Fennel Baked in Cream

This fennel baked in cream is a gratin baked with Parmesan that’s rich, cream, and easy to make by baking wedges of fennel in heavy cream. Simple, elegant, and surprisingly irresistible.

A cast-iron baking dish filled with fennel baked in cream on a wooden board.

Fennel baked in cream is an Italian classic that no fewer than 13 of our testers–a baker’s dozen–rushed to make. And then proceeded to wax poetic about their experience with it. It’s a simple, satiating, stunning, unexpected side dish that’s both swanky and rustic. If you aren’t quite convinced this fennel baked in cream recipe belongs on your table, but you are the type who doesn’t mind a movie review giving away the ending, by all means, skip ahead and read the reviews from our testers found below the recipe before deciding if it belongs on your table.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Video: How to Make Fennel Baked in Cream
Video courtesy of WTNH

Fennel Baked in Cream

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 10 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 4 reviews
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Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).

In a bowl, toss together the fennel, cream, and 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish and dot with as much or as little of the butter as you wish, depending on how rich a dish you prefer. (You can assemble the ingredients in the baking dish and refrigerate for up to 24 hours if you need to get the prep work done ahead of time.)

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Uncover the baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Continue baking, uncovered, until the fennel is tender and the surface is well browned, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately. Originally published December 8, 2011.

Print RecipeBuy the Saveur: The New Comfort Food cookbook

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    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This fennel baked in cream was just so lovely. From the cream to the fennel to the crisp Parmesan on top! I loved it! It was great and I will make it again and again! I actually used some light cream, as that's what I had in the house, it worked great and I felt a little better for it. I had some excellent Parm and that made this dish just extra special!

    This recipe is meant for six to eight although we ended up devouring it just between the two of us. It was that good.

    I was initially hesitant about the proportions — anything over a stick of butter or a cup of cream I usually avoid. But this dish is entirely worth the indulgence. The cream is less stodgy than using a béchamel, and it bakes down into the most ethereal custard. I forgot the butter topping and the dish didn’t seem to suffer from the lack.

    The only adjustment I’d make would be on temperature. I ended up with a rim of carbonized cream; maybe lower to 400°. Otherwise, I can’t wait to make it again, and perhaps try it with leeks.


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    1. Yes, I’ve got to make this – love fennel! Looks terrific. (What a natural you are on camera David!)

    2. I made this dish and it was a HUGE hit. I got rave reviews from my guests (in their 50s and 60s) that it was the best meal they had ever eaten. Definitely a keeper!

    3. Ha! Indeed, a vehicle for tons of cream, butter, and Parmesan, but boy oh boy do I love fennel and this is fabulous! Side dish or meal in itself? Gorgeous!

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