Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

Cauliflower Gratin

Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
255 Calories
14g Fat
21g Carbs
13g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 255
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 809mg 35%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 13g
Vitamin C 61mg 305%
Calcium 325mg 25%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 377mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Gratins feature very heavily in French cooking. Essentially they include vegetables of some sort covered in a white sauce and popped under the grill. Most cultures have their form of vegetable gratin including a famous British cauliflower cheese.

Creamy and comforting, this cauliflower gratin recipe features a classic béchamel sauce punched up by just a little bit of fresh thyme. This gratin is a classic at Provençal tables and is often served for the traditional meatless Christmas Eve dinner, gros souper.

Cook’s note: This recipe makes extra béchamel sauce, which is perfect for drizzling on steamed vegetables.


  • 1 large (3​-pound) head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups milk

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 1/3 cups grated Gruyère cheese

  • 1/3 cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and set it aside. Steam the cauliflower in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 5 to 7 minutes, until the florets are just tender. Rinse them in cold water, drain, and arrange them in a single layer in the buttered dish.

  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually—1/3 cup at a time add the milk. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, thyme, and nutmeg.

  3. Pour 2 cups of the béchamel sauce over the steamed cauliflower and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyère cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.

Alternatives for Cauliflower Gratin

One of the most obvious combinations on the cauliflower is to include another brassica, such as broccoli. Spinach makes a great addition, as does super-healthy, ever popular kale. The kale should and spinach should be lightly steamed before using on the dish. Add into the gratin dish before pouring over the white sauce.