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Cauliflower gratin in a casserole dish.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

If you like scalloped potatoes or potatoes au gratin, then prepare to meet your new favorite side dish recipe: Cauliflower Au Gratin. This easy vegetable casserole features a creamy garlic Alfredo sauce that will convince even picky eaters to enjoy eating vegetables.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings (1 cup each)
Calories 391kcal



  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 450 degrees. Coat a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a Dutch oven or large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not overcook. Transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Stir in shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in flour and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in cream, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste (I like 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper). Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Off the heat, add cauliflower and toss to coat. Pour into the prepared baking dish and top with breadcrumbs. Bake until hot and bubbly, about 12 to 15 minutes. Serve immediately.


  1. Cauliflower: Seek out a head of this cruciferous vegetable that's about 3 pounds and in any color. Use a knife to slice the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. 
  2. Cheese: Ideally, start with a block of Parmesan (gruyère cheese works well too) and use a box grater or pulse in a food processor to shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese can contain ingredients that prevent the cheese from melting as smoothly as it does fresh from the brick. 
  3. Nutmeg: Just a pinch of this spice cabinet staple lends an earthy, nutty sweetness. I rely on nutmeg as my secret ingredient in many white sauce recipes to add unexpected complexity.
  4. Bread crumbs: Start with 1/2 cup from a carton of store-bought bread crumbs, or to make your own bread crumbs, to a food processor, add 2 pieces of torn bread. Pulse 3 or 4 times, then let the machine run for a few seconds for coarse crumbs or a little longer for fine crumbs.
  5. Yield: This Cauliflower Gratin recipe makes six 1-cup servings; ideal to enjoy as a hearty comfort food side dish.
  6. Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: Prepare the Cauliflower Gratin through Step 4, then pour the mixture into a casserole dish, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, top with bread crumbs, and continue with Step 5. 


Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 527mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1191IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 279mg | Iron: 2mg