Cheesy cauliflower casserole with bacon 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 loaded cauliflower casserole on the table in 35 minutes from start to finish! It's a Whole Lotta Yum!
Oddly enough, this baked cauliflower dish was created 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 keto Brussels sprouts casserole 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 - you can also swap this for broccoli or do a mixture
- heavy whipping cream - thickens the casserole without needing flour
- Colby Jack - shredded 3 cheese blend, cheddar, Gruyere, swiss, or Monterey Jack works well too
- bacon - cooked and crumbled
- seasoning - garlic salt and ground black pepper
- 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. Pre- shredded cheese often comes coated with potato starch to prevent sticking but that starch does include some additional carbohydrates.
- Vegetarian - Make the baked cauliflower casserole vegetarian by omitting the bacon.
How to Make Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Our low carb cauliflower au gratin with bacon casserole is as simple as partially baking the cauliflower, making a simple cheese sauce, pouring the sauce over the veggies along with bacon and cheese, and then baking until cooked through.
Preheat oven to 400 F and spray a 7x11 or 9x9 baking pan with non-stick spray.
Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
Place the chopped cauliflower in the 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.
Make the Cheese 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 for 15 additional minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and 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 or it'll be runny.
- 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 9x13 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 leftover baked cauliflower casserole with bacon, 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.