Last Updated on August 4, 2022 by Kathryn Donangelo
This Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe will satisfy all of your mac and cheese cravings! Roasted cauliflower is coated in a cheesy sauce and is simply the best!
This is the Best Cauliflower Mac and Cheese you can make. I have tested several different recipes and this is still by far my favorite. Totally satisfying, keto-friendly, low carb, and easy to make. It will even satisfy your picky eaters as it tastes just like your favorite ultimate comfort food.
This low carb side dish is on repeat at our house- we just can’t get enough. I love how cauliflower is a versatile vegetable and can be used in numerous recipes. Cauliflower recipes have been trending for years since they’re low carb, nutritious, and basically serve as a blank slate for flavor.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THE BEST CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
- Cauliflower – This recipe calls for one large head of cauliflower or two small heads. Fresh cauliflower is much better than frozen cauliflower rice for this keto cauliflower mac.
- Olive oil – You could really use any neutral oil that you have on hand.
- Salt + black pepper – One of the best parts of this recipe is the simplicity! It only requires minimal kitchen staple seasonings.
- Garlic powder – If you’re a huge fan of garlic, you could certainly replace this with fresh minced garlic for a stronger flavor.
- Onion powder – Onion powder can also be increased or decreased based on personal preference.
- Heavy whipping cream – Helps add to the creaminess of your low carb cauliflower mac. You could also use milk if you prefer, it may change the consitency a bit. Sometimes I’ll use both and divide them in the recipe.
- Cream cheese – If you’re trying to keep this cheesy cauliflower recipe on the healthier side, I would use a low fat cream cheese.
- Cheese – I like to use a combination of Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gruyere cheese, but feel free to choose whichever cheeses you prefer. It is also a great way to clean out the odds and ends in the fridge.
MAC AND CHEESE SAUCE
This cheese sauce is my favorite and can eat it with just about any vegetable! It’s rich, thick, and has the comforting flavors of mac and cheese. This sauce is made with heavy cream, cream cheese, a combination of my favorite cheeses, and a few spices.
You can make this dish in about 30 minutes with only a few easy and simple steps. I like to wait until the cauliflower florets are done roasting before I make the cheese sauce so the cheese sauce doesn’t harden and only takes a few minutes.
ROASTING THE CAULIFLOWER
- Cutting the cauliflower into smaller uniform pieces will ensure they all cook at the same rate. I also love a few crispy pieces so I cut some into even smaller pieces. You can cut your cauliflower into bigger pieces if you prefer but you will have to roast them for a little longer or settle for a snap in the middle.
- Simply place the cauliflower pieces in an even layer on a baking dish lined with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast cauliflower for 15-20 minutes.
Optional:If you are a lover of that char, like me, you can opt to switch it over to broil for a quick blitz of heat. Make sure to keep a watchful eye to prevent burning- especially if you used parchment paper.
MAKING THE CHEESE SAUCE
After you’ve achieved tender cauliflower, it’s time to make the gooey sauce. This is my favorite part! Use your favorite cheese combinations as long as it equals 2 1/2 cups total. This cheese sauce is straightforward to make.
- Whisk together the cream and cream cheese (make sure to cut into pieces so it melts faster) in a saucepan until combined.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and vigorously whisk until combined and cheese is smooth. Once the sauce is melted, remove from the heat immediately. It is important to keep an eye because you don’t want to over cook it otherwise it will turn into a solid. All stovetops vary so this cheese sauce may cook a little quicker or slower depending on your stove.
- The last step is to combine it all together! Combine the cream sauce with the cauliflower pieces until they are well coated.
Cheese it Up- As stated in the recipe card, I prefer to use Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gruyere cheese for this recipe. However, feel free to mix up the cheese to your liking. You could use parmesan cheese, sharp cheddar cheese, really anything that melts well. The more of a blend, the more flavor sophistication.
Add Protein– Turn this delicious cauliflower mac into a main dish by adding some chicken to it. You could even take it one step further by adding BBQ or buffalo sauce into the mix. Top with green onion and now you have a delicious buffalo cauliflower mac n cheese! Save time by buying a precooked rotisserie chicken at the store or using leftover chicken from another meal.
Some like Hot- Some folks like to sweat! Add chopped jalapenos, fresh or pickled, or diced green chiles to cheese sauce before tossing. Alternately, add 1 teaspoon of chili powder. Cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes or paprika will also give heat and color.
Crunchies- Top your cauliflower mac with bread crumbs or crumbled cracker bits.
More Veggies– I try to sneak in more veggies wherever possible. This dish is great with green peas, sun dried tomatoes and even lightly sauteed mushrooms.
Tangy- Add a dollop of dijon mustard or prepared horseradish.
Storage & Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
To reheat, simply reheat in the microwave or even warm it up in the oven. If it seems a little dry, you could always add a splash of milk. You can also do this in a small saucepan over low heat on the stovetop.
LOOKING FOR OTHER SIDE DISH RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Loaded Cheesy Twice Baked Potato Bake
- Roasted Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
- Zucchini Corn Fritters
- Herb-Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
OTHER LOW-CARB RECIPES
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Sloppy Joe Stuffed Bell Peppers
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Zucchini Cheese “Bread”
- Baked Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
- P.F Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Spinach and Artichoke Spaghetti Squash
- Loaded Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
CAN’T GET ENOUGH?
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The Best Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small bite size pieces (think the size of gnocchi). 1 large head OR 2 small heads
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream you could also use milk instead or use both, just divide them to equal 1 1/2 cups total.
- 4 ounces cream cheese; cut into small cubes or pieces
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1/4 tsp. paprika (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet coated with foil or parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on the cauliflower pieces and coat well. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cauliflower pieces or softened. Some pieces will be darker in color.
- Once the cauliflower is cooked, in a large pot on low heat add the heavy cream and the cream cheese. Whisk until the cream cheese is melted. Add the remaining cheeses and continue to stir until all cheeses are melted. Add the spices to the sauce and incorporate- this process is quick and will take a few minutes. Once the cheesy mixture is smooth and comes to a simmer, REMOVE FROM HEAT and vigorously whisk.
- Add the roasted cauliflower pieces and stir until all of the cauliflower pieces are coated. Serve immediately and enjoy! Sprinkle paprika on top if you want some extra spice!
- You can use any cheese combination that you prefer. Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gruyere are my favorites for this recipe. Make sure to use a total of 2 1/2 cups total.
- It is important to keep an eye on the cheese sauce because you don't want to over cook it otherwise it will turn into a solid.
This recipe was originally published on April 20, 2020. It was republished on January 6, 2022, to include additional information and photos.