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overhead view of cauliflower gratin in a casserole dish
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5 from 1 vote

Cauliflower Gratin

Cheesy yet crispy, this cauliflower gratin is the best of both worlds! With a delicious cheese sauce made with gruyere, butter, garlic and milk, it's a delicious side dish worthy of your holiday table!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 261kcal


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch florets
  • 2 tablespoon salted butter
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups 2% milk see note 1
  • 2 ½ cups shredded gruyere cheese divided
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs see note 2


  • Steam cauliflower using your favorite method:
    a) Microwave in a covered dish with ¼ cup water for 5-10 minutes
    b) Simmer on the stove top for 10-12 minutes
    c) Steam in the Instant Pot for 0 minutes with a quick pressure release
    Drain well and allow to cool slightly.
    steamed cauliflower in large glass measuring dish

Cheese sauce

  • To a medium frying pan heated to medium heat, melt the butter.
    melting butter added to pan
  • Add garlic and allow to simmer for 1 minute.
    garlic added to butter in a pan
  • Add the salt and flour. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to stir it into the butter until all flour is wet.
    flour, butter, garlic and salt mixed into a roux
  • Add milk to the pan in ¼ cup increments, whisking to combine. This can take between 5-10 minutes. Allow sauce to bubble and thicken.
    thickened bubbling cheese sauce
  • Add 1 ½ cups of the gruyere, folding it into the sauce until fully melted. Remove the pan from the heat.
    overhead view adding cheese to the cheese sauce in the final step

Assembly and baking the gratin

  • Heat the oven to 425°F.
  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan well with spray oil or butter. Add the cauliflower florets and spread out evenly.
  • Pour the cheese sauce evenly over the cauliflower.
  • Sprinkle the reserved 1 cup of gruyere cheese over the cauliflower.
  • Scatter the Panko breadcrumbs evenly over the cauliflower.
  • Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.



Cool the gratin completely, and portion out into an air tight container.
  • Store in the fridge; gratin is best consumed within 48 hours of cooking
Prepping ahead
  1. If you'd like to get a head start on the gratin, you may prep through step 4 of 'assembly'.
  2. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  3. Let the casserole sit at room temperature while you bring the oven to 425°F. S
  4. catter Panko breadcrumbs over top and bake for 15 minutes, adding extra time if needed (since the dish will still be cold)
Half batch
You can cut this recipe in half and cook in a square 9 inch pan; the cheese sauce will thicken much faster so keep an eye on it!
Bake for the same amount of time.
  • nutmeg– add ⅛ of a teaspoon to the cheese sauce (do not exceed)
  • thyme leaves– add 2 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
  • sage– add 8-10 fresh sage leaves to the cheese sauce to infuse with flavor, pull them out before pouring over the cauliflower
  • parmesan cheese– swap the gruyere sprinkled on top of the gratin for an equal volume of parmesan cheese
  • broccoli– consider using a mix of broccoli and cauliflower


Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 597mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 524IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 497mg | Iron: 1mg