Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon

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Fresh cauliflower  smothered in a creamy sauce then topped with a sprinkling of bacon and baked until bubbling with gooey melted cheeses; this Creamy Cauliflower and Cheese with Bacon receives two thumbs up from all of my kids every time I make it.

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon recipe

It never fails to amaze me that my kids who would be very unlikely to choose to eat cauliflower on its own will happily devour multiple servings of it when it is prepared this way. Of course, what’s not to love about vegetables covered in a spicy cheese sauce and topped with bacon, right?

While there are plenty of awesome pasta dishes that my family loves, this Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon will most definitely not leave you thinking that something is missing. This Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon is an awesome side dish for almost any meal, but it’s plenty hearty enough to be a main dish as well. For my meat loving family, I typically serve this with oven roasted or pan-fried chicken thighs.

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If you’re looking for more terrific cauliflower recipes to try, this Garlic and Paprika Roasted Cauliflower and this Spicy Caramelized Cauliflower both disappear almost as fast as I can cook them! Old Bay Cauliflower Salad and Crispy Cauliflower Tacos both sound amazing too.

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon recipe

Kitchen Tip: I use this baking dish, this saucepan, and this flat whisk to make this recipe.

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Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon

4.20 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings as a side dish or 2-3 servings as a main dish


  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper jack cheese reserve a cup or so for topping
  • Optional: 4 slices bacon cut into 1/2" pieces and cooked until crisp


  • Rinse and pat dry the cauliflower. Remove all the leaves. Slice from the top to the bottom stem, into 1/4" thick slices. The cauliflower should basically fall apart. The idea is to create thin bite size pieces. Layer the cauliflower into the bottom of a baking dish, I use a 10-inch square or round dish. Season the slices generously with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the starch and whisk to combine. Add the milk and continue whisking until smooth and heated through. Add half of the cheese and stir to combine. Continue whisking until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth again.
  • Add the rest of the cheese (reserving about a cup's worth for topping) and stir again until the sauce is smooth and the cheese has completely melted. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheese. Sprinkle with bacon, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese is golden browned and bubbling. Enjoy!


Calories: 351kcal · Carbohydrates: 3g · Protein: 17g · Fat: 29g · Saturated Fat: 18g · Cholesterol: 87mg · Sodium: 662mg · Potassium: 165mg · Sugar: 2g · Vitamin A: 885IU · Vitamin C: 8.6mg · Calcium: 537mg · Iron: 0.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

{originally published 2/24/14 – notes and photos updated 1/28/18}

Creamy Cauliflower 'n Cheese with Bacon is a kid favorite! get the recipe at

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Lesley says

    Hi, this recipe for cauliflower n cheese n bacon sounds really good… do u cook the cauliflower ahead of time before u add the cheese sauce n bacon?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Honestly, I think that might throw the balance off too much, Kathy. I haven’t tried it myself, but you could try 1 part cream to 2 parts water for the milk listed in the recipe.

  2. Annegret Winsor says

    I made his today, following your instructions to the letter.
    The Cheese sauce was too thick, it did not flow into the crevices of the cauliflower.
    After baking 20 minutes the cauliflower was still hard.
    Next time I make it I will increase the milk, so the cheese sauce is not as thick and I will either parboil the cauliflower or bake it for 30 minutes.3 stars