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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

It’s only right I start off my slew of ketogenic recipes by giving you an ultimate cauliflower mac and cheese recipe. It’s richly flavored, balanced, creamy, gooey and decadent. Fresh flavors, and cheese grated by hand. You’re in for a treat. My fiancé and I started our Keto diet January 23, 2019. After doing tons of research on the diet, I decided to give it a try, but I’ll be honest — I didn’t think I’d enjoy it. Like, come on. Look at my recipes! Carbs galore. Sugar? Tons of it. One thing I super enjoyed in the morning, which was avocado toast, I would no longer be able to have. I literally did not think I’d survive this diet, but I also wanted to challenge myself. 

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As of March 8, 2019, not only have I stuck with it completely, but I feel like an entirely new person. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you’re feeling every day until you start to feel so much better. I had this nagging neck pain that sometimes got so debilitating, I would be reduced to tears. Being in pain that frequently is bound to put you in a shitty mood. It hurt to play with my toddler. Chasing him around tired me out. I had no idea sugar was the culprit of all my ailments.

Did this mean I’d have to give up sweets? Not necessarily. I still love treats. Thankfully, there are really great sugar substitutes that give you what you need. I’ll get into all that in future recipes, for now let’s talk about this keto mac and cheese.

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There is absolutely zero pasta in this recipe, just yummy caramelized cauliflower swimming in a gooey, creamy sauce loaded with cheese. I knew that if I were going to be successful on this diet, I’d have to make delicious keto versions of my favorite comfort foods. It’s working, because I’m down over 20 pounds and hella inches, and continuing to melt. My energy is through the roof, clarity is my best friend, and I just get so much more done. I still suffer from “mom-brain” though, but that’s just natural. 

No roux??

Believe it or not, just a tiny amount of cream cheese will help stabilize this entire dish so that it’s not too loose. You don’t have to add it, but you may find it’ll make this a little more foolproof. Because flour is a no-no, we’re going to reduce seasoned heavy cream until it’s thickened, then add some cream cheese to it to make a more stable cheese sauce. Toss that with the cooled cauliflower then bake until bubbly. You may or may not use all of the sauce, it will really depend on how large your head of cauliflower is. I recommend using being 1 cup to 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream to start. 

Cheese options

You can use ANY variety of cheese you want, but my sole advice is to shred it yourself. Y’all know how I feel about pre-shredded cheese, so don’t try me. Also, the more aged a cheese is, the more oil it will produce. If you don’t care about that, proceed with extra sharp, or 3+ year aged cheese. I like to use a combination of a mild and sharp cheese, personally. I don’t mind the exuded oil, but some people may not want that at all and that’s fine. 

My advice is to cut the cauliflower florets into cavatappi-sized chunks, because as you toss everything together before baking, some pieces may be so tender they fall apart anyway, and you want the dish to have a little heft. 

At the end of the day, do whatever you feel is best. We all have our preferences. 

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Here’s what we’re working with.

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they’re not too big nor too small, which is good because as we stir it with the cheese and sauce later it may tear.

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Drizzle the cauliflower with a generous amount of olive oil, but don’t drench it either.

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Sprinkle it with a big pinch of flaky kosher salt.

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Toss it all around until it’s thinly coated.

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Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

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Roast for 18-20 minutes or until the bottoms are nicely golden brown like this.

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That’s flavor on the bottom. Meanwhile, let this stuff cool while you make the sauce.

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Melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it sizzles, add the garlic.

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Cook the garlic for about 30 seconds.

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Pour in the heavy cream.

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Add the seasonings.

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Stir to combine.

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Don’t forget the nutmeg!

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Bring to a soft rolling simmer and reduce until it’s thickened.

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Almost there…

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Roughly 10 minutes later, it’s just about perfect. See how it has that skin’like indentation on top? That’s how you know it’s thickened properly. If your sauce is still too thin, keep reducing. Add the cream cheese if using and let that melt down.

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Turn off the heat, add the pecorino or parmigiano.

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Then toss in 2 ounces of mild cheddar and 2 ounces of either colby jack or sharp cheddar.

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Stir until it’s melted.

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And smooth…like this.

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Taste it, and adjust seasoning as needed.

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Transfer the cooled cauliflower to a medium-sized bowl.

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Throw in the remaining mild cheddar, and 2 ounces of whole milk mozzarella. Toss it all to combine.

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Pour in half of the cheese sauce, and toss to combine.

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If it’s a little dry, add a little more sauce. Little by little.

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We’re almost there.

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It’s perfect! It should look like potato salad, kinda pasty but moist. Not runny or too creamy. The cream sauce will thin out slightly while baking, so don’t add too much cheese sauce.

