You probably have your own special way of roasting vegetables, whether you focus on cooking them low and slow or using a special pan to get the right amount of crunch. However, veggies can often brown unevenly or end up a little soggy even if you’ve done everything right. Luckily, there’s a simple trick that can guarantee that your veggies come out uniformly roasted every single time, even if it’s a little unorthodox: Put the roasting pan on your oven floor instead of one of the wire racks.
The tip comes from cookbook author Carolynn Carreno, who swears that sticking your sheet pan at the bottom of your oven makes your veggies crispier. She recommends setting it there and then cranking up the heat to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through. “The oven floor provides the hottest, most even and direct heat possible, which means you can get your vegetables nice and caramelized without overcooking them,” she said about her technique.
Carreno’s biggest pro tip is to make sure that your oven can handle the weight of the pan on the floor before; you can do this by starting with a much smaller batch of veggies, looking at the instructions that came with your oven, googling your particular oven model, or potentially contacting the manufacturer.
If you’re worried about weight on your oven floor, you can also try cooking your sheet pan on the lowest possible wire rack rung, or you can put a pizza stone on that low rung and let it get ripping hot over the course of an hour before you place your sheet pan of veggies on it. If you have a little time to prepare beforehand, you can even heat your sheet pan for at least 10 to 20 minutes prior to adding your veggies. It ensures that your vegetables are on a super hot surface from the get-go instead of waiting to warm up, allowing them to follow roast in the process.
Of course, if you’re worried that your oven floor may be more than a little gross, you can clean it up in a jiffy before cooking using just simple two ingredients. When your oven is completely cool, sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda on the floor and then spray it with water. Let the mix set over the course of several hours, and then wipe your it down. Make sure you rinse the oven floor thoroughly to ensure that there’s no baking soda residue left. You’ll be cooking those crispy veggies in no time!