Roasted Fennel

Fennel is a wonderfully versatile vegetable. It resembles a peeled onion bulb that someone has pressed between their hands so it’s no longer round, with a green celery-like stalk and dill-ish fronds. It has the cool crunch of celery with a strong note of licorice when you take a bite. It is lovely sliced thin and served with Parmesan in a salad, luscious and filling in a cheesy gratin, and absolutely delicious roasted.

Roasted, fennel caramelizes at the edges and loses its crunch. The licorice notes that were so discernible when the fennel was raw leave only a hint when roasted. Even people who run from anything licorice-ish (like my father) easily enjoy fennel when it is warm and roasted.

This simple dish of fennel roasted with olive oil and balsamic vinegar would be perfect with roast chicken, fish, or seafood.

Roasted Fennel Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4



  • 2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs halved lengthwise, then cut lengthwise in 1-inch thick wedges
  • 2 Tbsp (or more) of Olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) balsamic vinegar



1 Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Place the fennel wedges in a bowl and toss them with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil, just enough to coat them. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, again just enough to coat.

roasted-fennel-1.jpg roasted-fennel-2.jpg

2 Line a roasting pan or baking dish Silpat or aluminum foil brushed with olive oil.  Arrange the fennel wedges on the pan and roast them for 40 minutes or until the fennel wedges are cooked through and beginning to caramelize at the edges.

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Ven'll You Roast Fennel? - Adam Roberts, the Amateur Gourmet, tries out a Barefoot Contessa recipe for roasted fennel

Oven roasted fennel and tomato soup from Lucullian Delights

Roasted fennel, chilli, and sweet potato salad from the Culinary Chase

Gratin of fennel and tomato from The Wednesday Chef

Roasted potatoes and fennel from CookThink

Roasted Fennel


  1. Debs

    I love fennel! I especially like it roasted with olive oil and a sprinkling of parmegiano which forms a ntty crust. I was told there are “male” and “female” bulbs, and that the female which are shorter, rounder, squatter are tastier or somehow “better’. The male bulbs are more elongated. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve always searched out the round ones.

  2. mimsie

    Do you have any suggestions on what to do with the stalks? I think they smell great and I’d hate to just waste them!

    • Elise

      Hi Mimsie, I use the stalks along with onions, carrots, and celery when I make chicken stock. It’s a great use for them. I also use the fronds in salads, delicious!

  3. Maxximillian

    Hi, Mimsie.

    On the Tony Tantillo site, he suggests the following for fennel stalks. Enjoy!

    Don’t throw away the stalks or leaves. Chefs use the stalks in soups and stews to add flavor and use the feathery leaves as an herb, similar to parsley. The leaves are particularly good with fish baked in parchment. You can also wet the fronds and stalks and throw them on the grill in lieu of wood chips. In addition to fish, they add excellent flavor to poultry, pork, and lamb.

  4. Angel

    I’ve chopped up the stalks and the “leaves” to put in spaghetti sauce. The “leaves” are traditional in (meatless) spaghetti sauce for St Joseph’s day

  5. Russell

    Recently had a fennel and watermelon salad. It was wonderful! Light and refreshing. It had some type of dressing, possibly vinegar and sugar, but not sure. Any idea or recipe in the file?

    Not yet, but sounds like a lovely combination. ~Elise

  6. Toni


    I love roasted fennel (and even raw fennel), but I wanted to try BBQ’d fennel – shish kebab style. Do you think that will have the same effect, and what other vegetables would you suggest putting on the skewer?

    Thanks!! Love your site :)

    Great idea. I would suggest bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant for veggies, and either pork or lamb for meat to go on a skewer with fennel. ~Elise

  7. kt banbandoo

    I was very excited to try this recipe, having never tasted fennel before I bit into one of the “fingers” and was delighted at the mix of flavors. But after roasting the bulb in olive oil and balsalmic, I was disappointed to find how bland the final result. Maybe I need to cook it longer?

    You want to roast it enough so that the fennel is browned and the sugars from the balsamic vinegar and fennel get caramelized. That’s where the richness of flavor is going to come from. ~Elise

  8. Mark Stevens

    Thanks for this simple and effective recipe. I did it for about 40 mins, which led to nice caramelisation and slightly overdone veg (which is how I like it). I did them with carrots, which worked ok (though the carrots had a slightly stringy texture – is this normal when you roast them?) The grated parmesan gave a nice crust and flavour, and the fennel was as a roast veg should be – crispy on the outside but with a lovely virginal white softness to the inner leaves. The balsamic really makes its presence felt at the end of the roasting process, so use with caution unless you want it to dominate everything.

  9. Francesca

    Fantastic recipe! So simple yet so delicious and elegant. The roasting does bring out a wonderful nutty flavor. Try pairing it with wine and serving as an appetizer. I ended up using the remainder of the fennel feathers as a pretty garnish while adding some extra fresh flavor. Thank you for posting this recipe. One of my favorites!

  10. Jessica Lea, RD

    Thank-you for the encouragement to try fennel for our very FIRST time! Looking forward to experimenting a bit more next time :)

  11. Ajani

    Made this early this morning and it was delicious. I roasted it for 40 mins for more carmelization. It indeed tasted like licorice but better to me. Loved the crunch. This was my first time eating fennel but definitely not my last.

  12. Julie

    I put some of the feathers and one part of the bulb, in a soup base, turkey carcass, but after reading some of the comments here I will be putting in more. The soup is in a crock pot on low, will be letting it cook all night. Will let you know how it turned out. :)

  13. Viktoria

    Just tried this recipe for dinner and it was lovely. Super simple and goes well with chicken. I absolutely recommend it.

  14. Mitchell Webster

    This is my first time trying fennel, it was in my CSA box and thought this is as good a time as any to try it.
    Too much of the time we are influenced by others on produce we have never eaten before, for fennel it was I hate licorice and there for don’t want it with my food. however upon slicing the fennel I found the aroma to be more spicy kind of like smelling lemony, gingery, with a hint of licorice, mine are in the oven right now. I am looking forward to trying it more ways. Thanks Elise for a wonderful blog and post.

  15. Pauline

    Like many of the commenters, I had never prepared fennel prior to this. I didn’t have any balsamic vinegar, so I used some Italian salad dressing mixed with the EVOO & brushed it on with a touch of sugar. I roasted it for 40 minutes… Adding some Italian bread crumbs & Parmesan cheese in the last 15 minutes. The verdict? It was really good! Thanks for the insight!

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