Easy One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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This One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe is a healthy, low-carb, and keto friendly recipe that will satisfy your cheesy cravings. Makes a delicious and quick meal or a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese in a large pan

You know those signs you see that say things like, “In our family, we do fun, and messy faces, and movie nights” and that sort of thing? Well I want one that says “In our family, we do CHEESE.”

Because that is what we do. A lot. On just about everything.

What does that have to do with this One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese? Everything.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese close up in a skillet

My kids love cheese but vegetables? Now that’s another story. Just the slightest idea that there *might* be a vegetable near their plate can send them into a tailspin meltdown.

Thankfully most vegetables can be improved by adding a little – or in our case, a lot – of cheese. Cheddar, Jack, Parmesan, we’re not picky. For this cheesy cauliflower dish, I opted for cheddar and Parmesan, but you could swap these out for your favorites. This Keto Mac and Cheese is not for the faint of heart.

A pot of cauliflower A pot of Cauliflower with cheese

Wait. This isn’t “Mac” and cheese…

Now in case I threw you off with the whole “Mac & cheese” description, let me explain. This One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese tastes like traditional Mac & Cheese. The cauliflower has a lovely nutty flavor and when cooked properly has a nice bite too it that mimics that of an al dente macaroni pasta. The cheese sauce is creamy and delicious and pairs so nicely with the cauliflower that you’ll never miss the carbs! I know I might be pushing it a bit, but if you’re really trying to cut carbs, this is a decent alternative to mac and cheese.

Enjoy this easy one pan recipe as a side dish along with your favorite meals or as a main dish. We’ll be adding this to our list of the best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, so be sure to check that out too!

What to do with leftovers

Recipes with cheese sauce like this keto friendly cauliflower mac and cheese, don’t hold up well to freezing so that’s not recommended. To store, cover and place in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat carefully in the microwave at 50% power for best results.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese in a bowl

And for more delicious cheesy side dishes, try these:

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A close up of cauliflower mac and cheese

One Pan Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese

4.75 from 8 votes
This One Pan Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese recipe is a healthy, low-carb recipe that will satisfy your cheesy cravings. Makes a delicious and quick meal or a perfect Thanksgiving side dish.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 161kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups cauliflower florets approximate, depending on the size of the head of cauliflower
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Parsley

Instructions
 

  • Cut cauliflower into small florets.
  • In a large pot, boil 6 cups of salted water. Add cauliflower and boil for about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.
  • Return cauliflower to the pot over low heat.
  • Add a pinch of salt and pepper, garlic powder, paprika and stir to coat. Stir in cream cheese, cheddar cheese and Parmesan until melted and combined.
  • Remove from heat and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Recipes with cheese sauce like this keto friendly cauliflower mac and cheese, don’t hold up well to freezing so that’s not recommended. To store, cover and place in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat carefully in the microwave at 50% power for best results.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 161kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 8gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 231mgPotassium: 337mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 524IUVitamin C: 48mgCalcium: 199mgIron: 1mg

Adapted from Goodful.

a skillet with cauliflower and cheese sauce with a wooden spoon and title text

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. I thought this was great. I overcooked the cauliflower a little, so next time I will cook for less time or make the florets larger. I also added a pinch of cayenne pepper which gave it a little kick. Overall very nice.

  2. I understand substituting the cauliflower for the pasta. However, the cream cheese and full fat cheese is horrible! What is the fat and cholesterol in this recipe?

    1. Hi Lisa, if you are concerned about the fat and cholesterol in this recipe, you certainly don’t have to make it. You are also welcome to use low-fat cheeses in your own kitchen. Since I am not a dietician or nutritionist, I am not comfortable providing this sort of information. However, you can plug the ingredients into your favorite fitness tracker to get the results.

    2. It is mentioned above that this is a keto friendly recipe, which is a high fat low carb lifestyle. Thanks for sharing Kristin.

