This cheesy cauliflower bake is made with tender cauliflower florets smothered in a creamy sauce loaded with bacon, cheddar cheese, and green onions, baked and ready to serve this delicious recipe in 30 minutes!
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Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole
I am a firm believer that this loaded cauliflower casserole is the perfect side dish that can do no wrong! It’s quick and easy to make, it’s creamy, cheesy, and filled with crispy bacon and green onions, and has all the flavors of a loaded baked potato, right down to the ranch dressing!
Of course, we’re using low-carb keto friendly cauliflower instead, but thanks to the delicious flavors of this comfort food, even the kids forget they’re actually eating vegetables!
I serve this classic side dish along with any weeknight main dish and it’s always a favorite to add to an Easter and Thanksgiving dinner.
Truth be told, I could eat a plate of this loaded cauliflower bake all on its own and be completely happy!
- Cauliflower florets: This recipe makes enough to serve 6 people using about 8 cups of florets, which is about 2 medium heads. Cut to even size to ensure even baking.
- Olive oil: To soften the cauliflower, we’re baking it first. The olive oil helps with keeping it moist and also helps the seasoning to stick.
- Seasoning: Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to give the cauliflower a bit of flavor while it bakes.
- Cream cheese: Bring it to room temperature ahead of time so it’s soft enough to get creamy.
- Ranch dressing: Gives the cream sauce a bit of extra flavor and tang.
- Whole milk: Used to thin out the cream cheese and ranch sauce while still keeping it rich and creamy. You can use low-fat even heavy cream if preferred.
- Cheddar cheese: I recommend using freshly grated cheddar that you’ve shredded yourself.
- Bacon: You can bake the bacon in the oven while you prep, or make things a bit easier by using precooked bacon and just tossing it in as is.
- Green onions: Keep some for garnish as well.
1. You can use frozen cauliflower and steam it according to the package directions. In this case, skip the baking and just add it directly to the mixture.
2. Sour cream can be used in place of ranch dressing.
3. Instead of cheddar (or in addition to it) use a different kind of cheese. Other options could be Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, or Pepper Jack, all the Jacks!
4. For a crispy topping, feel free to sprinkle with Panko breadcrumbs or regular bread crumbs along with the top layer of cheese. It’s a great textural element. Even a little parmesan cheese added too would be wonderful.
5. Add a teaspoon of dry mustard for added flavor. This is especially great if you’re swapping the ranch for sour cream.
How to Make this Cauliflower Cheese Bake
This recipe will come together in no time! I use large cauliflower florets, but if you cut yours even smaller, or use cauliflower rice instead, your bake time will be even less!
Step 1: Arrange the cauliflower florets on a large rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer not overlapping. Drizzle with oil and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and toss to coat.
Step 2: Bake the cauliflower florets in a preheated 400° F oven for 15 minutes until tender with a bite (al dente). Keep the oven on!
Step 3: In a large bowl, stir the cream cheese, ranch dressing, and milk. Mix well.
Step 4: Add the roasted cauliflower back to the cheese sauce in the same bowl, along with 1 cup of shredded cheese, bacon, and green onion.
Once again, mix well until everything is coated and evenly distributed.
Step 6: Transfer the mixture to a greased 9×13 casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the cauliflower.
Step 7: Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and everything is heated through. Serve your cauliflower casserole immediately garnished with some extra green onions. Enjoy!
- Feel free to double the recipe to make a second batch of this cheesy cauliflower bake if you need more.
- Use a block of cream cheese, not the spreadable kind. The tubs of cream cheese have a higher water content which could alter the consistency.
- Pre-shredded packaged cheese will work, but the melted creaminess of grating it fresh yourself is unmatched.
- Turn this into a meal with more protein using shredded chicken, diced ham, or ground sausage. This a great dinner idea for anyone following a keto diet or who loves a yummy casserole.
Certainly. Assemble it in the prepared baking dish but instead of baking it, you’ll cover it with plastic wrap and keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days. If baking straight out of the fridge, add a few extra minutes of baking time just to make sure it’s completely warmed through.
Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Yes! That’s one of my favorite things about casseroles. If you make an extra casserole, you can freeze it for later or fill the freezer of your friend or neighbor.
Once it has completely cooled, cover it the dish with plastic wrap first and then wrap in a tight layer of aluminum foil as well. Freeze for up to 1 month. You can either thaw in the fridge overnight or bake from frozen by placing in a cold oven then preheating.
Reheat a large portion of this cauliflower casserole in the oven until warmed through. If it’s just a single serving or two, you can reheat it in the microwave.
- 8 cups cauliflower cut into florets (2 medium heads)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- ½ cup ranch dressing
- ⅓ cup whole milk
- 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup bacon cooked and diced
- ¼ cup sliced green onion plus more for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the sheet and drizzle with the olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder and toss to coat.8 cups cauliflower, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is slightly softened but still al dente.
- In a large bowl, add the stir cream cheese, ranch dressing, and milk and mix well. A mixer is great for this! Add the cauliflower back, 1 cup of shredded cheese, bacon crumbles, and green onion and mix well.8 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup ranch dressing, ⅓ cup whole milk, 1 cup bacon, ¼ cup sliced green onion, 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese
- Pour the mixture to a greased 9×13” baking dish and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.2 ½ cups cheddar cheese
- Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted
- Serve immediately and garnish with additional green onions if desired.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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