Today we have a dish that I’m so excited about, our Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe! I love a great stovetop mac and cheese and this low-carb version makes me so happy!
What is cauliflower mac and cheese?
Cauliflower mac and cheese is a variation of the traditional and popular stovetop mac and cheese. Macaroni is simply swapped out for cauliflower florets.
Is cauliflower mac and cheese healthier?
Yes! Omitting the pasta for cauliflower makes this recipe a low-carb and healthier 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.
How to make cauliflower mac and cheese?
- Cook cauliflower: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook cauliflower until soft, but with a bite.
- Drain cauliflower into a colander and transfer to a large bowl.
- Make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir together until smooth.
- Add milk and mustard to butter and flour and mix together until smooth and thickened.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cheese, in small handfuls.
- Continue to stir together until thick and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble: Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and toss together until completely coated. Top with more pepper.
Can you make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese ahead of time?
You can make cauliflower mac and cheese head of time. The best way to do that would be to make the sauce and store it in the refrigerator covered until you are ready. It will keep for 3 to 4 days. Once you are ready, cook the cauliflower and re-heat the sauce either in the microwave or on the stove top until just heated through. Then pour the sauce over the cauliflower and enjoy. If you want to fully assemble the recipe, see below for re-heating instructions.
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 and softening 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.
Can you freeze Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze cauliflower mac and cheese. The best way to do this would be to turn this recipe into a baked cauliflower mac and cheese. The recipe creation will stay the same except the cauliflower should just be blanched in boiling water for 2 to 3 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. When you are ready – bake in an oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly.
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
If you’re looking for cauliflower alternative recipes – try our vegan cauliflower “cream” sauce, which we use with pasta or on top of chicken!
Hungry for more?
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
Recipe instruction visual controls:
- 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.
To bake from frozen: Preheat oven to 350°, bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until browned and bubbly.