Australian/ Baking/ Christmas/ Dinner/ Recipes/ Side Dish/ Super Simple

Super Creamy Cauliflower Cheese

02/09/2022

Bake this super creamy Cauliflower Cheese for your next BBQ or dinner! This classic Australian recipe is the perfect side dish and so easy to make, with only 6 ingredients.

A spoonful of cauliflower cheese being picked up out of a white baking dish.

Why We Love This

This cauliflower cheese recipe is a family favourite oven bake perfected by Laura’s mum! Just like Sarah’s mum’s potato bake, it’s a perfect comfort food dish alongside Sunday roasts, at BBQs or family gatherings. 

This is the best home-style cauliflower cheese that you find on many Australian tables, especially at Christmas time. 

It’s a super easy recipe that you can tweak to suit your tastes. Keep it basic as per the recipe below, or use our variation ideas to amp it up and make it your own! 

Related: Tuna Mornay / Greek Moussaka / Chicken Pasta Bake

A metal spoon rests in a big baking dish filled with fresh cauliflower cheese.

What is Cauliflower Cheese? 

Depending on where you live, cauliflower cheese can also be known as cauliflower bake, cauliflower casserole or cauliflower gratin.

It consists of boiled or roasted cauliflower florets baked in a cheesy mornay sauce (similar to béchamel).

This is a common side dish in Australia, usually served up alongside a roast, at a BBQ or a Sunday night family dinner.

This is Laura’s Mum’s recipe, and Laura and her brother still fight over the leftovers for this, even worse than pumpkin soup!

What You’ll Need

  • Cauliflower – Sub with half broccoli for extra colour and nutrition. 
  • Butter – We love salted butter for this recipe. You can use regular butter, margarine or Nuttelex if you prefer. 
  • Cornstarch / Cornflour – This helps to thicken the sauce while keeping it deliciously smooth. Again, if you’re planning on making this recipe gluten-free, check the package to make sure your brand isn’t made from wheat.
  • Milk – We use full cream milk, you can use skim milk if you like. You could also add a splash of cream if you feel like lashing out for an extra creamy cheese sauce!
  • Spices – We love adding nutmeg and optional salt with freshly ground black pepper. You may also like to add a sprinkling of mustard powder.
  • Cheese – You’ll need plenty of shredded cheese / grated cheddar cheese for the sauce to garnish over the top before baking. For a more intense cheese flavour, use extra sharp cheddar cheese varieties or even Parmesan.
Ingredients laid out to make cauliflower cheese.

How to make Home Style Cauliflower Cheese Bake:

  1. Place cauliflower florets in a large saucepan and cover with around 1.5 L / 3 pints of water. Bring to the boil and boil for 15-20 mins or until cauliflower has softened (test with a fork). Drain and transfer to a baking dish.

For the cheese sauce:

  1. Melt the butter in the same saucepan you used to cook the cauliflower, on medium – high. Add cornstarch / cornflour and stir well with a whisk for about 1 minute to make sure it’s cooked through. This will stop it tasting like flour in the final sauce. Tip: Aim for a lemon curd consistency here – if it’s too thin, add another ½ tbsp cornstarch / cornflour and mix well.
  2. Turn off the heat to pour in milk (this will stop the sauce becoming lumpy). Whisk through quickly, then pop back onto low heat and keep whisking until thickened, around 1 minute. Tip: If the sauce becomes too thick at this stage, add a little more milk to loosen.
  1. Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir to melt it through the sauce. Tip: You can increase heat slightly to help the cheese melt if needed.
  2. Season with nutmeg, and optional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Tip: If the sauce is too thick to pour, add a little more milk once again to loosen.

To Bake:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 360°F.
  2. Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower florets, making sure each piece is well coated.
  3. Top generously with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the cheesy top is bubbly and golden brown.
A close up of the golden brown cheese sauce, baked onto the top of cauliflower florets.

Wandercook’s Tips

  • Avoid Watery Sauce – Make sure to drain the cauliflower really well so you don’t end up with extra liquid in your baking dish.
  • Sauce Texture – If your sauce is too thick, add another splash of milk and stir to loosen. 
  • Melting the Cheese – If your cheese is stubbornly refusing to melt, don’t worry! You can increase the heat slight and keep stirring – it will melt eventually!
  • Storage – Leftover cauliflower cheese will last for 2-3 days in the fridge, possibly longer, when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

FAQs

What should I serve with cauliflower cheese?

Cauliflower cheese is the ultimate side dish, although when you love it as much as we do, you might even want to eat it on its own as a main! 

Serve it up alongside roast chicken (or lamb, beef or pork), grilled chicken, BBQ rissoles or cevapi, with some crisp salads like shopska salad or wafu salad on the side to lighten it up.

Can I make it in advance?

Yes you can. Boil the cauliflower, drain and cool completely, then pop in an airtight container. Make the sauce and allow it to cool, then make sure it’s sealed and pop it in the fridge as well. 

On the day, transfer the cauliflower to a baking dish. Heat the sauce gently to loosen, then pour over the cauliflower. Top with cheese and bake until cooked through and the cheese is golden brown.

What size baking dish should I use?

This recipe works well in a large (29cm / 11 in) rectangle glass baking dish. We’ve also cooked it in a slightly smaller, deeper dish and it’s worked just as well. If you have an even larger dish, you could possibly double the recipe to make it go even further and really feed a crowd!

My cheese sauce is too thick / too thin – help!

Don’t panic, your sauce will still be perfect with a little tweaking.
If it’s too thin – add a little extra cornstarch / cornflour, or another handful of cheese to thicken it up.
If it’s too thick – add another splash of milk and mix well to loosen.

