Cauliflower mac and cheese is low carb and keto twist on the classic mac and cheese! Soft and tender pieces of cauliflower covered in a creamy, cheesy sauce, you’ll love this more than the classic version! 3 grams net carbs per serving.
When it comes to comfort food given a keto makeover, my favorites include fluffy biscuits, crustless quiche, and low carb cauliflower mac and cheese.
Mac and cheese has always been my comfort food staple. On cold winter nights or after a busy day at the office, there was nothing better than making a pot of creamy and delicious mac and cheese. Since going keto, I’ve been craving all the flavors and textures of the classic mac and cheese, minus the carbs and calories!
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.
Is cauliflower low carb?
Cauliflower is indeed low carb, a perfect vegetable for a keto diet. They are packed with vitamins, super versatile, and are low in calories and carbs. Per 1 cup serving (107 grams) yields a mere 25 calories and 2 grams of net carbs.
Cauliflower is great to use in a plethora of keto recipes, including buffalo cauliflower bites and the classic cauliflower fried rice.
Using it as a macaroni substitute has been fantastic. Let’s be real…the best part of mac and cheese is the creamy sauce.
Now, not only is this version keto and low carb, but it is also healthier. There is no cream and no butter needed, and there are options to keep it completely dairy free and vegan!
How do you make cauliflower mac and cheese
- 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.
- Plain Yogurt– You’ll see many keto recipes call for heavy cream, but using yogurt gives the creaminess, minus the fat and calories. I used dairy free plain yogurt, but you can use any plain yogurt of choice.
- Cream cheese– Either dairy free or traditional cream cheese. This gives a richer flavor, so only a small amount is needed.
- Shredded cheese– I recommend tasty cheese or another full-bodied flavored cheese. You can also mix and match cheeses (e.g. half cheddar, half tasty).
- Dijon mustard– Gives out a delicious tang.
- Garlic and Onion powder– Adds some flavor, without the need for adding any garlic or onion.
- Salt and Pepper– to taste! The amount suggested is a minimum- add more as desired.
Start by preparing your 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 (9 x 13 inches).
Next, prepare your cheesy sauce. In a small saucepan, add your yogurt and cream cheese and heat on medium. Once the edges of the saucepan begin to bubble, whisk very well, until the softened cream cheese and yogurt are combined. Add your shredded cheese, spices, and dijon mustard and whisk until combined. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, ensuring it is coating all the cauliflower completely. Sprinkle extra shredded cheese on top.
Bake the cauliflower cheese for 15 minutes, or until bubbling and the cheese on top has melted.
Can I make this dairy free?
Yes, I wanted to make a vegan cauliflower mac and cheese, so tested this out both ways.
All you’ll need to do is ensure the yogurt and cream cheese are dairy free, and use vegan shredded cheese (or torn up vegan slices of cheese). No other changes need to be made.
Can I make this stovetop?
Yes, if you’d like to make this stovetop, you are welcome to do so.
Simply boil the cauliflower instead of steaming it in the microwave. Remove excess water. Once the cheese sauce has been made, pour the sauce over the top and heat everything together, on medium heat. Once it begins to bubble, fold through the remaining cheese and serve immediately.
Tips to make the best cauliflower mac and cheese
- If you don’t have a microwave, you can boil your cauliflower. Be sure to only cook it until crisp and tender, around 5 minutes.
- If you’d prefer a richer and creamier flavor, swap out the yogurt for heavy cream.
- Do not use low fat or Greek style of yogurt, as it will curdle quicker than traditional yogurt.
- 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.
Keto Mac and Cheese Variations
While this cauliflower mac and cheese is delicious on its own, here are ways to jazz it up and change up the flavor!
- Breadcrumbs– Sprinkle crushed up day-old keto bread or standard bread, over the entire mixture.
- Bacon– Add crumbled bacon into the creamy mixture, and also sprinkle on top.
- Parmesan and garlic– Fold through parmesan and garlic into the cheese sauce.
- Hot Sauce- Perfect if you love a spicy hit! Add your favorite hot sauce over the top of the bake, and add a little bit into the cheese sauce.
- Broccoli Cheddar– Add some green by using half cauliflower half broccoli.
- Truffle Mushroom– Add sliced mushrooms into the cheese sauce.
Storing and Freezing Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 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.
More recipes using keto vegetables to try
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 1 head cauliflower approximately 4 cups, chopped
- 1 cup plain yogurt dairy free or standard
- 4 tablespoon cream cheese dairy free or standard, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cups shredded cheese dairy free or standard * See notes
- 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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Quite tasty…would make again.
Very delicious. I halved the recipe so that I would not eat the whole thing myself. I will make this again. I think I forgot to halve the mustard but it was still creamy and delicious. Thank you again for sharing these recipes!
This was very good and so easy to make. Although I knew I was not eating pasta mac n cheese, you do not miss the pasta because of the great flavor. Will make again.
Thank you for the feedback, Jennifer!
My husband and I LOVE this recipe! We gave up pasta and now we don’t miss regular macaroni and cheese anymore. Who knew cauliflower was so versatile, but we’re learning every day the wonderful possibilities that are out there. Thank you for this recipe! We’ve made it several times and will continue to make it.
Love love love this recipe! My husband is the only one doing Keto, but the whole family enjoys this. I am making it for a big family gathering where no one is on a low carb diet. I think it tastes more like scalloped potatoes than Mac and cheese. Regardless, it’s delicious!
Yummy i did accidentially use Fago Greek yoghurt it was still fabulous. You can do no wrong my friend.
I made this and just totally loved it. I didn’t miss the pasta at all! It came out creamy and cheesy and chock full of cauliflower. It is also something that can be made quickly. Great side dish.