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Creamy Cauliflower Gratin with Mascarpone

4.91 from 31 community reviews

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This creamy baked cauliflower gratin combines fresh cauliflower in a cheese sauce with mascarpone, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. It bakes in about 25 minutes and is very simple to assemble ahead of time. Pair with a roasted chicken, buttered green beans, or balsamic glazed onions for a festive vegetable side dish.

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

This cauliflower gratin (or cauliflower au gratin) is one of those easy vegetable recipes that gives you all the comfort of a baked cheesy casserole, without much fuss.

Plus it’s a snap to make: Bake the cauliflower florets with creamy mixture of mascarpone cheese, garlic, heavy cream, freshly grated Parmesan and chopped aromatic fresh herbs.

This simple dish is perfect for holidays, or any time you want a vegetable side dish (that’s NOT sweet potato casserole) that everyone at the table will want to taste. If you enjoy creamy baked fennel or potato casserole with layers of cheese, this recipe will seem familiar.

List of ingredients

Two heads of cauliflower, bowls of grated cheese, heavy cream, flour and cream cheese on a tray with a head of garlic, sage and rosemary sprigs.
  • Fresh cauliflower: You’ll need one large or two small/medium heads of cauliflower, enough to make 8 cups of florets. The florets are blanched for a few minutes before baking to ensure tenderness.
  • Mascarpone: This thick Italian-style soft cheese is less tangy and gummy-textured than cream cheese, and has a delicious nutty taste. You can find it in the dairy section of most grocery stores.
  • Heavy cream: Use heavy whipping cream for the best texture (not half and half).
  • Flour: All-purpose flour or your preferred gluten-free all-purpose blend lightly thickens the cheese sauce as it bakes.
  • Garlic: Use 1-2 cloves of grated fresh garlic to infuse the cream sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese: Use freshly grated cheese for the best flavor. Gruyere cheese or a good aged white cheddar are good substitutes.
  • Fresh herbs: Use one or a variety of aromatic fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary or thyme.

Recipe steps

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

Creamy Cauliflower Gratin with Mascarpone

Karen Tedesco
This creamy baked cauliflower gratin combines fresh cauliflower in a cheese sauce with mascarpone, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, It's very simple to assemble and bake. Pair with a roasted chicken, buttered green beans for a festive vegetable side dish.
Print Pin
4.91 from 31 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Vegetables
Cuisine vegetable
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) cauliflower (about 1 large or 2 medium heads), separated into florets (8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) softened butter
  • 4 ounces (125 g) mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary, thyme or sage (or a combination)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a rasp grater or pressed in a garlic press
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 (220 C) degrees, with the oven rack positioned in the center of the oven.
  • Blanch the cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water for 3 minutes. Drain well and pat dry with a towel.
  • Spread the butter over the bottom of 3-4 quart shallow gratin or baking dish. Arrange the cauliflower in the dish.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the mascarpone, cream, flour, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, herbs, garlic, salt and black pepper until smooth. Spoon the mixture evenly over the cauliflower. Sprinkle the top with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
  • Bake 25 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling. Cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • You can assemble the blanched cauliflower in a baking dish with the cheese sauce and refrigerate up to one day before baking.
  • The creamy sauce will thicken a bit as it cools.
  • Make sure to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, not the kind that comes in a can.

Nutrition

Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 731mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 852IU | Vitamin C: 110mg | Calcium: 174mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just delicious! I will be making this again and again!

  2. 5 stars
    An absolutely delicious and perfect recipe! Thank you!!!

  3. 5 stars
    This so good, I tried on broccoli too, kids loved it as well.

  4. 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.

  5. 5 stars
    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!

  6. 5 stars
    perfect for the holiday!

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. 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).

  15. @ 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.

  16. 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!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.