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A piping hot dish of Cauliflower Cheese at the dinner table is the most comforting sight. Swimming in sauce and a crispy golden topping. Yum.

Side dish of Easy Cauliflower Cheese on a table.

This easy Cauliflower Cheese recipe is so versatile – you can enjoy it on its own as a midweek vegetarian main course or as a side dish to your Sunday lunch

It is so tasty and comforting (and, obviously, CHEESY!)

Thankfully, it’s also very simple to make and can even be prepped ahead of time for ultimate convenience.


Why you’ll love this quick Cauliflower Cheese recipe

⭐️ Comforting cheesy deliciousness

⭐️ Simple to make

⭐️ Gives any dinner something EXTRA


Cauliflower cheese in a bowl being dished up with spoon.

How we came up with this Cauliflower Cheese recipe

I think Cauliflower Cheese is massively underrated, and suspect people shy away from making it at home for fear of it being sloppy, overcooked and unappetising. 

But in reality, it’s a fairly simple dish to make and SO delicious. I wanted to make sure I passed on a few tips and tricks to make sure you can make it the best it can be, every time. 

So I created this FOOLPROOF RECIPE so you know exactly: 

➡️ How long to boil it for

➡️ How to make sure it’s not too watery

➡️ How to prepare it in advance to save time

➡️ How to finish it in the oven or under the grill


Easy Cauliflower Cheese recipe ingredients laid out on a counter.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower – I prefer fresh rather than frozen here as frozen can be a little easy to overcook. But frozen will work if needs must!

    For the Cauliflower Cheese sauce:
  • Milk – Whole milk is preferable, but semi-skimmed would be fine. Not skimmed!
  • Cornflour – Not regular flour, this method of easy sauce making needs cornflour
  • Dijon mustard – French or other mustard would also work. If using English mustard, use half the amount
  • Garlic granules – Or garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Red Leicester cheese – I love this for the colour, but any strong cheddar is also fine
  • Parmesan – The addition of parmesan gives a LOT of extra flavour (and texture to the top)

    For the topping:
  • More Red Leicester
  • Parmesan

⭐️ How to prepare the best Cauliflower Cheese the day before ⭐️

This recipe is a perfect addition to your roast dinner, Christmas dinner – or any dinner for that matter!

But as side dishes go, it can be a faff to make in real time, when you’re also trying to pull together meat, gravy, and various other veggies at the same time. 

Fear not! This is where your meal prep really comes into its own, because you can do the hard work in advance (and plenty of time in advance as you can freeze it). 

All you have to do is to make the cauliflower and the cheese sauce (up to step 8 in the recipe), then leave to cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When you’re ready to cook, put it in the oven according to the instructions in the recipe. 

If you’d like to make it further in advance, do the same thing, but instead of refrigerating, pop it into the freezer instead. Defrost it before baking it in the oven (from step 8 onwards).

How to make Cauliflower Cheese

How to make Easy Cauliflower Cheese step 1.
  1. Boil the cauliflower until almost cooked. Meanwhile, boil up the milk to start making the sauce.
How to make Easy Cauliflower Cheese step 2.

2. Use the cornflour and milk to make a paste, then add to the pan and whisk. Cook as per the recipe below.

How to make Easy Cauliflower Cheese step 3.

3. Add the mustard, garlic granules, salt and pepper and cheeses. Cook until smooth and the cheese is melted.

How to make Easy Cauliflower Cheese step 4.

4. Drain the cauliflower and put in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and bake or grill until the cheese is melted.

Hint: The cooking time will depend on the size of the florets. Be careful not to overcook them when boiling.


Substitutions

  • Cheese – I like Red Leicester because of its colour, but any strong cheddar will also work fine. You can use Gran Padano instead of parmesan too as it’s cheaper.

Leftovers

Leftovers that have been in the oven can be frozen and then reheated in the microwave but it’s much better to do it as above if possible as it’s less likely to over cook and end up soggy. 

Always be sure to follow food reheating guidelines and be sure everything is hot through.

Top tips

Drain well

Make sure you drain the cauliflower really well after it’s boiled up and before you add it to the dish, otherwise it will end up too watery.

Add breadcrumbs

You could also add a sprinkling of breadcrumbs (I like Panko) to the topping before you bake or grill, which will give it a bit of extra crunch.

