Loaded Cauliflower Casserole is a delicious side dish made with cauliflower florets, garlic, milk, flour, cream cheese, bacon, and shredded cheese. This cheesy cauliflower casserole is perfect for a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner or to bring to a potluck gathering at a friend’s house.
What is Loaded Cauliflower Casserole?
This creamy baked casserole only takes five minutes to prep and 40 minutes to bake. You can prepare it and then put it in the refrigerator to make the next day or in the freezer to save for dinner another day. The cauliflower florets, garlic, cream cheese, and bacon combine to make a rich and wonderfully savory side dish.
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets: FInd cauliflower whole or already cut into florets in bags in the produce section of the grocery store. If buying whole, use these tips for how to cut cauliflower to make the process easier.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced: Be sure the garlic is fresh and smells strong after the skin is peeled off.
- 1 cup milk: Whole milk is best because it thickens better than less-fat milk.
- 2 tablespoon flour: All-purpose flour is perfect for this dish.
- ⅓ cup cream cheese: You can use full-fat or reduced-fat cream cheese.
- 6 slices bacon: Thick, smoky bacon complements the cauliflower in this recipe.
- 1 ½ cups cheese: Shredded cheddar cheese melts into the other ingredients and makes a beautiful golden brown topping.
What Tools Do I Need to Make This Casserole?
How to make loaded cauliflower casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Boil cauliflower florets in salted water for 5-7 minutes.
3. Meanwhile in a dry pan over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy (around 5 minutes).
4. Add flour into the pan and cook it in bacon fat for 1 minute.
5. Pour milk into the flour and cook until the sauce gets thick.
6. Combine sauce with cream cheese and garlic.
7. Mix the sauce with cauliflower florets and transfer them into the baking pan.
8. Sprinkle with cheese and bake the casserole for 30 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best-loaded cauliflower casserole you've ever had.
- If you aren't trying to reduce carbohydrates, you can add some quinoa, white rice, brown rice, or wild rice for a heartier dish.
- You can use cauliflower rice instead of florets for a fun and different texture.
- Add Mexican seasonings like chili powder or cumin to give the dish a different flavor profile.
- It’s easy to make this dish vegetarian. All you need to do is leave out the bacon.
- Try using purple cauliflower if you can find it for a surprising flair.
Can I make this casserole into a main dish?
You can easily make this loaded cauliflower casserole into a main dish by adding some extra protein, vegetables, or grains.
You can easily add cooked shredded chicken or turkey to this. Of course, I think that chunks of ham probably fit this dish best, but you could use sausage or even ground beef. Go with different flavor profiles and test out different methods for something new every time you make this casserole.
What other vegetables can I add to the cauliflower casserole?
The only vegetable this recipe includes is cauliflower but you can add others to make this dish more filling, colorful, and nutritious. You can try spinach, zucchini, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, kale, green beans, artichokes, mushrooms, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes. These are rich in calcium, Vitamin C, potassium, and many other healthy nutrients and vitamins.
What can I top creamy cauliflower casserole with?
This loaded cauliflower casserole is topped with cheese, but you can switch that out for something that adds texture or a different flavor. Try crumbled bacon, chopped pecans, slivered almonds, fried onion strings, Panko breadcrumbs, Ritz cracker breadcrumbs, chives, or green onions. These options will add flavor and a crunchy texture to contrast with the creamy casserole.
How to store:
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. Labeling will help you remember later. Remember that if you cook it from frozen, it will take longer to cook in the oven without thawing first. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
Can I make this dish keto?
This recipe is almost entirely keto-friendly. There is a small amount of flour added to thicken the sauce, but you can replace it with cornstarch to make this completely low-carb.
What can I serve with this loaded cauliflower casserole?
This great side dish would go well with pork chops, baked ham, roasted turkey, or roasted chicken. When you think of how to pair it, remember to balance the flavors and textures in each dish with the others.
How can I make this dish healthy?
This cauliflower casserole can easily be made healthier by using lower fat cream cheese and replacing the cheese on top with chopped nuts, breadcrumbs, or green onions.
More Side Dish Casseroles
If you need more variety in your menu, don't miss some of our other favorite recipes. Below are a few vegetable side dishes that add flavor without a bunch of fuss. Make sure that you bookmark these recipes, print them out, or even pin them to Pinterest to make soon.
- Green Bean Casserole
- Asparagus Casserole
- Cheesy Corn Casserole
- Cauliflower Casserole
- Scalloped Potato Casserole
- String Bean and Mushroom Casserole
- Spinach Casserole
- 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1⁄3 cup cream cheese
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 1⁄2 cup cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Boil cauliflower florets in salted water for 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a dry pan over medium heat, cook bacon until brown and crispy (around 5 minutes).
- Add flour into the pan and cook it in bacon fat for 1 minute.
- Pour milk into the flour and cook until the sauce gets thick.
- Combine sauce with cream cheese and garlic.
- Mix the sauce with cauliflower florets and transfer them into the baking pan. Top with cheese.
- Bake the casserole for 30 minutes.
Make this keto by creating a roux with almond flour rather than all-purpose flour.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
STAUB Ceramics Oval Baking Dish, 9-inch, Dark Blue
GreenLife Bakeware Healthy Ceramic Nonstick, 13" x 9" Rectangular Cake Baking Pan, PFAS-Free, Turquoise
Mueller Pro-Series 10-in-1, 8 Blade Vegetable Slicer, Onion Mincer Chopper, Vegetable Chopper, Cutter, Dicer, Egg Slicer with Container
Blue Diamond Cookware Diamond Infused Ceramic Nonstick, 14" Large Frying Pan with Helper Handle, PFAS-Free, Dishwasher Safe, Oven Safe, Blue
COOK WITH COLOR Plastic Mixing Bowls with Lids - 12 Piece Nesting Bowls Set includes 6 Prep Bowls and 6 Lids, Microwave Safe Mixing Bowl Set (Blue Ombre)
AVACRAFT Stainless Steel Saucepan with Glass Lid, Strainer Lid, Two Side Spouts for Easy Pour with Ergonomic Handle, Multipurpose Sauce Pan with Lid, Sauce Pot (Tri-Ply Capsule Bottom, 2.5 Quart)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 711mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 24g