How to Cut and Core Cauliflower

How ToCauliflower

How to quickly, easily, and safely core and cut cauliflower!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Are you prepping cauliflower by cutting out the core first and then breaking the head into florets? (No shame in this, it’s how I did it for 40 years until my friend Chef Kathi Riley set me straight.)

There’s an easier way.

Cut the whole head into quarters first, and then angle the knife to cut out the cores.

Note that the cauliflower cores and leaves are perfectly edible; the cauliflower cores are much like broccoli cores. If you want, peel them and slice them for snacks, or chop them and cook them them way you would the florets.

How to Cut and Core Cauliflower



  • One head of cauliflower


1 Pull leaves off base of cauliflower.

2 Cut cauliflower in half from the top of the crown through the stem.

3 Lay the cauliflower halves cut side down on the cutting board and cut them vertically again.

4 Lay the cauliflower quarter on the cutting board and angle the knife so that it cuts out the core. Repeat with remaining quarters of cauliflower.

5 Pull apart the cauliflower florets.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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13 Comments / Reviews

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  • Doug

    I would never throw the core away, all that needs to be done is for it to be peeled, there’s a lot of cauliflower flesh being wasted otherwise. The way I cut cauliflower is to simply cut the stem off from the bottom, after having peeled off the leaves, and then peel the core while it’s a whole stem…after that just slice up the core into bite-size pieces.

  • In the Kitchens

    Wow-what a great way to easily cut and core cauliflower! Can’t wait to teach my kids! This trick would probably work for a fennel bulb too. Thanks for sharing!


  • Nina Davies

    Surely cauliflower cut this way means that some of the florets will be cut too, resulting in breaking up easily when cooked. I prefer my florets to stay whole.

  • Gwyn Walton

    Wow! Thank you Elise! This surely makes it easier! It seems like a no-brainer but I’ve been doing it the hard way for way too many years!

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Gwyn Walton


  • Michael Capelle

    Do you realize how delicious the raw cores are?

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