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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe

This smooth and creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is Keto friendly, low carb and also gluten-free. Go ahead and indulge in that rich, cheesy goodness!

spoonful of Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe

So a lot of people think that if you’re eating Low Carb or Keto, you have to give up all comfort food. I’m here to tell you that it is incorrect! This very indulgent Keto Mac and Cheese will let you stay eating low carb because of one wonderful ingredient. What is it?? CAULIFLOWER! 

This is the perfect side dish! I can say that because honestly I absolutely hate cauliflower, but this was amazing! I didn’t even know it was cauliflower. This cauliflower mac and cheese is so creamy, savory, and the best part…it’s healthy. 

Let’s be honest, I know that Cauliflower is not pasta, it’s not rice, it’s not potatoes and it’s not pizza. But when it’s cooked and done right, it can be such a great substitute for all of those things. If you’re hesitant about trying them, I really encourage you to keep trying different versions of it and you will find some you love, like this Cauliflower Keto Mac and Cheese. 

Mac and Cheese is probably my all-time favorite, and something I miss so much. I could literally eat it every day, and it’s definitely my guilty pleasure. I really needed to find something that was at least somewhat comparable. While this is not “real mac and cheese”, this Low Carb Cauliflower Mac and Cheese will fulfill that comfort food craving that you’ve been wanting.

It’s almost as good and is certainly a delicious and great side dish for your weekly dinners. 

What do I use to Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe ingredients

Here’s the list of the simple ingredients I use: 

Cauliflower – A great substitute for pasta, rice, and potatoes. One of the most important things with this is to make sure it’s roasted. It won’t become mushy, and it takes away the distinct smell that cauliflower has. 

Cream cheese – Even a small amount of cream cheese is what’s going to stabilize this whole dish so it’s not too runny or loose. 

Heavy cream – Because we don’t use any flour in this recipe the heavy cream will help it to thicken up. Plus a ½ cup of heavy cream only has 3 carbs, compared to ½ cup of milk which has double the amount in carbs.  

Cheddar cheese – This is my absolute favorite and go-to cheese for any type of Mac and Cheese. 

Garlic powder, Ground mustard, Cayenne pepper, Smoked paprika, and Salt – The combo of all of these flavors I feel blend smoothly together. The cayenne gives it a tiny bit of kick, but don’t worry it’s not too spicy at all. 

Is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Keto?

Why yes, yes it is! Not only is this mac and cheese Keto and low carb, it’s also Gluten-free. Awesome news right? With the main ingredients being cauliflower, cheese, and cream it has “Keto” written all over it. You can’t go wrong. 

There are only 5 Net Carbs in each serving, so you can eat without feeling guilty!  For more nutritional info scroll down to the Nutrition Facts. 

How to make this Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe Cauliflower on pan

To make your Keto Mac and Cheese, start off by chopping your head of cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces. Once all chopped, put on a baking tray that is lined with aluminum foil. 

Drizzle some olive oil over it, and season with salt and pepper. Roast on 400 degrees for only about 10-15 minutes. Don’t let it burn, but it’s ok if it gets a little brown on the edges. 

While the cauliflower is in the oven roasting, now it’s time to make the sauce.

In a small saucepan add 2 ounces of cream cheese (which is ¼ of an 8 oz block), ½ cup heavy cream, 1 tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp ground mustard, ⅛ tsp paprika, and ⅛ cayenne pepper, and salt. Turn on low heat, and start stirring. 

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe mixing ingredients

It should only take a couple of minutes to thicken. Once the consistency starts to thicken up a bit, add 1 cup of cheddar cheese. Mix well. 

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe cheese sauce on stove

By now the cauliflower should be done.

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe roasted Cauliflower

Transfer it to an 8×8 baking dish.

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe Cauliflower in dish

Pour the yummy cheesy sauce over the cauliflower.

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe cheese sauce on cauliflower

Mix it all up well.

cheese sauce covering Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe Cauliflower

Feel free to sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top. I don’t do it every single time, just today I did. 

Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe Cauliflower with cheddar cheese

Put back into the oven at 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Once the cheese sauce is bubbling and starting to brown on the edges, it’s done. 

Keto Mac and Cheese just out of oven

What else can I add to my Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?

This is Cauliflower mac and cheese is kind of like a blank canvas. I’ve given you the basics, but beyond the delicious base, but now you can really add anything to it. Some people love the traditional taste of it just the way it is, but if you like to be more creative feel free to add whatever you want. 

Here are some ideas for “Spicing up” this Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: 

  • Bacon – Literally makes almost every dish better
  • Other Proteins – Ham, breakfast or Italian sausage, shredded chicken, pulled pork or any other meat you like. Adding any of these will give you some added protein and add some really good flavor. 
  • Veggies –  You can throw in such a variety of veggies ranging from mushrooms and onions to broccoli and even tomatoes. 
  • Hot sauce – For those of you out there who love it with more of a kick, throw in some hot sauce like Sriracha or Tabasco.
  • Grated parmesan cheese or any other type of cheese
melted Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe Cauliflower

Do any of you like breadcrumbs on your mac and cheese? I do!! I found a Keto-friendly way of making that happen. Pork rinds have a nice flavor and crisp up nicely. 

Place some pork rinds into a food processor and chop until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add a little bit of melted butter and some Italian seasonings and now you have your very own Keto breadcrumbs. 

How many Carbs are actually in Cauliflower?  

Cauliflower very closely resembles macaroni but you can’t beat the nutrition facts. 1 cup of cooked pasta has around 39 grams of carbs, but 1 cup of cauliflower has only 3 grams of NET CARBS…crazy right?! Those numbers right there should make it a permanent addition to your Keto or Low Carb lifestyle. 

