This creamy low carb and keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is topped with more cheese and bacon. How could that be bad? I give multiple cooking methods for the cauliflower including boiling, Instant Pot, and roasting. I also share a trick to getting the cheesiest cauliflower possible!
Yes, you read that right. This is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and it is so cheesy that you can say goodbye to bland cauliflower forever! In this recipe I give multiple cooking methods for the cauliflower including boiling, Instant Pot, and roasting.
When I was coming up with this Cauliflower mac and cheese, I was poking around other recipes and I noticed a trend of bland cauliflower even though it was coated in cheese. I couldn't have any of that so I set out to make my creamy bacony cauliflower mac and cheese extra flavorful...and I think I succeeded!
This cheese sauce coats every nook and cranny of the cauliflower so there is no bland cauliflower here!
I love to serve this cauliflower mac and cheese with my Baked Chicken Thighs, Crock Pot Pork Roast, or Pork Rind Chicken Nuggets!
WHICH CAULIFLOWER CAN I USE?
This cheese sauce can be used with frozen or fresh cauliflower. You can also use riced cauliflower to make cheesy cauliflower rice! If you buy frozen cauliflower florets or riced cauliflower, just follow the directions for cooking on the package. Just note you may want to cut the florets a little smaller after they are cooked.
I usually buy a head of fresh cauliflower because it is the cheapest. I like to cut the florets off of the stem and cut them as small as possible so the cheese sauce gets all in the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower.
BEST WAY TO COOK THE CAULIFLOWER FOR CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
I have 3 methods for cooking the cauliflower and they all have their advantages.
Boiling - doesn't use the oven so it's the perfect method for a hot summer day. Also, the cauliflower doesn't need any extra butter or oil to cook.
To boil the cauliflower florets, take the chopped cauliflower and place it in a sauce pan that has a tight fitting lid. Cover the cauliflower halfway with water and season with salt. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Let drain in a colander while you make the cheese sauce.
Instant Pot - This is probably the easiest method but the cauliflower can overcook really easily.
To cook the cauliflower in the Instant Pot, add the chopped cauliflower to the inner pot along with 1 cup of water and salt. Place the lid, press the "manual" button, and set the time for zero minutes at low pressure. When the cauliflower is finished cooking, do a quick release of the pressure. Drain the cauliflower in a colander while you make the cheese sauce (make it in the Instant pot, too!)
Roasting - This yields the most flavorful cauliflower but it uses more oil, takes the longest, and heats up the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE LOW CARB CHEESE SAUCE
Start with a small sauce pan over medium low heat and melt the cream cheese with the heavy cream. Add in the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until just melted. Remove from the heat and season with mustard powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
Now we just combine the cauliflower with the cheese sauce and the bacon (if adding which I highly recommend) and serve!
Of course, more cheese and bacon on top is always an option, too.
CAN YOU BAKE THIS KETO MAC AND CHEESE?
Definitely! Pour the cauliflower Mac and cheese mixture in an 8x8 casserole dish and top with more shredded cheese and bacon. Bake in a 400F oven util hot and bubbly...about 15 minutes.
CAN YOU RE-HEAT CHEESY CAULIFLOWER?
I do believe this cheesy cauliflower has a leg up over traditional macaroni and cheese in the re-heating department. I think we can all agree that macaroni and cheese doesn't re-heat in the microwave very well. It gets dried out pretty fast. Well, I can attest that my cauliflower mac and cheese heats in the microwave beautifully.
You could also re-heat it in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 Large head of cauliflower
- ½ tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 oz Cream cheese
- ⅓ cup Heavy Cream
- ½ tablespoon Mustard Powder (More if desired)
- 1 Cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
- 8 Slices Bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
- kosher salt to taste
- Cut your cauliflower florets from the stem. You want to make each floret small, no bigger than 1 inch in diameter.
- Add the florets to a medium saucepan with ½ tablespoon of salt. Add enough water to come half way up the cauliflower
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 5 minutes
- drain cauliflower and keep it draining for at least 5 minutes
- For the cheese sauce, in a small saucepan, melt the cream cheese with the heavy cream over medium low heat, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until melted. Add in the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium bowl, add cauliflower and bacon, pour cheese sauce on top and stir to combine
- Salt to taste
- garnish with extra cheese and bacon.
- Make the florets small so the cheese sauce coats every nook and cranny.
- I put ½ tablespoon of mustard powder in the recipe but I added 1 tablespoon to my own dish. It gave it a nice kick!
Nutrition per serving
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy only. Please re-calculate on your own with the ingredients and amounts you used for the most accurate data.
