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bread crumb-topped casserole in an oval baking dish

Cauliflower au Gratin with Gruyere & Thyme

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American/French
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A creamy and cozy cauliflower au gratin. Flavored with Gruyère, Parmesan, and fresh thyme, it's simple yet spectacular.


  • 1 large head cauliflower (2-2 ½ pounds), cut into 1-inch florets
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or regular whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, warmed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup shredded Gruyère (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan (2 ounces), divided
  • ½ cup whole-wheat Panko breadcrumbs 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218ºC). Coat a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Place cauliflower florets in a large glass bowl. Add 1 tablespoon water and ¼ teaspoon salt; toss to coat then place a large dinner plate over top (or cover tightly with a piece of plastic wrap). Microwave for 2 minutes, stir and continue to microwave in 1 minute intervals until crisp-tender, about 4–5 minutes total*. Drain and set aside.
    cauliflower florets in a glass bowl with a white plate set on top
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
    onions cooked in a skillet with butter
  4. Whisk in flour, ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes.
    onions cooking in a skillet with spices
  5. Slowly whisk in milk until thickened, 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in Gruyère and ¼ cup Parmesan, then stir in cauliflower until completely coated; transfer to prepared baking dish.
    cauliflower in a pan coated with cheese sauce
  6. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Combine melted butter with Panko, remaining ¼ cup Parmesan, and thyme; season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over gratin.
    cauliflower in a baking dish topped with breadcrumbs and shredded cheese
  7. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and sauce is bubbly, 25–30 minutes. Let gratin rest 10 minutes.


  • If you do not want to microwave the cauli, you can blanch it. Cook cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2–3 minutes; drain.
  • This recipe is adapted from a recipe I originally developed for Cuisine at Home Magazine
  • The microwave time will largely depend on how powerful your microwave is. Check the tenderness of the cauliflower every minute or so to ensure it isn’t getting over-steamed.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 7.5g
  • Sodium: 505mg
  • Fat: 13.5g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.5g
  • Fiber: 4.5g
  • Protein: 11.5g
  • Cholesterol: 39mg

Keywords: Cauliflower au gratin, Cauliflower gratin recipe

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