How to Cut Cauliflower (Without Making a Mess)

Cauliflower On A Cutting Board. A Beautiful Cut Of Cauliflower.
Iaroshenko/Bigstock

Learn how to cut cauliflower without making a mess. This technique is essential if you love making cauliflower recipes at home.

Love cauliflower? You’re not alone. In recent years, people have been turning the cruciferous veggie into rice, pizza crust, and cream soup—just to name a few. It’s also becoming increasingly common to find pre-packaged cauliflower items at the grocery store. In fact, in 2017, there was a 71% increase in sales of food products with cauliflower!

When you think about it, the rise of cauliflower makes total sense. Sure, it’s a bland vegetable… but that’s why people love it. Cauliflower easily takes on the flavors of other ingredients, like sauces and spices, so it serves as an awesome “base” ingredient.

It’s also tough enough to be processed into small bits, which can be used in place of refined carbs like bread or flour tortillas. This makes it a stellar choice for popular eating styles like gluten-free and plant-based diets.

There’s just one problem, though: Cutting fresh cauliflower can be messy. Like, really messy. The small, crumbly bits that make cauliflower so versatile and fun can also be the bane of a home cook’s existence. It might even deter you from using fresh cauliflower in the first place.

Fortunately, it’s possible to prepare the trendy vegetable without making a mess. The technique is also very simple, once you get the hang of it. Read on to learn how to cut cauliflower, along with ideas for how to use it.

How to Cut Cauliflower

You will need:

Place the cauliflower on the cutting board. Remove the leaves. (Tip: Sauté the leaves with your favorite spices and toss them into your favorite dishes.)

Cauliflower on a cutting board with a knife
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Place the bottom of the stem on the cutting board. The top of the cauliflower should be facing you.

Position your knife straight across the top of the cauliflower. Slice straight down the middle. Try your best to create two equal halves, but don’t worry if they aren’t perfectly equal.

Wash the cauliflower
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Re-position each half so that the flat side is facing down. Cut down the middle of each half. You should now have four pieces.

Cutting cauliflower on a cutting board
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

On each quarter piece, position your knife at an angle, along the stem. The goal is to separate the florets from the stem.

Repeat with the remaining quarters.

Cutting off stem of cauliflower
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Break apart the florets, if needed. They should easily snap apart.

breaking apart cauliflower florets
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

And, there you have it! Cauliflower florets with minimal mess.

cauliflower florets on a cutting board
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

Depending on how you plan to use the cauliflower, you can slice the florets in half, lengthwise. (Crispy cauliflower tacos, anyone?) You can also roughly chop the florets for a stir fry, warm salad, or cheesy roasted cauliflower dish.

To make riced cauliflower, simply toss the chopped florets into a food processor and pulse until crumbly. From there, the possiblities are endless. Riced cauliflower as an alternative to rice, or in recipes like quiche crust, vegetable burgers, or hash browns.

cauliflower florets cut in half
Photo: Kirsten Nunez

We hope you found this cauliflower cutting tutorial helpful. For more guidance, check out our “Kitchen Tips” section.

How to Cut Cauliflower

Learn how to cut cauliflower without making a mess. This technique is essential if you love making cauliflower recipes at home.
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5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Course: Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 24kcal
Author: Kirsten Nunez, MS

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower

Instructions

  • Wash the cauliflower. Remove the leaves, discarding those that are brown or wilted.
  • Position your knife straight across the top of the cauliflower. Slice straight down the middle. Try your best to create two equal halves, but don't worry if they aren't perfectly equal.
  • Re-position each half so that the flat side is facing down. Cut down the middle of each half. You should now have four pieces.
  • On each quarter piece, position your knife at an angle, along the stem. The goal is to separate the florets from the stem.
  • Break apart the florets, if needed. They should easily snap apart.
  • If needed, slice the florets in half or into smaller pieces. You can also roughly chop the florets and add them to a food processor to make riced cauliflower.

Nutrition

Calories: 24kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 29mg | Potassium: 287mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @CleanGreenSimple or tag #CleanGreenSimple!