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This cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole is my go-to dish for weeknight dinners, potlucks, and even holidays — my family, friends, and even kids all love it! While I like to sneak this veggie into all kinds of cauliflower casserole recipes, such as pizza casserole and cheeseburger casserole, this loaded cauliflower bake is my absolute favorite. It tastes like a loaded baked potato, but is also a lighter take on comfort food. Just like cauliflower potato salad, it’s easy to swap the starch and keep all the classic taste.
Why You’ll Love This Cauliflower Casserole Recipe
- Tender cauliflower, creamy cheese sauce, and bacon
- Simple, natural ingredients
- Done in 30 minutes (you can even prep most of it in advance!)
- Naturally low carb and gluten-free
- Perfect for holidays, gatherings, or weeknights
- Easy, satisfying healthy side dish for potato lovers!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cauliflower casserole, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cauliflower – I use fresh cauliflower (cut into florets), but frozen will also work. Make sure your florets are uniform in size. You’ll be cooking the cauliflower first, so you can make a double batch of oven roasted cauliflower or even Instant Pot cauliflower if you want to meal prep to save time later.
- Butter – Grass-fed butter adds richness in this cauliflower casserole recipe, but any unsalted kind will do. Melt before using. You can also swap in olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – For simple seasoning.
- Sour Cream – Full-fat versions tastes best, but lower fat sour cream (or even plain Greek yogurt) works as well. You could also use cream cheese instead, but melt it in the microwave first, and you may need a little more cream to thin out the sauce.
- Heavy Cream – Thins out the sauce and makes it rich. You can also use half and half instead. Other milks, such as almond milk or regular dairy milk, are not ideal, as the sauce will be too thin. If you want to try one of those to lighten it up, use less.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic tastes the best here, but you can use jarred minced garlic to save time. If needed, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Cheddar Cheese – Shredded sharp cheddar cheese adds classic loaded baked potato flavor. Shred fresh or use a pre-shredded variety.
- Bacon – I typically use leftover oven baked bacon, air fryer bacon, or even microwave bacon, but ready-made bacon bits are an easy time-saver (Or simply cook about 6 slices of bacon in a skillet!). You could also replace the bacon with cooked turkey bacon for a healthier option.
- Green Onions – For a pop of color and flavor. Fresh chives also work.
How To Make Cauliflower Casserole
This section shows how to make a cheesy cauliflower casserole, with 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.
- Roast the cauliflower. If you’ve seen any of my other cauliflower recipes, you know that I’m a big fan of roasting cauliflower. (You can steam or boil the cauliflower instea and then drain it, but roasted tastes so much better!) In a large mixing bowl, toss cauliflower florets with melted butter (or oil of your choice), salt, and pepper. Transfer to a casserole dish or sheet pan and roast until fork tender.
TIP: Roast in a casserole dish to save on cleanup time.
Although roasting on a sheet pan cooks cauliflower faster, the baking dish cooks the veggies in the same dish you’ll use for the casserole. I love this for saving on dishes!
- Make the sauce. In the same bowl (wipe it down first but no need to wash), whisk sour cream and heavy cream until smooth. Add the garlic, cheddar cheese, bacon, and green onions. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. (Don’t add too much salt — the sauce will get saltier as cheese melts later.)
- Mix. Add the roasted cauliflower to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.
- Assemble. Return the cauliflower to the casserole dish. Top with more cheese and bacon.
- Bake. Place in the oven and bake cauliflower casserole until the cheese on top is melted. Sprinkle more green onions on top (or fresh parsley).
- Trade the cheese – Use any semi-hard melting cheese instead of cheddar, such as Monterey Jack cheese or mozzarella.
- Add other meats – Shredded chicken, leftover turkey, leftover chicken breast, ground beef, or sausage can add more satisfying protein to this dish and turn it into a one-pan meal. You’ll need to increase the sauce ingredients if you do this.
- Swap toppings – Besides bacon, you could top cauliflower casserole with diced ham, blue cheese crumbles, grated parmesan cheese, or a panko breadcrumb topping if it fits your lifestyle.
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
- Meal prep: Assemble, cover with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge up to 2 days ahead. Bake as usual, but keep in mind it may take longer if you place in the oven directly from the fridge.
- Reheat: Warm leftovers in a 350 degree F oven or in the microwave.
- Freeze: This loaded cauliflower casserole can be frozen before or after baking. Wrap tightly and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 1-2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before heating, or bake from frozen at 325 degrees F, until hot.
What To Serve With Cauliflower Casserole
I’ve served this cauliflower casserole dozens of ways over the years — it goes with just about anything! Try it with one of the options below, or choose one of my other healthy dinner recipes:
- Chicken – Simple baked chicken legs make a nice main dish with this, or make healthy chicken breast at the same oven temperature, so you can cook them together. When I want something even faster and more hands off, I make Instant Pot chicken drumsticks.
- Beef – Serve a comforting meal with the best burgers or a simple, tender steak.
- Pork – Make some quick air fryer brats or juicy cast iron pork chops while the casserole is in the oven.
- Salad – Since this dish is so rich, you can even serve the cauliflower casserole as your main dish with a colorful pomegranate salad or a light arugula salad on the side.
More Cauliflower Casserole Recipes
Cauliflower works so well in casseroles! Here are a few more of my favorites:
Cauliflower Casserole (Loaded Style, 30 Min!)
Bake this cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole recipe with sour cream, bacon, and cheddar in just 30 minutes. Tastes like loaded potatoes!
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (232 degrees C).
In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with butter. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
Transfer the cauliflower to a small 1.5 quart (1.4 L) casserole dish in a single layer. (Roasting in the baking dish saves on dishes, but you could also roast on a sheet pan to make it faster.) Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes if using a sheet pan, or 25-30 minutes if using the baking dish (stir halfway through if using this method), until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in the same bowl, whisk together the sour cream and heavy cream, until smooth. Stir in the minced garlic, half of the cheddar cheese, half of the bacon, and half of the green onions. If desired, season sauce with sea salt and black pepper. (Don't over salt — it will get more salty as the cheese melts later.)
When the cauliflower is done roasting, take it out and leave the oven on. Add the cauliflower to the bowl and mix with the sauce.
Return the cauliflower mixture to the casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bacon.
Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese melts. Top with remaining green onions.
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Serving size: 3/4 cup
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