Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe

This baked cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is the BEST way to eat your veggies! An oozy, gooey cheese sauce coats tender cauliflower florets.

Cauliflower mac and cheese

I don’t think recipes can get more fun than this cauliflower mac and cheese. It’s delicious, comforting, and completely ironic. You won’t find any “mac” here, and you won’t find any “cheese.” What you will find is a whole bunch of cauliflower coated in a gooey, oozy vegan cheese sauce and baked with crispy panko breadcrumbs on top.

If you’re skeptical, don’t be. This cauliflower mac and cheese is surprisingly addictive. The first time I made it, I served myself a small scoop. A few minutes later, I went back for another…and another…and another. Of course, it’s not exactly like classic mac, but it checks the same cozy, “cheesy” boxes. I can’t get enough of it, and I don’t think you’ll be able to either.

Cauliflower mac and cheese recipe ingredients

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe Ingredients

You just need a handful of ingredients to make this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe:

  • Cauliflower, of course! Look for a head of cauliflower that’s fairly big, just over 2 pounds. For this recipe, make sure to break it into small florets, about the size of macaroni.
  • Vegan cheese sauce – That creamy, gooey sauce looks like it’s made with cheddar cheese, but I promise, it’s totally dairy-free! Its rich, oozy texture comes from blended potato, sweet potato, and cashews. Nutritional yeast adds yummy cheesy flavor.
  • Smoked paprika and cayenne pepper – I stir them into the cheese sauce for a smoky, spicy kick.
  • And panko bread crumbs – For crunch! To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free panko.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Cauliflower florets on a plate

How to Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is super easy to make! Here’s how it goes:

First, make the cheese sauce. Blend the vegan cheese sauce ingredients together, adding an extra garlic clove, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt to amp up the flavor. Season to taste, and set aside.

Then, cook the cauliflower. Drop the florets into a large pot of salted boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes.

Pouring cheese sauce over cauliflower florets

Next, fold the cooked cauliflower into the cheese sauce. When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and transfer it to a large bowl. Pour in the cheese sauce and stir until the florets are evenly coated.

Stirring cauliflower with sauce in a large bowl

So creamy!

Hands sprinkling breadcrumbs over cauliflower mac and cheese in a baking dish

Finally, broil. Transfer the cauliflower mac and cheese to a baking dish and sprinkle it with the panko. Broil until the topping is lightly browned.


Plate of cauliflower mac and cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Serving Suggestions

This “mac n cheese” is fantastic as-is, but feel free to serve it with a little extra cheese (or “cheese”). I love topping mine with Vegan Parmesan, and Jack always showers his with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. We both sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.

Enjoy this recipe as a light meal on its own, with a hunk of crusty bread or focaccia for sopping up the cheese sauce at the bottom of your bowl. It’s also a yummy side dish. Serve it with your favorite protein, veggie chili, tomato soup, or a baked potato with all the fixings.

Cauliflower mac and cheese recipe

More Favorite Comfort Food Recipes

If you love this recipe, try one of these healthy comfort foods next:

Love cauliflower? Find more of my best cauliflower recipes here!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Serves 4

This cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is SO fun and delicious! Just like regular mac and cheese, it’s creamy and comforting, but it’s made with veggies instead of pasta.

  • 1 recipe Vegan Cheese Sauce
  • 1 additional garlic clove
  • ½ teaspoon additional sea salt
  • Heaping ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1 large cauliflower, just over 2 pounds broken into ½-inch florets
  • ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
  • Parmesan or Vegan Parmesan

    , for serving, optional

  • Make the cheese sauce according to this recipe, blending in the additional garlic clove, the additional ½ teaspoon salt, the smoked paprika, and cayenne.

  • Preheat the oven broiler.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to an 8×8-inch baking dish and top with the panko. Broil for 2 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve with Parmesan or vegan Parmesan, if desired.

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