Whenever I’m watching my carbs but craving comfort food, low-carb 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 keto 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
- 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.
Want a low carb mac and cheese WITH noodles? Try my keto mac and cheese.
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.
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.
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
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.
When made as written, this recipe has just 3 grams of net carbs per serving.
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.
More delicious ways to use cauliflower
- Cauliflower steak– Meaty and hearty like an actual steak…but without the meat!
- Cauliflower pizza crust– A low carb alternative that satisfies the cravings.
- Cauliflower soup– Thick and creamy without a lick of cream or milk.
- Mashed cauliflower– My favorite substitute for mashed potatoes.
Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 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.
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