The Baking Ingredient That Makes Roasted Vegetables So Crispy

There is nothing so tasty as a tray of freshly roasted vegetables. They're the perfect addition to almost any dinner, offering a crispy, delicious taste that is endlessly customizable to your taste or mood. From sweet potatoes to carrots, onions, and even peppers, almost any veggie can be improved by roasting. The process perfectly caramelizes the sugars within vegetables, mellowing out their flavors to create a delicious and complex side dish.

But then again, though roasted vegetables can seem like an easy slam dunk for home cooks, oftentimes a tray of assorted vegetables can come out soggy rather than crunchy. And is there anything more disappointing than roasted vegetables that have gone soggy? Well, there is one ingredient that may be standing between you and the perfect plate of roasted potatoes or carrots, and that's cornstarch. Yes, the cooking mainstay might just be the key to perfectly crispy roasted veggies.

In addition to being a fantastic thickening agent or baking ingredient, cornstarch can also help make your roasted vegetables extra crispy. This is because vegetables naturally release moisture when roasting, and adding cornstarch can help to wick away this moisture, helping them take on that delicious, crisp texture. 

How to use cornstarch to roast your veggies

It may seem like a cumbersome task to add a whole other ingredient to what should be a simple dish; after all roasted vegetables are a dinner go-to for many reasons, including their simple preparation. However, adding cornstarch is an easy step that can make all of the difference in your roasting. 

Before adding cornstarch, properly prepare your vegetables by cutting them and tossing them in an oil of your choice. From there, you could simply coat your oiled vegetables in cornstarch — general guidance calls for one tablespoon of cornstarch per pound of vegetables — along with your other seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, and other savory herbs. Make sure that you evenly coat your veggies in cornstarch so that they crisp evenly. 

Another aspect to keep in mind for extra crispy roasted vegetables is oven temperature. Most vegetables should be roasted at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, though recipes vary, it is important to make sure that your oven is properly heated for roasting. 

Other ways to enhance your vegetables

Of course, coating your vegetables in cornstarch isn't the only way to up your roasting game. In addition to adding cornstarch for crispiness, adding herbs such as rosemary or thyme to your recipe is an easy way to upgrade the flavor of your dish. 

Adding sauces such as a balsamic vinegar drizzle can also add more complexity to the sheet pan staple. Balsamic vinegar in particular is a fantastic addition to veggies such as Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, or carrots and can help highlight their natural sweetness. If you're using other vegetables, such as cauliflower, onions, and peppers, however, you can liven them up by adding a squeeze of lemon juice. Or take your vegetables in a more Mediterranean direction by adding a drizzle of tahini and sesame seeds. If you're feeling indulgent, you can also add bacon to your roasted vegetables to help deepen their flavors. Bacon with roasted Brussels sprouts, for example, is a delicious combination that, when combined with a cheese such as parmesan, can make for a satisfying side. Miso paste can also add a pop of flavor to your roasted vegetables, giving a tasty umami flavor. 

There are essentially no limits to what you can do to improve your roasting game. However, you'll always want to start with a good, crunchy base. And cornstarch is the perfect addition to any roasted vegetable recipe.