Cauliflower Gratin

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This Cauliflower Gratin with a sprinkling of cheese, a light cream sauce, and a crispy buttery bread crumb topping is so so good, I keep dreaming about making it again.

Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin begins by layering fresh cauliflower with a sprinkling of cheese and a light cream sauce. Then it’s topped with crispy buttery bread crumbs to coat each piece and make an irresistible roasted cauliflower side dish that even the youngest kids are certain to enjoy.

Not a cauliflower fan? This recipe might change your mind or try broccoli gratin instead. This was SOOOO good! My youngest son popped into the kitchen four different times to grab a bite from the pan on the stove while we were waiting for the rest of dinner to be ready.

When I tell you this is delicious, just trust me here. I could happily make a meal of just this crispy cheesy cauliflower.

Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is packed with nutrients and can be seasoned with almost anything and taste great. We enjoy it often tossed with just a little oil, salt, and pepper then just saute, roast, or air fry.

Cauliflower au gratin is the perfect combination of textures for us. The tender-crisp cauliflower combined with the creaminess of the cheese sauce and the buttery bread crumb topping is quite tasty.

creamy cauliflower in ovan baking dish with breadcrumbs

Some recipes call for the cauliflower to be boiled first and you can certainly do that. (I did try it once, but I admit I am a big fan of my vegetables not being a pile of mush.) I enjoy them much better when they aren’t raw but have just the right firmness to them.

Baking the cauliflower au gratin at 400°F results in perfectly roasted cauliflower and a beautifully bubbly cheese sauce.

Let’s talk about that cheese sauce. We do love a creamy cheesy sauce, however, there is such a thing as too much richness. Yes, it sounds crazy to say that but I like the cheese sauce to be creamy and smooth and complement the vegetables while not taking over the dish.

With this recipe for perfectly baked, tender cauliflower and sharp cheese sauce topped with buttery bread crumbs, my guess is your family is going to be requesting this dish on a regular basis.

cauliflower topped with cheese in white baker

Cauliflower Au Gratin

  • butter
  • bread crumbs plain or Italian work well
  • all-purpose flour
  • whole milk
  • kosher salt
  • granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • granulated onion or onion powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • cauliflower
  • sharp Cheddar 

Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 1.5-2 quart baking dish (9-10 inch square pan will work nicely) with butter or cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir quickly to coat. Saute with stirring frequently for about 2 minutes, until toasted. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and let cool.
  3. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter (in the same skillet used for the breadcrumbs) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, trim the cauliflower florets as needed for small bite-size pieces. Place the cauliflower in the greased baking dish, sprinkle with half of the cheese and pour sauce over the cheese. Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs.
  5. Bake the cauliflower gratin until lightly browned and bubbly, about 24-28 minutes. Serve warm.
roasted cauliflower with cream sauce in white dish

Recipes with Cauliflower

There are so many great ways to cook cauliflower! Once you’ve mastered air frying, you may want to try grillingroasting or sauteeing your cauliflower.

Crispy Cajun Cauliflower brings a kiss of heat to this tasty, slightly crunchy side dish. Season cauliflower steaks with the cajun seasoning and make it the meal.

roasted cauliflower with cream sauce in white dish

Cauliflower Gratin

Crispy cauliflower bites in a light cream sauce with crispy buttery bread crumbs coating each piece make a fantastic side dish.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • cup bread crumbs plain or Italian work well
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more as needed, adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small florets about 1 pound or 4-5 cups worth
  • cup freshly grated sharp Cheddar about 4 ounces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 1.5-2 quart baking dish (9-10 inch square pan will work nicely) with butter or cooking spray.
  • In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the bread crumbs and stir quickly to coat. Saute with stirring frequently for about 2 minutes, until toasted. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and let cool.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter (in the same skillet used for the breadcrumbs) over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring frequently until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
  • While the sauce is simmering, trim the cauliflower florets as needed for small bite-size pieces. Place the cauliflower in the greased baking dish, sprinkle with half of the cheese and pour sauce over the cheese. Top with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs.
  • Bake until lightly browned and bubbly, about 24-28 minutes. Serve warm.

Notes

If you prefer your cauliflower to be more tender, feel free to steam it for 3-4 minutes prior to layering it with cheese. Personally, we like it to remain crisp and tender after baking.

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal · Carbohydrates: 9g · Protein: 5g · Fat: 12g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 3g · Trans Fat: 0.2g · Cholesterol: 32mg · Sodium: 381mg · Potassium: 93mg · Fiber: 0.4g · Sugar: 2g · Vitamin A: 367IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · Calcium: 152mg · Iron: 0.4mg
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Cauliflower Gratin

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