Cauliflower Au Gratin
This easy and comforting cauliflower au gratin is perfect for the holidays. Made with tender cauliflower and savory cheeses, this cheesy cauliflower bake will become your favorite!
Servings: 6 people
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets (fresh, not frozen)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk (plus more as needed)
- 1 ¾ cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese, divided
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup Italian bread crumbs
- ⅓ cup shredded or grated parmesan cheese (plus more to taste)
- Parsley for garnish
Cook the cauliflower
In a large pot, bring water to a boil, enough water to cover the cauliflower florets. Once boiling, cook the cauliflower for 10-12 minutes or until fork tender. Drain and run it through cold water. Pat it dry. Tip: I usually undercook the cauliflower a bit since it will need to be baked anyway.
Make the cheese sauce
In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 3-4 minutes until thickened. It should be a bit pale in color and begin to smell nutty.
Gradually add the milk, stirring and breaking up the roux with a wooden spoon. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened, stirring.
Add 1 cup of the grated Gruyere cheese and stir until melted and creamy. If too thick, add more milk as needed and simmer for a few minutes. Mix in the garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble and bake
Transfer the cooked cauliflower to a 9x13 inch baking dish and pour the prepared cheese sauce over it, stirring to combine. Note: I mixed the cauliflower right in the same Dutch oven casserole pot I used to make my sauce in order to minimize clean-up. My pot is oven-proof and the perfect size (not too deep and wide enough).
Top with the remaining ¾ cup of gruyere cheese, the parmesan cheese, and the bread crumbs.
Bake in the preheated 400 degrees F oven for 18-20 minutes, or until bubbly and slightly golden brown. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- Make ahead tips: Pre-cut the cauliflower a few days ahead. The cauliflower can also be cooked (boiled) the day before and stored in the fridge, and be sure to rinse with cold water after cooking and pat it dry. The cheese sauce can be made the day before, and heated up in a pot the day of cooking. The cheeses can be grated the day before. Do NOT assemble until ready to bake or the cauliflower will get soggy.
- Cheeses: I'd recommend grating your own cheese. Often, pre-packaged grated cheeses come with preservatives that make cheeses harder to melt.
- Cheese choice: Other cheeses I like to use are Fontina, White Cheddar, and Gouda.
- Undercook the cauliflower: If desired, undercook the cauliflower a bit because you'll need to bake it for 20 minutes later.