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up close of cauliflower cheese on a plate on a larger plate on a light grey surface

Cauliflower Cheese

This British staple side dish is absolutely delicious. Partially cooked cauliflower is covered in a thick, rich cheesy sauce then topped with thick breadcrumbs and more sharp cheddar cheese, then baked to golden perfection! Step-by-step photos teach you how to cook this delicious side dish recipe.

  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 Medium Cauliflower Head
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, more to taste
  • 2.5oz (5 Tablespoons) Salted Butter
  • 2.5oz (73 Grams or 1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons English Dry Mustard Powder or Regular Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon White Pepper, more to taste
  • 2 cups Whole Milk, low-fat will work the sauce just won't be as rich
  • 5oz (1 1/4 Cup) Sharp English Cheddar, divided
  • 30 grams (1/2 Cup) Panko-style Breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat the oven to 425F/212C.
  2. Cut the cauliflower head in half and discard the green leaves and stem. Then cut the cauliflower florets into two bite-size pieces. Transfer cauliflower to a large pot and fill it with cool water, making sure to cover all of the cauliflower with water. Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the pot comes to a boil immediately turn it off and strain the cauliflower into a colander, set aside while you prepare the cheese sauce.
  3. In a large saucepan add the butter and cook over medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk to combine, continue whisking it for 2 to 3 minutes to cook out the flour taste. Add the mustard and white pepper and mix to combine. Reduce the heat to low and slowly and evenly stream in the milk and whisk constantly to combine. Keep asking for another minute or two for the sauce to thicken. Add 2/3 of the cheese and whisk until all of the cheese is melted. Taste the sauce at this point and add more salt or pepper, if desired.
  4. Add the cauliflower to an 8 or 9-inch casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs in an even layer then repeat with the remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown on top and bubbling. Set aside to cool for five minutes before serving. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.


*This recipe produces a thick, cheesy sauce, but if you'd like a runnier sauce feel free to add more milk, I'd start with 1/4 cup until you reach your desired consistency. 

  • Author: Elizabeth Waterson I Confessions of a Baking Queen
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: English

Keywords: how to make cauliflower cheese, english cauliflower cheese, the best cauliflower cheese recipe

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