Cauliflower Mac and Cheese – The Big Man’s World ®

This cauliflower mac and cheese gives you all the cheesy and hearty goodness of mac and cheese, minus all the carbs and calories! It’s quick to make and even quicker to eat!

cauliflower mac and cheese with fresh herbs on top.

Whenever I’m watching my carbs but craving comfort food, cauliflower mac n cheese is always a fabulous idea. 

Instead of using traditional macaroni noodles, I replaced them with lightly cooked cauliflower. After covering it in a creamy cheese sauce, I could barely tell that this was missing the pasta, because let’s be real…the best part of mac and cheese is the cheesy sauce. It makes a fabulous vegetable side dish, or you can amp it up and make it a meal on its own!

Table of Contents
  1. Why this recipe works
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make cauliflower mac and cheese
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. More delicious ways to use cauliflower
  8. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Why this recipe works

  • It’s healthier. Besides the fact that this recipe uses cauliflower, it also uses much less cream and cheese than traditional mac and cheese recipes. It’s also accidentally gluten-free and keto friendly.
  • One dish wonder. Like my cauliflower casserole, everything is baked in one dish so clean up is an absolute breeze.
  • Full of textures and flavors. You get the tender cauliflower florets, creamy sauce, and a generous layer of cheese. It’s rich, savory, and cheesy all at once. 

Ingredients needed

This baked cauliflower mac and cheese needs just a handful of ingredients that can be found at any basic grocery store. Here is what you will need: 

  • Cauliflower florets– Chop the cauliflower into bite sized pieces, so they all cook evenly. I always try to choose cauliflowers that have plenty of florets, as they have the best flavor.
  • Cream– Most recipes call for at least two cups of heavy cream but not my one. One cup is plenty to give each bite some delicious, creamy goodness. 
  • Cream cheese– My secret ingredient! Adding a small amount of cream cheese adds an layer of creaminess without being overpowering. 
  • Cheese– I like to use a mix of mozzarella cheese and sharp cheddar cheese for both the stretchy goodness and also full-bodied flavor. Any good melting cheese works and if possible, always shred the cheese by hand! 
  • Dijon mustard– Adds flavor and a lovely subtle tang. 
  • Garlic and Onion powder– Adds some flavor without adding any fresh garlic or onion.
  • Salt and Pepper0 to taste! The amount suggested is a minimum- add more as desired.
  • Butter or olive oil– To grease the baking dish.

How to make cauliflower mac and cheese

What I love about this recipe is that it needs very little prep. Once the cauliflower is cooked, the oven takes care of all the hard work, and you’ll be ready to dig in! 

Step 1- Prep the cauliflower. In a microwave-safe bowl, add your chopped florets and microwave for 5 minutes, until tender and crisp. Transfer your cauliflower into a large baking dish.

Step 2- Make the sauce. In a small saucepan, add your cream and cream cheese and heat on medium. Once the edges of the saucepan begin to bubble, whisk very well, until the softened both are combined. Add your shredded cheese, spices, and Dijon mustard and whisk until combined. 

Step 3- Assemble. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and stir well, ensuring it is coating all the cauliflower completely. Sprinkle extra cheese on top.

Step 4- Bake. Bake the cauliflower cheese for 15 minutes, or until bubbling and the cheese on top has melted.

creamy cauliflower mac and cheese.

Recipe tips and variations

  • If you don’t have a microwave, you can boil or roast your cauliflower. Be sure to only cook it until crisp and tender, around 5 minutes. You can also make my air fryer cauliflower, but the cauliflower will be a little more tender and evident throughout the dish. 
  • You can bake the cauliflower mac and cheese longer, especially if you’d prefer a softer texture.
  • If you’d like extra cheesy cauliflower mac and cheese, remove halfway through, add extra shredded cheese on top, and bake a further 10 minutes.
  • For some crunch, add some fun toppings like crispy panko breadcrumbs, diced bacon, crushed pork rind (if keto!), or other cheeses (parmesan cheese is fabulous).
  • Swap out half the cauliflower for other vegetables, like broccoli, mushrooms, or zucchini. 

Storage instructions

To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to five days. 

To freeze: Store leftovers in a freezer-safe container for up to two months.

Frequently asked questions

Why is my cauliflower mac and cheese watery?

If you notice excess liquid in the base of the baking dish or separation of the sauce from the cauliflower, it means that the sauce is not thick enough. You need to let the sauce simmer until it has thickened considerably, with a texture similar to condensed milk or honey. 

How many carbs are in cauliflower mac and cheese?

When made as written, this recipe has just 3 grams of net carbs per serving. 

How do you fix watery cauliflower cheese? 

You can easily fix watery mac and cheese by stirring through some shredded cheese and giving everything a good mix. Add more cheese on top, re-bake until golden, and you should see most of the liquid absorbed.

cauliflower mac and cheese in a white baking dish.

More delicious ways to use cauliflower

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add your chopped cauliflower and microwave for 5 minutes, or until tender. Alternatively, you can boil it. Remove excess liquid and transfer the cauliflower into the baking dish.

  • In a small saucepan, heat up your yogurt with cream cheese on medium heat. Once the edges begin to bubble, quickly whisk together until combined. Add the mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese and whisk for 2-3 minutes, until melted. Remove from the heat.

  • Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower, until completely coated. Cover with remaining shredded cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until bubbling and the cheese has melted.

TO STORE: Leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator, in a sealable container. It will keep well for up to 1 week.
TO FREEZE: Freeze portions in containers to enjoy at a later time. Mac and cheese can be frozen for up to 6 months. 

Serving: 1servingCalories: 246kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 18gFat: 15gSodium: 803mgPotassium: 587mgFiber: 5gVitamin A: 634IUVitamin C: 70mgCalcium: 403mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 3g

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