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This buttered cauliflower recipe is cooked in boiling water until tender and then mixed with butter and black pepper. A delicious side dish to many meals and so simple to make.

(Last Updated On: November 3, 2023)

Buttered cauliflower is the perfect side dish for many entrées with three simple ingredients – cauliflower, butter, and ground black pepper. Also, it only takes about 20 minutes to make this easy and delicious recipe.

My mother-in-law used to make this cauliflower side dish recipe many times while she was still here with us, and I have continued to carry on the tradition. We serve it with meatloaffried beef eye of round steak, and baked salmon.

Buttered cauliflower on a plate.

🏷️ Key Ingredients

Key Ingredients for buttered cauliflower.
Key Ingredients for buttered cauliflower.

👩‍🍳 How to Make Buttered Cauliflower (Step-By-Step Instructions with Photos)

Step 1. Prepare the Cauliflower

To begin with, buy a head of cabbage at your local grocery store, farmers market, or fruit stand. The size of your cauliflower depends on the size of your family. Buy enough cauliflower so each person gets about three or four cauliflower florets.

Then, remove the leaves from the whole cauliflower. Give it a good rinse under cold running water. After that, cut the core off the bottom center and discard it. Next, cut the whole head of cauliflower in half, then separate each floret by hand or by cutting them apart with a sharp knife.

Note: Try to cut medium-sized florets, not small florets. This is because smaller florets will fall apart easier while they are boiling in the water. Also at this time, if you prefer, trim off any unwanted stems, although it won’t hurt to leave some of the stems on.

Cauliflower florets on a plate.
Cauliflower florets on a plate.

Step 2. Cook the Cauliflower

Put the cauliflower florets into a large pot of water. Fill the pot with about an inch of water above the top of the cauliflower. Then, turn the burner on high heat and bring the water to a boil. After the water starts boiling, turn the burner down to medium-high heat and cook the cauliflower for 15 minutes, or until tender. You can also do the fork tender test to check if they are done. A fork should slide easily into the middle of a cauliflower floret without it falling apart.

Tip: Depending on your stove, if medium-high heat is too hot, turn the burner down to medium heat.

The florets are boiling on the stove.
The florets are boiling on the stove.

Step 3. Add the Butter and Pepper

After cooking the cauliflower for 15 minutes, put the cauliflower in a colander in the sink and drain all the water out of the pot. Then, put the cauliflower back into the pot and add 1/2 cup of butter and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper together with the cauliflower and let the butter melt on medium heat.

Tip: If you prefer, you can leave the cauliflower in the colander for a few minutes while you add the butter and ground pepper to the saucepan and let the butter melt first.

Butter and pepper were added to the saucepan.
Butter and pepper were added to the saucepan.

Step 4. Stir All Together

The last step is to carefully stir the butter and black pepper together with the cauliflower as the butter melts. Be careful not to break up the cauliflower, but don’t worry if some do fall apart. Smaller pieces of cauliflower will break away from the florets, and that’s fine.

Turn the burner down to medium-low heat while the melted butter, black pepper, and cauliflower heat through. Then, transfer the buttered cauliflower to a large bowl and serve.

Buttered cauliflower in a saucepan, sprinkled with black pepper.
Buttered cauliflower in a saucepan, sprinkled with black pepper.

✨ Recipe Variations

  • Sprinkle a little bit of garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, or any other seasoning you prefer on top of the buttered cauliflower.
  • Add minced garlic to the cauliflower in the saucepan while the butter is melting.
  • Make garlic butter cauliflower using garlic butter instead of unsalted butter.
  • Make roasted cauliflower instead. Place the cauliflower florets in a single layer on a sprayed baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. You can also add garlic cloves, garlic salt, or garlic powder. Then, bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10–15 minutes, flip over to the other side, then bake about 10 more minutes or until crispy. Top with Parmesan cheese. Fresh parsley or parsley flakes makes a nice garnish. Want extra seasonings? Add curry powder, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, or whatever sounds good to you.

❓ FAQs

What do I do with Leftover Buttered Cauliflower?

Put any leftover buttered cauliflower in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, put the buttered cauliflower in a saucepan and set it on the burner on medium heat. Or you can reheat it in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, and then microwave it until hot.

Can I Freeze Leftover Buttered Cauliflower?

Because this buttered cauliflower has already been cooked until tender, it does not freeze well to eat it the same way as when it was first made. After it thaws, it will be very watery, mushy, lose its texture, and fall apart. However, you can mash the leftovers, freeze it, and then use it in other recipes that call for mashed cauliflower.

A plate of buttered cauliflower with black pepper.
A plate of buttered cauliflower with black pepper.

📄 Final Thoughts

Buttered cauliflower is a delicious side dish that pairs well with many dinner recipes. Add any of your favorite herbs or seasonings to enhance the flavor even more. If you like hot and spicy, shake a few red pepper flakes on it.

Cauliflower is low calorie, low carb, and also naturally gluten-free. So the next time you are in a hurry and wondering what side dish to make, buttered cauliflower is the perfect recipe to make for your whole family and your guests.

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Buttered Cauliflower

Buttered Cauliflower

Flo
This buttered cauliflower recipe is cooked in boiling water until tender and then mixed with butter and black pepper. A delicious side dish to many meals and so simple to make.
5 from 2 votes
Cost $5
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings 6

🫕 Equipment

🧂 Ingredients
  

👩‍🍳 Instructions
 

  • Remove the leaves from the cauliflower. Rinse the cauliflower under cold running water.
  • Cut the core off the bottom and discard it, then cut the head of the cauliflower in half.
  • With a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower into florets.
  • Fill a pot with water about one inch above the cauliflower florets.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-high. Cook for 15 minutes until florets are tender.
  • In a colander, drain all the water out of the cauliflower.
  • Put the cauliflower back into the pot and add the butter and black pepper.
  • Stir carefully and cook on medium heat while the butter melts and until all the ingredients are heated through.

*️⃣ Recipe Notes

  • Buttered cauliflower is a quick, simple, and delicious side dish to add to your dinner menu.
  • You can add any of your favorite seasonings to the buttered cauliflower.
Keyword butter cauliflower recipe, buttered cauliflower, cauliflower, cauliflower florets, cauliflower recipe
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