Just 3 ingredients go in to making this super Easy Cauliflower Cheese. No need to make a roux, as we make a simple sauce of just creme fraiche and cheese, with the option to add in a little mustard if you like. The perfect fuss free side dish to go with a roast dinner.
This easy cauliflower cheese still has all the delicious creamy flavour that you know and love, but much less effort. When you are making a big roast dinner, especially a Christmas dinner, you want as many easy sides to go with it as possible.
A must for anyone that thinks they don't like cauliflower, as everything is better with a creamy cheese sauce, right?! Even the biggest cauliflower haters love this. We are on a mission to find ways to include more veg in everyone's diet and this is a delicious way to do it.
Why you will love it
- Easy - This is so simple to make. You just mix cooked cauliflower with the sauce ingredients and bake.
- Quick - Ready in just 30 minutes.
- You can use reduced fat creme fraiche and cheddar - Make a lighter version of this by using reduce calories. It also counts as one of your five a day
- A must with a roast dinner - This is maybe the best side dish for a roast dinner. It's a must on our table!
- Gluten free - This is cauliflower cheese made without flour, so it is naturally gluten free.
- Cauliflower - the star of cauliflower cheese. You could use a mixture of cauliflower and broccoli if cauliflower by itself isn't your favourite.
- Creme fraiche - this is the key to our super easy creamy sauce. There is no need to make a roux, as you just need to mix the creme fraiche with the cheese.
- Cheddar - we used a really strong mature cheddar, as this adds lots of flavour. The more mature the cheese, the less that you need to use. You could use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, and you could even add a little blue cheese for some extra flavour.
- Mustard - this is an optional ingredient, but it really does add a lot of flavour. We used just a little dijon mustard, however you could use English or wholegrain mustard.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make cauliflower cheese - Step by step
One: Put the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
Two: In a bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, ¾ of the cheese and mustard (if using).
Three: Drain the cauliflower well and put in a bowl with the creme fraiche mixture and mix well.
Four: Put in a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.
Five: Put in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and bake for 20 minutes.
Health benefits of cauliflower
Cauliflower is low in calories, and also a good source of vitamins C, K and B6. It is also a good source of fibre, and there are 3 grams of fibre in one cup of cauliflower, which is important for digestive health and may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases. Cauliflower is also a good source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from harmful free radicals and inflammation.
Cauliflower is also high in choline, which is an essential nutrient that many people are deficient in. Choline is also involved in brain development and the production of neurotransmitters that are necessary for a healthy nervous system.
Cauliflower cheese really is all about the cheese sauce. The cauliflower is just there as a vessel to carry the deliciously indulgent creamy sauce. I like cauliflower, but it's not my favourite vegetable. However, cover it in this cheese sauce and it might just be my favourite vegetable side dish.
Cauliflower cheese is traditionally made with a roux, which is a white sauce made of butter, flour and milk, and then cheese melted into it. However, that is a little time consuming, as you have to add the milk a little at a time. With our version, you just mix everything together. Simple!
Our super simple cheese sauce is made with just creme fraiche and cheddar - no flour here! Just 2 ingredients! There are options for other add-ins if you like. A spoonful of mustard (English, Dijon or Wholegrain will work) will add some extra flavour, as will a pinch of nutmeg (which is traditional) and you can season it too. But it is just as tasty without those, as it is all about the cheese.
We used a really good quality mature cheddar, as it melts well and a mature cheddar has a lot of flavour.
What to serve with cauliflower cheese
This cauliflower cheese is a must with a roast dinner. So here are some of our favourite roast meats and roast dinner sides that go perfectly with this:
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Roast Beef
- Balsamic and Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Perfect Roast Chicken
- Slow Cooker Red Cabbage
- The BEST Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Honey Roast Duck
- Mustard and Honey Roasted Parsnips
- Vegetable Mash
This traditionally isn't the healthiest dish, what with the creamy cheese sauce and all. But, it is a generous serving of vegetables and there are a couple of little changes you can make to make it lower in calories and fat.
You can swap the creme fraiche for the half fat variety and the cheese for a reduced fat version. Be aware that the half fat creme fraiche can make the dish a little watery, but nothing too noticeable. It won't have the same intense indulgent flavour, but it's still delicious.
Yes, you can follow all of the steps up until putting it in the oven ahead of time. Just leave the dish to cool once everything is mixed together and then cover it and put it in the fridge. It will be good for 24 hours.
Bring it to room temperature (about an hour out of the fridge) and then put it in the oven following the instructions below. It may need an extra 5-10 minutes cooking time.
Yes you can freeze leftover cauliflower cheese. Make sure it has fully cooled and then cover the dish. Put it in the freezer for up to a month and then when you want to eat it, take it out of the freezer and allow it to fully defrost first. Reheat it in the oven for 20 minutes, until piping hot.
If you don't want to make this easy cauliflower cheese with creme fraiche, then you can use a roux. It's really not that more complicated. Simply add 500ml of whole milk to a sauce pan with 4 tablespoon of plain flour and 50g of butter. Put it on a medium heat and start gently whisking. Continue whisking as the butter melts and the flour mixes in to the milk. Continue doing this for about 2 minutes, until the sauce sauce thickened and then stir in 100g of cheddar until melted.
• Add some extra flavour with a spoonful of mustard and a pinch of nutmeg.
• You can also use frozen cauliflower to make this cauliflower cheese. Just cook it according to the packet instructions.
• Make sure you don't overcook the cauliflower. You want it to still be a little tender when you put a knife in to it (about 5-6 minutes par-boiled). If it gets too mushy, then it will be watery when it goes in the oven and can cause the sauce to split. You will need to make sure it is drained properly too.
• Leftovers are really good on a baked potato.
• If you want to add a little freshness, then a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives or parsley goes well with this.
More side dish recipes
Easy Cauliflower Cheese
- 1 head of cauliflower - cut in to florets
- 200 ml creme fraiche
- 120 g mature cheddar
- 1 teaspoon mustard - (optional)
- Put the cauliflower in a pan of boiling water and simmer for 5-6 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix together the creme fraiche, ¾ of the cheese and mustard (if using)
- Drain the cauliflower well and put in a bowl with the creme fraiche mixture and mix well.
- Put in a baking dish and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Put in a preheated oven at 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and bake for 20 minutes.
- Make a lower fat version of this by using reduced fat creme cheese and cheddar.
- Add some extra flavour with a spoonful of mustard and a pinch of nutmeg.
- Make sure you don't overcook the cauliflower. You want it to still be a little tender when you put a knife in to it (about 5-6 minutes par-boiled). If it gets too mushy, then it will be watery when it goes in the oven and can cause the sauce to split. You will need to make sure it is drained properly too.
- Leftovers are really good on a baked potato.