Your low carb goals achieved with flying colors when you dig into this insanely easy Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe. Extra cheesy, creamy and luscious, topped with a crispy golden crust….you’ll never care to go back to your carb loaded favorite macaroni and cheese again.

Crispy cheesy Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on a white plate with salad and a gold fork.

With all the cold weather lately, I’ve been craving all the cozy foods like my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe.  I’ve been trying to up my intake of vegetables but a salad just isn’t quite comfort food to me so I took matters into my own hands and made a low carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe with a crispy, crunchy top. Take that Keto diet.

I looked online to find a totally low carb cauliflower Mac and cheese meaning I didn’t want it to have macaroni or any type of pasta in it at all. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack because most cauliflower Mac and cheese recipes have pureed cauliflower in the sauce along with elbow macaroni. That’s not quite what I wanted.

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese in a blue baking dish with a crispy top and a spoonful being held above it.

BAKED CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE

Low carb never tasted so good and I know this isn’t really cauliflower macaroni and cheese because there’s not actually macaroni in it, it tastes just like it. 

Cauliflower Mac n Cheese is tender cauliflower that’s chopped into tiny pieces to resemble the elbow macaroni it’s supposed to replace. Baked in a savory cheese sauce and topped with a crunchy breadcrumb topping, this is total comfort food you can eat without feeling like you have to go up a pant size.

If you want to make this recipe keto, you can substitute the breadcrumbs with Pork Panko which is a panko mixture made from pork rinds. It’s so good and you won’t even know the difference.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on a white plate with a salad.

HOW TO MAKE IT

This easy Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese recipe is made with roughly chopped cauliflower which totally substitutes perfectly as the macaroni. You can also use Cauliflower Rice if you want a finer texture Mac and cheese recipe.

  1. Roughly chop one head of cauliflower removing the leaves and core.
  2. Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes and immediately drain in a colander.
  3. Run the cauliflower under cold water briefly to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk to combine. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until golden whisking constantly.
  5. While whisking, slowly add the milk to the butter/flour mixture. Turn the heat to low. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, approximately 4-5 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.
  6. Stir the cheese into the milk mixture and remove from the heat. Continue stirring until the cheese is thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Fold the cauliflower into the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  8. Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper, if needed.
  9. Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a baking dish coated with cooking spray and set aside.
  10. Preheat the oven.
  11. Toss together the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top of the cauliflower mixture with the bread crumbs to coat.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Sometimes I just eat the Cauliflower Mac AND Cheese right out of the pot instead of baking in the oven because I have no willpower and this macaroni and cheese is just THAT GOOD.

Chopped cauliflower on a bamboo cutting board.

HOW TO MAKE IN ADVANCE

This easy recipe is great to prep ahead.  I like to use it as a weekday side dish but sometimes we just enjoy it as a main course with a light salad.

To make your Cauliflower Mac N Cheese recipe in advance:

  • Assemble the recipe as directed and transfer to a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Do NOT add the bread crumb mixture.
  • Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Before baking, remove the plastic wrap and add the bread crumb topping.
  • Bake as directed.

Leftover mac and cheese is great the next day for breakfast with your morning eggs and is fantastic as a side dish at the holidays. And if you want a gluten free cauliflower Mac and cheese you can totally substitute the panko for gluten free breadcrumbs.

Overhead shot of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese in a white baking dish with a spoon in them.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH IT

As I mentioned before, I love to serve this Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese as a side dish. Here are my favorite main courses to serve with it:

If you want a more traditional macaroni and cheese recipe, you have got to try these FAMILY FAVORITES:

10 minutes Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe in a white bowl with a blue and white fork from TheSuburbanSoapbox.com

MORE LOW CARB Cauliflower Recipes

Cauliflower Rice Tabbouleh Salad on a white platter with pita bread and lemons from TheSuburbanSoapbox.com

I know that’s a TON of recipes up there but think of this as your meal planning prep assistant for the rest of the week. You can just bookmark this post for easy, light, healthy recipes.

And make sure you follow us over on Instagram for all the fun recipe testing, dinner ideas and behind the scenes!

Close up of Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe with crispy golden top and a spoonful of Mac and cheese over the dish.

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese in a blue baking dish with a crispy top and a spoonful being held above it.

Get the Recipe: Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Super easy low carb baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is so simple to make. Hearty comfort food without breaking your diet.....too badly.
4.5 from 2 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low fat milk
  • 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Instructions 

  • Roughly chop the cauliflower removing the leaves and core.
  • Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes and immediately drain in a colander.
  • Run the cauliflower under cold water briefly to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and whisk to combine. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until golden whisking constantly.
  • While whisking, slowly add the milk to the butter/flour mixture. Turn the heat to low. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer and continue cooking, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, approximately 4-5 minutes.  DO NOT BOIL.
  • Stir the cheese into the milk mixture and remove from the heat. Continue stirring until the cheese is thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Fold the cauliflower into the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  • Check for seasoning and add salt/pepper, if needed.
  • Transfer the cauliflower mixture to a baking dish coated with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven.
  • Toss together the butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the top of the cauliflower mixture with the bread crumbs to coat.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Notes

Mac and cheese can be assembled up to two days advance without the bread crumb topping. Add the topping and bake right before serving.
Calories: 264kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 335mg, Potassium: 293mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 590IU, Vitamin C: 27.8mg, Calcium: 300mg, Iron: 0.9mg