Is this recipe gluten free?

Cauliflower cheese is easily made gluten free as long as you use cornstarch / cornflour that is actually made from ground corn grains.

Aussie readers, be sure to check your package labels as some brands of “cornflour” in Australia are actually made from wheat!

Variations

  • Topping – Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, panko or seasoned stuffing mix for extra texture and flavour on that decadent cheese topping!
  • Cheese – Swap the cheddar for gruyere, Jarlsberg or raclette for extra bite!
  • Roast Instead of Boil – Mum always boils her cauliflower, but you can also use roasted cauliflower if you prefer. Pop on a lined baking tray and roast at 200˚C / 400˚F for around 20 mins until softened and lightly golden on the edges.
  • Easier Sauce – Instead of making the mornay cheese sauce, top the cooked cauliflower with thickened cream / heavy cream and cheese, similar to potato bake.
  • Extra Veggies – Try it with finely chopped garlic, sliced onions, capsicum / bell pepper or mushrooms stirred through the cauliflower.
  • Loaded Cauliflower Cheese – Stir in some lightly fried bacon and/or al dente macaroni before baking for a fusion cauliflower mac and cheese.
A large dish of cauliflower florets, topped with a creamy cheesy white sauce.

More classic Aussie recipes to try next:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and a star rating below!

A hand peeks out of the corner as it scoops up a large spoonful of cauliflower cheese.

Super Creamy Cauliflower Cheese

Bake this super creamy Cauliflower Cheese for your next BBQ or dinner! This classic Australian recipe is the perfect side dish and so easy to make, with only 6 ingredients.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Christmas, Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Australian, French
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 278kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $8

Ingredients

  • 800 g cauliflower up to 1 kg will work, separated into chunky florets, with leaves removed and stem removed
  • 4 tbsp butter 60 g / 2.1 oz
  • 5 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour 60 g / 2.1 oz
  • 1 ½ cups milk 375 ml / 12.7 fl oz
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese 165 g / 5.8 oz, shredded / grated
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

Optional

Instructions

  • Place cauliflower florets in a large saucepan and cover with around 1.5 L / 3 pints of water. Bring to the boil and boil for 15-20 mins or until cauliflower has softened (test with a fork). Drain and transfer to a baking dish.
    800 g cauliflower

For the cheese sauce:

  • Melt the butter in the same saucepan you used to cook the cauliflower, on medium – high. Add cornstarch / cornflour and stir well with a whisk for about 1 minute to make sure it’s cooked through. This will stop it tasting like flour in the final sauce. Tip: Aim for a lemon curd consistency here – if it’s too thin, add another ½ tbsp cornstarch / cornflour and mix well.
    4 tbsp butter, 5 tbsp cornstarch / cornflour
  • Turn off the heat to pour in milk (this will stop the sauce becoming lumpy). Whisk through quickly, then pop back onto low heat and keep whisking until thickened, around 1 minute. Tip: If the sauce becomes too thick at this stage, add a little more milk to loosen.
    1 ½ cups milk
  • Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and stir to melt it through the sauce. Tip: You can increase heat slightly to help the cheese melt if needed.
    1 ½ cups cheddar cheese
  • Season with nutmeg, and optional salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Tip: If the sauce is too thick to pour, add a little more milk once again to loosen.
    ½ tsp nutmeg, salt and pepper

To bake:

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 360°F.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower florets, making sure each piece is well coated. Top generously with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar cheese. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the cheesy top is bubbly and golden brown.
    1 ½ cups cheddar cheese

Video

YouTube video

Recipe Notes

  • Avoid Watery Sauce – Make sure to drain the cauliflower really well so you don’t end up with extra liquid in your baking dish.
  • Sauce Texture – If your sauce is too thick, add another splash of milk and stir to loosen. 
  • Melting the Cheese – If your cheese is stubbornly refusing to melt, don’t worry! You can increase the heat slight and keep stirring – it will melt eventually!
  • Storage – Leftover cauliflower cheese will last for 2-3 days in the fridge, possibly longer, when stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Topping – Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs, panko or seasoned stuffing mix for extra texture and flavour on that decadent cheese topping!
  • Cheese – Swap the cheddar for gruyere, Jarlsberg or raclette for extra bite!
  • Roast Instead of Boil – Mum always boils her cauliflower, but you can also use roasted cauliflower if you prefer. Pop on a lined baking tray and roast at 200˚C / 400˚F for around 20 mins until softened and lightly golden on the edges.
  • Easier Sauce – Instead of making the mornay cheese sauce, top the cooked cauliflower with thickened cream / heavy cream and cheese, similar to potato bake.
  • Extra Veggies – Try it with finely chopped garlic, sliced onions, capsicum / bell pepper or mushrooms stirred through the cauliflower.
  • Loaded Cauliflower Cheese – Stir in some lightly fried bacon and/or al dente macaroni before baking for a fusion cauliflower mac and cheese.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Super Creamy Cauliflower Cheese
Amount per Serving
Calories
278
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
20
g
31
%
Saturated Fat
 
12
g
75
%
Trans Fat
 
0.3
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
5
g
Cholesterol
 
56
mg
19
%
Sodium
 
309
mg
13
%
Potassium
 
515
mg
15
%
Carbohydrates
 
16
g
5
%
Fiber
 
3
g
13
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Protein
 
11
g
22
%
Vitamin A
 
615
IU
12
%
Vitamin C
 
64
mg
78
%
Calcium
 
307
mg
31
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks
Super Creamy Cauliflower Cheese

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