 votes
Subtly caramelized wedges of perfectly roasted fennel make an elegant presentation, especially when capped with something a little indulgent and surprising: a hearty rye bread crumble starring a generous amount of earthy caraway seeds and nutty Parmesan.
David Leite
Servings6 servings
Calories182 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes


  • 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons table salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved and cut into 1-inch (25-mm) wedges
  • 3 ounces (3 cups) rye bread, cut into 1-inch (25-mm) pieces
  • 1 ounce (1/2 cup) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds


  • Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
  • In a large bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons melted butter, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. Add fennel and toss to coat.
  • Arrange fennel cut side down in a single layer in a 13- by 9-inch (33- by 23-cm) baking dish. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until fennel is nearly tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse bread, Parmesan, caraway seeds, remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper to coarse crumbs, about 20 pulses.
  • Remove foil from dish and sprinkle fennel with breadcrumb mixture. Continue to bake, uncovered, until fennel is tender and topping is browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
The Complete Autumn & Winter Cookbook

Adapted From

The Complete Autumn and Winter Cookbook

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 182 kcalCarbohydrates: 13 gProtein: 4 gFat: 13 gSaturated Fat: 8 gMonounsaturated Fat: 4 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 33 mgSodium: 688 mgFiber: 3 gSugar: 1 g

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

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 America’s Test Kitchen. Photo © 2021 America’s Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I adore fennel. Doesn’t matter if it is raw in a salad or on a crudité platter, sautéed into a soup or pasta dish, or roasted like this preparation in a stand-alone side, its tasty anise flavoring adds a fragrance and special component to whatever dish it finds itself in.  Not only was the fennel perfectly tender in this recipe for roasted fennel with rye crumble, but the crumble itself was decadent and quite memorable. 

The hearty taste of the rye bread when combined with butter, caraway seeds and salty Parmesan cheese was just so yummy! I think it is a great topping idea for a number of roasted veggies–asparagus, tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower come to mind as possible combinations. We loved this side dish and in short, holiday favorites like dressings and casseroles best watch out; this side may just become a new family favorite.

I was drawn to this roasted fennel with rye crumble recipe because I was late to the fennel revolution and only recently decided I enjoyed it. The fennel baked in cream recipe was a revelation of an almost spiritual level, so I jumped at the chance to try another variation of baked fennel. And it didn’t disappoint. The wildly unique flavor combination of rye, caraway and fennel plus the duality of the textures results in pure magic. I didn’t pair this with anything as I ate it right from the baking dish and then saved the rest for later. I’d love some suggestions for a good protein to pair it with, as the flavors are quite bold.

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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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Wow! This is my very first fennel dish. I’ve had it out, but never tried cooking it. I love rye/caraway so this sounded perfect and oh my, yum! We did an Italian Christmas and this was a side. It was perfect and everyone went back for seconds. Only change was to use 1/2 c bread crumbs instead of the bread. Thanks for sharing

  2. How about teaming it with pan fried sea bass or bream. Fennel and fish are partners made in heaven.

    1. Isobel, that does sound like a heavenly team! If you try it, please do let us know how it turns out.