Perfect Cheddar Cauli Mac and Cheese with Bacon

mac and cheese with bacon

5 from 4 reviews

When I set out to make a cauliflower mac and cheese with bacon, I knew I wouldn’t settle until it was absolutely stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth good. The roasting of the fresh (not frozen!) cauliflower ahead of time removes excess moisture which creates the perfect consistency when tossed with the cheese sauce.



  • 1 head, chopped fresh cauliflower (not frozen)
  • 6 thick-cut bacon slices
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly cracked pepper

For the cheese sauce:

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Remove cauliflower from the stem and roughly chop and break apart. (This is going into your mac & cheese so you don’t want it riced or anything, but you don’t want the pieces to be a mouthful when you’re eating it, either).
  3. Drizzle the cauliflower with oil and toss. Sprinkle the mustard powder, onion powder and salt over the cauliflower and toss again. Crack a little pepper over the top for good measure. Add to a baking sheet.
  4. Chop your bacon into about 1” squares, then lay them on top of the cauliflower evenly.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes on the middle rack. Then use a spatula to toss and mix.
  6. Bake for another 15 minutes, then use a spatula to toss and mix. At this point, there should be little to no moisture left in the bottom of the dish. Meanwhile, get your ingredients for the sauce ready while it bakes.
  7. Flip and toss again, and bake for the final 15 minutes. During the last 15 minutes, you’ll make your sauce.
  8. In a saute pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add broth and heavy cream until warm, then add xanthan gum. Stir until it begins to bubble.
  9. Once it begins to bubble, remove from heat and add cheddar cheese slowly. Stir continuously until it has melted completely.
  10. If you haven’t already, remove the cauliflower from the oven. Add to a serving dish or bowls and drizzle with the cheese sauce. Mix together, garnish (optional), and enjoy.


Even though this makes a great side with some protein, you can double the recipe if you want it as a main course.


Keywords: mac and cheese with bacon