  3. This was amazing!!! Creamy & cheesy. Like it just as much as regular Mac n cheese! Will definitely make it again.

  4. This was so good!!! I’m glad I found your recipe so now I don’t have to do without “mac and cheese” for the rest of my life!! LOL Li

  5. Soo good! Added some ground turkey to make it sort of a “hamburger helper” type meal. Super easy, love this recipe!

  6. I made this for the second time last night. The first time came out a little bland, so for round 2, I poured a lot of salt in the boiling water. I also added more spice and some goat cheese. I’d pick this over regular mac and cheese any day of the week.

    1. Hi Brittian, I love that you were able to make it work for you! thank you so much for sharing your positive feedback.

  7. One pot cauliflower Mac & cheese…..Amazing recipe! Me & my daughter are trying the Keto diet and this is made several times a week at our house! So delicious but most importantly low carb! Thank you!

  8. Making this for the 3rd time since beginning of the year. It’s great tasting. Huge fan of Mac n cheese but stay away from actual pasta. Thanks for posting the recipe.

  9. I served this with fish cakes and it was soooo good! My husband and I are watching our carbs and really enjoyed this. The recipe really reminded me of traditional mac and cheese… a real treat!

  10. Really good recipe! I do a lot of cauliflower substitutes just to keep the calories down and help limit my starches a bit. This is the best Mac and cheese substitutes recipe I have ever made. I liked almost more than the smoked brisket we had with it, and I love brisket.

  11. It says serve immediately. I was thinking of making it this afternoon and serving with dinner. Is there a reason I should not refrigerate before serving?

    1. It’s recommended to serve immediately because the cheese sauce can get too think as it stands. You might be fine reheating it if you add a little bit of milk and reheat on the stove.

      1. Thanks for posting. I just started a low carb diet and was looking for decent sides. I hate cauliflower, but was getting tired of eating broccoli and greens. I tried it out and loved it. I would eat this even if I wasn’t on a diet. I will use regular paprika next time. I’m not fond of smoked. I didn’t have any Parmesan but added some taco blend and worked out.

    1. I’m not a Keto expert so I can’t say for sure if it would be. You’d have to read the ingredients and judge for yourself.

    1. I haven’t used yogurt in this recipe so I can’t say for sure how it would work. However, I would be worried that it could separate. Probably worth trying though.

  12. How dare you not do the extra work of providing all of the nutritional info on your FREE website. That means *I* actually have to do the work? UGH!! /sarcasm

    Seriously, this was a great side dish. I used a little HWC to make it creamier. My family loved it.

    I appreciate you.

  13. Please list the fats, carbs & other necessary information for a proper Keto diet. I don’t see that information anywhere.

    Thank you `

    1. Unfortunately since I am not a nutritionist I am not always able to provide nutritional information for each recipe. However there are great sites out there, like myfitnesspal.com, that can help.
      Thanks for sharing your feedback.

      1. So really, we need 2 find this receipe on the Keto site so we can track it. Ugh……. Thank u anyway….

        1. Why would you demand/expect that she provide you with the nutritional info relating to a Keto diet when it doesn’t state anywhere that this is a Keto recipe, and then be so rude when she can’t provide that information? If you are on a Keto diet you should be used to looking up nutritional information yourself…

  14. I made this a few days ago. It was soo delicious and so easy! My sister asked me to bring in to thanksgiving this year. Thanks again for the recipe.

  15. First, I’m soooo jealous that your family does everything CHEESE!! I could live off cheese, my family, not so much!! This looks sooo delish, I’ll probably be making this tonight! Question, have you made this w/o the cream cheese? I’m afraid that this would take it to another level of cheese that my send my hubby over the edge! Thx!

    1. I haven’t, and you could. The cream cheese helps to make the sauce nice and creamy, the way it would be if you were to go through the steps of making a roux with butter and flour and milk (like a traditional sauce). I say try it with and if they don’t like it, the more for you! Ha!

  16. OMG, I’m blown away by how delicious this was. However, I did added crispy pancetta and that took it to the next level. Perfect Keto meal!

  17. Do you put nutritional information with your recipes? One pot cauliflower macncheese. Calories, sodium, carbs, serving size?
    Thanks

    1. 128 grams = one cup – 4g Total carbs, 13 g fat, 6 g protein, net calories is 140. Hope this helps everyone.