hot pan of cheesy cauliflower gratin

I don’t know about you, but any recipe that instructs the cook to “bake until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly” is a recipe I want to be making. Bonus points for said recipe to call for just a handful of everyday ingredients, be gluten-free and vegetarian, good hot or cold and, it bears repeating, baked until the cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

Come to (cheese-loving) Mama, Cauliflower Gratin!

scoop of cauliflower gratin on a plate with melted cheese sauce

I scrolled past this post from on Instagram the other day and my drink almost came shooting out of my nose.

Listen, I GET IT.

Cauliflower isn’t the end-all, be-all magic swap for anything carbilicious and good in your life, but Cauliflower Gratin is an actual, delicious dish that you must try. Trust me, this “mock and cheese” is totally craveable, and as easy as can be.

I mean, what vegetable doesn’t taste better blanketed under a luscious layer of two kinds of melted cheese? Cauliflower is no exception and this yummy, rustic side dish is proof.

Boiled cauliflower is drizzled with an easy, 5 minute homemade cheese sauce then, say it with me, baked until golden brown and bubbly. You got it! It’s the perfect thing to serve with a holiday dinner or simply anytime you need a side that everyone in the family will love. Cheese tends to hold that kind of power.

Although I am not advertising Cauliflower Gratin as “healthy”, it’s a healthIER swap for mac and cheese if your family can’t get enough. They still get that gooey, cheesy texture and flavor, plus all the goodness that comes along with eating cruciferous cauliflower. Balance, right?

hot pan of cheesy cauliflower gratin

Start by cutting 1 large head cauliflower into large florets – you’ll need roughy 7 cups of florets. Add the cauliflower to a large pot of salted boiling water then boil until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes, leaning on the crisp side side as they’ll bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. Drain the cauliflower then set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then add flour and whisk for 1 minute. I use King Arthur’s gluten-free flour, but you can use whatever all-purpose/1-to-1 gluten free baking flour blend you have on hand. If you don’t need to eat gluten-free, AP flour is just fine.

Next whisk in 2% milk that’s at room temperature then turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Turn the heat back down to medium then simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Finally, remove the saucepan from the heat then stir in freshly grated gruyere and parmesan cheeses, then stir until very smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

By the way, if you’ve never tried gruyere cheese before, I advise you to buy double the amount you’ll need for this dish because you will be snacking on it like crazy. SOO GOOD!

Spread a little bit of the cheese sauce into the bottom of a 8×11″ baking pan (or whatever you have on hand that’s similar in size,) then add the cooked cauliflower and drizzle with the luscious cheese sauce. YUM!!

Sprinkle more of each cheese on top then bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the top is brown and the cheese sauce is bubbly. A blast from the broiler at the end is the perfect way to get things sizzling.

Let the Cauliflower Gratin sit and thicken for 5 minutes or so before scooping and serving. This dish is not only delicious piping hot, but warm, or even room temperature. I can’t wait for you to dig in and try for yourself! Enjoy!

scoop of cauliflower gratin on a plate with melted cheese sauce

Cauliflower Gratin


Cauliflower Gratin is perfectly cheesy and unbelievably easy! Serve as a yummy gluten-free and vegetarian side dish with any meal.


serves 5-6

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into large florets (7 cups)
  • 4Tablespoons butter
  • 4 Tablespoons gluten free flour (or all-purpose flour if you don't need to eat GF)
  • 2 cups 2% milk, at room temperature
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated gruyere cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add the cauliflower florets and boil until al dente (don’t over boil!) 3-4 minutes. Drain then set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then sprinkle in flour and cook for 1 minute while whisking constantly. Slowly pour in milk while whisking then turn heat up to medium-high and bring to a simmer while whisking constantly. Turn heat back down to medium then simmer for 1 minute or until milk has thickened, still stirring constantly. Remove pan from the heat then add 1/2 cup each gruyere and parmesan cheeses and stir until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add enough of the cheese sauce to thinly coat the bottom of an 8x11” baking pan. Add cauliflower florets then cover with remaining sauce. Top with remaining cheeses then bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Broil for a few minutes at the end if you want a darker top.


Adapted from Food Network

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

photo collage of cauliflower gratin