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Creamy Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

4.8 from 15 votes

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Rich and creamy baked cauliflower casserole with mascarpone, parmesan cheese and fresh sage. Comforting and delicious! Pair this side dish with Roasted Acorn Squash and Balsamic Glazed Onions.

Close-up photo of creamy baked cauliflower in a white gratin dish with cream sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh sage sprig.

This delicious cauliflower gratin is really easy to make and delivers all the comfort of a baked cheesy casserole.

To make it, you bake the cauliflower florets with creamy mascarpone cheese, garlic-scented heavy cream, freshly grated Parmesan and a hit of aromatic fresh herbs like sage.

Make this simple casserole for holiday gatherings or any time you want a wholesome vegetable side dish everyone at the table will want to dive into.

You can bake the cauliflower in any shallow baking dish that’s at least 3 quarts, but I think it looks extra special on the table made in a pretty oval gratin dish.

Close-up photo of creamy baked cauliflower in a white gratin dish with cream sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh sage sprig.

Speaking of holidays, are you the type of Thanksgiving cook (and/or eater) who wants to sit down to the same lineup of food from year to year?

Or do you like to get a little bit crazy and try something completely new every time?

Close-up photo of creamy baked cauliflower in a white gratin dish with cream sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh sage sprig.

I’ve learned that there are definitely two distinct — and very personal — approaches to getting a holiday menu together.

There are the tried-and-trues, the keepers of family traditions who would never think of forgetting to make glazed sweet potatoes.

That camp includes rational, organized souls who keep things simple (doable) and predictable (foolproof).

Which makes a lot of sense.

Close-up photo of creamy baked cauliflower in a white gratin dish with cream sauce, Parmesan cheese and fresh sage sprig.

How else can you expect to organize a crowd of people around a dining table and keep the peace?

I count myself in the other, open-to-experiment group.

While I’ve never ditched the turkey altogether and made fish instead (as Debra did in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, to much disappointment), I see a lot of benefit in mixing things up.

What are some of your family favorites, old or new?

More Easy Vegetable Side Dish Recipes:

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Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

Karen Tedesco
A creamy baked cauliflower gratin with mascarpone, cream, Parmesan and herbs makes a great holiday casserole recipe.
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4.8 from 15 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Vegetables
Cuisine vegetable
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (1.5 kg) large head cauliflower, about 3 pounds, separated into florets (8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) softened butter
  • 4 ounces (125 g) mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup (185 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, rosemary or thyme (or a combination)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a rasp grater or pressed in a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions 

  • Blanch the cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes. Drain well and pat dry.
  • Heat oven to 425 (220C) degrees. Coat a 3-4 quart shallow gratin or baking dish with the butter. Arrange the cauliflower in the dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the mascarpone, cream, flour, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, herbs, garlic and salt until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Parmesan.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes, or until top is browned and sauce is bubbling. Rest 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • The creamy sauce will thicken a bit as it cools, so be sure to let it set before serving.
  • Make sure to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not the kind that comes in a can.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 275kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 852IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 161mg | Iron: 1mg
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I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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25 Comments

  1. I want to make this ahead. Do I bake it fully then reheat? Or do I prep it, refrigerate overnight, then bake the next day?

    1. Hi Martha – You can bake this and reheat – cover lightly with foil and heat in a 350 degree oven until it’s warmed, 20-25 minutes.

  2. A bit hit! I only had a half of a head of cauliflower so I cut the recipe to smaller size and this was the perfect side and amount for my spouse and myself! This is unbelievably good!

  3. perfect for the holiday!

  4. I just made this for dinner this evening. What a great side! I used a deep-dish casserole, worried that the sauce would be too thin based on other reviews, but it was perfect! I doubled the recipe because I had lots of cauliflower and intend to eat it for several days. Hubby is a cauliflower friend but not a lover. I am a lover of it and always look for great recipes. Not only did I bookmark it, I printed it and saved it in my personal recipes. Too thin??? NOT at all. I bet whomever complained did not use Heavy Cream but substituted milk or 1/2 and 1/2 without thickener. The only other possibility, in my opinion, is that they boiled the cauliflower instead of steaming which would also add extra water. So, this is a ***** (5-star) recipe for us.. Thanks

  5. Lisa McBride says:

    I’m trying this right now, but in a crock pot. I also used cream cheese instead of Mascarpone as it is what I had on hand. I also added some spinach to it and a half cp of mozzarella. I am on a Ketogenic diet so adding in all the fat I can. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  6. This is one of my comfort foods, made for years from a Julia Childs recipe. Instead of parmesan, her recipe uses gruyere, and seasons with a bit of nutmeg and dash of cayenne. No cream is added, although I might try that sometime. Drain the cauliflower well after blanching. This can make a simple dinner, along with a green salad. I think it would be a little rich, though, with a heavy Thanksgiving dinner – maybe better with a beef or pork roast.

  7. I baked this not too long ago and it came out really runny. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Vanessa. You could try baking the gratin 10 – 15 minutes more if its not too brown, uncovered. What size baking dish did you use? If the size of the pan is smaller and deep rather than like a shallow casserole it could take longer to bake. As it cools the cream will thicken a bit too.

  8. oh me oh my. i want this right now!!

  9. In desperation I may try a dollop of cream cheese.

  10. I just saw this and decided to try it at the last minute but don’t have mascarpone. Will see how it turns out. Looks divine.

  11. Thank you, Karen and Iz (seems that I cannot answer to your comments), great news, will try the recipe on Sunday (on my guests, harr).

  12. @ Christine – I am in Germany and use Schlagsahne when recipes call for heavy cream. Choose one with 35% fat or more if you can find it. Always works fine for me.

  13. I’d love to know if there’s a substitute for the heavy cream (unfortunately, we cannot buy such cream in Germany).

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. Christine, if you can find thick cream or double cream that will work – sorry not sure how it will be labeled in German!

  14. Can it be made ahead of time and reheated?

    1. KG – yes absolutely you can make ahead. Reduce the baking time by 10 minutes so it will reheat at its best.

  15. With turkey dinner, I’m a pretty traditional cook. But I will definitely spring for this cauliflower gratin. Although my hubby can be finicky with veggies, I know he’d love this baked, cheesy dish. Thanks so much! I look forward to trying it.

    1. Thanks Vespa and Kristen – I hope going with cauliflower will make a few happy.