Cauliflower Gratin is a cheesy, creamy and easy cauliflower recipe perfect for any meal, from busy weeknight dinners to holiday meals. In this Cauliflower Gratin recipe, steamed cauliflower is baked in a rich and decadent homemade cream sauce until golden brown and bubbly.
Nothing says comfort food like a creamy and cheesy casserole. Just like a side of potatoes au gratin, this Cauliflower Gratin or Cauliflower Au Gratin is incredibly delicious with an added bonus, a lot less carbs!
This easy baked cauliflower recipe can be served as a side dish or as a meatless main dish. This cheesy cauliflower bake comes together easily and it’s always a favorite among my family and friends. To say that this is one of the best cauliflower recipes ever is an understatement!
What Does This Baked Cauliflower with Cheese Taste Like?
Cauliflower Gratin tastes very much like scalloped potatoes or potatoes au gratin. Cauliflower is a blank canvas, with a mild taste that benefits from this smooth, creamy and super flavorful cheese sauce.
Cauliflower Au Gratin Ingredients
- Cauliflower: I prefer using fresh cauliflower, but frozen cauliflower works very well.
- Milk: I use whole milk because it makes a creamier and richer sauce than low fat milk. If you want a richer and more decadent sauce, you can use Half and Half.
- Cheese: Shredded white cheddar, shredded Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Freshly shredded cheese from a block of cheese is always best. Feel free to use any combination of cheese you like. Some good options are Gouda cheese, Fontina and Monterrey Jack.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter to have better control of the salt content.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour.
- Bread Crumbs: I use Panko bread crumbs as I like their nice texture.
- Seasonings: Nutmeg and ground black pepper.
How To Make Cauliflower Gratin:
- Preheat the oven.
- Cook the cauliflower until tender but firm (al dente). You can cook the cauliflower in the microwave or in a pot of boiling salted water.
- Make the roux by combining the melted butter and flour and cooking for a couple of minutes.
- Pour the milk slowly into the roux to make the creamy sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt, nutmeg and ground black pepper. Add the Gruyere cheese, white cheddar and some of the Parmesan. Mix until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Pour some of the cheese sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Top it with cauliflower and then pour the rest of the sauce over the cauliflower. Spread the sauce evenly.
- To make the crispy Panko topping, combine melted butter, Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese.
- Sprinkle the Panko breadcrumbs over the cauliflower and cream sauce and bake until the top is golden brown.
Yes, absolutely! However, instead of cooking the broccoli for a few minutes, simply blanch the broccoli in salted boiling water for no longer than a minute.
Pre-shredded cheese is a time saver for sure however, it doesn’t melt as smoothly as freshly shredded cheese from a cheese block due to a preservative that keeps the cheese from clumping together.
Can I Make Cauliflower Gratin Ahead Of Time
This cauliflower au gratin recipe is the perfect side dish to make ahead of time. You can cook the cauliflower, make the creamy cheese sauce and assemble the cauliflower bake. Without topping it with the Panko breadcrumb mixture, cover the baking dish and refrigerate it until ready to bake.
You can keep the unbaked casserole in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove it from the fridge and allow the dish to come to room temperature for 35 to 45 minutes before baking. Follow the directions to make the topping and top the casserole before putting it in the oven.
Baked Cauliflower Gratin Variations
- Bacon: Crispy bacon is a great addition to this tasty cheesy cauliflower dish.
- Ham: Add cooked diced ham for a wonderful non-vegetarian side dish or main dish.
- Caramelized Onions: Combine the tender crisp cauliflower with caramelized onions and pour the cheesy sauce over the top.
- Smoky Cheese Sauce: Make this cheesy cauliflower recipe with lots of freshly shredded smoked Gouda cheese mixed with Gruyere cheese.
- Tex-Mex: Make the cheese sauce with Monterrey Jack and melting Oaxaca cheese, then add diced green chiles and season the cheese sauce with a little bit of ground cumin. After baking, garnish with chopped cilantro.
What To Serve With This Easy Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Recipe?
Cauliflower Bake Recipe Tips
- Don’t overcook the cauliflower before you bake it. You only want to cook it until al dente.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- You can make this fabulous side dish with a combination of veggies broccoli, cauliflower, fennel and brussel sprouts.
More Thanksgiving Recipes That You’ll Love:
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Mac and Cheese
- Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Green Beans
- Dutch Apple Pie
- Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Check These Cauliflower Recipes:
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Easy Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 large head of cauliflower cut into large florets (about 3 pounds – or 8 cups of florets)
- 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup grated white cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Chopped parsley or chives to garnish optional
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cook the cauliflower florets until tender but still firm (al dente).
- You can cook the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling salted water for about 4-5 minutes, then drain. Or you can place the cauliflower florets in a microwave safe bowl with ½ cup of water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for about 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and drain.
- Meanwhile, make a roux by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Slowly, pour the milk into the butter-flour mixture whisking constantly. Turn the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently. Lower the heat and simmer for about 1 minute or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat.
- Season with salt (about ½ to 1 teaspoon), ground black pepper and nutmeg. Add the Gruyere cheese, the white cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Mix until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Pour one third of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 11 x 2-inch baking dish.
- Place the drained cauliflower on top and then pour the rest of the sauce over the cauliflower. Spread the sauce evenly.
- In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
- To make the Panko topping, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and the melted butter in a small bowl. Mix to combine.
- Sprinkle the Panko mixture on top of the cauliflower gratin and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature garnished with chopped parsley (optional).
Monday Holiday Side Dish Recipes:
- Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles by House of Nash Eats
- Balsamic Glazed Baby Onions by Savory Experiments
- Best Thanksgiving Stuffing Recipe by The Fresh Cooky
- Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Stuffing by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes with Sausage Crumbles by Food Lust People Love
- Cheese Herb Potato Gratin by Shockingly Delicious
- Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole by Blogghetti
- Cranberry Fluff by An Affair from the Heart
- Easy Chorizo Cornbread Dressing by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries & Pecans by Sweet Beginnings
- Holiday Side Salad by Our Good Life
- Honey Roasted Carrots by Devour Dinner
- No Knead Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Roasted Buttercup Squash by Palatable Pastime
- Roasted fingerling potatoes with Parmesan by The Foodie Affair
- Sauteed Spinach with Bacon by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Vegetables by Cheese Curd in Paradise
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans by West Via Midwest
- Sweet Potato Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Traditional Cranberry Sauce by Family Around the Table
- Twiced Baked Sweet Potatoes by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings