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This cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole is my go-to dish for weeknight dinners, potlucks, and even holidays — adults and kids alike love it! While I like to sneak this veggie into all kinds of cauliflower casserole recipes, like 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. And even though this twice baked cauliflower casserole has heavier ingredients like bacon, cheese, and cream, it’s still healthier than one with potatoes. Don’t fear the baking twice, either — it’s just about half an hour for the whole thing!
Why You’ll Love This Loaded Cauliflower Casserole Recipe
- Cheesy bacon flavors
- Tender cauliflower in a creamy sauce
- Simple, natural ingredients
- Done in 30 minutes
- Can prepare most of it in advance
- Naturally gluten-free, low carb, and keto
- Easy, satisfying healthy side dish for potato lovers!
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Cauliflower – Obviously you need cauliflower for cauliflower casserole recipes! I use fresh cauliflower (cut into florets), but frozen will also work.
- Butter – Grass-fed butter tastes great in this 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 seasoning cauliflower.
- 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. I don’t recommend other milks, such as almond milk or regular dairy milk, as the sauce will be too thin, but you can try it if you like.
- 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!)
- Green Onions – Add 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 low carb 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: Use 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 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 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.
- Garnish. Sprinkle more green onions on top (or fresh parsley).
Cauliflower Casserole Variations
- 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, ground beef, or sausage can add more satisfying protein to this dish and turn it into a meal. You’ll need to increase the sauce ingredients if you do this.
- Swap toppings – Besides bacon, top cauliflower casserole with diced ham, blue cheese crumbles, grated parmesan cheese, or a panko breadcrumb topping.
- Store: Place cheesy loaded cauliflower 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 directed, but it may take longer if you place in the oven directly from the fridge.
- Reheat: Warm leftover casserole in a 350 degree F oven or in the microwave.
- Freeze: Most cauliflower casseroles, including this one, can be frozen before or after baking. Wrap tightly and store in a freezer-safe container for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the fridge before heating, or bake from frozen at 325 degrees F, until hot.
More Cauliflower Casserole Recipes
Cauliflower works so well in casseroles! Here are a few more of my favorites.
Tools To Make This Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
- Glass Nesting Bowls – In a variety of sizes for easy prep and cleanup.
- Baking Dish – Durable and elegant from oven to table.
cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole
Cheesy Loaded Cauliflower Casserole (30 Min!)
Bake this cheesy loaded cauliflower casserole recipe with sour cream, bacon, and cheddar in just 30 minutes. Tastes like loaded potatoes!
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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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.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
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Serving size: 3/4 cup
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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Absolutely loved this! It was so delicious!
Delicious! I didn’t want to use the heavy cream so I just used 1 cup sour cream vs. 2/3 cup. Consistency was fine. Even good without garlic or bacon!!!
I want to make this for the 4th of July. Can I precook and reheat or should I cook cauli in the morning and assemble and bake at dinner?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Holly, For the best consistency, I would assemble early and do the final bake right before dinner. Enjoy!
Love love love this recipe!!
Delicious!! All 4 of my kids cleaned their plates! Will definitely make again.
This was absolutely delicious as a side for dinner, but hearty enough that I’ll have it as a main dish for lunch. I forgot to buy the sour cream, so I substituted cilantro crema that I had on hand. It was great with the substitute, but I’m sure it would be great as is, too.
Dangerously good. I made this as a side to compliment my Alaskan king crab legs and ribeye steak. After our fancy, and expensive, feast the only thing on everybody’s minds, including mine, was how awesome that cauliflower casserole was. This one goes into the recipe folder to revisit for sure. Thank You
LOVE this recipe! I have become creative adding a few things here and there like minced jalepenos to give it a bit of a kick or mandolin-thin slice zucchini and bell peppers. It is always soooo delicious! Thanks for sharing!
My grandma has BEGGED me to make this for every gathering for years. Things got put on hold obviously, but I’m so excited to make it for her now that we can get together again. So simple yet makes someone so happy. Thank you so much!!
This was so delicious! My husband really liked it too. I can’t wait to make it again. I kind of want to add shredded chicken to add some more protein .. I just don’t know how much more cream and sour cream and cheese to add to do that.
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Jean, Feel free to increase the sour cream to 1 cup and adjust the amount of cheddar to up to 2 cups. This should be enough to coat and incorporate approximately 1 cup of shredded chicken. Enjoy!
This was absolutely delicious! My husband said it’s a keeper!
Have you ever made this (absolutely delicious) recipe with panko bread crumbs on top to create a crispy crust on top?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Juli-Ann, I have not personally tried that, but I’m sure it would work great on top! Keep in mind that the nutrition will change and the recipe would no longer be considered low carb.
Delicious, made this casserole with a nice steak dinner for my husband’s birthday and all nine of us loved it! It was very easy to prep! I made the recipe just like it was written!
This recipe is amazing! People who said they didn’t like cauliflower ate this and loved it. SO easy to make and even great leftover…if you have any!
I really enjoyed the use of the cauliflower as the vehicle for the rest of the ingredients. I am always looking to add more veggies in any dish that I make. I used a blend of Colby Jack and smoked Gouda cheeses as they were leftovers from a previous recipe. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
After reading the comments, I am excited to use some of the ideas, especially with the chicken. I made the comment that adding broccoli to it would also really taste great. I think I would steam it and spice it a few min before adding it.
