Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon- the Thanksgiving side dish you didn't know you needed! #thanksgiving #sidedish

To me, Thanksgiving dinner is all about the sides. Ooh I can’t get enough. Truth be told I don’t care much about the Turkey. I eat and enjoy it, but if it were missing and instead I just had a plate full of sides I’d be a happy camper. Anyone with me?

There are classics like Mashed Potatoes and Great Grandma’s Stuffing which are non negotiable, but I also love a slew of new sides that rotate every year like Creamed Spinach, Pumpkin Mac & Cheese and Roasted Brussells Sprouts. And then there is this delicious dish.

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon- the Thanksgiving side dish you didn't know you needed! #thanksgiving #sidedish

This side is creamy, cheesy, and oh so satisfying. It’s kinda like mac & cheese, but with bite-sized pieces of cauliflower instead as well as pieces of crispy bacon. The top gets super golden and crispy as you bake it and it’s just oh so good.

I like it so much, I think I’ll keep changing up the flavor combo and trying new ways to be sneaky with cauliflower. This version is really simple- Cabot sharp cheddar, smoky bacon and panko, but the possibilities are endless. I cannot wait for Thanksgiving to chow down on this again!!

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon

Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 8 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 4 cups of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar plus a little more for topping
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • pinch of fresh parsley, chopped


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy and browned. Set aside on some paper towel.

Heat a large pot of salted water on high until boiling. Add the cauliflower and cook for 2/3 minutes or until about half-way soft. Drain and set aside.

Wipe out the same pot and melt the butter. Whisk in the flour constantly until golden. Stir in the milk and stir constantly until thick and creamy. Stir in the cheese and salt & pepper to taste.

Add the cauliflower and bacon to the cheese mixture and toss to combine. Pour into an 8x8 or similarly-sized baking dish and top with panko and a sprinkle of cheese.

Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Run the broiler for a couple minutes if desired to make the top even more browned.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin with Bacon- the Thanksgiving side dish you didn't know you needed! #thanksgiving #sidedish


  1. Oh aaaanything with Cabot cheddar is my fave. And I completely agree with you about sides. My Thanksgiving plate looks like a taste-test gone overboard with the amount of sides I cram on there.

  2. is totally IS all ’bout them sides. Giant heap of this, please.

  3. Oooooh yeah. This is seriously calling my name. It looks like heaven! And with bacon…girl after my own heart. Pinned!

  4. I’m all over this! Now I know what I’m making for T-giving dinner….at least one of the side dish. Hah!

  5. This is the recipe that might get my husband eating cauliflower, thanks to the cheese & bacon! Can’t wait to try it! Hoping your thanksgiving is full of sides! ;)

  6. I have a feeling this will become a new favorite around here! I love everything about this delicious side dish…I mean: cheese, panko, bacon…what else could I ask for?!

  7. I’ve been searching for a fun and yummy new side dish for Thanksgiving. So now I’m giving thanks that I found this. Your name’s going on our gratitude list!

  8. This was delicious! Good idea.

  9. This looks amazing!
    Quick question…..would it be possible to do everything but add the panko and make this a day ahead? Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Yes I think so. Make everything and pour it into your pan. Cover with foil and chill until you’re ready to bake. Top with panko, cheese and bake like normal!

  10. We had this last weekend and its amazing!!!

  11. I usually only get to eat the sides and honestly I am totally happy with that! I was never big on turkey anyway. All this cheesy goodness is for real amazing.

  12. Made this for a brunch with friends on sunday. I blinked and it was gone, I had to steal some from my wifes plate so I could taste it. Will be making it iwth broccoli to try.

    And to answer Susan’s question I had done all the prep the day before and added the panko morning of before putting it in the oven.

  13. The only way I can imagine this getting better is to try adding Brussels sprouts to it! So tasty!

  14. This is fabulous! Everyone should make it

  15. DeniseMorrison says:

    Made this for Thanksgiving side, and it was very well received. Even he picky (kids) that do not like vegetables ate AND liked it.

    Your recipe called to cook the cauliflower for ⅔ minutes. I am pretty sure this is a typo, as my hot water doesn’t cook cauliflower that fast.

    Good recipe and thanks for posting. Definitely a keeper.

  16. Your direction say to “Heat a large pot of salted water on high until boiling. Add the cauliflower and cook for ⅔ minutes or until about half-way soft. I’m guessing the “2/3 minutes” is a typo. Wondering how long you boil cauliflower for?
    Making this now, looks delicious.

  17. Newbie cool here ! How long should the cauliflower cook for? Did you mean 2-3 minutes? And what size casserole dish? 8×8 or 9×13?

  18. Made a totally keto version! Substituted heavy cream for milk, xanthan gum for flour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *