Baked cauliflower casserole makes for a simple yet elegant side dish to serve alongside a roast, with your favorite chicken recipe, at a brunch or as a holiday side dish. With only 5 ingredients, you’ll have this WHOLE LOTTA YUM one-dish recipe on the table in 35 minutes from start to finish!
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Oddly enough, this baked cauliflower dish was create on Easter.
Yes, I said “on.”
In the kitchen I stood, with guests in my home no less, determined to create a low-carb, gluten-free version of a scalloped potato.
I quickly drew on a Brussel sprout gratin recipe and set out to create a baked cauliflower casserole that had all of the elements of a fantastic gratin potato, but also the healthy elements I wanted to adapt to.
That day I was successful in creating a new recipe from scratch, yet it did need some improvements. A few tweaks and modifications later and now I have a go-to dish for Easter, Sunday dinners, or even a weeknight meal where I have the time to create something that is warm, inviting, and tastes hearty but is healthy and adapted to our dietary restrictions.
And that, my friends, is win/win! 😉
Why You’ll Love This!
- Your baked cauliflower casserole is loaded with fresh cauliflower, a vegetable that is full of fiber, B-vitamins, and antioxidants!
- A rich and hearty cream sauce is easily created for your cauliflower bake with heavy cream and a blend of cheeses.
- Gluten-free, low-carb, and keto, baked cauliflower casserole is the perfect dish for those who are following healthy eating plans yet it does not taste like a dull diet dish.
- Bacon adds a salty and savory element to perfectly finish off this loaded cauliflower casserole.
- This entire dish takes just 35-minutes and doesn’t require any par-boiling!
Fresh cauliflower, heavy cream, a blend of cheese, and, of course, bacon, are about to combine to create an easy and healthy baked cauliflower casserole that everyone at your table is sure to love!
- cauliflower – cut into bite-sized pieces
- heavy cream
- shredded 3 cheese blend
- bacon – cooked and crumbled
- garlic salt
- ground black pepper
- Cauliflower – While we are loving this baked cauliflower casserole as-is, combining the cauliflower with broccoli is also a delicious twist on the recipe.
- Cheese – Colby Jack works great but you can use any mix of yellow and white cheeses, or you can just use one variety. Good options include sharp cheddar, medium cheddar, white cheddar, Colby Jack, Swiss, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or gruyere.
- Keto/Low-Carb – To maintain your cauliflower casserole bake as a low-carb and keto-friendly dish we do recommend you use block cheese and shred it yourself. Preshredded cheese often comes coated with potato starch to prevent sticking but that starch does include some additional carbohydrates.
- Vegetarian – Make your baked cauliflower casserole vegetarian by omitting the bacon.
Step By Step Instructions
With no par-boiling, baked cauliflower casserole is a simple one-pan side dish that goes from prep to table in just 35-minutes!
Preheat oven to 400 and spray 7×11 or 9×9 baking pan with non-stick spray.
Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
Place the chopped cauliflower in your pan and bake it for 25 minutes. It won’t be all the way cooked through but just cooked enough it’ll be perfect throughout after adding the cheese sauce and cooking longer.
While the cauliflower bakes, start assembling the cheese sauce. The sauce will only take about 6-7 minutes to make, so it’s fine to wait until the cauliflower has baked for 10-15 minutes to get started on the sauce.
Blend the heavy cream, one cup of shredded cheese, garlic salt, and pepper in a small saucepan on medium-low, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted, the sauce is heated through and starting to thicken. This will take about 6 or 7 minutes.
After the cauliflower has baked for 25 minutes, remove it from the oven and sprinkle it with the crumbled bacon and add the cheese sauce evenly. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
Place the entire dish in the oven and bake 15 additional minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling the cauliflower is cooked through and can easily be pierced through with a fork.
Serve warm. Enjoy!
- Be sure to chop your cauliflower pieces evenly for even cooking throughout.
- Heavy cream is the go-to cream for making a cheese sauce! We do NOT recommend using half n half or milk.
- The cheese sauce does come together quickly and will spread best when warm. It is recommended that you wait to make the sauce until the cauliflower is cooked at least halfway through before starting on the sauce.
- You can easily double this recipe and use a 9×13 casserole pan!
- Instead of cooking the bacon, you can also purchase bags of cooked real bacon pieces at the grocery store or Costco.
If you have any leftovers you can store them in the fridge in an airtight container. Use within 4 days.
As this dish is made with cream and cheese, we do not recommend freezing it. Dairy-rich dishes tend to become grainy after defrosting. For best results eat fresh and store leftovers in the fridge.
Other Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Love
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup shredded Colby Jack
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a casserole baking dish. Ours was 7x11 in size, a 9x9 pan will work as well. Just fill the cauliflower pieces to the top of your dish.
2. Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook it for 25 minutes, it won't be cooked through at this point.
3. While the cauliflower cooks, start on the sauce. In total, it'll take less than 10 minutes to make the cheese sauce so start it when there are 10 mins left on the cauliflower.
4. Heat a greased skillet over medium-low heat. Add the cream, 1 cup of shredded cheese, garlic salt, and black pepper. Combine the sauce ingredients and stir it constantly until the cheese is melted and the sauce is heated through.
5. Sprinkle the cooked bacon over the top of the cauliflower and then drizzle the cheese sauce over the top of the entire dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese on the very top of the cauliflower bacon casserole dish.
6. Bake the dish for 15 more mins or until the cheese sauce is bubbling, the cauliflower is cooked through, and can easily be pierced through with a fork.
7. Be sure to scoop up any extra sauce at the bottom of the pan to drizzle it over the cauliflower when you serve it! Enjoy!
Use a 9x9 pan if you don't have an oval casserole dish. Just fill the cauliflower pieces up to the top of the pan.
Broccoli can be substituted for the cauliflower or you can do a half and half variety of each.
The bacon is entirely optional and can be left out if you want a vegetarian baked cauliflower casserole. Increase the garlic salt to 1/2 tsp if you skip the ba con.
Instead of cooking the bacon you can also purchased bags of cooked real bacon pieces at the grocery store or Costco.
If you're on a keto diet, be sure to shred your own cheese from a block since pre-shredded cheese adds potato starch and extra carbs.
Colby Jack works great but you can use any mix of yellow and white cheeses, or you can just use one variety. Good options include sharp cheddar, medium cheddar, white cheddar, Colby Jack, Swiss, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or gruyere.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 301Total Fat 26gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 78mgSodium 390mgCarbohydrates 5gNet Carbohydrates 3gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 12g