Made with nutrient-packed cauliflower coated in a rich and creamy, cheesy sauce, this Keto Mac and Cheese is so good and has only 5 grams of net carbs per serving! This dish will satisfy your pasta cravings and is so easy to make- all you need is 5 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) and 30 minutes!
Classic mac and cheese was always one of my favorite foods growing up. It still is! Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. I love experimenting with different variations of traditional mac and cheese, including my Masala Mac and Cheese, a family favorite.
But if you're on a keto or low-carb diet or if you're just watching your carb intake in general, mac and cheese can be a big no-no. Fortunately, you can still enjoy this delicious keto mac and cheese, which is made with cauliflower. It's packed with cheesy goodness that's hard to resist!
What Is Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?
Keto mac and cheese is macaroni and cheese that's made with cauliflower instead of macaroni.
Like many keto recipes, this recipe substitutes veggies in place of pasta. In this case, we're using nutrient-packed cauliflower instead of macaroni noodles. Because there's no pasta in this dish, this delicious cauliflower mac and cheese is also gluten free!
Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable to cook with. Because of its mild flavor, it takes on the flavors of the sauce you pair it with like the delicious creamy keto cheese sauce in this cauliflower mac.
This low-carb mac is so quick and easy to make, it's a nice recipe to have in your arsenal for busy weeknights. The whole family will love this veggie-packed dish!
It's also the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. It's a welcome change from the usual carb-heavy sides that accompany the turkey.
Why You'll Love This Dish
- Quick and easy- made with a handful of ingredients in 30 minutes!
- Packed with nutrients
- Perfect for those following a keto, low-carb or gluten-free diet
- Kid-friendly- a great way to get your kids to eat their veggies!
This keto mac and cheese is not only low in carbs, it's also packed with nutrients! Cauliflower is a nice substitute for higher starch carbs like traditional pasta and rice. I use it to make cauliflower polenta, cauliflower cheesy bread, and a cheesy turkey and cauliflower rice taco skillet.
One cup of chopped cauliflower has only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates (compared with 150 calories and 34 grams of carbs in a similar amount of white rice).
A member of the cruciferous vegetable group (like Brussels sprouts, kale and broccoli), cauliflower is packed with powerful phytochemicals (plant-based compounds) and antioxidants that help prevent disease.
It also has an impressive array of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your health including fiber, protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B-complex vitamins, potassium, manganese and choline.
Keto cauliflower recipes like this cauliflower mac and cheese dish have become popular with the rise of low-carb diets like the ketogenic diet. This keto cauliflower mac and cheese has only 5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber.
However, this recipe is not the best if you're following a low-fat diet. If you're watching your saturated fat intake, try my cauliflower mac and cheese instead, which uses cauliflower in the sauce to replace butter and cream.
Now, are you ready to make the best low carb cauliflower mac?
- Cauliflower- you can buy a head of cauliflower and cut it into florets or buy pre-cut cauliflower florets
- Heavy whipping cream- you'll need to use heavy cream in this recipe rather than half and half or milk otherwise the sauce won't thicken up enough.
- Cheddar cheese- I use sharp cheddar cheese. I recommend buying a block of cheese (either yellow or white cheddar cheese) and shredding it yourself rather than buying pre-shredded cheese because it will melt better (see "Chef's Tips" section below); you can substitute different cheeses like gruyere, fontina, Monterey Jack, mozzarella or a combination of cheeses; some recipes even add some cream cheese for extra creaminess.
- Butter- for richness
- Dried spices- I use garlic powder, salt, and black pepper however you can add onion powder, dry mustard or other seasonings
How To Make Keto Mac and Cheese Step-By Step
Scroll down to the recipe card for full recipe details.
- Step 1- Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Steam the cauliflower in the microwave or a steamer for five minutes until tender. You can also roast the cauliflower in the oven but steaming is faster.
- Step 2- Meanwhile, make the keto cheese sauce. Heat the butter and heavy cream in a large pot over medium heat. Add about 1 cup of the grated cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder into the cream sauce. Whisk until the cheese is melted.
- Step 3- Add the steamed cauliflower to the pot and stir to coat it all with the cheese sauce.
- Step 4- Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top. Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. If desired, turn on the broiler and cook another 2 minutes until the top is lightly browned.
- Don't use pre-shredded cheese in this dish- freshly grated cheese will give a creamier sauce. Pre-shredded cheese has additives to prevent clumping so it doesn't melt as well.
- If you like a crunchy topping, you can top your keto macaroni with some keto breadcrumbs, crispy bacon, parmesan cheese or even pork rinds
- This keto mac and cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
What To Serve With This Dish
If you're following a low-carb diet, this keto cauliflower mac and cheese is the perfect side dish to serve with other low-carb main dishes like my air fryer turkey tenderloin, beef kofta kebabs or baked Mediterranean white fish. You can add a salad on the side to make it a complete meal.
This keto mac and cheese is also a perfect side dish for Thanksgiving. It's a nice change from the usual carb-heavy dishes!
There are 5 grams of net carbohydrates in this cauliflower mac and cheese.
Yes, cauliflower is an excellent choice if you're on a keto diet. It is low in net carbs but high in many nutrients.
Heavy cream is high in fat and has zero carbs, making it ideal for a keto diet. Milk, on the other hand, has higher amounts of lactose, which is the natural sugar found in milk. The ketogenic diet emphasizes prioritizing fats and reducing carb intake.
Traditional pasta made from wheat flour is not keto friendly. However, there are many keto pasta alternatives out there. You can buy low carb pasta like shiratake noodles from the grocery store or make zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash at home.
Yes, this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is gluten free. It uses cauliflower instead of pasta and no flour is used in the sauce.
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Keto Mac and Cheese
- 6 cups cauliflower florets (1 head of cauliflower)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ¾ cup heavy whipping cream
- 6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, divided use (about 1 ½ - 2 cups)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes until partially cooked. You can either do this in a steamer or in the microwave. To steam the cauliflower in the microwave, place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover the dish and microwave for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the milk and cream and stir to combine. Add 1 cup grated cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder and whisk until cheese is melted. Do not bring to a boil. Turn off the heat. Add the cauliflower to the saucepan and stir to coat all of it with the sauce.
- Pour the mixture into a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup cheese evenly over the top. Bake in the oven 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Turn on the broiler and cook another 2-3 minutes until top is lightly browned.
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