Creamy, cheesy, and delicious, this cauliflower mac and cheese is everything it should be!

Tender elbow macaroni and cauliflower florets are tossed in a cheesy sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until bubbly. Serve this as a meatless main dish or a side dish!
cauliflower mac and cheese on a plate

Why We Love This Dish

It’s extra saucy and super cheesy.

Adding cauliflower adds great texture to a traditional mac and cheese recipe along with extra and nutrients!

It’s a great way to incorporate leftovers into a meal! Leftover baked cauliflower can be used along with leftover meats like roast chicken for a complete meal.

This dish can be served as a main dish or a side dish.

Fresh or Frozen Cauliflower

As in any recipe, fresh is best, but frozen cauliflower can be used. If it’s frozen, be sure to defrost and drain the cauliflower before using in this recipe.

Frozen cauliflower is already fairly soft and should only be added to the cooking water during the last couple of minutes so it doesn’t overcook.

cauliflower mac and cheese ingredients

How To Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 to make this tasty favorite!

  1. Cook macaroni and the cauliflower in salted boiling water just until tender.
  2. While the macaroni is boiling, make the cheese sauce.
  3. Toss it all together and place in a casserole dish, top with more cheese and bake!

cauliflower mac and cheese sauce in a pot

Cheese or Breadcrumbs on Top

While I top this casserole with extra cheese you can add a breadcrumb topping if you’d like. Combine the following and sprinkle over the casserole before baking:

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or Panko)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, salt & pepper to taste

cauliflower mac and cheese ready to bake

Additions & Variations

This is a great recipe for add-ins! Here is a list of great add-ins, but feel free to get creative! Add about 1 cup or so of any of the following combinations:

  • Ham & Broccoli: Leftover diced ham and steamed broccoli are great additions.
  • Bacon & Tomato: Cherry or grape tomatoes, crisp bacon (or bacon bits) and a handful of fresh chopped spinach.
  • Pizza Inspired: Crumbled Italian sausage, pepperoni, sauteed green peppers, onions and black olives with a dash of oregano.
  • Veggie Lovers: Sauteed onions, bell peppers, zucchini & mushrooms.

cauliflower mac and cheese in a pan

How To Reheat Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This casserole doesn’t freeze well but it will last in the fridge for about 5 days. The best way to reheat cauliflower mac and cheese is to give it a good stir and zap it in the microwave for a few minutes. Add a little milk if the sauce is too thick after reheating.

More Mac & Cheesy Goodness

Did you enjoy this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

cauliflower mac and cheese on a plate
4.98 from 48 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Tender elbow macaroni and cauliflower florets are tossed in a cheesy sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until bubbly.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 4 cups cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni uncooked
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup light cream about 10-12% MF
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar divided
  • ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Cook cauliflower and macaroni in salted water 5-7 minutes or until macaroni is tender. Drain very well.
  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour and seasonings and cook 1 minute.
  • Whisk in cream and milk a little bit at a time whisking until smooth after each addition. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring.
  • Once thickened, remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese & 3 cups cheddar cheese until melted. Toss with cauliflower and macaroni and spread into a greased 9×13 pan.
  • Top with remaining cheddar cheese and 20-22 minutes or until bubbly. Do not over cook.


Cook pasta and cauliflower just until al dente, they will cook further in the oven.
Drain the cauliflower and macaroni noodles very well so your sauce doesn't get watery.
Any leftover cooked vegetables (or meats) can be added to this dish.
Breadcrumb Topping (optional)
This can be added in place of cheese on top of the casserole.
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or Panko)
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, salt & pepper to taste
4.98 from 48 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 697 | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 919mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1375IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 756mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American
A casserole dish of cauliflower mac and cheese with writing
Cauliflower mac and cheese with text.
A serving of cauliflower mac and cheese with writing
Cauliflower mac and cheese and ingredients with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. this is an excellent and versatile recipe. I frequently make it and usually add what I need to use up in my fridge… half broccoli/half cauliflower. Pre-cooked and crumbled bacon and topped with green onions. Pizza pepperoni and diced bell peppers and onions and topped with fresh tomatoes. Thank you for this recipe, it’s one of our family faves. Also freezes well for a quick dinner next time :)5 stars

  2. This recipe is amazing. Mac and cheese is one of my husband’s favorites. The addition of cauliflower makes it so much healthier. I’ve made this multiple times and have never been disappointed. Freezes well.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Paula. You could try substituting more milk, but your sauce may not thicken the same. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. For this recipe, we use 4 cups of cheddar cheese which is approximately 2 x 8 ounce blocks unshredded. Hope that helps.

  3. Was very good, served it for Thanksgiving for my family and it went over very well. My only tweaks were to steam the cauliflower separately until almost tender, then I spread it on a sheet pan to dry out some. I was keeping the finished turkey warm at 170 anyway, so popped it in there a while while I prepped the sauce. Also, did 2 C cheddar and 2 C gruyere, and added about 1/2 tsp dried mustard to sauce as I’ve seen in other mac recipes. All delicious! I could not find elbow macaroni (shelves were empty) so used the most cauliflower-shaped pasta that was left, orecchiette. Def. a keeper :)4 stars

  4. This is my FAVOURITE mac and cheese recipe I have ever tried. And it has Cauliflower in it? amazing. Have made it multiple times and each time my family loved it. Thanks for the recipe.5 stars

  5. Kids loved it, adults loved it. I ended up putting in more cauliflower than macaroni, it didn’t feel heavy at all. Highly recommend it.5 stars