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Place the mixture in a small baking dish. Bake until bubbly!

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This is how much cheese sauce I had leftover. Please believe I’m saving this.

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Oh snap.

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Hope you enjoy this! You can be your sweet ass I’ll be posting more keto recipes from here on out. But if you’re not on keto, try my super popular mac and cheese recipe that uses pasta. It’s delicious AF! 

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Cauliflower Mac And Cheese 36

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Chef Resha
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


A creamy and utterly delicious low carb alternative to the classic mac and cheese. Keto friendly and divine. Feel free to add pork rind crumbs on top, or even top with bacon if you’re super keto.


  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into chunky florets (SEE NOTE)
  • Olive oil
  • Flaky kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese (optional)
  • 4 ounces mild cheddar, divided, shredded by hand
  • 2 ounces colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese, shedded by hand
  • 2 ounces whole milk mozzarella, shredded by hand
  • 1/4 cup pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano, grated by hand (SEE NOTE)


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place the cauliflower pieces on a large baking sheet, and toss with enough olive oil to thinly coat each piece. Start with about 2 tablespoons, and if some pieces are still dry after tossing, add a little more olive oil. Sprinkle a generous amount of flaky kosher salt on the cauliflower pieces then arrange them into a flat layer. Place the cauliflower in the oven on the lower middle rack and roast for 18-20 minutes or until the bottoms of the cauliflower are golden brown. Let the cauliflower cool completely.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 435 degrees F.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. When it starts to sizzle, add the minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour in the heavy cream. Add a big pinch of flaky kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, smoked paprika, grated nutmeg, rosemary, and thyme. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to simmer and the cream has reduced and thickened. Keep an eye on it because it will and can bubble over if you’re not careful. You may have to adjust the heat during this process. After 8 to 10 minutes when the cream mixture has reduced enough to become visibly thicker, larger bubbles breaking the surface, add the cream cheese if using. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano cheese. Stir to combine, then add half of the mild cheddar, and all of the colby jack or sharp cheddar cheese.
  6. Place all of the roasted cauliflower into a medium-sized bowl, and toss in the remaining half of mild cheddar, and 2 ounces of whole milk mozzarella. When the mixture is evenly combined, pour in half of the cheese sauce and gently fold to saturate. If you feel the mixture is too dry, add a little more cheese sauce. You don’t want to pour it all in because cauliflower heads vary in size and weight, and just in case you have too little cauliflower and far too much sauce (you can save whatever sauce is left in the fridge for another day), you don’t want it swimming in sauce. The feel you’re going for is moist and almost pasty, so add just enough cheese sauce until it’s at that point. Remember, this sauce will loosen as it bakes, so if you add too much you’ll have very runny cauliMac&cheese.
  7. Pour the cheesy cauliflower mixture into a small baking dish, and bake on the middle rack of your oven until bubbly, which should take between 15-20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before eating.
  8. Enjoy.


Your cauliflower head should be at least 2 1/5 pounds, give or take a few ounces.

Make sure the pecorino or parimigiano cheese you grate is loosely packed into the measuring cup. If you’re using the grated kind that looks like tiny pebbles, use just 2 tablespoons.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: keto, low carb
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1/3 cup
  • Calories: 302
  • Sugar: 3.3 g
  • Sodium: 529.8 mg
  • Fat: 26.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Protein: 9.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 65.2 mg

Keywords: keto mac and cheese, cauliflower mac and cheese

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Recipe rating

  1. Kia says:

    Just made this for Thanksgiving and it is bussin! The sauce alone is sooo good! Everyone is asking me why I didn’t make more.

  2. Christine says:

    I make this all the time being keto but for holidays even my non-keto family request me to make this!!

  3. Gail Borowski says:

    Deliciously cheesy!

  4. kelly says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    what is the nutritional info for this please
  5. Carol says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    Am I missing something? I like cauliflower Mac and cheese, but never saw an entry on the ingredients for the pasta?
  6. Maria says:

    most flavorful keto cauliflower and cheese bake. This has become our favorite!
    Thank you very much for all the detail you put in to this.

  7. Tammy says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    How many net carbs is 1 cup?
  8. LaToya says:

    OMG THIS RECIPE!!! You are a chef Goddess for real! Thank you…it came out amazing! Instead of Colby I used pepper jack cheese and it gave it the perfect kick…it was to die for! Thank you so much…this is my new staple dish!

  9. Love says:

    Delicious PERIODT!!!

  10. Yoshi says:

    Y’all this is good af. I’m speechless.

  11. Kat says:

    Best cauliflower dish I’ve ever had! Bravo!

  12. Taurean Washington says:

    Love the instructions and pictures. Very easy to follow. Delicious.

