How to Cut Cauliflower

A simple step by step guide on how to cut cauliflower (and how to cut cauliflower florets) for your favorite cauliflower recipes.

How to Cut Cauliflower

Let’s chat about cauliflower! One of my favorite vegetables. We use it in everything from homemade cauliflower curry to roasted cauliflower soup, and so much more.

Later this week, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite (new and improved) cauliflower recipes. 

To accompany the recipe, I thought it would be fun to begin a new series on the blog called knife skill basics. 

Inspired by my old ingredient spotlight series, this new series will feature step by step photos, preparation tips, along with other helpful information. 

My goal with this series is to expand on my cooking resource guides, and teach basic skills to help build your confidence in the kitchen. 

Whether you’ve been cooking for years or are just starting out, I hope that you can glean some helpful knowledge or recipe inspiration from these guides. 

Sliced Head of Cauliflower

How to Pick Cauliflower:

When buying whole cauliflower heads, look for heavy, firm, and compact heads without any brown spotting.

The florets should be very tight together (and any leaves should be tightly wrapped around the florets) and not easy to remove. 

When is cauliflower in season?

Cauliflower is available year round, but fall and early winter is the best season to source it. 

How to Store Cauliflower:

If your cauliflower has collected any moisture, be sure to pat it completely dry before storing in your refrigerator. Ideally, cauliflower should be used within a few days of purchasing, as it browns very quickly.

If you do encounter some brown spots (and wish to remove them for presentation purposes), you can use a microplane to shave them off. 

How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets

How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets:

Using a large chef’s knife, cut off the stalk of the cauliflower so it lays flat on your cutting board. Set the stem and any leaves aside (these are edible, see below on ways to use them!).

Starting from the top of the cauliflower crown down to the core, slice the cauliflower in half. 

How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets

Holding each cauliflower half with one hand, use your knife at an angle to cut alongside the core in an upside-down V shape.

Alternatively, you can slice the whole head of cauliflower in quarters, as directed above, and proceed similarly. 

Many of the florets will automatically separate, but you can use your knife if necessary to remove any additional core that is holding them together.

Cauliflower Florets on Cutting Board

Use your knife to halve or quarter any remaining large florets (top of the crown down through the stem) so that all the florets are consistent in size for cooking. 

Can you eat cauliflower leaves and stems?

Yes! They are completely edible. Remember to clean them thoroughly. I also recommend peeling the stalk as it can be tough and fibrous. 

You can sauté the chopped stem and leaves, but my favorite way to use them is to set them aside (freeze or refrigerate) for cauliflower soup, stir fries, or other applications. 

How to Cut Cauliflower into Florets

Favorite Cauliflower Recipes:

How to Cut Cauliflower

How to Cut Cauliflower

Yield: 1 Whole Cauliflower

A simple guide on how to cut cauliflower (and how to cut cauliflower florets) for your favorite cauliflower recipes.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2 to 2.5 lb) whole cauliflower

Instructions

  1. Using a large chef's knife, cut off the stalk of the cauliflower so it can lay flat on your cutting board. Set the stem and any leaves aside (these are edible, see 'tips for success' box below on ways to use them!).
  2. Starting from the top of the cauliflower crown down to the core, slice the cauliflower in half. Holding each cauliflower half with one hand, use your knife at an angle to cut alongside the core in an upside-down V shape. Many of the florets will automatically separate, but you can use your knife if necessary to remove any additional core that is holding them together.
  3. Use your knife to halve or quarter any remaining large florets (top of the crown down through the stem) so that all the florets are consistent in size for your preparation.

Notes

Tips for Success:

  • Can you eat cauliflower stems and leaves? Yes! They are completely edible. Remember to clean them thoroughly. I also recommend peeling the stalk as it can be tough and fibrous. 
  • You can sauté the chopped stem and leaves, but my favorite way to use them is to set them aside (freeze or refrigerate) for cauliflower soup, stir fries, or other pureed applications.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83 Total Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 54mg Carbohydrates: 15g Fiber: 8g Sugar: 7g Protein: 7g
A Beautiful Plate provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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