Cauliflower cheese in large dish with spoon

Cauliflower cheese

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(174 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 35 mins


Serves 6

Pop this classic side dish in the oven when you take your roast chicken out to rest, so there's no hot shelf juggling

Nutrition and extra info

  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal250
  • fat15g
  • saturates9g
  • carbs16g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre3g
  • protein13g
  • salt0.62g
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  • 1 large cauliflower (leaves cut off), broken into pieces



    A brassica, like cabbage and broccoli, cauliflower is a mass of tiny, tightly packed flower…

  • 500ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow…

  • 4 tbsp flour



    Flour is a powdery ingredient usually made from grinding wheat, maize, rye, barley or rice. As…

  • 50g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 100g strong cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs, if you have them


  1. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, then add 1 large cauliflower, broken into pieces, and cook for 5 mins – lift out a piece to test, it should be cooked.

  2. Drain the cauliflower, then tip into an ovenproof dish. Heat oven to 220C/200C/gas 7.

  3. Put the saucepan back on the heat and add 500ml milk, 4 tbsp flour and 50g butter.

  4. Keep whisking fast as the butter melts and the mixture comes to the boil – the flour will disappear and the sauce will begin to thicken. Whisk for 2 mins while the sauce bubbles and becomes nice and thick.

  5. Turn off the heat, stir in most of the 100g grated cheddar cheese and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter over the remaining cheese, and 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs if using.

  6. Put in the oven and bake for 20 mins until bubbling.

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Comments, questions and tips

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22nd Jun, 2019
Made this many times and always perfect. Simplest cheese sauce, although I do double the amount of cheese. Neighbours came round for Sunday lunch and looked horrified as they don't eat cauliflower cheese. None left by the time the went home!!! Can make a day ahead before baking. Also freezes well
Adrian Morgan's picture
Adrian Morgan
9th May, 2019
Absolutely stunning recipe. Made it three times now, and it is so easy to follow. The cheese sauce recipe - without the cauliflower, and reduced in size - is good with fish too.
24th Apr, 2019
This is a great base recipe for fantastic cauliflower cheese with the potential for loads of adaptions. I did it the old fashioned way of adding flour to the melted butter and bit by bit pouring in the milk to get a consistent thick sauce. I added some mustard and a combination of cheddar and parmesan. Also I'd recommend putting chopped hazelnuts on top with the breadcrumbs, so good.
16th Mar, 2019
Love this recipe, I use wholegrain mustard and red Leicester cheese on top, yum
31st Jan, 2019
A really good straightforward recipe and the sauce is just the right thickness. I add a bit of mustard to the sauce, and sometimes mix parmesan with the breadcrumbs for the top. Also sometimes use half cheddar and half red Leicester for a bit of colour. Yesterday I had leftover roast chicken to use up so I mixed that in with the cheese sauce before pouring it over the cauliflower and baking and it was delicious!
Marc Millar's picture
Marc Millar
10th Jan, 2019
This is so bang on, no mods are required - not even the dijon. Thanks BBC Good Food - delish!!!!!
Lynnette Stobbart's picture
Lynnette Stobbart
31st Dec, 2018
I just made this sauce was easy for me I added more cheese and broccoli and ham give we bit more tastes big hit with my kids too going use this sauce in macaroni cheese
26th Dec, 2018
Really quick recipe. Made several times and always a success. Often make a day in advance and chill in fridge and add breadcrumbs when ready to cook. I add a lot more cheese than the recipe states and also a bit of Dijon mustard
Morganink's picture
25th Dec, 2018
Great recipe! Followed to the “t” and it was perfect with Christmas lunch. Like MUM used to make. Very very easy. It will now be a stock standard on the menu.
Gina Simpson's picture
Gina Simpson
17th Dec, 2018
Definitely will be using this recipe again. I didn't use bread crumbs as I didn't have any. But I think I would more cheese into the sauce it's self but that's just me. The thickness is perfect.


Esme Brown's picture
Esme Brown
21st Dec, 2018
If I froze this would I defrost it before baking? Or cook from frozen? And for how long please? Many thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
22nd Dec, 2018
Thanks for your question. We'd suggest freezing after step 5, defrosting fully then cooking for 25 or until golden and bubbling.
Kay Williams's picture
Kay Williams
28th Nov, 2018
Can this be stored in the freezer ? Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Nov, 2018
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can freeze this dish.
Kay Williams's picture
Kay Williams
28th Nov, 2018
Thank you
19th Feb, 2015
Hello, would I be able to cook this using frozen cauliflower? Thanks
8th Jan, 2015
Sometimes when I make the sauce, instead of being creamy, the liquid seems to separate into tiny solid bits and a watery liquid. Is there some method to stop this from happening?
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Jan, 2015
Hi frank4004, thanks for your question and sorry to hear that you have not had success with this recipe. It could be that the cauliflower has retained some water from the initial cooking which could cause the sauce to split. To avoid this, make sure the cauliflower is very well drained after boiling - try leaving it in the collander for at least 5 or 10 mins so that any water can steam off. Hope this helps, let us know how you get on. 
7th Jan, 2015
can this sauce be frozen once made if not how long will it keep in the fridge as I've got lots left
goodfoodteam's picture
16th Jan, 2015
hi stevekburton, thanks for your question. The sauce should be fine in the fridge for up to a week or store in the freezer for up to 2 months. 


4th Nov, 2013
Good recipe. But I add mustard to the sauce and more cheese for better taste! Some black pepper and pinch of salt is needed too.
16th Oct, 2013
I make my cheese sauce by putting all the sauce ingredients in the pan at once, using a strong cheese and stirring over a low heat, I find it saves a lot of fiddling about with mixing flour with butter and then adding milk which always seemed to burn. For me the 'all in one method' is much easier.
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