How to Cut Cauliflower Steaks – Prepare for Grilling

Gone are the days when cauliflower was a humble, overlooked vegetable. It shines brightly under the spotlight and has become a star ingredient, especially when grilled. Grilled cauliflower steaks are a delicious option to make your meals more plant-based.

Making perfectly grilled cauliflower steaks is not just about taste and perfect charring. It’s also about visual appeal. Hence, mastering the art of cutting cauliflower steaks is key!

So, grab your cauliflower and get ready to wield your culinary knife skills. This article will share expert tips on how to cut cauliflower steaks. The secret lies in cutting uniformly sized steaks so each piece cooks evenly.

Selecting and Preparing the Cauliflower

Fresh cauliflower on a wooden chopping board

Tips for Choosing Fresh Cauliflower

The first step is selecting fresh and high-quality cauliflowers. Below are tips for you as you embark on your produce-picking journey:

  1. Go for a head with dense florets. It should have firm, tightly packed florets.
  2. Inspect the leaves for freshness. They should be vibrant green in color with no browning. They should also be firm rather than wilted.
  3. Check the color. The color varies depending on the variety. It ranges from pure white to shades of cream, green, and even purple. Whichever your preferred variety, it should be vibrant and brimming with life, with no signs of discoloration. Avoid heads with too many brown or black spots. Yuck!

Preparing the Cauliflower

The next step is preparation. Below are the steps to follow:

  1. Trim the leaves. Remove the outer leaves, then turn the head upside down with the florets on the cutting board. Gently pull off the leaves one at a time to reveal the beauty that lies beneath. In most cases, the leaves come off easily by hand.
  2. Trim the stem. Place the cauliflower on a chopping board. Cut the stem across the base to create a flat surface. Ensure to cut off any rough or woody parts. However, leave a small portion of the stem intact, as it helps to hold the steaks together.
  3. Rinse. There are two different techniques for cleaning, as follows:
  4. Rinse under cool running water. Gently scrub the surface with your hands to remove any dirt or debris trapped in the florets. Rinse one more time to remove any remaining dirt or debris.
  5. Soaking method. Fill a large bowl with cold water. Submerge the entire head in the water. Leave it to soak for a few minutes to allow any dirt or debris trapped between the florets to loosen. Gently swish the cauliflower to remove any stuck dirt. Remove it from the water and rinse under cool running water.
  6. Dry. Drying is important for even cooking, caramelization, and browning. It also prevents the steaks from sticking on the grill grates or steaming.

Place the head facing downwards to allow water to drip down from the florets. Shake it gently to remove any water trapped between the florets. Then, dry the head with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.

Cutting Cauliflower Steaks

The first expert tip for cutting cauliflower steaks is stabilizing the head on a cutting board for safe and controlled cutting. Consider placing a damp kitchen towel or a non-slip mat underneath the cutting board to prevent it from sliding around.

Place the cauliflower head on the cutting board with the stem side facing downwards. It should be stable without rolling or shifting. If it isn’t stable, even out the stem. Remove any uneven or protruding parts. Then, cut into steaks using a sharp chef’s knife.

Cutting Techniques: Thick or Thin?

Cauliflower steaks with herbs

You may cut your cauliflower into thin or thick steaks as long as the slices are evenly sized. Note that thicker steaks take slightly longer to cook, while thinner stakes cook more quickly. So, how hungry are you?

Cutting Thick Cauliflower Steaks

  • Place the cauliflower head on the cutting board with the stem side down.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice it in half.
  • Now cut each half into 1-inch-thick slices.
  • You may get 2-3 slices from each half, depending on the size of the cauliflower head.
  • Put aside the leftover florets for use in other recipes.

Cutting Thin Cauliflower Steaks

  • Place the cauliflower head on the cutting board with the stem side down.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice it into half.
  • Now cut each half into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Depending on the size of the cauliflower head, you may get 3-5 slices from each half.
  • Put aside the leftover florets for use in other recipes.

Utilizing the Leftover Florets

Don’t throw away the leftover florets! Waste not, want not. You can use them in other recipes or as a side dish. For example, you can pulse them in a food processor to make cauliflower rice. Cauliflower fried rice is a fantastic low-calorie substitute for rice in stir-fries. It can also be used to make a low-carb pizza crust.

Alternatively, you can roast the florets and use them in salads or serve them on their own with your favorite roasted veggie dip. Better still, you could use the roasted florets to make a creamy soup or add them to your vegetable platter.

Preparing Cauliflower Steaks for Grilling

Cauliflower steaks on a grilling pan

To ensure your steaks grill perfectly, oil and season them generously. Oiling prevents them from sticking to the grilling grates and enhances their flavor. To oil, you may either brush them with olive oil or drizzle the oil onto both sides of the cauliflower steaks.

Next, season them to enhance their flavor. There are a variety of seasonings you can use, like herbs, spices, or marinades. Choose seasonings that suit your preferred flavor profile. Never be afraid to experiment with different seasonings to identify new flavors you like.

Sprinkle the seasonings, ensuring they are evenly distributed on both sides. Use your hands or a brush to really make sure the seasonings cover the cauliflower. Let the seasoned cauliflower steaks rest at room temperature for about 15 minutes for the flavors to infuse.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you cut a cauliflower steak?

  1. Take a fresh cauliflower head.
  2. Remove the leaves and cut off the stem at the base to create a smooth and flat surface.
  3. Clean under running water or soak it in a water bowl.
  4. Turn it upside down to drain excess water, then pat it dry.
  5. Place the cauliflower head on a cutting board with the stem side down.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut it vertically halfway.
  7. Slice each half into 1 or ½ inch slices to make steaks.
  8. Put aside the steaks for grilling, roasting, or frying.

How do you cut cauliflower for frying?

Start with a fresh cauliflower head and remove the leaves, leaving the stem intact. Clean under running water or soak in a bowl of water.

Turn the head upside down to drain any excess water and pat dry. Then, turn the cauliflower upside down with the stem facing up. Hold the stem with your non-dominant hand.

Carefully cut each floret away from the stem using a paring knife. Cut larger florets into smaller sizes to ensure they are uniformly sized, so they cook more evenly.

How do you cut cauliflower without making a mess?

How many times have you found yourself cutting a cauliflower and having it disintegrate? To avoid this mess, use a large cutting board so you have ample space for cutting and holding the cauliflower. You may lay a wide baking sheet underneath the cutting board to collect florets and pieces that fall off the cutting board.

What knife do you use to cut cauliflower?

A chef’s knife or santoku knife is best suited for cutting steaks. Use a paring knife or other sharp knife to cut florets. The knife should be sharp to achieve clean cuts and have a comfortable, non-slip grip. Avoid serrated knives, which are more likely to make a mess.


Grilled cauliflower steaks are a popular and versatile vegetable option. They are easy to make and add delicious flavor and texture to your meals. One of the most important steps for perfectly grilling cauliflower steaks is cutting them properly.

Start by selecting a fresh cauliflower head. It is more nutritious, has better texture and flavors, and holds up well to heat. Next, prepare it by trimming the leaves, cutting off the stem, then cleaning and drying it.

Place the cauliflower head on a cutting board with the trimmed stem side down. Ensure that the head is stable and cut it vertically into half.

Slice each half into ½ – 1-inch steaks for grilling and put aside the leftovers for other recipes. Finally, oil and season the steaks for enhanced flavor.

Remember, this is a general guideline on how to cut cauliflower steaks. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try out different cutting techniques and seasonings.

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