I just made this. Delicious! Thank you.
The best cauli mac I have ever had! Thank you so much for sharing your life & recipes!
I love this recipe so much Mmmmm!
Thanks Jennifer 😋
Barb B says
Huge hit at Thanksgiving this year. Thank you so much for this recipe. Helped me stay on track and even the non keto folks loved it!
Crystal Johnroe says
This was delicious! I’m not a big fan of cauliflower, but I will definitely put this in my meal rotation.
Lori Keim says
Making this creamy cheesy deliciousness again tonight to go with your turkey meatloaf...love love love
Delicious!! This is an every week staple for me from now on!!
Do you have the counts on this carbs, calories, fiber, protein?
Yes, that info is in the recipe card under the video
Linda M Roe says
Is this per serving? If so what is a serving size? What's the net carn count?
Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g
yes, per serving. 1 serving is 1/4th of the recipe
Karen Ellis says
Hi Jennifer I'm in uk and as you are aware European labelingfor carbs already has fibre deducted. I love all your recipes. Does this mean that carbs for this dish for me will be 9 per serving. Thanks Karen
I did not know that, Karen. I would calculate the nutrition based on what ingredients you have available.
Really great! I forgot to add the mustard powder but it was so delicious that nobody noticed. The cheese sauce came together very quickly and easily and my whole family (including veggie-averse kids) ate it happily and asked that I make it often. This is easily the best kid-friendly cheesy-veg dish I have ever made, and I've tried a lot! Thanks for a great recipe 🙂
Made it last night! Absolutely the best low carb I have tasted so far and the only one I will ever make again. Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic recipes.
So happy to heat that!
Just out of curiosity, why do you recommend grating the cheese yourself instead of using pre-grated cheese?
Pre-grated cheese in America is coated on potato starch or some other type of starch that could result in a grainy cheese sauce. I usually use pre-shredded and just deal with the texture.
lisa garcia says
Outstanding dish! I used sharp cheddar because that is what we like and almost the full tablespoon of mustard. This will be repeated many times at my house!
Tina Sempek says
Love it! Definitely making this more often. Everything tastes great with bacon.
Can I use this with frizen cauliflower rice since I have it on hand?
Yes! I love that idea!
First, I had just run out of cream, so used condensed milk instead. Second, the cheese sauce was too thick even when I added more milk-maybe causepart of cheese was shredded? I still put it over the cauliflower and liked it enough to try with better ingredients!
Family doesn’t like cauliflower, so I keep looking for recipes they’ll eat. Although they ate this, they still weren’t thrilled.
I’ll update this rating when I get it right!
Yes! Yes! Yes! My kids said they could eat this every time they come for a visit. I am going to try making it with Greek yogurt as one is lactose unfriendly. Is 2 oz. cream cheese about 2 tbsp.? This low carb recipe is very valuable to me as I am diabetic.
Thanks for the review, Viv! 2 ounces of cream cheese is about 2 tablespoons.
Angela Taylor says
What a great alternative to Cauliflower rice, which honestly, I've never really liked and wasn't going to make anymore after throwing most of the last batch out. This is delicious and I actually had to hold myself back from eating double portions. I added salt at the end and won't next time, as it really didn't need more. I made it with the crispy chicken thighs and both are great. Glad I found this blog.
I'm glad you found my blog too, Angela!
Delicious... I will be making this a staple in my recipe reportiore!!!
So, has anyone tried using frozen cauliflower? Have a bag on hand!
You definitely could! You would just skip the boiling part and cook the cauliflower via the instructions on the bag
yes and it was great we loved it. I did use shredded cheese and mine was still d
OH MY GOD
Are you freaking kidding me?
I wasn't quite sure if I'd like this. I only made half the recipe. I want to eat it all. I didn't read ahead and used pre-shredded cheese. It wasn't all that bad. I had to add more cream to smooth it out. Now I can't wait to make it the way intended!
? it is quite addicting!
hello, can you please advise the nutritional info? thx
I figured it out per serving to be;
15.4 g protein
6.1 g net carbs
21 g fat
Mary Lynne says
OH MY GOODNESS! And lots of it!! I didn't have cauliflower but I did have broccoli so I used that and it was sooooo good!! I will be making this with either of those veggies again! Thank you so much!
Donna Eliasen says
I have now made this 3 times since Thanksgiving. This is so delicious!! I did add the mustard powder. I added a tiny bit of nutmeg and it gave it amazing taste! Thank you for this wonderful recipe! <3
I’m so glad you like it!