You Actually Can Get Crispy Vegetables From Frozen—Here's How

This hack can save you so much time (and money!).

Lightly browned roasted broccoli on a blue platter with a lemon wedge in the background
Photo: bd.weld

I love saving time when it comes to food prep and cooking. Plus, food prices are up and access to fresh produce isn't always the most affordable option. That's when I turn to the freezer.

Frozen produce is typically flash-frozen directly after harvest, when it's at its nutritional and flavorful best. Not only are they chock-full of nutrients and deliver on flavor, but frozen fruits and vegetables are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts, making them a budget-friendly option.

The problem with frozen produce is that you often end up with limp and lifeless food (especially if you follow the package directions for cooking).

So when I heard that roasting frozen vegetables straight from the freezer would somehow result in crispy, perfectly roasted vegetables (compared to the mushy, soggy consistency synonymous with frozen vegetables), I wasn't sure if I could believe it.

Instagram user @lizmoody shared a video of her "favorite healthy cooking hack" for roasting frozen broccoli to perfection. The video quickly gained a lot of traction and I can see why: The cooked vegetables look crisped, charred and too good to be true, so I had to try the method myself.

How to Get Crispy Roasted Frozen Vegetables

So how does this all work? First, pick a frozen vegetable then preheat your oven to 400°F. Add your still-frozen vegetables (with absolutely nothing on them—Liz says adding oil at this stage will actually trap in the moisture, causing soggy veggies) to a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, add any oil and seasonings, return to the oven and roast another 8 to 10 minutes. That's it.

Can You Get Crispy Roasted Frozen Vegetables?

Like all good experiments, I had to start at the beginning which meant that I needed to choose my vegetable. Since everyone online seemed to be using frozen broccoli, I of course chose frozen broccoli. Why stray?

Next, I decided to go a bit rogue from the basic technique by placing my baking sheet in the oven while it preheated. This is one of my favorite hacks for roasting anything, so I figured it was a safe bet here.

Once my oven was preheated, I pulled out my pan (with an oven mitt, of course), lined it with parchment and added my straight-from-the-bag, tossed-with-nothing frozen broccoli. It seemed wrong, but I did it. And then I put it in the oven and waited.

Since I had preheated my pan and because my broccoli florets were pretty small, I knew cooking time wouldn't need to be so long, so I set my timer for 20 minutes and let it go.

The timer went off and sure enough, I pulled out the pan and the broccoli was already crispy and looking so good. I tossed it with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and put it back in for another 5 minutes. When I pulled it out the last time I was impressed. My broccoli looked great, tasted amazing, and I instantly became a believer.

Tips for Getting Crispy Roasted Frozen Vegetables

This method works, but there a few nuances. Below are a few tips to help ensure you get those cripsy vegetables you're after:

  • Keep it even: Make sure your pan is big enough so that you can spread your veggies out in a single layer. They need enough space between each other so that they roast instead of steam.
  • Preheat the pan: This speeds up the process even more, so why not stick that pan in the oven while it preheats? Just be careful when handling the now-hot pan once you pull it out.
  • Check often: Frozen vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, that means they're all going to cook a bit differently. You can start with the same oven temp, but check on smaller vegetables closer to the 15 to 20 minute mark. And f they're not done, cook them in 5 minute increments to make sure they don't burn.
  • Use parchment: Unless you want your delicious roasted vegetables stuck to your pan, you better line it with parchment. And line it right before you put your vegetables on the pan (NOT while it's preheating) because burnt parchment is no good.
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