Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

It’s officially the holiday season, so the next handful of recipes will be holiday focused and perfect to share with family and friends this season!

I’m starting this series with one of my favorites – cheesy cauliflower gratin! It’s wholesome and hearty and ooey gooey, but it’s also a bit lighter than the classic. I cut back on some of the high fat ingredients (think heavy cream), but have secured all of the flavor. We have a cheesy sauce with lots of garlic, nutmeg, cayenne and a splash of lemon juice to brighten things up. It wraps around the tender cauliflower and bakes to golden brown. It’s pretty fantastic, my friends!

You could also make this with broccoli or Brussels sprouts or a mixture of all 3. YUM.

I hope you add this one to your holiday list and stay tuned for more holiday-inspired recipes that are super delish. (Hint: there will be sweet potatoes, pumpkin, apples, pomegranate and squash involved.)

Also, I’m starting to plan recipes for 2020, so if there are any recipes you want to see on the menu, let me know in the comments!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20-25 mins
  • Total Time: 35-40 mins
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x
  • Category: Side Dish, Holiday
  • Method: Stove-Top, Baking


An easy, cheesy cauliflower gratin that’s lighter than the classic.


  • 1 medium (3 pound) head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 23 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere and/or cheddar cheese
  • Splash fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie or baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the cauliflower florets for 4-5 minutes or until barely fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Whisk in the flour and let simmer 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes or until thickened, whisking frequently. Whisk in the salt, black pepper, nutmeg and cayenne. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Gruyere and lemon juice.
  4. Pour half of the sauce into the prepared baking dish. Transfer the steamed cauliflower to the dish, then pour the remaining sauce evenly over the top of the cauliflower.
  5. In a small glass dish, microwave the remaining tablespoon of butter for 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the cauliflower.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese sauce is bubbly. Turn the oven to a broil and cook 2-3 additional minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Let slightly cool, then serve topped with parsley (if using).


Cooking Tip: After draining, place the steamed cauliflower in a kitchen towel to dry. This will help the gratin from becoming watery.

Substitution Tip: Try this recipe with broccoli.


  • Serving Size: 1/10 of recipe
  • Calories: 142
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 249mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 9g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 27mg

Keywords: cauliflower, gratin, cauliflower gratin, side dish, holiday, potluck


  1. irene on November 20, 2019 at 11:33 am

    This looks delicious

    • Julie Andrews on November 20, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks, Irene! I hope you get a chance to try it.

  2. Ellen on November 22, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing , I love veggies recipes .

    • Julie Andrews on November 24, 2019 at 7:53 pm

      You’re very welcome, Ellen!

  3. Lori Kibodeaix on November 24, 2019 at 8:58 am

    This looks so yummy. I’m definitely going to try this one!

    As for what I’d like to see coming up in 202, do you have any Ice Cream alternative recipes? That’s a weak spot for me, so I’d love to see what can be done 🙂

  4. Nat Sisavath on November 25, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Cauliflower is amazing, it can be complimented with anything!

    • Julie Andrews on November 25, 2019 at 11:25 am

      I agree! Cauliflower is the best!

  5. Britt on November 25, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, it’s so simple!

    Can we get a recipe for Four cheese truffle mac n cheese please?

    • Julie Andrews on November 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm

      Oh my… that sounds delicious!!!

  6. Desirae Aldana on November 25, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Julie, if you sub all purpose flour with almond flour this recipe can be altered to be Keto friendly 🙂

  7. Lauren on November 25, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! What a fun and simple recipe.

    • Julie Andrews on November 25, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks, Lauren! Enjoy!

  8. Jacqueline on November 25, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    I make this all the time for a side dish. My kids and husband love it and requested it for Thanksgiving this year. I don’t use the flour because we are gluten free ( celiac) and instead use a little bit of heavy cream to sub for the flour/milk roux mixture. I don’t use much so it’s not so many extra calories and doesn’t make it too watery just enough to have a nice cheese sauce.

    So yummy.

    • Julie Andrews on November 25, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      That sounds really creamy and delicious! I sometimes add a touch of heavy cream to soups and such to give them richness but without too many calories.

  9. Lorraine on November 26, 2019 at 6:51 am

    Great recipe, ok to substitute lowfat milk?

    • Julie Andrews on November 26, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hi Lorraine – You can use any milk. I always use low fat and it tastes great in this recipe!

  10. Sharon Anderson on November 26, 2019 at 10:46 am

    This looks amazing. But I would use the California blend vegetables. Can’t wait to try this.

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:53 am

      Love a blend of veggies! – My only suggestion would be to use fresh broccoli, cauliflower and carrots or let the frozen thaw, then dry them with paper towel. Frozen veggies carry a lot of water and your gratin will likely become very watery after baking with frozen veggies.

      • Sharon Anderson on January 6, 2020 at 8:28 am

        Did make this with cauliflower first. It has great flavor and next time I will add the fresh broccoli and carrots. I did not boil my cauliflower I steamed it. Worked wonderful.

        • Julie Andrews on January 6, 2020 at 9:29 am

          Awesome – glad you liked it!

  11. Marjorie Nazaire on November 26, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I love it, I will try it with broccoli and I will share it on my blog. Thank you for sharing.

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:53 am

      It’s delicious with broccoli! Enjoy, Marjorie!

  12. Andy Hill on November 27, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    Definitely trying it! I would love to see your take on Au gratin potatoes for 2020 or now if you have one already please.

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:54 am

      That’s a great idea! I’d use a very similar recipe, the bake time may just be slightly different.

  13. Dawn Suchland on November 27, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Thanks. I’m going to try.

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:54 am

      You’re welcome, Dawn!

  14. MICHELLE TALMADGE on November 28, 2019 at 4:27 pm


    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Enjoy, Michelle!

  15. Jim Tannenbaum on December 2, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Sounds yummy. We have tried Ina Garten’s parmesan roasted cauliflower:
    Very simple and quite tasty.

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Yummy! Love Ina. 🙂

  16. Stephanie W Rodrigue on December 2, 2019 at 8:55 am

    This is going in my Keto book as a winner! I’m keeping the heavier cream without the sugar because I focus on cutting out as many carbs as I can in foods. Lost 52 pounds eating like this, so thank you for the procedure part, still learning to cook after all these years!

    • Julie Andrews on December 2, 2019 at 11:57 am

      Congratulation, Stephanie! That’s amazing! Can you tell me more about what sugar you’re referring to in the recipe?

  17. John T-R on December 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Looks very yummy and can’t wait to try it. I bet it tastes great as it looks.

    • Julie Andrews on December 13, 2019 at 9:18 am

      It sure does, John! 🙂

  18. Diane Collins on January 2, 2020 at 5:18 pm

    I tried this on New Years for a brunch. It is amazing!!! everyone loved it. I eat Keto so I added almond flour and 1/4 cup of cream cheese to thicken it up and It was so good – my daughter also eats Keto and she asked me to make this on a weekly basis. It is even better the second day – thicker and the flavors have even melded more.

    • Julie Andrews on January 4, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      Awesome – I’m so glad it worked out with those substitutions. It really is a delicious dish. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating