This baked cauliflower mac and cheese is the answer to all of your food cravings because it’s diet-friendly! Rich, creamy, and oh so cheesy, you have to try this tonight!
Amazing Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Get ready to try the best mac and cheese without all the carbs! One bite of this indulgent, satisfying dish, and you will fall in love. Cauliflower mac and cheese is every dieter’s dream dish come true. You will never miss the noodles or the carbs, I promise. My family loved this, and I loved sneaking in more vegetables into their diets. It’s kind of like my butternut squash pasta, full of flavor and vegetables. Having this cauliflower mac and cheese is a double win!
Whether you are trying to be healthier or not, this is a mac and cheese you have to try. You won’t regret it. Serve this up as a side with a big salad and these yummy chicken thighs. And if you really want to test out delicious diet foods, then end the night with these Keto brownies to finish it off the meal. Of course, you can serve this as the main dish too. Whatever way you want to serve this, just make it! You will love it!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Ingredients
This mac and cheese recipe contains straightforward ingredients that are easy to find and quick to come together. When you buy your cauliflower, remember that you’ll be trimming it, so you will want to buy more than 2 pounds to get the right amount for this cauliflower mac and cheese. See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.
- Cauliflower: Look for cauliflower free of brown spots.
- Butter: Butter is best, you need it for the roux.
- Flour: This will thicken the sauce.
- Salt and Pepper: Add more or less to taste.
- Onion and Garlic Powder: These add in some delicious flavor.
- Milk: This will be the base of the cheese sauce.
- Cheddar Cheese: For the best flavor then use medium or sharp cheese.
Let’s Make Some Healthy Mac and Cheese!
This cauliflower mac and cheese comes together quickly and is baked to golden perfection. In about 30-45 minutes you can have dinner on the table!
- Prep: Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook: Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower to the boiling water and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Chill: Remove cauliflower and place in a bowl filled with ice water.
- Roux: In a large size saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
- Mix: Whisk in milk, continue to cook over medium/low heat while whisking until thickened.
- Melt: Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted.
- Combine: Mix cauliflower with cheese sauce and add to casserole baking dish.
- Cheese: Top cauliflower with remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake: Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. I broil the top the last 2 minutes.
Tips for the Best Keto Mac and Cheese
This is essentially perfect cauliflower mac and cheese, but some things can go wrong, gritty or grainy cheese sauce for example. So here are some tips to make your baked mac and cheese awesome.
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese: Grate your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese is usually coated in anti clumping agents which prevent it from melting beautifully in your mac and cheese sauce.
- Add cheese off the heat: Be sure to add the cheese after you’ve removed the pan from the heat. If you add the cheese when it’s bubbling, it can cause it to break down and become gritty.
- Add cheese slowly: Add the cheese slowly, about ½ cup at a time and stir till completely melted then add more. This helps retain a smooth velvety texture to your mac and cheese sauce.
- Keep the cauliflower bite sized: Keep your cauliflower the same size for even cooking and in bite sized pieces. It will be easier to eat this incredible mac and cheese.
- Chill the cauliflower: Placing the cauliflower in ice water will stop it from cooking so it doesn’t become too soggy or limp.
- Dry your cauliflower: Make sure the cauliflower is dry. You may need to pat it dry with paper towels so you don’t have extra water in the cheese sauce.
Variations for Macaroni and Cheese
This cauliflower mac and cheese is completely customizable, and it will still be spectacular. Here are a few ways!
- Cheese: You are not stuck with just cheddar as the only option, as great as it is. Mix it up with different combinations of cheeses. Monterey Jack, pepper jack, havariti, swiss, guyre, or colby all are fun to include or mix and match.
- Topping: If you like your mac and cheese with a little crunch on top, feel free to add a mixture of melted butter and bread crumbs, french fried onions or panko.
- Add ins: You can mix up the veggies in this cauliflower mac and cheese if you desire. Add in broccoli, zucchini, peppers or mushrooms.
- Meats: Give the mac and cheese some protein with ham, bacon or sausage.
- Roast: You can oven roast the cauliflower instead of boiling it if you prefer. Toss in some olive oil and cook on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or till done to your liking. Roasting it will give the cauliflower a bit of a crunch, so yummy!
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Cauliflower baked mac and cheese is best eaten the day you make it. Unfortunately, it does not freeze well, so I don’t recommend it. You can freeze it but the texture will be grainy and gritty. Not ideal for mac and cheese enthusiasts.
- Store: Leftovers, if you have them, will store tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Reheat: One of the best ways to reheat this cauliflower mac and cheese is in the oven. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 10-15 min or till heated through. I’m often not that patient however, so if your like me reheat in the microwave till almost heated through. Then finish heating up in the oven for the last 5 minutes to help give it that bubbly crust on top.
- Too Thick: If your mac and cheese sauce has thickened too much, add a little milk to thin it out.
Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 32 ounces cauliflower 2 pounds
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups milk
- 3 cups cheddar cheese shredded divided
Preheat oven to 350℉. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower to the boiling water and allow to cook for 5-6 minutes.
Remove cauliflower and place it in a bowl filled with ice water.
In a large-size saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes while stirring.
Whisk in milk, continue to cook over medium/low heat while whisking until thickened.
Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese until melted.
Mix cauliflower with cheese sauce and add to casserole baking dish.
Top cauliflower with the remaining 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. I broil the top for the last 2 minutes.
Originally Posted on January 14, 2021
The Recipe Critic