FAQs

What should I serve with Cauliflower Cheese?

This would be perfect with a full roast and Yorkshire Puddings, or a pared-back version. It goes wonderfully with my Slow Cooker Roast Beef recipe, or my Slow Cooker Ham recipe, my Slow Cooker Roast Chicken or even my Meatloaf recipe.

Do you have any other cauliflower recipes?

Try out my Crispy Cauliflower Tacos. Honestly, they’re so good! And very easy too.

Also try my Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup. Yum.

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 31 votes

Cauliflower Cheese {Easiest Ever Recipe!}

The perfect and delicious side dish or vegetarian main course, this is comfort food at its best. Try this quick Cauliflower Cheese recipe to serve with a Sunday roast, your full-blown Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, or just a regular accompaniment to any meal.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people as a main course or 8 as a side dish.

Ingredients 

  • 1 kg Cauliflower (1 very large or 2 small), Cut into florets
  • 500 ml Milk (plus a couple of extra tablespoons)
  • 30 g Cornflour
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Garlic granules
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 100 g Red Leicester cheese, Grated
  • 75 g Parmesan, Grated

For the topping:

  • 25 g Red Leicester cheese, Grated
  • 25 g Parmesan, Grated

Instructions 

  • Boil the cauliflower in a large pan of salted water for 5-7 minutes until the florets are almost, but not quite, cooked. (When you poke a knife into a stem, it should go in easily but not be soft.)
  • While the cauliflower is cooking make the cauliflower cheese sauce.
  • Heat the 500ml of milk in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • In a small bowl mix the cornflour with the extra tablespoon of milk (you may need a little more). Use just enough to whisk the cornflour to a thick, lump free paste (this feels a bit tricky but it will come together eventually).
  • Add this paste to the milk and whisk in. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken, whisking often.
  • Add the mustard, garlic granules, salt and pepper and cheeses. Whisk and cook for another 5 minutes until smooth and the cheese is melted.
  • Put your drained cauliflower in an ovenproof dish (or grill safe if you're using the grill). Be sure it's drained very well. Pour over the sauce.
  • Sprinkle the extra cheeses on top and then cook as follows:

Either:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (you can do this when you start cooking) and bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is melting and golden.

Or:

  • Preheat the grill to medium and put under the grill to cook for about 5 minutes until the cheese is melted (be sure to use a grill proof dish if doing this).

Notes

Cauliflower cooking time: This will depend on the size of the florets. Don’t over cook the cauliflower when it’s boiling as it is going to cook more in the oven
Drain well! Be sure to drain cauliflower well so not watery
Tip: You could add breadcrumbs (I like Panko) on top for crunch.
Tip: Sometimes I double the sauce quantities, so if you prefer a saucy cauliflower cheese you might like to do this too!
Nutritional info: Shown for 1 portion of 4
 

Nutrition

Calories: 389kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 26gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 696mgPotassium: 1005mgFiber: 5gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 478IUVitamin C: 121mgCalcium: 712mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Family Food
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Sarah Rossi founder of TamingTwins.com and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.

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5 from 31 votes (27 ratings without comment)

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10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just a quick tip you want comments you want ratings don’t force people to give you their details- all the best – yummy sauce cheers

  2. Hi there,
    I’m interested to try your cauliflower cheese recipe but would like to advance cook and freeze which you mention you can?
    Might I just ask, have you successfully tried this? Whenever I’ve defrosted anything vegetable based in the past it always goes really watery and horrible . Thoughts or tips please?

    1. 5 stars
      2024.
      Very nice cauliflower cheese.
      Never would of thought making it this way without butter or flour.
      But using corn flour as a thickener .
      Thank you for this recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    Have just made this in preparation for Christmas Day – without the hassle of making a bechamel sauce (which can be a bit hit and miss!). So much quicker and managed to get one extra for the freezer out of the recipe. I have some panko breadcrumbs that I will pop on with the Parmesan before baking. Had a sneaky taste of the sauce and is not different to the ‘regular’ way of making cheese sauce – this will definately be a go to recipe!

  4. I’m looking at making this ahead of time. Could I make it and just put the whole thing into the freezer, ready for cooking on the big day?

  5. 5 stars
    Super easy and delish. I used parmesan and panko crumbs on top.
    Fantastic site. Added this recipe and the others here to my Collections.
    Many thanks Jenna