Cauliflower cheese often involves making a roux with flour, butter and milk.
That’s all very well if the cauliflower cheese is the main item on your menu, but when you’re making it as part of a larger meal – like a full-on roast dinner, it can take up time and pan space.
I rarely use the roux-method now, preferring this version when I’m prepping lots of dishes.
Why use this easy method over the roux method?
- It’s quicker and easier
- No requirement to make a separate sauce
- No need to dirty another pan (or use up precious hob space) to make a roux
- It’s naturally gluten free
- It’s just as tasty
If you’d prefer to make the traditional version using a roux, I’ve included instructions for that in the notes section of the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
We start by steaming cauliflower until just tender:
Then we add a little double (heavy) cream and cheddar cheese to a baking dish. Top with a layer of cauliflower, followed by cream, cheddar, salt and pepper. Then repeat.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly. Top with a little parsley and black pepper if you’re feeling fancy.
This cauliflower cheese is part of my ‘How to make a Roast Beef Dinner step-by-step timeplan‘ post. Check it out for easy to follow instructions on making a mouthwatering roast beef dinner!
The Easiest Cauliflower Cheese Recipe:
Easy Cauliflower Cheese
- 1 medium cauliflower broken into small florets
- 1 cup 240ml double (heavy) cream
- 1 1/2 cups 150g Mature/strong Cheddar cheese, grated (use a vegetarian version if required)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil and either place the cauliflower in a steam basket over the top and place a lid on the pan, or place the cauliflower directly in the boiling water if you don't have a steam basket.
- Turn the water down to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes until the cauliflower is tender but not soggy. Drain the cauliflower.
- Pour 2 tbsp of the cream in a baking dish and sprinkle on 2 tbsp of the grated cheese.
- Add half of the cauliflower, then top with half of the remaining cream and quarter of the remaining cheese. Sprinkle on half of the salt and pepper.
- Top with the remaining cauliflower, then pour on the remaining cream. Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped parsley before serving.
Roux method for cauliflower cheese:If you'd prefer to make the roux method, par boil and drain the cauliflower as per the recipe, then place the cauliflower into a baking dish. Melt 50g unsalted butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour and mix together with a whisk to form a thick paste. Add 1 1/4 cups (300ml) of whole milk, a splash at a time, whilst stirring with the whisk, until all of the milk is incorporated and no lumps remain. Turn the heat up to medium high and continue to stir until the sauce thickens. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 cup (50g) grated strong cheddar cheese to the sauce. Stir together, then pour over the cauliflower in the dish. Top with 1 cup (100g) grated strong cheddar and place in the oven at 200C/400F for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Can I make cauliflower cheese ahead of time?Yes, prepare the cauliflower cheese right up until the point before you put it in the oven. Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Take out of the refrigerator an hour before baking. Bake in the oven at 200C/400F for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.
Can I freeze cauliflower cheese?Yes, if you're freezing leftovers, then cool, cover and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator. To reheat, cover with foil and place in the oven at 200C/400F for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes until piping hot throughout. If you're freezing a full portion to make ahead, prepare the cauliflower cheese right up until the point before you put it in the oven. Cool, cover and freeze. Defrost in the refrigerator. Take out of the refrigerator an hour before baking. Bake in the oven at 200C/400F for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubblyand piping hot throughout.
Nutritional information is per serving.
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