How To Cut Cauliflower

Cutting cauliflower for florets can take minutes and save you a lot of money on precut cauliflower, says food blogger & photographer Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant's Table.

Cauliflower can look particularly hard to cut, sitting there in its green leaves with its strange, tight, curly head of white. Do you eat the core? Do you eat the leaves? How do you cut the cauliflower into little florets for salad? Or how do you cut it into rough florets for making mashed cauliflower or riced cauliflower? So many questions surround just one cauliflower!

We are here to demystify the process and explain to you, once and for all, how to cut cauliflower without making a mess and in the comfort of your own home. Now you can break your addiction to bags of precut cauliflower and conquer this healthy vegetable. Here's how to quickly cut a cauliflower with ease.

Should you wash cauliflower before cutting it?

Because cauliflower is actually quite perishable once it gets wet, you should avoid washing your cauliflower until you are ready to eat it.

If you are precutting your cauliflower for meal planning but are going to eat it later, then cut it without washing it. Before you are going to eat it, let the cauliflower florets soak in water with a bit of salt and vinegar. Just rinsing a whole cauliflower won't do you much good, as it doesn't get into all the little nooks and crevices of the florets

Peel off outer leaves

With your hands, grab onto the green outer leaves at the base of the cauliflower and pull them off.

Cut cauliflower in half

Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the cauliflower in half in one motion from the crown through the stem.

Cut into quarters

Place each cauliflower half on the cutting board, cut-side down. Proceed to cut each cauliflower half vertically into two quarters.

Cut out the stem

Place each cauliflower quarter on the cutting board. Angle the knife and make one long slit that cuts out the core and separates the florets from the base. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower quarters.

Cauliflower stems are perfectly edible, like broccoli stems. You can slice the core and sauté it as well, if you'd like — it just takes longer than the florets.

Break off large florets

Pull apart the large florets with your hands. You now have cauliflower that's cut into florets for roasting, steaming for mashed cauliflower, sautéing and so much more.

To cut cauliflower for salad, cut each floret into smaller florets

If you'd like to eat your cauliflower raw in salad, then we prefer smaller, bite-sized florets. To cut your cauliflower into smaller florets, use a paring knife or your hands and really separate each large floret into smaller florets. You can cut florets in half, if needed. This part can get a bit messy, but it's very easy once you get the hang of it.

How do you store cauliflower after cutting it?

Because cauliflower is pretty fragile and starts to rot once it gets wet, we recommend cutting your cauliflower unwashed and storing it in an airtight container for a few days and no more. If you are going to be eating your cauliflower over the next day, then you can store the cut cauliflower, stems down, standing upright like flowers in water with a pinch of salt.

How To Cut Cauliflower
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Cutting cauliflower for florets can take minutes and save you a lot of money on precut cauliflower, so learn how you can do it yourself.
Prep Time
3
minutes
Cook Time
0
minutes
Servings
1
cauliflower
small cut cauliflower florets on cutting board with knife
Ready in 3 minutes
Ingredients
  • Cauliflower
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
Directions
  1. Peel off outer cauliflower leaves with your hands.
  2. Cut cauliflower in half from the crown through the stem.
  3. Place each cauliflower half on the cutting board, cut-side down. Proceed to cut each cauliflower half vertically into two quarters. Repeat with remaining.
  4. Place each cauliflower quarter on the cutting board. Angle the knife and make one long slit that cuts out the core and separates the florets from the base. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower quarters.
  5. Pull apart the large florets with your hands.
  6. To cut cauliflower for salad, cut each floret into smaller florets with a paring knife, or break them off with your hands.
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