White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin


White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin takes plain and boring cauliflower to a new level of amazing deliciousness! It’s rich and creamy and has an irresistible cheesy flavor. It will be one of the first things to go this Thanksgiving, trust me!

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

Here cauliflower is covered with a rich and creamy cheddar cheese sauce, sprinkled with crispy Panko bread crumbs, then it’s baked to perfection and crowned with salty crispy bacon and some fresh parsley for color.

It’s a whole lot of goodness and it’s a dish people won’t forget!

This isn’t just for holidays and parties. It’s easily something you can make as a side dish for dinner.

It’s such a warm and cozy dish for cool fall days and cold winter evenings.

I just served it with roasted chicken, because 90% of the time that’s what we’re having anyway is chicken for dinner.

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients Needed for This Cauliflower Recipe

  • Fresh cauliflower
  • Salt and pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Nutmeg
  • Sharp white cheddar and Parmesan cheese
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Bacon
  • Fresh parsley

Scroll below for full printable recipe.

How to Make Cauliflower Gratin

  • Preheat oven.
  • Par boil cauliflower.
  • Saute onions and garlic in butter, then cook flour with butter.
  • Pour in milk and nutmeg, bring to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cups cheddar and the parmesan.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce in baking dish, top with cauliflower then pour in remaining cheese sauce.
  • Sprinkle with remaining white cheddar and panko. Spritz panko with olive oil spray.
  • Bake 20 minutes then broil briefly for 1 – 2 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with bacon and parsley and serve warm.

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

What Does it Taste Like?

To me the flavor is similar to scalloped potatoes or even mac and cheese – but it’s made with cauliflower instead.

Cauliflower is a great base for this recipe, it has such a neutral flavor so so it really lets that cheddar flavor shine.

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

The Perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas Side Dish

I highly recommend trying this recipe for the holidays.

It’s likely something most people haven’t tried and it’s always nice to have something new on the menu.

So, like I’ve said before make it for dinner this week to do your trial run then make it again on Thanksgiving.

Always my excuse to make something that looks good twice :). That pie – I just HAD to make it once before to be certain it would taste amazing and be worthy of the holiday.

White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

More Side Dish Recipes You Might Like

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White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin

4.67 from 3 votes

Cauliflower is coated with a rich, creamy, cheesy sauce, covered with Panko and baked to perfection. And let's not forget the bacon! The perfect comforting side dish on chilly evenings, also the perfect addition to your holiday menu.

Servings: 7
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 (3 lb) cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 3 slices bacon, chopped and cooked
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook florets until tender but still firm, about 5 - 6 minutes. Drain well.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add in onions and saute until softened, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add in garlic and saute 20 seconds longer. Add in flour and cook whisking constantly, 1 1/2 minutes.

  4.  While whisking slowly pour in milk and add nutmeg. Whisk constantly until mixture reaches a boil, then remove from heat and stir in 1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese and the parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Pour and spread 1/3 of the cheese sauce into a 9 by 9-inch baking dish. Top with drained cauliflower then slowly and evenly pour remaining 2/3 of the cheese sauce over cauliflower. 

  6. Sprinkle over remaining 1/4 cup white cheddar then sprinkle evenly with Panko. Spray Panko with olive oil cooking spray to lightly coat.

  7. Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, then broil for 1 - 2 minutes to help brown further as needed. Remove from oven, sprinkle with bacon and parsley and serve warm.

Nutrition Facts
White Cheddar Cauliflower Gratin
Amount Per Serving
Calories 350 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 59mg20%
Sodium 460mg20%
Potassium 752mg21%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 615IU12%
Vitamin C 95.5mg116%
Calcium 398mg40%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cauliflower Gratin
Calories: 350 kcal
Author: Jaclyn
Recipe source: inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe


  • Marissa: Made this last year for thanksgiving and making it this year for Christmas! Everyone loved it and there was zero left overs. Great recipe I love all of your recipes they are amazing. December 17, 2018 at 9:08am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear you like my recipes Marissa! Thanks for letting me know :)! December 17, 2018 at 11:48am Reply

  • Lori: I found roasting the cauliflower instead of boiling avoided the dish being runny as mentioned above, also, roasting gives it another layer of flavor.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe.
    Peace. November 21, 2017 at 7:01am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the tip! Glad you liked it! November 21, 2017 at 11:21am Reply

  • Kellie: could i make ahead and reheat before serving? November 18, 2017 at 7:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I like it best served once freshly baked when the Panko is the crispiest. Also after the first day I think the cauliflower can start to break down a little and make the sauce a little runnier. November 18, 2017 at 9:51pm Reply

  • Amber: Followed directions to a T but mine came out super watery. Any suggestions on how to make it less watery?? November 18, 2017 at 7:26pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: More butter and flour (up the roux) and add more cheese. Sorry it wasn’t as thick as you’d like – but it should be an easy fix. November 18, 2017 at 9:52pm Reply

  • Carmen Carlton: Yum! This has got to be on my turkey day menu! BTW I am assuming the preheated oven temp is the basic 350°? November 14, 2017 at 8:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Sorry I just added the temp above. Can’t believe I missed it in editing. I hope you love it Carmen! November 14, 2017 at 9:08pm Reply

  • Michelle @ The Complete Savorist: Pretty much could eat this everyday of my life. Think I might have to make this one asap. Thanks J! November 12, 2017 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Indeed! Thanks Michelle! November 13, 2017 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Lauren: I’m not a fan of bacon at all ( I know..GASP!) but would be it OK to just not add it to the recipe? November 12, 2017 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes definitely :). Hope you love it! November 13, 2017 at 9:46pm Reply

  • Doris: Sounds divine! Gotta make this for Thanksgiving. November 12, 2017 at 8:37am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you do and love it! November 13, 2017 at 12:30pm Reply

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