  13. Leah says:

    RI RI…….GIRL this ish right here? BOMB. I took a pic and everything! I love your recipes!

  14. Thomas says:

    Awesome! cauliflower mac and cheese is my favorite food. It’s great to be able to make it yourself at home, really it’s not as difficult as I thought, just follow your detailed instructions, everything becomes so easy. Thank you so much!

  15. Andrea Aguilar says:

    Seriously amazing, I can eat the cheese sauce ALONE and my boyfriend is constantly begging me to make this. You did SUCH a good job with this recipe.

  16. Sandy Spurling says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    Has anyone made this ahead and bake for serving? Also has anyone used frozen cauliflower?
  17. Peter Crouch says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    can i make this Looks delicious, I’m feeling hungry.. thank you ★★★★★
  18. Fran says:


  19. Michelle Smith-Chee says:

    Macaroni and cheese is like crack to me. I could eat it every day and is the hardest part of keto for me. This 8 (or 16 carbs if I eat what my serving size is) is totally worth it. I don’t need another carb all day if I eat this I’m happy. Best Mac and Cheese recipe!! Thank you!!!!

  20. Hope says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    Seems like a lot of calories for 1\3 of a cup
  21. Connie says:

    Very good! Can’t wait to make again! Have Left overs since it’s just my husband and myself! It is very rich.

  22. Carla says:

    I need to make this then take to work next day, how does it do sitying overnight then reheating?

  23. Tonya says:

    Ok.. so I just made this today. When I tell you this is the best cauliflower Mac and cheese! It doesn’t even taste like cauliflower… just cheesy goodness. I wanted to slap myself. Lol. I even added a little smoked Gouda to mine. I really appreciate you taking the time to put this together because it’s absolutely delicious! I will make this for many years to come. I’ve been on my keto journey for awhile now and you just made it that much more easy. Please, please continue to give us keto recipes.

  24. Oriana says:

    Just made this and the cheese sauce really made this dish! i didnt have any nutmeg but i just ordered some so that when i make it next time I can add it in to see how it changes the flavor. I was worried that one cauliflower head wouldn’t be enough but it was pretty good. I’m starting keto and ive been trying out different keto recipes and this by far has been my favorite. I honestly cant wait to see what other keto recipes you come up with! Oh and thank you for posting so many pictures it was very helpful for me!

  25. Jenn says:

    Best keto recipe I’ve found this far. My bf hates all the keto recipes/substitutes I try & he also hates cauliflower. He loved this recipe. It has become a regular at this point. Thanks for the recipe! Please keep them coming.

  26. eatfrysmith says:

    This is over-the-top in the BEST, gourmet way possible! Fabulous.

  27. Kristy says:

    Made this tonight for the first time and it was a huge hit with the family. My husband said this is a keeper…… and he is the one that leaves regular mac and cheese on his plate. Saving to my favorites. The flavor is outstanding. Thank you for sharing!

  28. Lawrie says:

    wow! delicious
    would’ve liked the nutritional info though

    • kelly says:
      Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
      yes what is the nutritional !?
  29. Courtney says:

    This was absolutely amazing! And grating the cheese definitely made a difference. Although I will say, if you aren’t used to fresh herbs such as, rosemary, made sure you are very precise. I look forward to making more of your creations.

  30. DIANA O’REILLY says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview; your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
  31. Andrea says:

    So I made this recipe with rotini zucchini noodles and I may have used too many packs of noodles so it was dry after it came out the oven. No worries though because I made additional sauce, put it on top of the mac and cheese, put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes then it was perfect. Since I’m doing keto I wanted to find a mac an cheese recipe that would satisfy cravings and this is definitely it.

  32. Jols says:

    I made this a few weeks ago with company coming over to join us for dinner and everyone loved it and raved about it !! Let’s just say there wasn’t any left !!! My husband said that next time I need to double the recipe lol.

    I’m making it again tonight (doubled)

    Can’t wait . It’s the best !!

    Thanks Resha your amazing I’m doing keto and I look forward to your new recipes that work on the keto plan ! But don’t taste restricted at all .

  33. Edwin says:

    I’m still waiting for this keto brown butter cookie recipe. But this Mac & Cheese was BOMB!

  34. Mendoza says:

    Soooo good! I made this twice already

  35. Lenny D Black says:

    This is such a hit with everyone, I shared it with my mom and it was gone so quick! My dad bought 3 heads of cauliflower today so she can make more. lol

  36. Tennille says:

    I have made this 2 weeks in a row. It’s so freaking good!! You have really made cauliflower and brussel sprouts a thing in my household. Thanks, Resha!

  37. Katrina says:

    This looks amazing!!! I can’t wait to try it!!