This comforting and cheesy cauliflower casserole is loaded with tender cauliflower, crispy bacon, cream cheese, and gooey melted cheese in every bite.
Cauliflower, cheese, and bacon get together in this loaded cauliflower casserole recipe. It’s an easy comfort food that’ll quickly become a new family favorite!
It sure is in my household. Whether it’s a busy evening, cold outside, or we just want something creamy and cheesy, this simple dish is always a hit both with the adults and little ones. It tastes like mac and cheese but without the pasta (or extra carbs)!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Addictively cheesy and creamy. No one in my family can resist this dish’s heavenly mix of gooey melted cheese, creamy sauce, and bite-sized cauliflower pieces.
- Ridiculously easy to make. Like my zucchini casserole and butternut squash casserole, this cauliflower casserole recipe takes mere minutes to assemble without sacrificing flavor.
- Meatless meal. I love serving this casserole both as a meatless main dish and side dish. Just like my cauliflower mac and cheese, it’s so cheesy and flavorful that no one ever misses the meat!
- Naturally low-carb. You don’t need flour, pasta, or potatoes to make this keto cauliflower casserole taste just like a loaded baked potato.
This low-carb casserole comes together in no time using a mix of easy-to-find and comforting ingredients, like:
- Cauliflower. You can cut the cauliflower head into florets yourself or save time by buying pre-cut florets instead!
- Cream cheese. Make sure it’s softened and at room temperature before you get started. Room-temperature cream cheese is easier to work with and mixes easily into the casserole.
- Half-and-half cream. I prefer to use half and half but if you want an extra rich cream sauce, use heavy cream instead.
- Shredded cheese. I like using a mix of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
- Seasonings. Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper season the cauliflower casserole.
- Bacon. Cook the slices of bacon, so they’re super crispy and crunchy. I find that the crispier the bacon, the more it stands out in the creamy casserole. You can use pancetta or prosciutto as a substitute if you want.
- Fresh parsley. For garnish. Sliced green onions make for a fantastic garnish, too.
How to make cauliflower casserole
After just 5 easy steps, your loaded cauliflower bake is ready to enjoy. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1 – Blanch the cauliflower. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling water until almost fork tender. Drain and set aside.
Step 2 – Start the cheesy filling. Stir the cream cheese, half and half, shredded cheese, and seasonings together in a large bowl until smooth.
Step 3 – Finish the filling. Fold the cooked cauliflower and crispy bacon into the cheesy mixture. Transfer it to a casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top.
Step 4 – Bake. Bake the casserole in the oven until it’s bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Step 5 – Cool, then serve. Set the casserole aside to cool for a few minutes before scooping and serving. Enjoy!
Recipe tips and variations
- Bite-sized cauliflower. Make sure the cauliflower florets are cut into even, bite-sized pieces so they cook evenly.
- Roast or air fry the cauliflower instead. This will make it even more addictively delicious and a little crunchy.
- For a thinner consistency, add a heaping scoop of sour cream or Greek yogurt to the cheesy filling.
- Let it cool. I recommend setting the casserole aside for 10 to 20 minutes before serving. It will be piping hot and you don’t want burnt mouths!
- Add breadcrumbs on top. A layer of buttery, Italian-seasoned panko breadcrumbs on top of the casserole will give it a delicious crispy crunch.
- Use a medley of cheese. Play around with the cheeses in this casserole as much as you want! Add parmesan cheese for saltiness, blue cheese crumbles for tang, goat cheese for an earthy sweetness, or gruyere for extra gooey goodness.
- Add protein. Sometimes I’ll stir shredded chicken, leftover chopped chicken breasts, diced ham, sausage, or chopped turkey breast into the casserole for extra protein.
To store: Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: The casserole freezes well both before and after baking. After assembling and/or baking, cover the baking dish with a lid or a layer of foil, then freeze for up to 1 month. Either thaw it overnight before reheating or bake it from frozen (just add an extra 5 to 10 minutes to the bake time).
To reheat: Pop the leftover casserole in a 350ºF oven until it’s warmed through and bubbly again (about 15 to 25 minutes).
More comforting cauliflower recipes
- Broccoli Cheese Cauliflower Rice Casserole
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Cauliflower Soup
- Cauliflower Potato Salad
- Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
Frequently asked questions
I prefer to make the casserole with fresh cauliflower florets but frozen florets work in a pinch. Let the florets thaw completely, then stir them into the cheese sauce before baking. You don’t need to blanch frozen cauliflower.
I like to serve the casserole as a comforting main dish during lazy nights but when I want to make it a part of a meal, I’ll pair it with whole chicken, lemon pepper wings, or a juicy steak. It fits in perfectly with my family’s other favorite side dishes, like green bean casserole, cornbread, and broccolini.
- 2 heads cauliflower chopped into bite-sized florets
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1 cup half and half or heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded and divided
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded and divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 5 slices bacon cooked and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Grease a baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the cauliflower florets for about 3-4 minutes, until slightly tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, half-and-half cream, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, ½ cup cheddar cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the blanched cauliflower florets and chopped cooked bacon to the cheese mixture. Gently fold everything together to coat the cauliflower evenly with the cheesy mixture.
- Transfer the cauliflower mixture to the prepared baking dish, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese and cheddar cheese over the top.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly and the cheese has melted.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit for several minutes before serving.
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