What are some of the Health Benefits of Cauliflower?

dishing out Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe

Cauliflower has turned into a pretty common ingredient in not only Keto and Low Carb recipes, but also just for those who are just trying to eat healthier. Because it’s very versatile it’s been made into pizza crusts, rice, mashed potatoes and now it’s the main feature in my Mac and Cheese. 

According to Healthline there are many good health benefits that come with adding Cauliflower to your diet. Here’s just a few:

  • VITAMIN C: Cauliflower is rich in this vitamin and in just 1 cup it provides over 70% of your daily vitamin C needs. Because this is an immune-boosting vitamin, it’s important that we add foods that are loaded in it. 
  • VITAMIN K: Cauliflower also has vitamin K in it which helps to prevent blood clotting, improves bone and skeletal muscle health, and helps build a healthy metabolism.
  • HELPS REDUCE INFLAMMATION: Cauliflower is considered to be a Cruciferous Vegetable, which is known for its high source of antioxidants. These antioxidants, like beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and quercetin all help to reduce oxidative stress and to boost the immune system. 
  • IT COULD HELP LOWER THE RISK OF CANCER: According to the National Cancer Institute, research has shown that people who ate greater amounts of cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of several cancers. 

Should I Roast or Steam my Cauliflower for Mac and Cheese?

Good question. ALWAYS roast your cauliflower whenever possible. Seeing that I’m not really a big fan of cauliflower, to begin with, I found that roasting it makes it taste so much better. It makes it more flavorful, and the best part is that you don’t get that strong steamed cauliflower smell. 

Overcooking it while boiling/steaming is very easy to do and will get mushy, whereas roasting it will keep it firmer and you won’t get that mushy texture. It makes a huge difference trust me.  

What Kind of Cheeses Can I Use with Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?

I’m gonna leave this up to you and your preferences. I always stick with cheddar, but there are other cheeses that you can mix with the cheddar that would go nicely with cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

  • Mozzarella
  • Pecorino Romano
  • Fontina 
  • Colby Jack
Keto Mac and Cheese Recipe in bowl with cheese

As I said, it’s totally up to you. If there are other cheeses you like then go with something else. Using a combo is a good idea too. When using cheddar cheese, I recommend going with a nice sharp one. It’s always my favorite, I love sharp cheddar! 

Whatever you decide most cheeses are perfect for Keto Mac and Cheese.

Can I Eat Dairy on the Keto Diet?

Well, the simple answer is yes, but there are a few exceptions. Feel free to take advantage of eating dairy on Keto but try and choose organic if possible and choose full-fat instead of low-fat or fat-free. 1% and 2% dairy products have way more carbs because when they take out the fat they actually add sugar to it.

Dairy products like butter, heavy whipping cream, ghee, and heavy cream are high in fat and have no carbs which make them ideal for a ketogenic diet. 

Is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Actually Good Tasting?

bowl of Keto Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower

Surprisingly yes it’s so delicious! As I’ve mentioned earlier I really don’t like cauliflower, but if it’s cooked this way I absolutely love it. It’s so creamy and cheesy you don’t even know you’re eating cauliflower. Plus with the little bit of garlic and other added spices, it’s perfection! 

What should I serve with my Low Carb Mac and Cheese? 

This is an easy one-pan recipe that can be served along with some of your favorite meals or even as a main dish. Some of my favorite things to make with this recipe are Keto BBQ Ribs, my Sugar-free BBQ sauce, and Keto Coleslaw. These would make up a classic southern style meal that is definitely a crowd-pleaser. 

Is this Mac and Cheese as good served the next day?

Oh, my word yes! Honestly might even be better the next day. I’ve made this cauliflower mac and cheese several times and purposely have made extra so I can have plenty more for lunch the next day. Sitting overnight gives the flavors more time to really set in.

Mmmm I’m getting hungry just talking about it. 

How to Store Cauliflower Mac and Cheese:

Simply just store the leftover cauliflower mac and cheese in a glass or plastic container. Reheat in the microwave for only about 60 seconds, and it will be bubbling and you’ll be ready for round 2! 

Keto Mac and Cheese forkful

Other Similar Recipes:

If you’re in the mood for some other Keto Cauliflower recipes then try our:

Both of them are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will have your friends raving!

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Keto Mac and Cheese recipe

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe


  • Author: Stephanie Parlegreco
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings (1/2 cup per serving) 1x
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Description

Looking for a replacement for your old standby comfort food? Now you’ve found it! This scrumptious Cauliflower Keto Mac and Cheese is going to be your new favorite dish, it certainly is mine!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 large head cauliflower 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground mustard
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp paprika 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop the head of cauliflower into small bite-sized pieces. Place cauliflower on a baking tray lined with foil, drizzle olive oil, and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. While cauliflower is in the oven, start making the sauce. In a small saucepan add 2 ounces of cream cheese, heavy cream, garlic powder, ground mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook over medium heat, while constantly stirring. 
  3. Once the sauce is starting to thicken, add cheddar cheese and stir until well combined.
  4. Take cauliflower out of the oven and put it into a baking dish. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower and mix. 
  5. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbling.

Notes

NET CARBS: 5 per serving 

Make sure you roast the cauliflower, it makes a huge difference. 

You can use a bag of pre-shredded cheddar cheese, but a lot of people swear by freshly grating it themselves. 

You can add any meat or veggie to it. 

If you like leftovers, I recommend doubling the recipe, it’s even better the next day.

  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Keto Mac and Cheese, Low Carb Mac and Cheese, Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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