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Easy cheesy cauliflower au gratin is a simple, yet elegant side dish ready in under 1 hour.
Made with tender cauliflower florets tossed in a rich cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs then baked until golden and bubbly. This is the perfect side dish for any occasion!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
Cauliflower au gratin is a veggie side dish with a fancy French name! It’s a low-carb version of the classic cheesy potatoes au gratin, but despite its name, it couldn’t be easier to make.
Made with tender cauliflower florets smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and then topped with golden crispy breadcrumbs. I mean, come on!
When it comes time to make dinner, it doesn’t matter what the occasion, whether it’s a holiday dinner like Thanksgiving or it’s Wednesday, I like to jazz up my side dishes from time to time. However, they must be easy to make and they must taste amazing.
This cauliflower au gratin checks those boxes and more!
It’s so good, that you will probably find yourself eating leftovers cold straight out of the fridge the next day. That is if you’re lucky enough to have any!
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- It’s rich and cheesy with a hint of nutmeg which just screams comfort food! The fact that we’re sneaking in extra veggies is a bonus!
- A budget-friendly simple recipe that anyone can make. Once you know how to make it with cauliflower you can then switch up your veggies next time.
- It’s a flexible recipe that works with any cheese you have on hand. No need to run to the grocery store, just use what you’ve got.
Frequently Asked Questions
The English translation is “to sprinkle with breadcrumbs or cheese (or both) and then browned”.
Right about now you’re wondering what else you can gratin, aren’t you? Gratin recipes are limitless!
I don’t recommend it. Once it starts to thaw and bake it’ll release too much water making the dish watery.
If frozen cauliflower is all you have, make sure to thaw it and drain it first.
This serves about 6 people. I use a 2-quart oval casserole dish because I think it makes for an adorable presentation, but if you want to double the recipe to serve more people, go for it. You’ll just need a bigger dish.
Certainly! Prepare and assemble the cauliflower au gratin the night before, just up until the point of baking. Cover it with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
What to serve with Cauliflower Au Gratin
If you’re on the hunt for something a little different for the holidays alongside your turkey breast or Sunday supper with your pot roast or meatloaf, you can’t go wrong with a baked cauliflower casserole.
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
What to do with leftovers
Enjoy leftovers for up to 4 days! Keep them stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Bulk it up with even more veggies! Add in some diced carrots, broccoli florets, zucchini, or onions.
As mentioned earlier, use whatever cheese you’ve got. You can replace the cheddar with gruyere cheese, Swiss cheese, or a combination of cheddar and one other.
Toss in some bacon crumbles, diced ham, or shredded chicken for protein.
Make it gluten-free by swapping the all-purpose flour with almond flour or a gluten-free all-purpose flour.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Cauliflower. I use a large head of fresh cauliflower, cut into florets. You can buy 24oz bags of pre-cut cauliflower at most grocery stores. I use between 40 and 48 oz.
- Garlic. Freshly minced.
- All-purpose flour.
- Milk. The higher the fat content, the creamier it will be. Use any kind you want, it’ll still taste great.
- Sharp cheddar cheese. Freshly grated from a block. The pre-shredded packaged cheese comes with a coating that prevents easy melting.
- Parmesan cheese.
- Black pepper.
- Breadcrumbs. Regular or Panko bread crumbs.
Styled Pin Header
- Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Small Bowl
- Baking dish (2 qt)
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Boil or steam cauliflower florets in a pot of salted water until they are tender but not mushy, about 5-7 minutes.
Once cooked, drain and set aside.
- Make the sauce
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Gradually whisk in the milk while continuously stirring to avoid any lumps.
Continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheddar cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using).
Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Do not overheat it or it may start to separate.
- Combine and transfer
Add the creamy sauce to the cauliflower florets and gently mix until they are well-coated. Transfer this mixture to a greased baking dish.
- Top and bake
In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle this over the cauliflower mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.
Garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and serve hot!
More delicious side dish recipes:
- Creamy mashed potatoes. You can never go wrong with a classic side dish like creamy mashed potatoes. It’s a simple side dish that goes with everything!
- Zucchini risotto with bacon. A creamy cheesy risotto made with fresh zucchini and smoky bacon. This side dish is a meal in itself and will outshine any main dish!
- Green bean casserole. Made from scratch without cans of condensed soup, this green bean casserole is creamy, rich, and always a hit.
- Oven roasted vegetables with balsamic and feta. Caramelized roasted root veggies topped with sweet and tangy balsamic and a sprinkling of briny salty feta. The perfect fall dish!
- Roasted broccoli. Just a bit of seasoning and 15 minutes is all you need to make it. Great for sides, salads, and meal prep!
Cauliflower au Gratin
- Small Bowl
- Baking dish (2 qt)
- 40 oz cauliflower (cut into florets)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded )
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated )
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (regular or panko)
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley ( for garnish, optional)
Prep the Cauliflower
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Boil or steam cauliflower florets in a pot of salted water until they are tender but not mushy, about 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
Make the Sauce
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes or until golden. Gradually whisk in the milk and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the cheddar cheese, half of the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg (if using). Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
Combine and Transfer
- Add the cheese sauce to the cauliflower florets and gently mix until they are well-coated. Transfer this mixture to a greased baking dish.
Top and Bake
- In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle this over the cauliflower mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh parsley if desired, and serve hot.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.