The cheesy cream sauce over steamed cauliflower makes this delicious Cauliflower Gratin a dish you’ll want to add to your weekly meal rotation!
This gratin recipe is a little bit healthy and a little bit indulgent. The cauliflower is a great source of fiber and important vitamins, and the cheesy cream sauce gives some healthy fats and color to a pretty neutral dish. Add your favorite seasonings to bring out the flavor, and you’ve got a recipe everyone will love.
There are plenty of side dishes to choose from, but I’m positive you’ll be going back for seconds of this cauliflower gratin recipe!
SAVE THIS CAULIFLOWER GRATIN RECIPE TO YOUR FAVORITE PINTEREST BOARD!
What is Cauliflower Gratin?
A “gratin” is any dish that is topped with cheese or breadcrumbs mixed with butter, then cooked in the oven until that topping is crispy. It’s basically a cooking term for “crispy baked top”. In this case, our cauliflower florets have a cheese and breadcrumb topping, so it is served “au gratin”.
Can I make this cheesy casserole ahead of time?
This is a perfect side dish for the holidays or any busy time because you can make most of it ahead of time! If you need to make your dish before you’re ready to serve it, simply follow the recipe below as directed until you get to the breadcrumbs. At that point, cover and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. Then, uncover your dish, add the breadcrumbs, and bake!
If time constraints mean you need to bake the whole thing ahead of time, you can do so, then cover the gratin with aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To reheat, uncover and cook at 350 degrees until warm throughout, about 20-25 minutes.
Cauliflower Gratin Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need for this au gratin recipe:
- 1 head of cauliflower
- All-purpose flour
- Black pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Gruyere cheese
- Worcestershire sauce
- Colby or Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Seasoned bread crumbs
How to make Cauliflower Gratin
While you prepare your cauliflower, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Break down your cauliflower into florets and cook in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes. Then drain and place the cooked florets into the prepared baking dish. Season with a teaspoon of salt and some ground pepper.
To prepare your cream sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk flour in so that it creates a light roux. Gradually add milk, whisking to blend with the roux.
Continue to cook and whisk the butter-flour mixture with the milk until the sauce thickens, but turn down to medium heat and do not boil! Add salt and pepper to taste.
To make the creamy sauce, add the parmesan cheese and gruyere cheese, then stir with a wooden spoon until the cheese is melted. Pour the creamy cheese sauce over the tender cauliflower. Sprinkle the Colby or Cheddar cheese over the top of the cauliflower.
Melt butter in a small bowl, then mix in bread crumbs with a fork. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the entire dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. The topping should have a crispy bread crumb.
- Don’t overboil the cauliflower! It should still be firm, not falling apart. If you overboil it, your gratin may end up too watery.
- On a related note, make sure to drain your cauliflower well before placing in the baking dish!
- This recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs in the topping, and by using gluten-free flour as a thickener in the roux.
- Feel free to sub different cheeses than those called for in the recipe. You could try Swiss cheese, for example!
- Add your favorite toppings- bacon, Panko bread crumbs, etc.
- This dish as written is low-carb and vegetarian! It’s a great meatless meal or substitute for potatoes au gratin.
What can I serve with Cauliflower Gratin?
This recipe works with a meaty main dish as well as many other popular dishes. Why not try it for the holidays with our Herb Roasted Turkey? It would also be a great accompaniment to this Easy Meatloaf Recipe or our flavorful Chicken Piccata. It’s also great with a big green salad!
Need more side dish inspiration?
This cheesy cauliflower side dish will be perfectly paired with your favorite protein and is one the whole family will enjoy.
- 1 head of cauliflower broken down into florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup shredded Colby/Cheddar cheese
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons butter melted
- ½ cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and prepare a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- Cook cauliflower florets in a pot of salted, boiling water for 5-6 minutes.
- Drain and place into the prepared baking dish. Season with a pinch of salt and ground pepper.
- To prepare sauce, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk flour in so that it forms a light roux.
- Gradually add milk, whisking so that the roux blends in completely. Continue cooking and whisking until sauce thickens. Do not boil. Add salt and pepper.
- Stir in Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and stir until cheeses are melted. Mix in the Worcestershire sauce. Pour sauce over cauliflower.
- Sprinkle Colby/Cheddar cheese over the cauliflower.
- In a small bowl, combine melted butter and bread crumbs. Mix until thoroughly combined with a fork.
- Sprinkle bread crumbs entirely over cauliflower.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
This post was originally published 2/2/12. It has been updated in format and with pictures on 11/15/22.