Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese is perfect when you’re craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta! It’s lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein!

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese is perfect when you're craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta! It's lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein!
Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Cauliflower makes a wonderful replacement in recipes like low-carb mashed potatoes, so why not macaroni and cheese!?

Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese in a bowl.

I’ve partnered with Real California Milk to create this cheesy, comfort food dish. This cauliflower dish is great for college students looking for healthy meals made from real food, and their parents looking for more ways to incorporate more vegetables into meals. My college age daughter was home while I was testing it, and she went nuts over this dish. She’s a big cheese fan, but tries to avoid eating too much pasta. It can be a quick study snack, main lunch or dinner, or serve it as a side dish for a multi-course meal.

College students, now that school is back in full swing, this delicious dish will help you fuel up on protein! To make a stove-top version, simply skip the last step of baking it in the oven and serve it right out of the pot.

Tips for Perfect Cheese Sauce (not grainy or gritty)

Have you ever made a mac and cheese that wasn’t creamy or smooth? Instead if was grainy or gritty? The worst! Here’s a few steps you should take for perfectly creamy cheese sauce.

  1. Use real cheese. First step to success is to start with real cheese. I used a good quality sharp cheddar to give this dish maximum flavor.
  2. You’re not limited to just cheddar. You can play around with different cheese combinations like Havarti, White Cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.
  3. Shred your own cheese. For this recipe, grating your own cheese will give you the smoothest results.
  4. Start with a white sauce. A white sauce is made with butter or olive oil stirred with flour and milk. It thickens once it cools, then you stir the cheese into it to make your cheese sauce.
  5. Do NOT add the cheese to boiling sauce. When adding the cheese, remove the white sauce from the heat completely before adding the cheese. I usually move this to a different burner so it stops boiling. You don’t want to add the cheese to the mixture if it’s boiling/bubbling. Doing so will cause the cheese to break down causing a gritty texture.
  6. Add the cheese a little at a time. I usually do this 1/4 cup at a time, whisking in between until it’s all melted.

Is dairy nutritious?

It’s best to get your nutrients, including calcium, from real foods. That’s because whole foods like calcium-rich milk, cheese and yogurt contain several vitamins, minerals and other components associated with promoting health.

Dairy foods, such as milk and cheese from Real California Milk, are the main food source of calcium for most people in the U.S. Milk and dairy products are a healthy, tasty way to get essential vitamins and minerals. One cup of milk or yogurt and 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese each contain about 300 mg of calcium. Milk contains nine essential nutrients, including calcium, important for bone health.

For quality and sustainable dairy foods look for the Real California Milk seal on dairy products at stores across the U.S. Use the Real California Milk product locator to find products at a store near you.

Ingredients to make cauliflower mac and cheese.Making roux for cheese sauce.making a white saucemaking a cheese sauce that starts with a white sauceCheesy Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese is perfect when you're craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta! It's lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein!Cheesy Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese is perfect when you're craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta! It's lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein!

More Cauliflower Recipes You Will Love

This cheesy Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese is perfect when you're craving mac and cheese without the pasta! It's lower in carbs and filled with protein and veggies!
Print WW Personal Points
4.72 from 88 votes
Did you make this recipe?

Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese

238 Cals 14 Protein 16.5 Carbs 14.5 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Yield: 6 servings
COURSE: Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish, Snack
CUISINE: American
Low Carb Cheesy Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese is perfect when you're craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta!


  • 8 cups chopped cauliflower florets, 1/2-inch pieces (26 oz)
  • 1 tbsp Real California butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 tbsp flour, use ap gluten-free flour for GF
  • 2 cups fat free Real California milk
  • 7 ounces freshly grated Real California sharp cheddar, about 2 cups total
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  • Place 1 inch of water in a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  • Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually 3 - 4 minutes, to cook out the flour.
  • Add the milk and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick, about 2 minutes stirring; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
  • Once it becomes thick, remove from heat completely onto another burner if possible. Add the cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup at a time mixing well until cheese is all melted.
  • Stir in cooked cauliflower, then pour into a baking dish and bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then broil 2 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.



If you prefer to skip the oven and make this a stove-top dish, serve it right away.


Serving: 11/4 cups, Calories: 238kcal, Carbohydrates: 16.5g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 14.5g, Saturated Fat: 8.5g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 381mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 7g
WW Points Plus: 6
Keywords: cauliflower mac and cheese, low carb cauliflower recipes, low carb mac and cheese

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Real California Milk. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Skinnytaste possible. All thoughts are my own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Rate this Recipe:


  1. My husband and I eat a lower carb diet and this really hit the spot with a bunch of mac and cheese lovers in my house. Even my 5 year old who loves noodles loved it. I will definitely be making this again!

  2. I’ve made this recipe several times, and every time I do, it is a big hit! My husband honestly likes this recipe better than regular macaroni and cheese. I add an extra step by cutting my cauliflower up into small florets, drizzling it all with olive oil, salt, and some garlic powder, then roasting it for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. I feel like it adds extra flavor to the dish. This recipe tastes even better the following day as a leftover!

  3. I’m excited to bring this recipe back out for dinner tonight. The kids love it!! I’m going to try it this time with some seasoned breadcrumbs I made with leftovers from last weeks sourdough loaf sprinkled on top. Gina, thank you so much for the hundreds (thousands!?) of simple, healthy recipes that always look and taste just as good as we hope they will! 

  4. I made this recipe twice and it is good we love it . thanks for sharing it.