Loaded Cauliflower Bake

cauliflower bake with cheese and bacon
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings

This cauliflower bake is a rich and delicious casserole that will be an instant hit at dinner. The combination of ingredients is similar in flavor to a loaded potato casserole, but it is much lower in carbohydrates. The casserole is also a refreshing twist on cauliflower, adding big bold flavor, color, and texture to the mild vegetable. It'll even win over cauliflower skeptics.

The cauliflower is roasted first to keep it from adding too much moisture to the dish. If you choose to steam the cauliflower, make sure you drain it thoroughly and squeeze it gently to remove the excess moisture.

Loaded cauliflower bake is an excellent choice for a Sunday dinner, holiday feast, or to take to a potluck event.

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 pounds cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 to 2 heads)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces, shredded, divided)
  • 8 strips bacon (cooked and crumbled, divided)
  • 4 green onions (thinly sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Optional: Sliced green onion tops or chopped fresh parsley (for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 375 F.

    ingredients for loaded cauliflower bake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and spread them out on a large rimmed baking sheet. If necessary, use two baking sheets. Sprinkle the cauliflower lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Roast the cauliflower in the preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is tender and lightly browned.

    cauliflower florets spread out on baking sheet
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Prepare the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes.

    Melted butter and garlic in the pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the butter and garlic and add a dash of salt and pepper. Continue to cook, constantly stirring, for 2 minutes longer.

    The flour is added to the butter and garlic
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Gradually whisk the milk into the butter and flour roux mixture. Continue to cook, constantly whisking, until thickened.

    milk added to roux
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and a few tablespoons of the crumbled bacon for the topping; set aside.

    reserved cheese and bacon
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Add the remaining cheese, bacon, and the green onions to the cheese sauce and continue to cook until the cheese is melted. Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool slightly for about 10 minutes.

    cheese sauce with bacon and green onions
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Stir the sour cream into the sauce mixture and fold in the cauliflower. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

    Combine the sauce with the roasted cauliflower
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  9. Turn the mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheese and bacon over the top. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

    cauliflower bake ready for the oven
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  10. Remove the casserole from the oven and garnish with sliced green onion tops or parsley, if desired.

    cauliflower bake with melted cheese topping
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  11. Serve and enjoy!

    cauliflower bake in a small bowl
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Recipe Variation

  • To lower the carbs more, omit the flour and replace the milk with 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.