This recipe for Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon turns boring broccoli into something crispy and caramelized in 40 minutes or less. Delicious!

Roasted broccoli with lemon on a baking sheet.

True confession: I actually grew up eating frozen broccoli with melted Velveeta cheese on top. That’s how my mom always made it, and I loved it. Cheese + broccoli= best friends forever.

Consider this recipe a slightly more sophisticated twist on the classic. Turn the oven up: The high heat from the oven is perfect for cooking broccoli. It caramelizes the natural sugars in everything, making cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli sweet, nutty, and downright edible. Devour-able, even.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled roasted broccoli ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Broccoli: Trim off the dry woody part of the stem, but the rest is fair game. Cut the broccoli florets into pieces that are all about the same size so they cook evenly.
  • Lemon: The zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon) can be added with the lemon juice. Just zest the lemon before you cut it to squeeze it.
  • Parmesan cheese: Any hard, aged cheese will work well instead. Think Parmesan, grated Asiago, pecorino, or Romano cheese.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Before you start, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and move the baking rack to the center of the oven. Then line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Add the broccoli to a big bowl with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice (and zest, if using) and some salt and pepper.
    Raw broccoli with lemon in a bowl.
  2. Toss to combine, then arrange the broccoli evenly on the baking sheet without crowding it.
    Raw Broccoli and lemon on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast the broccoli for 35 to 40 minutes, until brown at the edges but tender in the middle. Flip halfway through cooking for even browning. Take the tray out of the oven and sprinkle the broccoli with Parmesan cheese. Then return the tray to the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, another 1 to 2 minutes.
    Roasted broccoli with lemon on a baking sheet.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • High temperature formula: I like to roast every vegetable at 400 degrees and just adjust the baking time, keeping an eye out for signs of doneness. But remember the Farenheit 451 rule: Books burn at 451 degrees, and so does parchment paper. That’s why I chose 400 degrees as my baseline, even though some vegetables could be done quicker at a higher temp.
  • Keep things dry: After you rinse your vegetables, pat them dry or allow them to air dry before they go into the oven. More moisture= more steam= less toasty crisp bits.
  • Crowd control: Crowded vegetables create steam which prevents them from getting toasty. The baking sheet surface in contact with the broccoli is what gives your roasted vegetables those brown, crunchy bits. Also, flip your veggies halfway through cooking so the other side has a chance to get just as delicious.
  • Roasting frozen broccoli: Roast frozen broccoli right out of the bag, but raise the oven temp to 450. Don’t let the broccoli thaw out first, otherwise it’ll turn soft and won’t ever get crispy.

Roasted broccoli with lemon in a bowl.

More delicious vegetable recipes:

Roasted broccoli on a baking sheet with lemon garnish.

Roasted Broccoli with Lemon and Parmesan

This recipe for Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon turns boring broccoli into something crispy and caramelized in 40 minutes or less. Delicious!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 115

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds broccoli florets from 3 stalks broccoli (see note 1)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon (see note 2)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce, see note 3)

Instructions 

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup.
  • In a large bowl, add broccoli, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt to taste and pepper (I like at least ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; sometimes I do a little more).
  • Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast until florets are tender-crisp and browning around the edges, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. 

Notes

  1. Broccoli: Trim off the dry woody part of the stem, but the rest is fair game. Cut the broccoli florets into pieces that are all about the same size so they cook evenly. 
  2. Lemon: The zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon) can be added with the lemon juice. Just zest the lemon before you cut it to squeeze it.
  3. Parmesan cheese: Any hard, aged cheese will work well instead. Think Parmesan, grated Asiago, pecorino, or Romano cheese.
  4. High temperature formula: I like to roast every vegetable at 400 degrees and just adjust the baking time, keeping an eye out for signs of doneness. But remember the Farenheit 451 rule: Books burn at 451 degrees, and so does parchment paper. That's why I chose 400 degrees as my baseline, even though some vegetables could be done quicker at a higher temp. 
  5. Keep things dry: After you rinse your vegetables, pat them dry or allow them to air dry before they go into the oven. More moisture= more steam= less toasty crisp bits.
  6. Crowd control: Crowded vegetables create steam which prevents them from getting toasty. The baking sheet surface in contact with the broccoli is what gives your roasted vegetables those brown, crunchy bits. Also, flip your veggies halfway through cooking so the other side has a chance to get just as delicious.
  7. Roasting frozen broccoli: Roast frozen broccoli right out of the bag, but raise the oven temp to 450. Don’t let the broccoli thaw out first, otherwise it’ll turn soft and won’t ever get crispy.

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 5gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 86mgPotassium: 364mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 734IUVitamin C: 103mgCalcium: 91mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. Omg, this was DELICIOUS! Definitely on par with something I would get at a restaurant. So addictive that we are the whole sheet of broccoli in one go lol thank you for such a wonderful recipe!5 stars

  2. Awesome recipe. Very easy! I cut broccoli pieces a little too small, bite size, and had to watch it .. only cooked about 30 minutes till done.
    Only one question, when you change it to 4 servings, the amount of Olive oil and the amount of parmesan says 0.13 cups?5 stars

    1. Hi Ramona, sorry about that! It’s how the recipe card does the math. Half of 1/4 cup is 2 tablespoons. Sorry for the confusion, it’s just how the form scales recipes. I’m glad you enjoyed it though! – Meggan