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If you’re looking for a low carb keto mac and cheese replacement, you may be surprised by this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe! Like many keto cauliflower recipes, this dish takes on the flavors of the sauce. It’s almost like the real thing, and so much healthier. Yes, I know it’s not actual pasta, but it will totally fulfill that comfort food craving — but if you want real noodles, you can pour the same sauce over keto pasta noodles or other low carb pasta alternatives instead.
Growing up in a Russian-speaking family, I didn’t get to try all-American macaroni and cheese until much later. I still remember tasting it for the first time, not knowing (or caring!) about how processed it was. The carbs in mac and cheese didn’t even cross my mind. I missed this dish dearly when I switched to a low carb lifestyle, and came up with this keto mac and cheese version to fulfill that need.
This dish tastes so amazing that I included it in The Easy Keto Carboholics’ Cookbook, along with 99 other recipes that let you enjoy the flavor of high-carb foods while sticking to your macros. You’ll see how to make cauliflower mac and cheese keto, along with incredible low carb recipes for pasta, bread, desserts, and more!
What Is Cauliflower Mac And Cheese?
Keto cauliflower mac and cheese tastes like all the cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese, but using cauliflower florets instead of macaroni and the same type of rich cheese sauce as the original. Even if you’re a die-hard pasta lover, I think you’ll love the flavors in this dish. Roasted cauliflower makes a great stand-in for macaroni on the keto diet — hence the name. It’s delicious as a keto side dish or vegetarian keto main dish.
Why You’ll Love This Keto Mac And Cheese Recipe
- Classic taste with real ingredients
- Tender, caramelized texture with creamy cheese sauce
- Done in under 30 minutes
- 6 simple ingredients
- 5 grams of net carbs per serving
- No white flour, naturally gluten-free, and rich in vitamins
- Super easy and family friendly!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for low carb mac and cheese, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
For The Cauliflower:
- Cauliflower – Fresh cauliflower works best for this recipe, but you can also use frozen and increase the cooking time when you roast it. Be sure the florets are very small — getting more pieces in every bite helps make this keto mac and cheese more reminiscent of the real thing.
- Olive Oil – For roasting the cauliflower. Avocado is also fine to use. In an earlier version of this recipe (including the YouTube video), I simply used melted butter (which is also used in the cheese sauce) to reduce the total number of ingredients. Feel free to do this if you like. Butter is not normally recommended for roasting due to the high temperature, but I found it works fine for roasting small cauliflower florets.
- Salt & Pepper
For The Cheese Sauce:
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese – You can swap this cheese with any keto cheese you prefer that melts easily, such as gruyere, gouda, or mozzarella cheese. Hard cheeses, such as parmesan cheese, will not make as smooth a sauce.
- Heavy Cream – Makes a rich and smooth sauce. Some people also stir cream cheese into the sauce, but I don’t find it necessary and it tastes less authentic that way.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk – You can also use coconut milk beverage from the carton or more heavy cream for a nut-free version.
- Butter – For flavor. Use unsalted.
I love this sauce so much that I wrote a post dedicated to this keto cheese sauce recipe. In addition to keto cauliflower mac and cheese, it’s delicious for topping or dipping fresh or roasted broccoli.
VARIATION: Include a crumb topping!
If you want keto mac and cheese with a crumb topping, you’ll also need crushed pork rinds. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish after the last step, sprinkle with crushed pork rinds, and broil for a few minutes until golden.
How To Make Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
This section shows how to make keto mac and cheese with cauliflower, including step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Season. Toss cauliflower florets with oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast. Transfer to a baking sheet. Roast cauliflower until tender and browned on the edges. (I highly recommend roasting for the best flavor, but you can also steam or simmer the cauliflower in a large pot instead; drain well.)
TIP: Change up the seasonings!
For more complex flavors, add spices like garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, or your favorite spice mixes. You can also add seasonings directly to the cheese sauce.
- Make sauce. Whisk cheese, cream, almond milk, and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until smooth. (Alternatively, you can simply microwave the ingredients until the cheese melts, then stir until smooth.) Be careful not to overheat.
FYI: The sauce will thicken as it cools from piping hot to warm.
However, if you find that the sauce is not thick enough, you can simply add more shredded cheese to the sauce before tossing with the cauliflower. If it’s too thick, you can thin out with more almond milk or cream.
- Combine. Transfer cooked cauliflower to a large bowl. Pour cheese sauce on top and gently fold to coat evenly. For extra crunch (optional), try the pork rinds variation in the ingredients list above.
- Garnish. I like fresh cracked black pepper, but a sprinkle of fresh parsley — or nothing at all — works, too.
- Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Meal prep: Roast cauliflower and make cheese sauce, storing separately. Before serving, reheat cauliflower in a microwave or 350 degree F oven. Gently reheat the sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop, and toss with cauliflower.
- Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or 350 degree F oven until warm.
- Freeze: Freezing is not ideal, but it can be done. Cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat in the oven. The sauce may separate, so stir well afterward.
What To Serve With Keto Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
I love to serve this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe with a simple protein to turn it into a whole meal. Here are a few keto main dish recipes for you to choose from:
- Chicken – Try keto mac and cheese with garlic butter chicken, crispy baked drumsticks, garlic chicken thighs, or baked buffalo chicken.
- Turkey – Enjoy a homesyle meal with turkey meatloaf, slow cooker turkey breast, or keto turkey burgers.
- Fish – Serve lighter fare with oven baked salmon, pan seared halibut, baked tilapia, or grilled shrimp skewers.
- Bacon – The best match for stirring into cauliflower and cheese! Try it with air fryer bacon, microwave bacon, or bacon in the oven.
- Steak – For a fancier meal, make reverse sear steak or filet mignon.
More Keto Cauliflower Recipes
Cauliflower is one of my favorite low carb vegetables, so I have tons of recipes with it. Browse all my keto cauliflower recipes here, but here are some reader favorites:
Tools To Make Low Carb Mac And Cheese
Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe
This reader favorite recipe is included in The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Carboholics’ Cookbook! Inside this beautiful hard cover keto recipe book, you’ll find 100 delectable, EASY keto recipes to replace all your favorite carbs: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, desserts, and more… each with 10 ingredients or less! Plus, a photo, macros, & tips for every recipe.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese (Keto, 6 Ingredients!)
An easy cauliflower mac and cheese recipe with just 6 ingredients + 5 minutes prep time! This low carb keto mac and cheese is rich, cheesy, and will satisfy your cravings for macaroni.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Arrange the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until crisp-tender.
In a small saucepan over low heat (or a bowl in the microwave), heat the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, almond milk, and butter, stirring frequently, until smooth. Be careful not to overheat.
When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to a large bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and gently fold the sauce into the cauliflower until coated evenly.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Recipe from The Easy Keto Carboholics’ Cookbook.
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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