Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Florets of spicy roasted cauliflower on a baking sheet with squeezed lime wedges and a bowl of green sauce beside them.

If I had to eat a vegetable only one way for the rest of my life, I would ask for spicy roasted cauliflower. Roasting turns plain old one-note cauliflower into a nuanced, layered, and completely new vegetable. It’s sweeter, more complex, slightly nutty, and totally beguiling. Would I get bored if handed a life sentence of roasted cauliflower? Never.–Charmian Christie

LC What Folks Are Saying Note

“So good even a non-cauliflower-eater will change his or her mind.” That’s what folks are saying about this roasted cauliflower recipe with hints of smoked paprika and cayenne. As for that green sauce alongside the cauliflower in the photo above, we gotta say, we were so focused on the sassy and spicy roasted cauliflower, we totally forgot about it. Oops. Oh well. Not necessary.

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 3 to 4
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  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable or mild olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)


  • 1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
  • 2. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Then cut away the thickest part of the core. You can now pull the florets apart with your fingers or cut them with the tip of a paring knife. You want the florets to be 1 1/2 inches or so in size. (Cutting the cauliflower into uniform pieces is essential for even roasting. You should have about 4 generous cups florets.) Place the cauliflower in a large bowl.
  • 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, chili powder, paprika, salt, and a good grinding black pepper. Pour over the cauliflower florets and toss to thoroughly coat.
  • 4. Spread the cauliflower in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring after 10 to 15 minutes. You want the cauliflower to be deep golden and beginning to crisp at the edges.
  • 5. Serve the roasted cauliflower with the lime wedges, if desired.

Crisper Spicy Roasted Cauliflower Variation

  • The author notes that for even crisper results, you should rely on your oven’s convection setting, if it has one, and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Recipe Testers Reviews

I love cauliflower AND smoked paprika AND lime, so the combination of flavors in this spicy roasted cauliflower recipe intrigued me. Factor in the fact that the cauliflower is roasted and, well, this recipe is just heavenly. My family and I loved this. It only took 20 to 25 minutes to roast the cauliflower. The flavors were amazing. This is a great side dish, or it could even be a main dish for a vegan or vegetarian. Totally great!

I like this spicy roasted cauliflower recipe for its simplicity and also for the smoky spicy flavors that are so good they will make even a non-cauliflower-eater change his or her mind! The recipe is easy to follow, and the timing was spot-on. I roasted my cauliflower at 400°F in my convection oven. As suggested, the cauliflower got a turn after 15 minutes, then another turn after another 10 minutes, when it was very tender, but not quite golden brown. After a total cooking time of 29 minutes, a beautiful golden brown hue blanketed the cauliflower. The squeeze of lime brightens the smoky flavor and creates a bit of a sauce with the spices. I feel like the side dish could be elevated a bit by adding sliced fresh jalapeño, and maybe even some sliced onions, along with the cauliflower while roasting to give another texture to the dish. But just as is, the dish is still delicious, easy, and certain to be your quick, go-to cauliflower dish.

This spicy roasted cauliflower recipe is a winner. You can have melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower within an hour. It took about 15 minutes to prepare the dish. I used the convection setting on the oven at 425°F. The total roasting time was 25 minutes. I rotated the pan and stirred at the 15-minute mark. It’s a fine line between "crisp edges" and burning the cauliflower. I would recommend to start checking during the last 10 minutes of bake time. I had some "extremely crisp" cauliflower, but it still tasted good.


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