Hands down, one of the BEST ways to serve cauliflower: a Cheesy Cauliflower Bake with a quick and easy creamy sauce, topped with melted cheese and bacon. This easy cauliflower side dish is indulgent and delicious – and perfect for serving to kids.
Cheesy Cauliflower Bake Recipe
Growing up, I absolutely hated cauliflower.
I had only eaten it raw or boiled (then either covered with Cheez Whiz or margarine), which does nothing to counteract the naturally bitter taste of this nutrient-dense veggie.
However, roasting or sautéing cauliflower balances it, brining out a natural sweetness and toning down the bitter sulfur compounds that can easily overwhelm your tastebuds and put you off of this surprisingly delicious vegetable.
This is a great way to prepare cauliflower for a family. You still get all of the health benefits of cauliflower while feeling truly indulged.
Perfectly roasted, caramelized cauliflower with an easy 2-ingredient cream sauce, topped with plenty of cheese and topped with chopped bacon. It’s a decadent, delicious side dish that you can feel good about serving to your family.
Cheesy Cauliflower Bake Variations:
- add your favorite seasonings – Italian or ranch would be my family’s favorites
- for a low-carb version, swap out the whole milk and cornstarch for heavy cream
- swap out the veggies – this recipe works great for broccoli, green beans, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- or, just add in more veggies for a creamy, cheesy vegetable medley
- add protein – cooked chicken or steak would be a delicious addition
All cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, etc) contain a sulfur-containing phytocehmical called glucosinolate, which is responsible for that sulphuric odor and bitter flavor that many of us associate with Brussel sprouts – and the reason why so many people dislike them! By roasting or pan searing them, you allow the natural sugars of the cauliflower to become caramelized to counter the bitter flavor. The creamy and cheese further our efforts to reduce the bitter flavor profile with more pleasant flavors.
While this cauliflower recipe is indulgent with two types of cheese and bacon, we also lightened things up by using a slurry made with milk and cornstarch rather than using heavy cream or additional cheese to form the creamy sauce. If you want to lighten up this recipe further, you can skip the bacon or reduce the cheese. (I personally will be doing neither of these two things.)
Can you make creamy cauliflower ahead of time? While you can prepare this recipe right up to the point where you pop it in the oven, and then refrigerate overnight, I personally am not a fan of cauliflower cooked the day before and heated up. I find the sulphuric smell (caused by glucosinolate) gets overpowering, and prefer it prepared fresh.
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Ingredients
- Cauliflower, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Whole milk
- Cheddar cheese, shredded
- Parmesan cheese, shredded
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if your kids like other veggies and are unsure of cauliflower, make this dish a medley, adding in other veggies like broccoli, carrots or green beans to make it more approachable.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Sharp Kitchen Knife
- Cutting Board
- Cast Iron Skillet <– I love the versatility of a good cast-iron pan – you can make everything from eggs to dessert in them and they transition easily from the stove to the oven. This one is pre-seasoned and great for even heating
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula <— I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty
How to Make Cheesy Cauliflower Bake
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon to your desired preference.
Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
Add the diced onions and cauliflower to the hot bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent and cauliflower browned. Stir occasionally.
Heat the milk in a microwave for 25 seconds, then whisk in the cornstarch.
Stir the warmed milk mixture into the cauliflower. Heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle both cheeses and the bacon onto the cauliflower.
Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheeses are melted.
Grab your free printable recipe card for our cheesy cauliflower bake recipe:
- 4 cups cauliflower, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1-2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook the chopped bacon to your desired preference.
- Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
- Add the diced onions and cauliflower to the hot bacon and cook for 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent and cauliflower browned. Stir occasionally.
- Heat the milk in a microwave for 25 seconds, then whisk in the cornstarch.
- Stir the warmed milk mixture into the cauliflower. Heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and sprinkle both cheeses and the bacon onto the cauliflower.
- Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheeses are melted.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 305mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 10g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
I hope your family loves this easy cauliflower side dish recipe as much as mine does!
For more ways to make veggies delicious, check out our full vegetable recipe collection here:
For more scrumptious side dishes, check out our full side dish recipe collection here: