Creamed Cabbage-And-Leek Gratin


A creamy cabbage side that's special enough for a dinner party.

Creamed cabbage and leek gratin in a casserole dish on a table with water glasses, a small bowl of thyme, a serving spoon, and a napkin.

Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Lydia Pursell

Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins

This comforting, surprisingly easy gratin is a new take on classic scalloped or creamed cabbage

The well-seasoned sauce and buttery, cheesy topping make this a great side dish for a holiday ham or roast chicken. The breadcrumb topping is super crispy and has added crunch from the Parmesan for a wonderful contrast against the creamy gratin.

This is a pretty straightforward recipe, but there are a few important things to keep in mind: The cheese sauce needs to thicken until it coats the back of a wooden spoon, so that the gratin does not get watery. It’s also important to grate the cabbage yourself, which is easy to do with a food processor’s shredding disk. Please resist the tempting shortcut of pre-shredded cabbage; it won’t have the moisture and freshness this recipe deserves.

This dish also reheats nicely, and leftovers can be tossed with cooked linguine or spaghetti, a touch of additional cream,  and some extra Parmesan, for a rich and comforting pasta dinner.


  • Cooking spray

  • 7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 small (2 lb.) head green cabbage, cored and grated (about 8 cups)

  • 2 medium-size (12 oz. total) leeks, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)

  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 5 Tbsp. instant flour (such as Wondra) or all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard

  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

  • 4 oz. Gruyère cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs

  • 3 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 2 1/2-quart gratin dish or shallow baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium. Stir in cabbage, leeks, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until barely tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, and cover to keep warm.

  3. Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. (Do not let flour brown.) Whisk in milk; cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until mixture has thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in black pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add Gruyère cheese, and stir until melted. Stir in thyme. Fold cheese mixture into warm cabbage mixture, and pour into prepared baking dish.

  4. Stir together breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl. Microwave remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small microwavable bowl on HIGH until melted, 30 to 40 seconds. Drizzle melted butter over breadcrumb mixture, and toss well. Sprinkle evenly over top of gratin.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

415 Calories
25g Fat
33g Carbs
17g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 415
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Sodium 738mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 58mg 292%
Calcium 489mg 38%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 484mg 10%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Related Articles