If you consider cauliflower bland or ho-hum, then I invite you to grab a plate and try this stand-out, super-loaded, cheesy Cauliflower Casserole. It’s loaded baked potatoes meets cauliflower au gratin, with a serious, obsessively tasty OOMPH that beats them both.

Creamy cauliflower casserole in a baking dish with bacon and cheese

Tender, caramelized roasted cauliflower florets interlaced with indulgent, melting pockets of cream cheese, gruyere, and crispy bacon, this loaded cauliflower casserole can’t help but win affection (and second helpings).

This recipe is now a staple at our annual Friendsgiving, and I’m not so secretly plotting to add it to our Christmas menu too.

My inspiration for this recipe is a mashup of two classic comfort food recipes, cauliflower au gratin and loaded baked potatoes, but I’ve made it easy and lightened it up with healthy swaps.

Like a cauliflower gratin, this low carb cauliflower casserole is rich, cheesy, and makes you question whether or not it actually contains vegetables.

Like a loaded baked potato, it’s filled with the good stuff: Greek yogurt (my healthy swap instead of a cauliflower casserole with sour cream), bacon, chives, and cream cheese.

Unlike both of these classic side dishes, however, loaded cauliflower casserole is something that your guests might not have seen before. It’s easy to adapt to different flavors and ingredients, low carb, gluten free, and relatively hands free for you, the cook.

This cauliflower casserole with bacon is worthy of a holiday spread, and it’s also a side dish I love to make for dinner parties and date nights. It’s easy to prepare and offers that sought-after WOW factor from the first bite.

Christmas or Thanksgiving cauliflower casserole in a baking dish with bacon and chives

Why is Cauliflower Good for You?

  • It’s no secret that cauliflower is good for you. Cauliflower is packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
  • It contains almost every vitamin and nutrient that you need in your diet. It is also high in fiber and low in calories.

All of that nutritional benefit does not mean that we should have to sacrifice taste. In fact, this cauliflower casserole is so stand-out delicious, you’ll forget that what you are eating is good for you.

How Do You Make Cauliflower Casserole? (The Easy Way!)

So, how do you bake cauliflower and cheese into a delicious casserole? Well, I wanted to keep this recipe easy, so it only takes a handful of simple ingredients and straight forward steps to assemble.

The Ingredients

  • Cauliflower. Unlike raw cauliflower (which is bland), roasted cauliflower is complex, caramelized, and rich. For maximum ease, I roasted the cauliflower in the same baking dish that I used for the final casserole; no need to wash in between.
  • Garlic Powder. All the garlic flavor without the fuss of actually chopping garlic.
  • Ground Black Pepper. Kicks up the cauliflower and jives well with the bacon.
  • Ground Nutmeg. My nod to the traditional flavors in an au gratin recipe.
  • Bacon. Turns this casserole into the stuff of dinner legend. For maximum ease, I use my easy Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon method.
  • Cream Cheese. For the ultimate creamy texture and “loaded” factor. I used reduced fat cream cheese for this recipe.
  • Greek Yogurt. Another secret to the creamy texture of this dish. I opted for nonfat plain Greek yogurt to keep the recipe on the lighter side.
  • Cheese. Gruyere and Parmesan are the perfect nutty combination here!
    • If you don’t have gruyere, any similar melty, alpine-style cheese will work famously.
  • Chives. A beautiful addition of color and fresh flavor.
A bowl of low calorie cauliflower, spices, Parmesan cheese, and chives

The Directions

To keep the casserole as low maintenance as possible, I skipped the classic gratin white sauce in favor of a blend of cream cheese, Greek yogurt, and shredded cheese that I dolloped over the top.

The cream cheese blend warms in the oven and envelops the tender florets with mouthfuls of decadence.

