Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

Molly Watson

  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
91 Calories
6g Fat
8g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 91
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 4g 19%
Cholesterol 15mg 5%
Sodium 237mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 3g
Calcium 35mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A few spices (okay, a fair number of spices!) and just a bit of sugar turn a head of cauliflower into a caramelized, spicy, golden treat. Serve this as a side dish or simply as a stunning appetizer—the spice is lovely alongside your cocktail of choice. It's also a lovely addition to a mix of roasted vegetables as part of a large feast, buffet, or potluck offering.

Hot paprika adds spice, but also a deep earthiness. Sweet paprika piles on that earthiness without much more heat. Cayenne adds a sharper heat for those who like it, turmeric brings its brilliant golden color and rich flavor, and cinnamon adds a touch of warm sweetness. If you only have sweet or regular paprika, you can use that in place of the hot paprika. Then you can add a touch more cayenne if you like things spicy.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Pre-heat an oven to 450 F. While the oven heats, cut out the core of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces. Instinct may have you cut off increasing amounts of the stem to get smaller florets, but cutting up and into the stem to divide the florets into longer, more elegant versions is an equally easy, and less wasteful, way to go. You can discard the core, or cut it into sticks or small floret-size cubes and cook them up with the florets.

  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Take off the heat and mix in the sugar, salt, pepper, hot paprika, sweet paprika, cayenne (if using), turmeric, and cinnamon. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Add all the cut-up cauliflower and toss to coat the cauliflower as evenly as possible with the spicy butter. Be warned: This will take a fair amount of tossing.

  3. Lay the cauliflower pieces in a single layer in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet. The less they touch, the better, but you don't need to be fussy about it. Cook them in the oven until browned, sizzling, and tender with crispy bits forming on the edges—approximately 25 minutes, but all ovens and pans are different. The cauliflower matters more than the clock.


  • Serve the roasted cauliflower hot or at least warm. The cauliflower is delicious all on its own, but if you want to add another element, plain yogurt makes a pretty tasty dip or topping to drizzle on this. Jazz it up by mixing a clove of minced garlic and a bit of ground cumin or some minced mint leaves into the yogurt for the world's easiest sauce.
  • The turmeric is used primarily to add its gorgeous bright golden color, but it has a lovely earthy flavor, too. If you don't happen to have some on hand, this dish will still be utterly delicious, if a bit less visually appealing.