This low-carb Bacon Cauliflower Mac and Cheese might actually be better than the “real thing” and as an added bonus it’s keto-friendly!
My entire family loves mac and cheese. As much as I love it though, I have a hard time serving it as a main dish at dinner because I feel like it doesn’t check all the right nutritional boxes. That is until this Bacon Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe entered our lives.
This low-carb recipe is so delicious that I forget there isn’t actual macaroni in there! Serve it with a simple keto mug cake for dessert and you’ve got yourself one perfect keto-friendly dinner that the whole family can enjoy!
BACON CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
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It continues to amaze me how a vegetable can replace pasta and bread in some of my favorite recipes. Granted I have tried some cauliflower recipes that haven’t exactly lived up to the hype, I can say with confidence that this one does not fall short of amazing! This keto mac and cheese recipe is creamy, flavorful, and topped with a delicious crunch!
BACON CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE:
Cauliflower – You will need two heads of cauliflower cut into small bite-sized pieces. This will act as the “pasta” for your mac and cheese.
Bacon – You’ll need eight slices of bacon, cooked and chopped. You can also save the bacon grease as a substitute for the butter when making the topping for this dish. Or if you want a vegetarian keto cauliflower mac and cheese, skip the bacon and bacon grease.
Cheese Sauce – If you don’t have heavy cream on hand and decide to substitute milk just be aware it will make this recipe non-keto. The cream cheese gives the sauce a rich and creamy taste, long with the sharp cheddar cheese.
Topping – This topping is totally optional, but it’s delicious! If you choose to cut it out, this low-carb mac and cheese can be finished entirely on the stovetop. I use a combination of pork rinds, Parmesan, cheese, and butter (or bacon grease) for a nice crunchy finish to this recipe.
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
- Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Begin preparing the cauliflower by cutting it into bite-sized florets and add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Now spread the cauliflower florets out on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the cauliflower begins to brown and is fork-tender.
- While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the bacon, chop it, and set it aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the heavy cream and cream cheese and heat it until the cheese has melted and the edges begin to simmer.
- Now stir in the shredded cheese and seasoning until completely melted and thick. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Next, mix in the roasted cauliflower and bacon then transfer to a greased baking dish.
- For the topping, mix together the crushed pork rinds, parmesan, and melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the keto mac and cheese.
- Broil on low for about 5 minutes until the top crisps up.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
WHAT IS THE BEST CHEESE FOR KETO?
One of the reasons I love keto so much is because cheese is basically the perfect keto food! Any eating strategy that encourages me to eat cheese is already miles ahead of the rest! Cheese is low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in fat which is exactly the kind of food you want to be eating if you are on keto!
Cream cheese and parmesan, which are found in this recipe, are some of the best cheeses for eating keto because of their high fat, low carb ratios. But cheese does still have carbs and calories, so if you are using keto as a tool to help lose weight make sure to do the math so you don’t go too crazy with the cheese intake!
WHY IS MY CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE WATERY?
Make sure you are always using fresh cauliflower because frozen cauliflower tends to release more water as you cook it. Since this recipe requires that you roast the cauliflower in the oven for 30-40 minutes you shouldn’t run into the issue of excess water in your keto mac and cheese.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
More times than not, I serve this dish as a main course because it’s so hearty, but it also pairs well with Jalapeno Popper Stuffed Chicken. This keto-friendly protein goes perfect with this keto mac and cheese recipe.
I also sometimes double up on the bacon and serve this dish alongside a savory BLT Salad because let’s face it- you can never have too much bacon!
TRY THESE OTHER KETO RECIPES
- Low Carb Cheesy Bacon Cauliflower Chowder
- Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Fat Bombs
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Fat Bombs
- Low Carb Cauliflower Breadsticks
- Keto Friendly Mug Cake
- More DINNER recipes…
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS KETO MAC AND CHEESE
Large Mixing Bowl: Make sure you have a large enough bowl to allow you to evenly coat your cauliflower!
Casserole Dish: This simple and elegant serving dish goes from oven to table! It’s a staple at our dinner table and I know it will be at your table too!
Mac and Cheese
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled (reserve grease)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese cubed
- 2 cups Monterey jack cheese shredded
- 2 cups mac and cheese blend cheese shredded (or cheddar cheese)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup pork rinds crushed
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease (see note)
- Fresh parsley finely chopped,for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, Then add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower out on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the cauliflower begins to brown and is fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Then transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Once cooled chop the bacon and set it aside.
- Add the heavy cream and cream cheese to a large pot. Cook over medium heat until the cheese has melted and the edges begin to simmer.
- Stir in the shredded cheese and seasonings until completely melted and thick. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the roasted cauliflower and bacon into the cheese sauce. Then transfer to a greased 9-inch x 13-inch baking dish.
- Mix together the crushed pork rinds, Parmesan, and butter in a medium bowl. Then sprinkle the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese.
- Broil on low until the top crisps up, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Using milk instead of heavy cream will make this non-keto.
- If you want to make this mac and cheese vegetarian, leave out the bacon and substitute 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter for the topping. You can also substitute vegan pork rinds in the topping or skip the topping all together.
- If you skip the topping, the rest of this recipe can be made on the stove top after the cauliflower is roasted.