  1. Lightly coat a casserole dish with nonstick spray, and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Toss the cauliflower florets with the oil and spices. Place the cauliflower in the casserole dish, and spread into an even layer. Bake the cauliflower at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes, until the florets are tender.
  3. Lay the bacon strips on the baking sheet, and bake until crisp. Remove the bacon and cauliflower from the oven. Stir the cauliflower, return it to the oven, and continue baking until its cooking time is up. Crumble the bacon into pieces.
  4. In the same bowl you used for the cauliflower, combine the cream cheese and yogurt. Add part of the cheese and bacon.
  5. Remove the cauliflower from the oven, and add dollops of the cream cheese mixture to the dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, and return to the oven. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Turn the oven to broil for 1 to 3 minutes, until cheese is golden. Remove, sprinkle with chives and more bacon, and ENJOY!
Loaded cauliflower casserole served in a baking dish with chives and bacon

Recipe Adaptations + Dietary Swaps

I adore this healthy cauliflower casserole just as it is, AND I adore the different delicious spinoffs it can create. A few ideas:

  • Fully Loaded Baked “Potato” Cauliflower Casserole: Swap the gruyere for sharp cheddar and the nutmeg for cayenne.
  • Parmesan and Herb Cauliflower Bake: Swap the gruyere for fontina, add 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme to the cauliflower prior to roasting, and top the final casserole with chopped, fresh parsley. Bacon optional…or not.
  • Italian: Swap the gruyere for shredded provolone or mozzarella, omit the nutmeg, and add 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning + a pinch of red pepper flakes to the cauliflower prior to roasting.
  • Is Cauliflower Keto Approved? Yes, cauliflower is keto approved, and this *might* be a keto cauliflower casserole, but I’m not as familiar with the specifics of that diet, so I would recommend checking other resources if you’re looking for keto cauliflower recipes.
  • To Make Gluten Free. No changes! This casserole is naturally gluten free.
  • To Make Vegetarian. For a vegetarian cauliflower casserole recipe, omit the bacon.
  • To Make Vegan. This would honestly be difficult. Since there are few ingredients, each is important, and I’m not as comfortable with the dairy-free options in this case. Instead, I’d look for a recipe that’s already vegan, like my Mashed Cauliflower Colcannon (so good!) or Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole.
Delicious cauliflower side dish served in a baking dish with spices and chives

Make Ahead + Storage Tips

  • To Store. Store creamy cauliflower casserole in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in the oven at 350 degrees F until hot. You can also gently rewarm leftovers in the microwave until heated through.
  • To Make Ahead. The cauliflower can be roasted 1 day in advance, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cream cheese mixture can also be prepared 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, warm the cauliflower in the baking dish in a 350-degree F oven until hot. Let the cream cheese mixture come to room temperature. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F, then dollop on the cream cheese and bake as directed.

Can you Freeze a Cauliflower Casserole?

Yes! You can freeze a cauliflower casserole.

  • To Freeze. Place leftover casserole in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What Main Dish Goes Well with Cauliflower Casserole?

Whether you want to make this a Christmas or Thanksgiving cauliflower casserole or as a tasty addition to your weeknight meals, here are a few ideas of what you could serve with it:

More Delicious Vegetable Side Dishes

Whether you are looking to please picky eaters (hi, cream cheese and bacon), try new easy cauliflower recipes, or are among those who *think* they don’t care for baked cauliflower recipes, I hope you give this loaded cauliflower casserole a try. It’s sure to be a fast favorite at your table!

Loaded cauliflower casserole in a baking dish

Cauliflower Casserole

5 from 28 votes
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole with Cream Cheese and Bacon. Easy, low carb, and a crowd pleaser! Healthy ingredients lighten it up, but it tastes so decadent!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • medium heads cauliflower cut into bite-size florets (about 3–4 pounds cauliflower, prior to being cut, or 5–6 cups florets)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated gruyere or similar melty, nutty, alpine-style cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Instructions
 

  • Place racks in the upper and lower thirds of your oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a wide 3-quart casserole dish, such as an 9×13, with nonstick spray. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  • In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared casserole dish and spread into an even layer. Keep the bowl handy. Bake the cauliflower on the lower rack for 30 minutes, until the florets are tender and begin to brown.
  • Meanwhile, arrange the bacon strips in a single layer on the prepared foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on the upper rack until crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the bacon and cauliflower from the oven. Stir the cauliflower, spread it back into an even layer, and place it on the upper rack to continue cooking until the end of its baking time. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate and lightly pat dry. Once cool enough to handle, roughly chop or crumble the bacon into small pieces.
  • In the same bowl that you used to toss the cauliflower, beat together the cream cheese and Greek yogurt until combined. Stir in 1/3 cup gruyere cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, and half of the chopped bacon.
  • Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and dollop the cream cheese mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup gruyere and 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Return the pan to the upper third of the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and gooey, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn the oven to broil. Broil the casserole until golden on top, 1 to 3 minutes. Do not walk away, and watch carefully to make sure the cheese does not burn. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with fresh chives and remaining bacon. Serve hot.

