One-Skillet Cauliflower Casserole with Cheese Sauce ♥ Recipe

One-Skillet Cauilflower Casserole with Cheese Sauce, a healthy cauliflower casserole ♥ Weeknight Easy, Holiday Special. Budget Friendly. Quick to Make. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.
How many of our moms used to cook cauliflower and then cover it with a cheese sauce? Now this childhood favorite is adapted for today's real-world busy families: the cauliflower is cooked in milk that thickens into a cheese sauce and is finished with cheesy bread crumbs under the broiler. All in one skillet! It's great comfort food, whether as a side dish or even a satisfying, healthy cauliflower casserole, just add protein.

Weeknight Easy, Holiday Special. Budget Friendly. Quick to Make. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegetarian.

How to Cook Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce In One Skillet

The Short Version Cook cauliflower florets in milk in a large, shallow skillet. Move the cauliflower to the outer edges to cook the cheese sauce in the center. Stir together, top with seasoned bread crumbs and toast until golden under the broiler.

A Great Choice for Thanksgiving

Now please, no heart attacks, but there are only twelve more planning days til Thanksgiving – if you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving during the October long weekend, that is – which many readers of both A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade do and I intend to this year, in long-distance communion with my Canadian family.

So Canadian or American, there's no time like the present to start thinking about the stars of the Thanksgiving table: the vegetables. That's right, the vegetables! (What, you think that'd be a turkey?)

Long-time readers know that I go all out to share ideas for Thanksgiving vegetable recipes, loading up all the best recipes, crowd pleasers that can be prepped beforehand, then finished just before Thanksgiving dinner.

But Not Just for Thanksgiving

This cauliflower is so good, heavens, don't wait til Thanksgiving! Haha, if need be, tell yourself that you just might need to practice once or twice, not that practice is needed, this is dead easy, but just, y'know, to taste test.

In recent weeks, vegetable lovers have been subscribing to A Veggie Venture in droves! Welcome! With any luck, one or two new recipes a week will provide just the inspiration new readers are seeking, perhaps new ways to cook our favorite vegetables? perhaps an occasional nudge to try a new vegetable?

Lest I forget: Thank you to long-time readers, it's humbling, truly, that home cooks invite me into their kitchens. Occasionally an e-mail will start, "I've been reading your recipes for years." How did that happen?! But yes, this site goes way back to 2005 and has become a huge collection of vegetable recipes.

If you would, let me know via a quick e-mail or a comment, what you'd most like to see in the coming months. More of what? Less of what? More Slow Cooker Recipes for Vegetables? Vegetarian Suppers? More Weight Watchers recipes?

Hint: If you're looking for a particular recipe here, start with A Veggie Venture's super-organized Recipe Box. Feeling overwhelmed by all the choices? Check out just the Favorite Vegetable Recipes.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving: I thank you all.

One-Skillet Cauliflower Made the List
Best Vegetable Recipes 2008

Just updated. First published way back in 2008!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Serves about 8 for every-day, more for bigger meal like Thanksgiving

1-1/4 cups (any fat content, including skim)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large head fresh cauliflower, outside leaves removed, core removed in a large V, sections cut into bite-size florets of roughly the same size (for even cooking) and weighing about 2 pounds/900g

1/4 cup milk (any fat content, including skim)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon mustard (ballpark, Dijon, whatever)
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (chive, cilantro, parsley, etc, mostly for color)
1/2 cup (2oz/55g) sharp cheddar (or another good melting cheese), grated

1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup (1oz/25g) sharp cheddar, grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

CAULIFLOWER In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the milk and salt on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the cauliflower as soon as it's prepped (the milk won't cover the cauliflower so place the stems down since they are more dense and take longer to cook), cover and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes until the cauliflower is nearly fully cooked; watch the temperature, you don't want a hard boil which might lead to scorching. To test for doneness, slip a knife into the center of a stem, if it goes in easily, it's done.

CHEESE SAUCE While the cauliflower cooks, in a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup milk, flour, mustard and white pepper until smooth, then stir in the herbs and cheese.

COMBINE Once the cauliflower is cooked, push the cauliflower to the outer edges of the skillet. Slowly whisk the Cheese Sauce mixture into the milk in the center of the skillet (it will start to thicken right away, just keep whisking) and let cook a minute or two. Gently combine the sauce and the cauliflower, evenly distributing the sauce without smashing the florets.

OPTIONS If you like, transfer hot cauliflower to an oven-proof serving dish, otherwise continue with the oven-safe skillet. If making ahead, transfer to a refrigerator dish and refrigerate until just before serving; return the cauliflower to a skillet to warm through.

TOPPING Turn on the broiler, with a rack about six inches away from the heat. Mix the topping ingredients and sprinkle across top of cauliflower. Put under the broiler to broil for 5 - 10 minutes or until topping begins to brown a little and the cauliflower is hot. Serve immediately.

