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Cauliflower Cheese Recipe

This is an easy, classic roasted cauliflower cheese recipe packed with flavour and cheesy goodness. It’s ready in 40 minutes, resulting in deliciously crispy roasted cauliflower coated in a warming, cheesy sauce with a golden, crispy crust.

cauliflower cheese in a white dish on a wooden chopping board

You can’t beat the creamy, cheesy goodness of cauliflower cheese. This classic cauliflower has crispy roasted cauliflower coated in the most delicious cheese sauce seasoned with mustard and nutmeg for a warming, flavourful dish.

Serve this for your Christmas dinner or Sunday roast with crispy roast potatoes, honey garlic carrots, roasted green beans, balsamic brussel sprouts, and veggie pigs in blankets.

Want a vegan version? I got you! Try my vegan cauliflower cheese recipe instead.

How To Make This Cauliflower Cheese

To make this cauliflower cheese recipe, I opted to roast the cauliflower instead of the more traditional method of boiling it before adding to your baking dish along with your cheese sauce.

I find that roasting the cauliflower makes it extra crispy and gives you more room for more flavours to pack a bigger punch, so it’s well worth that extra 10 minutes.

To make your cauliflower cheese, follow these steps:

Step 1) Roast your cauliflower

So, first things first. Wash your cauliflower and chop it into florets. Try to keep the florets relatively even in size so they all cook at the same time.

Add the cauliflower to your baking dish and sprinkle over the seasonings and olive oil. Use cleans hands or a spoon to ensure each floret is evenly coated in the seasonings and oil, and roast for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is turning crispy and golden.

Step 2) Make the cheese sauce

While the cauliflower is roasting, you can make your cheese sauce. Start by melting your butter in a pan, then adding the sliced spring onions, followed by the plain flour.

After cooking the butter/flour mixture off for a couple of minutes, slowly stir in the milk to avoid lumps forming. Once you’ve added all the milk, continuously whisking the sauce, you can add the nutmeg, English mustard, and another other seasonings

Take the pan off the heat and stir in your grated cheeses.

Step 3) Combine the roasted cauliflower and cheese sauce

Tip the roasted cauliflower into a large mixing bowl and pour over the cheese sauce. Use a spoon to help fully coat the cauliflower.

Step 4) Add to a baking dish and top with cheese

Pour the cauliflower cheese mixture into your baking dish, and then top it with the remaining cheese.

Step 5) Cook your cauliflower cheese

Bake for 10 – 20 minutes (adding the breadcrumb mixture 10 minutes before serving if you’re using it).

Storing & Preparing Your Cauliflower Cheese

If you’re making this cauliflower cheese for Sunday lunch or as a side dish for your Christmas dinner, it’s understandable that you might want to pre-make this recipe so you’ve got less to worry about on the day.

If you are making your cauliflower cheese a day or two before serving, I would recommend following steps 1- 4 above, then allowing the cauliflower cheese to cool before covering the dish with foil and refrigerating. Then, when you’re ready to cook it, take the dish out of the fridge while you preheat your oven, and cook the cauliflower cheese with the foil on for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue cooking according to step 5.

More Cauliflower…

Aside from this plant-based cauliflower cheese recipe, I also have this super crispy air fryer cauliflower recipe that uses frozen cauliflower! This would also be a great base to use for your cauliflower cheese.

cauliflower cheese in a white dish on a wooden chopping board

Cauliflower Cheese

Yield: 3 - 4 portions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This extra cheesy cauliflower cheese recipe uses roasted cauliflower for extra flavour, and is topped with a combination of red Leicester and extra mature cheddar cheese for the perfect indulgent side for a roast dinner.

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt and pepper
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • 75g extra-mature cheddar cheese, grated
  • 75g red Leicester, grated
  • 0.5tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp English mustard

Optional breadcrumb topping:

  • 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp crispy onions

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C.
  2. Cut the cauliflower into florets, then mix on a baking tray with the oil, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes, flipping halfway, until the cauliflower is starting to get crispy on the edges.
  4. Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add in the sliced spring onions.
  5. Next, add the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  6. Slow pour in the milk and whisk the sauce constantly to mix the flour mixture into the milk until smooth.
  7. Add the English mustard, nutmeg, and salt to taste, and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
  8. Remove the roux sauce from the heat and add in ¾ of the grated cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth and glossy.
  9. Add your roasted cauliflower to a mixing bowl and pour over the cheese sauce, using a spoon to mix the two so the cauliflower is fully coated.
  10. Pour the cauliflower cheese into your baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes.
  12. While the cauliflower cheese is cooking, mix the breadcrumbs, melted butter, thyme leaves, and crispy onions.
  13. Remove the cauliflower cheese from the oven, top with the breadcrumb mixture, and then bake for 10 minutes. Cover the cauliflower cheese with foil if the breadcrumbs look like they’re about to burn.

Notes

This cauliflower cheese will store well if you have leftovers. You can simply cover the dish with foil and store in the fridge for around 3 days. Equally, you could make your cauliflower cheese ahead of time, stopping when you have topped the cauliflower with the cheese on top. Then, you can simply cook it in the oven when you are ready to serve.

To reheat, place it back in the oven with the foil on and cook at 200C for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower cheese has completely warmed through.

You can also freeze this cauliflower cheese before or after cooking it in the oven. Defrost fully in the fridge before cooking.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 421Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 690mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 14g

Nutritional information isn't always accurate.

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