I made this tonight and followed your recipe except I used olive oil instead of butter on the cauliflower. After it was done, I had my portion and my husband asked me how it was. My response was, “YUM!!” So, he asked if he could have some. I having it again for my lunch tomorrow and Tuesday and as a side dish on Wednesday. Thanks for a GREAT recipe that is only 4 net carbs for a nice side dish and 8 net carbs for a filling main dish. YUM!!!!
Best dish/recipe I’ve ever made. And I’ve made it 20 times!
Absolutely delicious! I made this for dinner tonight and my whole loved it! I can’t wait
to try more of your recipes. Thank you!!
This was SUPER DELICIOUS and I took it a step further and put it over shredded pork and made a Pork shepherds pie.
Thanks for sharing
Laura B Simpson0
This was amazing just as recipe was written–highly recommend and would definitely make again. Made it for Easter dinner and had multiple requests for recipe. I love the idea before about adding rotisserie chicken, this would definitely make it a main dish casserole. Make with confidence and dont’ skip the roasting the cauliflower stage, this is what makes it!
This recipe was super easy and delicious I will definitely be making this again thank you
keep them coming!
This was soooooooo good – even my non-keto family members liked it (win!).
AMAZING!!! I do not like cooked cauliflower, even with cheese, but roasting it first got rid of the wet mushy texture I don’t like. I didn’t have any garlic, so I used garlic paste, I also added about 1/2 cup cream cheese. (I really like cream cheese). We loved it! Thank you for the great recipe
Was very yummy, I added a layer of rotisserie chicken on the bottom , put cauliflower mixture on top
How does it freeze?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Lori, This dish freezes well. I suggest storing in single-serve portions. It’s much easier to reheat when ready to eat.
I really love this dish. My husband dislikes cauliflower but completely loves this casserole. Tonight will be the third time I’ve made it.
Yum, this was delicious! I made a few changes though to anyone else who might prefer- I used real bacon. I always use thick-cut, put it in a cold oven turn on to 400 for about 16 minutes total and then just chop it up! I also used a 12 oz bag of already cut cauliflower florets to make life a little easier and chopped them a little, this seemed to be the perfect amount. I personally felt like it didn’t get cooked through enough. I put the oven down to 400 when I combined all the ingredients and put it back in the oven for 20 minutes. I felt like this helped cook the garlic and melt the cheese more!
Fantastic! I think we like this better than the keto Mac and cheese out there. Fabulous!!
So easy to make and we loved it!
I made a double size of this, in a 9×11 Pyrex, and husband and I loved it! My kids were not fans which I think is because the garlic flavor was too strong since it doesn’t really get cooked in the end process. I’ll likely make it again and reduce that or just use garlic powder. Yum!
Excellent, I added a large potato diced and used 4 slices chopped back bacon.
This was an absolutely fabulous recipe. Thank you!
This was a hit!!
I used the recipe but substituted with almond milk, grated parmesan in the cheese mixture and ground turkey instead of bacon. Delicious!
I love the flavors in this recipe (what’s NOT to like…bacon, sour cream, cheese?!?!) but my husband and I don’t really care for cooked cauliflower in a recognizable form 🙂 so, instead of using whole cauliflower, I use frozen riced cauliflower. To cook it, I heat a tablespoon or so of garlic olive oil in a wok then stir fry it (from frozen) until it’s thawed. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then continue to stir fry for approximately 7-10 minutes until it’s dry and turning brown. Then I finish with your recipe. It’s awesome :-).
That sounds like a great idea- I’m trying it that way next.
Really loved this recipe. Maybe I would cut down a bit on the heavy cream and sour cream a bit, but that’s because of my personal taste for things a bit less saucy. I am sure most people would like it as the recipe states. Very nice and can’t wait to share ti with my friends.
This is easily the best low carb side dish recipe I’ve ever tried. We’ve made this 3 times and I’ve never charged anything about it. Is perfect as written. I crave it even when we’re not on low carb days!
I LOVE this recipe! Second time I’ve made it.! Thank you!
Love this! Easy, tasty, satisfying. Great side dish for family picnic, potlucks. I have used turkey kielbasa instead of bacon and called it dinner.
Just perfect and delicious. I didn’t have a whole head of cauliflower, so I added in some broccoli… just yum and fits right into my thanksgiving meal as a low carb substitute for my normal baked macaroni and cheese.
If I want to make ahead today for thanksgiving, can I bake it today’ & reheat tomorrow?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Alysse, Yes! That will work great.
Very good!! Used skim milk instead of heavy cream. My husband who says he doesn’t like sour cream…really liked it. Thanks for the recipe.
Can you make this a day ahead and bake the next day?
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Cathy, Yes. That would work just fine.
Oh my goodness, this is amazing and the smell is intoxicating. Is was very easy to put together and roasting the cauliflower added a depth to the dish. I couldn’t find a heavy cream that didn’t have carrageenan so I substitute with Half & Half. It did cause it to be a little watery so next time I will make sure to use heavy cream. This however did not detract from the flavor. I wish there was a way for me to attach my picture of the final product, it looks just like yours
Jack Q W Cantwell0
Awesome. Super easy, not many ingredients, delicious.
your recipes are the BEST! To make it a meal I throw chicken or like i did tonight or especially left over ham! And always roast my cauliflower after trying it your way one time…I was hooked! Thank you Maya for all these wonderful recipes !
Gretty W Bosaw0
Delicious! I cant stop eating it.
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