DAY BEFORE Assemble the panko topping. Cover and refrigerate.
MORNING OF Cook the cauliflower and cheese sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
BEFORE DINNER Warm through in a skillet. Transfer to oven-safe serving dish. Top with crumbs and put under the broiler until beginning to brown.

LEFTOVERS Reheat beautifully! I do not recommend freezing this cauliflower, as milk, cheese and other dairy products don't freeze well.

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Still Hungry?

More Cheesy Cauliflower Recipes

~ Whole Cauliflower with Homemade Cheese Sauce ~
~ Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese ~
~ Cauliflower-Broccoli Cheddar Horseradish Gratin ~
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Savory Cauliflower Cake ~
~ Cauliflower Risotto ~
~ Stuffed Mushrooms with Cauliflower & Smoked Gouda ~
~ more cauliflower recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2008 & 2020

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. This sounds delicious. I do like crumb toppings on my vegetables. They look so pretty! And I really like your "prep ahead" tips. It is a great asset to have a beautiful side dish waiting in the refrigerator rather than have to fuss with every detail right before the meal.

  2. I would love to see Weight Watchers slow cooker recipes. Thanks!

  3. oh cauliflower how i love thee but alas is never cooked as often as i would like. maybe because i need great recipes like this.

  4. Mmmm! I love cauliflower, my husband loves cheese sauce on veggies, and I was looking for something 'new' and savoury to bring to Thanksgiving this year (we're in Canada). Thanks, Alanna, for providing this as a ONE DISH meal, since I'd usually make cheese sauce on the side and end up having more dishes to do ;)

  5. I adore all of your recipes. I would say I like the WW ones, but since all of them are usually healthy anyway, I would just say keep doing what you're doing :)

  6. Cauliflower is very under appreciated...and my husband and I love to eat it! We'll have to try this out soon, thanks!

  7. I just recently found your blog and I have already made some great recipes from it. Thank you!
    I like seeing low point weight watcher recipes and the slow cooker recipes are always appreciated since I'm a working mom and it is a great way to get dinner on the table.

  8. I agree - this sounds easy and delicious!!

  9. Hi! This looks delicious! I love getting veggie inspiration in my e-mail, and this recipe is particularly well timed--my sister came back from a roadside farm stand today with a head of cauliflower that won't fit in the crisper drawer. It must be the size of a medium watermelon (no kidding!). We're looking forward to trying this soon.

    Another cauliflower recipe I love was posted by Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks: Cauliflower Soup with Blue Cheese. (I use the smaller amount of cheese and sour cream instead of creme fraiche.)

  10. What if I do not have an oven-safe skillet? Is there any other kind of dish or pan I can use? Also, can I use dried chives or is fresh the only way to go?

  11. Hi Michelle,

    Here's an idea, just skip the oven part. Instead, cook the cauliflower and cheese sauce on the stovetop, then use a small skillet to brown the bread crumbs and olive oil, stir in the cheese and stir to melt a little bit, then sprinkle over the top of the cauliflower.

    Fresh chives would be best -- it adds just that little bit of freshness and color -- but you could use any other fresh herb, too. Or -- skip it, this is really about the cauliflower and cheese. If you wanted a little onion, chop a half onion and let it cook along with the cauliflower in the milk.

    Hope this helps!

  12. I am one of those recent additions to your readership - great site! I would love to see more in-season veggie suppers. The other night, we had a great lentil soup which my kids devoured. And my husband was so impressed, he did not miss the meat! Since we subscribe to a CSA, in season veggie stuff is a must for us, look forward to seeing what you have in store!

  13. Great dish and yes, could appear on the Thanksgiving table.

  14. I love your site for side dishes, desserts, salads, etc, but more main dishes would be wonderful. Something with protein in it, but still vegetarian. We eat meatless twice a week during most of the year, for religious reasons, and three times a week during some parts of the year, so I'm always looking for new ideas.

  15. Lisa ~ Crumbs somehow 'finish' a dish, don't they? Thanks for feedback on the make-ahead tips.

    Vickie ~ Good combination, thank you for the suggestion.

    Meeta ~ You must! Or I'll come cook it for you!

    VeryGoodYear ~ I liked the one-dish feature too. Happy Thanksgiving, early!

    Magpie ~ You made my day, Magpie, thank you!

    Katelyn ~ Agreed.

    Jenny ~ Looks like WW and slow cooker are big hits. I do appreciate the feedback, thank you.

    Pille ~ xo

    Libby ~ Timing can be everything, can't it?! Sounds as if you'll have plenty of cauliflower for both the casserole and the soup!

    Gudrun ~ Thank you for being a reader, I do so appreciate your feedback. In-season veggie suppers, got, many thanks.

    Peter ~ A Greek table, perchance?!

    Ranee ~ More main dishes, great, thanks for the feedback.

  16. This sounds wonderful! It is definitely on my list of "must try soon" recipes.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna