Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter

Jump to Recipe
5 from 5 votes

A whole cauliflower roasted in the oven until caramelized, drizzled with brown butter and chives, is a sight to see. It’s as delicious as it looks. Serve as a side dish, or even an appetizer.

Picture this: a whole cauliflower, drizzled with brown butter sauce and roasted to caramelized perfection. And the finishing touch? A sprinkle of chives for a burst of freshness. You, my friend, now have a stunning side dish or appetizer to impress any guest on any occasion. 

You’ve probably been to a restaurant where they’ve served a whole head of cauliflower that’s perfectly roasted. You’ve also probably wondered how in the world they roasted this impressive beast, to yield the perfect caramelized exterior and tender, juicy interior! Well today is your day to find out the secret. 

In this recipe, we take it a step further by infusing the cauliflower with rich, nutty brown butter. Brown butter and cauliflower are like PB & J! Garnish with fresh chives to add a brightness and pop of color. Whether served as a side dish or a vegetarian main course like these Cauliflower Steaks, whole roasted cauliflower prepared with simple brown butter is hard to beat.

Why You’ll Love This Whole Roasted Cauliflower Recipe

  • EASY prep work. Who doesn’t love a good ole’ quick and easy prep? With only 10 minutes of hands-on work, you get to watch the oven do all the roasting and enjoy a delicious side or appetizer!
  • Roasted cauliflower is the best cauliflower. Caramelization…need I say more? When cauliflower is roasted, its natural sugars will caramelize and create a sweet and nutty flavor with crispy, golden edges and tender interior. 
  • Show-stopping vegetarian side, appetizer or main. I mean, just look at it! This whole roasted cauliflower will steal the show and have your guests asking for the recipe.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower Video Tutorial

Ingredients

  • Whole cauliflower – choose a cauliflower that feels firm and is a creamy white color with no signs of discoloration.
  • Salted butter – we’re making brown butter, people! Using good-quality butter makes all the difference.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil helps the cauliflower roast and caramelize.
  • Black pepper – black pepper and cauliflower go so well together, adding flavor and a bit of heat!
  • Fresh chives – fresh chives add a pop of green freshness.

How To Roast A Whole Cauliflower

Learn how to make whole roasted cauliflower! Full instructions in the recipe card; this is an outline!

  1. Trim.

    Cut the core of the cauliflower head so that it can lay flat on the cutting board. Remove all green leaves.

  2. Place.

    Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet.

  3. Drizzle.

    Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil and rub the entire cauliflower with the olive oil.

  4. Cover.

    Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil so the cauliflower will steam.

  5. Roast.

    Roast in a 400℉ oven for 30 minutes.

  6. Remove.

    Remove the foil and roast for an additional 25 minutes.

  7. Mix.

    Mix softened butter with black pepper and salt.

  8. Smash.

    Using a spoon, smash the softened butter on top of cauliflower while it is still in the oven. The butter should begin to melt down the sides of the cauliflower.

  9. Roast more.

    Roast the cauliflower for 10 more minutes. It should start to brown in the bottom of the pan and toast the top of the cauliflower head.

  10. Baste.

    Remove from the oven and baste the cauliflower head with the brown butter from the bottom of the pan.

  11. Serve.

    Garnish with fresh chives. Serve with a steak knife family-style or cut into florets.

Variations

Here are some flavor ideas and seasonings for whole roasted cauliflower instead of brown butter:

  • Garlic and Herb: Rub the cauliflower with minced garlic, olive oil, and a blend of fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and parsley. The garlic and herbs infuse the cauliflower with savory flavor as it roasts.
  • Curry: Toss the cauliflower with curry powder for a warm and aromatic flavor profile. Add a splash of coconut milk for richness.
  • Lemon and Parmesan: Drizzle the cauliflower with lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkle it with grated Parmesan cheese and lemon zest before roasting. The lemon adds brightness while the Parmesan adds a savory umami flavor.
  • Buffalo Sauce: Brush the cauliflower with buffalo sauce or hot sauce mixed with melted butter before roasting for a spicy and tangy kick. Serve with blue cheese dressing on the side for dipping.
  • Balsamic Glaze: Drizzle the cauliflower with balsamic glaze or reduction before roasting for a sweet and tangy flavor. The balsamic caramelizes as it roasts, adding depth to the dish.
  • Tahini and Za’atar: Mix tahini with lemon juice, garlic, and za’atar seasoning, then spread it over the cauliflower before roasting. The tahini adds creaminess, while the za’atar adds a savory, earthy flavor.
  • Maple Dijon Glaze: Whisk together maple syrup, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. Brush the cauliflower with the glaze before roasting for a sweet and tangy flavor with a hint of mustardy bite.
  • Soy and Ginger: Marinate the cauliflower in a mixture of soy sauce, grated ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and a touch of honey before roasting for an umami-packed flavor profile with a hint of sweetness.

Tips And Tricks

  • Soften the butter, don’t melt it. Using softened butter rather than melted helps with coating consistency, flavor infusion, and better caramelization!
  • Check for doneness. The cauliflower should be evenly browned and tender (easily pierced with a fork when done). 
  • Experiment with flavors. Check out the variations above, for different flavor ideas and seasonings outside of brown butter.

What To Serve With Whole Roasted Cauliflower

This whole roasted cauliflower is a wonderful side dish or appetizer. Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve it, before or with: 

Storage

  • Store: store leftover cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator once cooled for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: reheat in a 350℉ oven, covered in aluminum foil, for 10-15 minutes until warmed through. 
  • Freeze: I do not recommend freezing roasted cauliflower since it tends to become mushy when thawed.

More Roasted Vegetable Recipes You’ll Love!

    Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Brown Butter

    A whole cauliflower that’s roasted in the oven until caramelized, and then drizzled with brown butter and chives, is a sight to see. It’s as delicious as it looks.
    5 from 5 votes
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: fall, winter
    Servings: 4 servings
    Calories: 233kcal
    Author: Tastefully Grace

    Equipment

    • Cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet)

    Ingredients

    • 1 medium whole cauliflower about 5” across
    • 6 tablespoons salted butter softened
    • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • Salt to taste
    • Handful of fresh chives snipped

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400℉. Cut the core of the cauliflower head so that the cauliflower lies flat (level) on a cutting board. Remove all green leaves.
    • Place cauliflower in a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet. Drizzle cauliflower with olive oil and use hands or a basting brush to rub entire cauliflower with the olive oil.
    • Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil, so the cauliflower will steam in the foil.
    • Roast for 30 minutes.
    • Remove the foil and roast for another 25 minutes.
    • Keep cauliflower in the oven. Mix softened butter with black pepper and more salt to taste. Use a spoon to smash softened butter on top of cauliflower in a thick layer, so the butter immediately starts to melt down the sides of the cauliflower.
    • Roast cauliflower for 10 more minutes. You'll see the butter melt and run down the sides of the cauliflower, browning in the bottom of the pan and toasting the top of the cauliflower head.
    • Remove from oven and baste cauliflower head with the brown butter in the bottom of the pan.
    • Garnish with snipped chives. Serve with a big steak knife family-style, or cut into florets.

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 437mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 525IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    picture of grace eating

    Never Miss A Recipe?

    FREE SUBSCRIPTION: SIGN UP TO RECEIVE THE LATEST RECIPES FROM GRACE, PLUS SOME EXCLUSIVE UPDATES ONLY SHARED WITH SUBSCRIBERS!

    We don’t spam! Read our Privacy Policy for more info.

    Follow:
    Share:
    5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating




    Featured On:


    Looking for Something?