Notes

  • The cauliflower can be roasted 1 day in advance. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cream cheese mixture can be prepared 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to cook, warm the cauliflower in the baking dish in a 350-degree F oven until hot. Let the cream cheese mixture come to room temperature. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F, then dollop on the cream cheese and bake as directed.
  • This recipe is easy to scale! Feel free to double it (bake in two separate 9×13-inch pans) or halve it and bake in a 1 1/2-quart casserole or gratin dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 8Calories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 13gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 19mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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77 Comments

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  1. This looks delicious! For Thanksgiving I was planning on Broccoli Casserole plus a Creamed Corn recipe but now I think I’ll add this to the menu. I don’t think you can go wrong with bacon and cheese – not velveeta though – yuk!

  2. A couple of comments. First, for religious reasons, I don’t eat bacon. I discovered Light Life’s vegan crumbles at a local Whole Foods. I substituted one for one in the recipe and they were tasty. Second, the recipe calls for two heads of cauliflower. At the store I noticed a purple and an orange variety of cauliflower; and I used one of each. It made the dish more interesting visually. Third, there was not enough of the cream cheese & yogurt topping; plus the cream cheese, even at room temperature, was not easy to mix things with. If I make the recipe again, I would double the amount of cream cheese and yogurt and substitute all yogurt for the cream cheese. Finally, it tasted great and got “very tasty” reviews from my eaters. Thank you !5 stars

  3. I made this for my son’s family as he and his wife are on a low carb diet. I tasted it before I took it to their house and it was delicious! Unfortunately, my husband decided to place it on top of our cooler to carry it into their house. I was in their kitchen and heard a loud crash. My daughter-in-law and I ran into the entryway and there was my husband standing there holding the cooler – with the cauliflower casserole on the floor and my beautiful casserole dish broken into the food. Grrr. It definitely was a time consuming dish, even though I did buy cauliflower florets, but worth the time. I guess I’ll make it for them again this weekend! But this time I’ll do the carrying. I had made a good chicken cheese and bacon dish and veggies with Uncle Dan’s so my son scrambled a bunch of eggs so we had another dish.  ?5 stars

    1. Oh NO! I’m so sorry about the crash, Jill. Thank you for leaving this review, and I hope you get to enjoy it next time!

  4. Great recipe! But my husband doesn’t eat meat so we used veggie based bacon and we also used a hickory smoked gruyere cheese which made it even more flavorful. Definitely will make again. We paired it with grilled artichokes and that was dinner!5 stars

  5. OMG … THIS!!! I made this today to ‘try’ before making for a family picnic this weekend. Wow, this is amazing! Not only is it easy to make it is absolutely DELISH! I’m glad I made it up ahead of time so I can have this one to myself without sharing = ) Thank you for an AWESEOME recipe. Even my SO who claims not to like cauliflower had a second helping of it.5 stars

  6. I made this last night and was told by my wife it was the best cauliflower dish that she has ever had. I agreed. Simply delish!! There is a good reason I follow Erin and Well Plated, and have for some time now!! Great dishes and ideas.5 stars

    1. YAY! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Chris! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  7. I’m adding this to my holiday/special occasion list. This is comfort food at it’s best. Kids and husband devoured it. It tastes like 500 calories per bite. Another great recipe.5 stars

  8. Haven’t tried it yet. Just wanted to share a tip. Don’t cook bacon on foil, it has a tendency to stick, use parchment instead.

    1. Hi there, can this be made ahead of time, cooled and then frozen to be thrown in the over at a later date?

      1. Definitely, Melissa! You can freeze the cooked casserole for up to 3 months, then let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Cauliflower stew is very delicious and attractive. I really like the way you prepare food. The food is quite simple.5 stars

    1. Hi Debbie! I have not tried this recipe with frozen cauliflower, and I’m afraid it may make the dish liquidy. If possible, fresh cauliflower will work best for this recipe. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  10. I love this recipe…absolutely delicious.  I made the Cauliflower  Casserole as a mail course along with a salad.  This recipe is a keeper.5 stars

  11. Can I put it together and freeze it or should I cook it all the way and freeze it? Will this change the flavor or consistency? Just trying to get ahead with all the cooking before thanksgiving, red all the comments but didn’t see this being asked 
    Thank you

