We’ve said it before, we love cauliflower and our Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe is one of our favorites! We LOVE stovetop mac and cheese and this low-carb version is so good! The cauliflower florets have a nice bite and the mild flavor matches perfectly with the creamy and salty cheese sauce.
Is This Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe Healthy?
Swapping the pasta out for cauliflower makes this recipe a healthier, low-carb version of the traditional mac and cheese.
Is This Recipe Gluten-Free?
No. Our version uses all-purpose flour in the cheese sauce, which has gluten. You can make this recipe gluten-free by swapping in an equal amount of gluten-free flour like cup 4 cup.
Important Ingredients to Note in Our Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe
- freshly shredded cheese – It’s important to shred your own cheese for the cheese sauce. It can be tempting to use pre-shredded cheese, but they are tossed with cornstarch and other anti-caking agents that can cause the cheese sauce to become gritty and grainy instead of silky smooth.
- dijon mustard – We love adding a dollop of dijon mustard into our cheese sauce for a pleasantly subtle tangy flavor, which balances out the rich cheese sauce.
How to Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?
- Cook cauliflower: Cook cauliflower in a large pot of water. It’s important that the cauliflower still has a bite to it, so that it doesn’t fall apart when tossed with the cheese sauce.
- Drain cauliflower and transfer into a large bowl.
- Make cheese sauce: Melt butter, add flour and stir together.
- Add milk and mustard to butter and flour and whisk together.
- Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese, in small handfuls. This is important to ensure the sauce stays smooth and creamy.
- Continue to stir together until thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble: Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and fold together. Top with more pepper.
Tools You Will Need
- cheese grater
- cutting board
- liquid measuring cup
- dry measuring cups
- dry measuring spoons
- wooden spoons
- large pot
Pour the cheese sauce into a bowl filled with the cooked cauliflower. Gently fold together to combine.
Making Ahead and Freezing This Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese Recipe
Make Ahead: Make and cool cheese sauce. Once cooled, pour into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To reheat sauce: : Pour sauce into a saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently. Add small amounts of milk into the mixture (1 tablespoon at a time) Then pour the sauce over the cauliflower and enjoy. If you want to fully assemble the recipe, see below for re-heating instructions.
To freeze: Instead of cooking cauliflower through, blanch in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer cauliflower to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain cooled cauliflower, toss with cheese sauce and pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Cover tightly with foil. Store covered in your freezer for up to three months.
To reheat: Place frozen, covered baking dish in oven at 375° and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly browned, bubbly and heated through.
Tips for Cauliflower Mac and Cheese success!
- It’s important that the cauliflower florets still have some bite to them to ensure they don’t fall apart and mimic the pasta a little more.
- Draining the cauliflower once they’re ready prevents them from cooking any further as you prepare the sauce.
- Removing the saucepan from the heat and adding the cheese in small handfuls is important to achieve a creamy and smooth cheese sauce that doesn’t get gritty.
Can This Recipe be Turned into a Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?
Yes! Once you toss the cheese sauce with the cauliflower, transfer the mixture to a lightly greased baking dish and top evenly with and mixture of buttered breadcrumbs and shredded cheese. Place baking dish under broiler and broil for 3 to 4 minutes until breadcrumbs and cheese on top have browned and melted. Cool for a couple minutes before serving.
You can also omit the breadcrumbs and just top the cauliflower mac and cheese with shredded cheese.
This is a great base recipe because the possibilities for add ins are endless. Add ins are a great way to use up extra veg in your refrigerator, or in some cases leftovers. Here are some ideas:
- creamed corn (Like our creamed corn mac and cheese recipe!)
- diced tomatoes
- ground beef or turkey
- roasted shredded chicken
More Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Love
- Vegan Cauliflower “Cream” Sauce (which we use with pasta or on top of chicken)! We also have our delicious
- Cauliflower Parsnip and Roasted Garlic Mash
- Giant Baked Cauliflower Arancini
- Crispy Baked Cauliflower Tots
- Honey Garlic Cauliflower
- Roasted Cauliflower and Parsnip Soup
- Indian Butter Cauliflower (Cauliflower Makhani)
- Spicy Roasted Cauliflower over Hummus
Check out our Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Web Story!
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The Creamiest Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe
- 1 medium head cauliflower trimmed and cut into bite sized florets
cheddar cheese sauce
- 3½ tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 8 oz grated cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fill a large pot with water, place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling add cauliflower. Cook cauliflower for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender but there’s still a bite.
- Remove cauliflower from heat and drain into a colander. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Place a saucepan over medium heat and melt butter.
- Add flour to butter and stir together until no lumps remain, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir milk and Dijon into mixture and stir until mixture is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cheese, a small handful at a time. Allow cheese to completely melt before adding in more cheese. Continue to add cheese and stir until all cheese has been added and sauce is smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and toss together until evenly coated. Finish with black pepper and serve.