How to Get Browner, Crispier Roasted Vegetables

The trick to browner roasted vegetables that are anything but limp isn’t a secret ingredient or special tool—it’s time.


Crisp and tender roasted root vegetables. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)

In Sarah’s recent piece about the Maillard reaction (a.k.a. that scientific thing responsible for a good sear on a steak, crispy edges of roasted potatoes, and brown edges of fried eggs), she shared a tip from Serious Eats’s J. Kenji López-Alt that was so simple yet so helpful, we didn’t want you to miss it.

It starts with the fact that high heat + dryer ingredients = better chance of caramelly, browned bits. And it’s employed on a cooking technique where caramel-crisp is what we’re going for—roasting vegetables:

…Kenji recommends you leave cut vegetables uncovered in the refrigerator overnight; by drying them out, you’re ensuring that they’ll brown nicely when you roast them the next day.


Left: Vegetables roasted after a night cut and uncovered in the fridge; Right: Vegetables cut then roasted. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)

That photo above doesn’t lie! Leaving cut vegetables uncovered in the fridge overnight is an extra step that involves a little additional planning, but it will give you exactly what you were going for when you decided to slip some vegetables into the hot oven.

Now if only you had a recipe or two to try this trick out on…

1. Potatoes


Your vegetables are done when crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)

2. Cauliflower Fennel Salad with Roasted Lemon & Shallot Salsa Verde


A new, roasted, spin on salsa verde. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)

3. Tahini Roasted Broccoli


An addictive, tahini-soaked spin on roasted broccoli. (Photo: Bobbi Lin/Food52)

4. Roasted Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Goat Cheese, and Coriander


Don’t underestimate the roasted sweet potato. (Photo: Bobbi Lin/Food52)

5. Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto and Burrata


Burrata is always a good addition any roasted vegetable. (Photo: James Ransom/Food52)

6. Spice-Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Tahini Drizzle


An easy side dish that hits all the right notes: spicy, sweet, bitter, and salty. (Photo: Bobbi Lin/Food52)

By Ali Slagle.