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How to make cauliflower cheese

You can’t beat homemade cauliflower cheese as the ultimate side or veggie main, it's oozy, creamy, and delicious. Learn how to make the perfect cauliflower cheese with this easy recipe, and don’t forget to screenshot the handy ingredients list at the bottom before you go shopping.

  1. Prepare the cauliflower

    Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Half fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Remove the outer leaves from 1 whole cauliflower, then chop the rest into florets, halving or quartering any large pieces as needed to make them all an even size. The leftover stem and leaves can be chopped up and cooked in stir-fries, so don’t chuck them away!

    Prepare the cauliflower
  2. Cook the cauliflower

    Add the florets to the pan and bring back up to the boil. Cook for 5 mins, or until the cauliflower is just tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, but still firm enough to hold its shape. Drain and set aside.

    Cook the cauliflower
  3. Make the sauce base

    The cheese sauce starts with a roux base. Gently melt 40g butter in a pan over a low heat, then stir in 50g plain flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for just a few seconds until it forms a smooth, thick paste.

    Make the sauce base
  4. Add the milk and cheese

    Measure out 450ml milk. Pour a little into the pan and stir until smooth. Keep adding the milk, a little at a time, stirring until fully combined. Cook gently for another 2 mins, stirring to stop it catching on the bottom. Add 80g mature Cheddar cheese, grated, and 1 tsp English mustard and stir until melted into the sauce. Season and remove from the heat.

    Add the milk and cheese
  5. Transfer to baking dish

    Pour some of the cheese sauce into a deep ovenproof dish. Add the cauliflower, then pour over the rest of the sauce to fully cover. Grate another 50g mature Cheddar over the top, then place on a baking tray to catch any sauce that bubbles over.

    Transfer to baking dish
  6. Bake and serve

    Bake for 20 mins, or until golden brown and bubbling at the edges. Serves 6 as a side dish, or 2 as a main.

    Cauliflower cheese final

  7. Flavour twists

    Cheddar and English mustard are a classic combination, but you can use any cheese or a mixture to make the sauce. Gruyère with Dijon mustard would be milder, while Parmesan or blue cheese (such as Stilton) would add a much stronger flavour, so you wouldn’t need quite as much.

    For a meaty version, mix some fried bacon pieces or chopped up ham into the cheese sauce before pouring into the baking dish. Or go for extra veggies with half cauliflower and half broccoli florets, cooked as above.

    For a crispy topping, try sprinkling 2-3 tbsp breadcrumbs over the top after grating over the cheese.

  8. Make ahead

    Make the recipe as above to the end of step 5. Cool completely, then cover with clingfilm and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days before cooking. Cook on a baking tray, as above, but adding an extra 8-10 mins to the cooking time to ensure it is fully heated through.

  9. Ingredients

    We’ve made a handy shopping list so you can get everything you need for this classic cauliflower cheese. Don’t forget to screenshot before you go shopping!

    1 cauliflower
    40g butter
    50g plain flour
    450ml milk
    130g mature Cheddar cheese
    1 tsp English mustard

    Serves 6

    Each serving contains

    • Energy

    • Fat

      15g 22%
    • Saturates

      9g 45%
    • Sugars

      8g 8%
    • Salt

      0.7g 11%

    of the reference intake
    Carbohydrate 16.1g Protein 12.4g Fibre 2.8g