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The Cheesiest Cauliflower Mac and Cheese 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!

cauliflower Mac and cheese in a white bowl with a wooden spoon

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.

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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.

cutting cauliflower for cauliflower Mac and cheese

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 cauliflower in a sauce pan

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.

low carb cheese sauce in a sauce pan

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.

cheesy cauliflower in a white bowl

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CAN YOU BAKE THIS KETO MAC AND CHEESE?

Definitely!  Pour the cauliflower Mac and cheese mixture in an 8×8 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.

⭐ Did you make this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe?  Tag me on Instagram so I can see! @lowcarbwithjennifer

cauliflower mac and cheese topped with bacon

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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!
9 Net Carbs
5 from 7 votes
PRINT RECIPE PIN RECIPE
Course: dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cauliflower recipe, low carb mac and cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 375kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Large head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 2 oz Cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp Mustard Powder (More if desired)
  • 1 Cup Mild Cheddar Cheese , Freshly shredded (not pre-shredded) plus more for sprinkling
  • 8 Slices Bacon, diced and cooked until crisp
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • 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 1/2 tbsp 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.

Video

Notes

  1. Make the florets small so the cheese sauce coats every nook and cranny.
  2. I put 1/2 tbsp of mustard powder in the recipe but I added 1 tbsp to my own dish. It gave it a nice kick!
  3. Make sure you shred your own cheese. 
  4. See the post above for different cooking methods for the cauliflower as well as baking and re-heating tips.

Nutrition

Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g
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    • lisa garcia
    • June 26, 2019
    Reply

    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!

    • Cynthia
    • May 20, 2019
    Reply

    Can I use this with frizen cauliflower rice since I have it on hand?

      • jenniferbanz
      • May 20, 2019
      Reply

      Yes! I love that idea!

    • Catina
    • February 22, 2019
    Reply

    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!

    • Viv
    • November 18, 2018
    Reply

    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.

      • jenniferbanz
      • November 19, 2018
      Reply

      Thanks for the review, Viv! 2 ounces of cream cheese is about 2 tablespoons.

    • Angela Taylor
    • November 1, 2018
    Reply

    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.

      • jenniferbanz
      • November 2, 2018
      Reply

      I’m glad you found my blog too, Angela!

    • Michelle
    • October 13, 2018
    Reply

    Delicious… I will be making this a staple in my recipe reportiore!!!

    • Vicki
    • October 1, 2018
    Reply

    So, has anyone tried using frozen cauliflower? Have a bag on hand!

      • jenniferbanz
      • October 1, 2018
      Reply

      You definitely could! You would just skip the boiling part and cook the cauliflower via the instructions on the bag

      • ginny
      • April 30, 2019
      Reply

      yes and it was great we loved it. I did use shredded cheese and mine was still d
      elic.

    • jennifer
    • September 26, 2018
    Reply

    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!

      • jenniferbanz
      • September 26, 2018
      Reply

      😂 it is quite addicting!

    • Dee
    • August 6, 2018
    Reply

    hello, can you please advise the nutritional info? thx

      • Julie
      • October 18, 2018
      Reply

      I figured it out per serving to be;
      286 cal
      15.4 g protein
      6.1 g net carbs
      21 g fat

    • Mary Lynne
    • March 3, 2018
    Reply

    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
    • December 2, 2017
    Reply

    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

      • jenniferbanz
      • December 2, 2017
      Reply

      I’m so glad you like it!

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