    1. Hi Claudia! I have not tried to freeze this recipe, but I think cooking it first and then freezing it will be the best method. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  12. Made this for Thanksgiving and it sure didn’t last long at all ! The only thing I would change would be to make the cream cheese sauce a bit thinner so it could be easily spread over the cauliflower rather than making dollops of it. Other than that – just delicious!5 stars

  13. This recipe is great made it for Christmas with Cornish game hens, I used smoked cheddar cheese instead of the Gruyere cheese  and added chopped onions to the bacon while it cooked what a great flavor everyone loved it , will definitely make it again . Thank you for the recipe 5 stars

  14. My entire family (including non-keto bunch) absolutely demolished this casserole, we all loved it! I’m not a domestic kitchen pro or anywhere near but since on keto diet i have been making interesting and easy meals, this looked easy to me – yes, i base it on quick, convenience before taste, lol! I used two full large cauliflower, generic spices, the gruyere cheese i’d never heard of but got it at the deli whole (they only had smoked), and pretty much x1.5 the whole recipe. I did the bacon in a pan and only used one rack and it turned out. What a delicious meal! We had it with garlic butter fried chicken. For a simpleton like myself, it was so easy to make for getting off of work and going to the store quick to buy cheese, and prepping, it was absolutely scrumptious! Thank you! Will definitely be having this again and again!5 stars

  15. This is absolutely the best! I substituted sour cream for the Greek yogurt as I didn’t have any available and did not add the nutmeg as I forgot lol, but best recipe ever!5 stars

  16. Just made it & everyone in family loved it.  My teens not big on casseroles but Recipe sounded great. I did not use bacon but sprinkled breadcrumbs, and used Gouda(that’s what I had). Under baked a little but it stayed in oven warming 20 min extra and cauliflower still had great bite to it; so it would be easy to do ahead and reheat. I would thin out cream cheese mixture with milk maybe next time as personal preference but everyone loved as it was written. 5 stars

  17. A small suggestion.

    When starting out making this delicious dish, I set my cauliflower to roast on a half sheet pan because ….that’s how I always roast my vegetables? I was thinking I would roast the whole hug head of cauliflower I had purchased and then turn it into two separate casserole dishes.

    My daughter took one look at the roasted cauliflower on the sheet pan after learning the next step was to smother it in a cheese sauce and exclaimed that was so wrong! Make more cheese sauce and smother each delectable bite in it!

    And so we did. And so delicious! We had some crusty cheese skirt and incredible levels of flavor. I had roasted it on a parchment covered sheet pan, so stickage was not an issue.

    Normally cauliflower anything is not something the family will tolerate two days in a row. They DEMANDED this again tomorrow night with a different protein.

  18. Thanks for this post! I had forgotten about this cauliflower recipe. It’s perfect for cooler weather. We really like it too. I’m going to make it tonight since I have fresh cauliflower in the fridge! Guess it’s time to transition to more oven cooking. Just put the grill away this week. Thanks again, keep the emails and instagrams coming!5 stars

  19. I’ve made this recipe before and love it. Can I prepare the casserole and instead of baking right away, can it be frozen to bake at a later date?

    1. Hi Jan! If you check out the “Make Ahead + Storage Tips” and “Freezing Cauliflower Casserole” sections of the blog post, you can find some ideas for making this ahead and freezing it. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Dan! Steps 3-5 offer instructions for how to cook and incorporate the bacon into the dish. I hope this helps!

  20. This was incredible! My fiance isn’t big on “health food” and was skeptical while we were cooking, but we both LOVED it! His family was shocked I got him to eat cauliflower and he said don’t count on enough left over for tomorrow’s dinner because he’d eat it throughout the day and for a midnight snack! Every recipe of yours we’ve tried, we’ve loved.5 stars

  21. Can you substitute something for the bacon? I have some vegetarians in the family but I know that bacon usually adds fat flavor so I don’t want to just cut it out.

    1. Hi Sarah! You can simply omit the bacon (the casserole will still be delicious). I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  22. My goodness this was delicious!! A keeper for sure. I made this for family Easter dinner and there wasn’t a bit left in site. Everyone loved it, even all the children devoured it. Will make again no question. I roasted the cauliflower, did the bacon and seasonings and prepped the cheeses all the day before. It was super simple to put together and heat up in the oven the next day. Thank you for the fantastic recipe.5 stars