Cauliflower mac and cheese is here to redeem every piece of cauliflower that’s ever been left alone on a veggie tray. The humble cauliflower is a great pasta substitute and is loaded with vitamins and fiber. But personally, I’ve never craved cauliflower. Until now.
For more cauliflower subs, check out my cauliflower pizza or cauliflower fried rice.
Why You’ll Love Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Cauliflower? A comfort food!? Stay with me… This is greater than your average smother-it-with-cheese situation for two reasons:
- The cauliflower adds a savory flavor that complements the cheese, without getting lost in it.
- The cheese sauce is luxuriously velvety, creamy, and cheesy.
Forget the veggie tray or been-there-mash, this is how I’ll be bringing cauliflower to the table this season.
Is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Keto? Low Carb?
This baked cauliflower mac and cheese is the PERFECT pasta substitute for traditional mac and cheese, with a fraction of the carbs and an added dose of veggies.
My #1 reason for loving this recipe? There are 43 g carbs in mac and cheese per serving. In this recipe? There are 6g. Even if you aren’t a low carb eater, you know that’s pretty cool…
How to Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Baked cauliflower mac n cheese is surprisingly easy to make. Here’s how with some pictures to guide you:
Prep your “macaroni” by tossing cauliflower in oil and seasoning and baking it in the oven. Roasted cauliflower takes about 25 minutes.
Make the sauce. Melt the butter along with your heavy cream. Stir in the cheddar.
Bake it all together. Remove your pan from heat and add the cauliflower, stir to combine. Cover the dish with parmesan, then bake your cauliflower mac and cheese.
This isn’t your average cauliflower and cheese recipe. I’ve added a few surprises to keep you coming back for seconds. Here’s everything you need to know for how to make mac and cheese, the cauliflower way:
- Prebake the cauliflower, this will get it soft enough to work well as a pasta dupe, and will mellow out its flavor so our baked cauliflower with cheese doesn’t taste too much like, well, vegetables.
- Turn this into one pot mac and cheese by making your cheese sauce in the same pan. Toss your baked cauliflower in the cheese sauce, then bake it in the oven. One pan wonder!
- Add a crunch to the top. As you know, most mac and cheese recipes are topped with breadcrumbs. In an effort to keep this recipe gluten free and low carb, I like adding crushed pork rinds, which add a delicious crunch (and a bit of bacon-y flavor). If pork rinds aren’t your thing, be sure to add crunch with breadcrumbs/gf breadcrumbs.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Mac n Cheese?
As with most cheese or cream sauces, this baked cauliflower mac and cheese is best fresh, but you can freeze it if you must. I like to portion it into resealable baggies. Reheat leftovers in the oven or toaster oven to re-crisp the top.
What goes well with mac and cheese?? All.The.Things. But the beauty of this dish is you really don’t have to serve it with anything. It’s great on its own. I like to dish it up alongside meat dishes. It’s also one of our family’s Thanksgiving staples.
Tweaks + Variations
As long as you get the basics for this cheesy cauliflower recipe down, you can switch and swap ingredients as you see fit. Here are some ideas that come to mind:
- Add protein. Pancetta, bacon, cubed ham, heck even shredded chicken would be a delicious addition to this cauliflower mac and cheese. Be sure to cook any meat before adding it.
- Or, skip the meat.
- Add more vegetables. Broccoli is a natural complement, but everything tastes delicious in this cheese sauce. Try adding sauteed kale, red onions, mushrooms, or zucchini noodles.
- Try a different type of “pasta” – again, broccoli is the obvious sub. Or, give my almond flour pasta, spaghetti squash, butternut squash noodles, or keto gnocchi a try! Skip shirataki noodles here, they work best as a stir-fry sub.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Tutorial Video
More Pasta Swaps
- Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash
- Cabbage Lasagna
- Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash
- Keto Shrimp Scampi
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Cauliflower Mac And CheesePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 Head Cauliflower cut into 1" florets
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- Prep. Preheat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roast cauliflower. Toss cauliflower in olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and ground black pepper, and spread onto a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the florets begin to brown.
- Make the sauce. Melt the butter in an oven safe pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Sprinkle in the cheddar a little at a time as it melts. Cook on low until everything has melted together.
- Assemble + bake. Remove from heat and stir in the cauliflower. Sprinkle the top of the dish with parmesan. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- Optional topping: 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds or bread crumbs for a bit of texture.
- We also love adding 4 ounces of pancetta to the cream sauce.
- Nutritional information is based on 1 serving if you divide this recipe into 6 servings:
WOW! Is there anyway to make this vegetarian?
Hey Scott! Totally, just skip the pancetta and pork rinds, it’ll be amazing without these!
OMG! This looks amazing! Soooo amazing!!
scrumptious tasting recipes
Awww..Thank you so much Cheryl <3
looks great – not only a side, but a meal in it’s self with a salad on the side. i do have a question — can frozen cauliflower be used? if so, how much and how to???
happy new year.
Hi Barbara! Happy New Year ? You can definitely use frozen cauliflower, although the texture would change a bit (the “noodles” will be a bit softer). Try using 10-12 ounces. Hope you enjoy!
I am intrigued by all your info, and would have never guessed this did not have pasta in it. Just the word macaroni I look the other way. Thanks so much for the commentary before the recipe. I cannot wait to try it. I usually am missing some of the ingred, so I copy them all. Thanks again.
Yay! I’m so excited for you. Hope you enjoy Judy!?
This recipe is really easy to make and is so delicious! I took it to a potluck and it was a hit! It has now become a regular side dish for our dinners!
Thank you Jackie! It’s my FAV! I am so happy you guys enjoyed ?
Tastes like cheating!! Thanks for the fantastic recipe ?
Right Jonas? I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I do! ?
I so enjoyed this version of this recipe I give it 5. I’m cooking again
Yahoo! I’m so glad you enjoyed Lorna!?
I love it, will make this again next week???
Yahoo! I’m so glad you enjoyed Angela!?
We loved this recipe so much! Easy to make and so flavorful. Love the step by step videos too!
Yahoo! I’m so happy you enjoyed this as much as I do! ?
so delicious!!!! can’t wait to make it again!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it Heather!?
Unique combination of Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower. Sounds interesting, healthy and nutritious too.
Let me know if you give this a try. Enjoy! ?
Such a great mac and cheese for those of us working from home right now! Delicious!
I’m so glad you enjoyed Kylie! ?
This is soon to be a family favorite! So excited to give this a try! Looks great and so flavorful!
Sounds great! Hope you enjoy Beth!?
Thanks Kelley! Hope you give it a try!🤩
OMG that was amazing! My family of 4 devoured the entire recipe! We did omit the pancetta…it was still delicious!!!! Thank you!
Yay! So glad your family liked it!🥰
This was so good that I felt guilty eating it!
Yay! I am so happy you liked it!🥰
hi, what would the nutrition be without pancetta? This looks really yummy, thank you.
Hi Jenniffer! It’d be: 230 cals, 6g carbs, 20g fat, and 9g protein per serving. Enjoy!
Totally amazing. I never liked cauliflower before
Yay! Sounds like you enjoyed it, Christie.