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This super easy One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is the perfect recipe for sneaking in the vegetables. Short cut pasta and nutrient-packed cauliflower are boiled together until al dente. Then a splash of milk, a handful of sharp cheddar cheese, and just a touch butter are all stirred together for a creamy mac and cheese, that’s cozy yet healthy(ish) too. Added bonus, this simple mac and cheese is made all in one pot, in just about thirty minutes.

overhead close up photo of One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Sharing the absolute easiest, coziest, comfort food recipe today. And you guys…it’s the perfect Monday recipe for cold, snowy winter days (which is what is going on here!). Growing up, mac and cheese was never something my dad would make. If my brothers and I were eating mac and cheese it was either the boxed Kraft mac and cheese or Stouffer’s frozen mac and cheese.

Oh my gosh, do you guys remember those days? Pure childhood comfort. I wouldn’t mind going back for just a day or so. Twas the best to come home from school, shower (I always, always showered the minute I got home from school…I was so weird), cozy up by the fire, and enjoy a cheesy bowl of pasta while watching Gilmore Girls.

Simply the best.

Lately, I’ve been drawing some inspiration from my favorite childhood comfort foods. Which made me realize that I don’t have a good stove-top mac and cheese recipe. How that is I have not a clue. But the good news is that I quickly worked to change that and created the perfect (healthy…ish) creamy, one pot mac and cheese.

Enter this stove-top, extra creamy cauliflower mac and cheese.

This. Is. So. Good. Healthy…ish. And easy too.

raw cauliflower head

Here are all the details.

As I said, I’ve been looking to my childhood for some inspiration recently. And, of course, mac and cheese was a beloved staple for my brothers and me while growing up.

I knew I wanted to create the perfect stove-top mac and cheese that was similar to the boxed stuff, but much, much better…and so much healthier. With the addition of cauliflower, I was able to use way less cream, butter, and even cheese. But yet still have a super creamy and cheesy stove-top mac and cheese.

As you can guess, this is so quick and easy. Start by boiling a big pot of water on the stove. Use a pot that will be large enough to hold both the pasta and the cauliflower.

While the water is coming to a boil, start chopping the cauliflower. You’ll want to roughly chop the cauliflower into similar size pieces as your pasta. The idea is that the cauliflower really blends in with the pasta so that you may not even realize it’s there.

Once the water has come to a boil, add the pasta and the cauliflower. Boil together until al dente, then simply stir in all the remaining ingredients, and that’s kind of it. The key is using a touch of cream cheese and creamy dijon mustard for creaminess. This creates the perfect amount of creamy sauce, but still keeps things on the lighter side.

For the cheeses, I love using a mix of sharp white cheddar (for flavor) and creamy fontina and or provolone, for creaminess. Together they create that ideal cheese pull we all love so much.

Then a touch of garlic, a sprinkle of cayenne (to your taste), and fresh herbs for additional flavor and to finish out the recipe.

SIMPLE but GOOD.

overhead photo of One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Some ideas to switch up the recipe a bit…

If you prefer a baked make and cheese, that works well here too and will be delicious. Just leave out the final cup of cheese and instead transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish, then top with that reserved cheese. Bake for twenty or so minutes and wallah…you’ll have cheesy baked mac and cheese!

Want to add more vegetables? Spinach and artichokes, roasted broccoli, or crispy mushrooms would all be great as additional stir-ins. Really you can easily adapt this recipe however you’d like. It’s pretty hard to mess up!

So while this isn’t identical to the Kraft box cheese (thank goodness), I’d take this recipe any day. I might be biased, but I think it’s so much better. The real cheese flavor shines through and the creaminess from the combination of cauliflower, cream cheese, and cheese is beyond perfect.

I couldn’t think of a better Monday night dinner. It’s cozy, but healthy..ish, easy and so delicious. Bonus? I am ninety-nine percent sure you can get your kids, husband, and all the picky eaters in your life to eat (and love) this.

Looking for other Mac and Cheese recipes…click here!

overhead close up photo of One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Lastly, if you make this one pot creamy cauliflower mac and cheese, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Watch the How To Video:

One Pot Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 422 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add 2 teaspoons salt,
    the pasta, and cauliflower, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Do not drain the water. Stir in the milk, cream cheese, mustard, and garlic powder, and cook until the cream cheese has melted and the pasta is al dente, about 4-5 minutes more.
    2. Add the cheeses and butter, and stir until melted and creamy. Remove from the heat. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. If the sauce feels too thick, add ¼ cup of milk or water to thin.
    3. Divide the mac and cheese between bowls. Top with fresh parsley, chives, and pepper. Enjoy!
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe and made it alot for my family and friends, I am now on a Keto diet and I am trying so hard to make your recipes work because all if your recipes are soo incredible!! For this recipe to keep it one pot how much water should I add or discard if I am only using cauliflower no noodles???

  2. 5 stars
    This is super good! I made it healthier by tweaking it a bit. I used 14.5 ounces of protein pasta so I decreased the water to 3.5 cups. I used a total of 1 pound of cauliflower. I used 1% milk and Neufchâtel cheese instead of full fat cream cheese. I also decreased the shredded cheese and used 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup cheddar. And I omitted the butter all together. The kids gobbled it up! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Emily,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I am so glad it was a hit! Thanks for sharing your review!🌸 xT

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last week for a “fake thanksgiving” (in March) to accompany a turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the usual fixings. This recipe was a sub for my usual mac and cheese which is baked. It was a HUGE hit. Everyone had seconds! Will definitely make this again.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Happy Wednesday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go!! ☘️Tieghan

  4. 5 stars
    I’m so blown away with how good and easy this recipe is! I ended up using almost a whole can of coconut milk because my pasta absorbed so much liquid. It was absolutely delish and the whole family loved it!

    1. Hey Molly,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xx

  5. 5 stars
    Made this tonight! I substituted Gruyere for Fontina…just a personal preference and added smoked bacon. Yum! 😍

  6. Swapped for banzo chickpea shell noodles and added 1/2 cup of extra water. Turned out great!! I was worried the chickpea noodle water would be too thick but it wasn’t.

    1. Hey Erica,
      Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have the best weekend:) xT

  7. 3 stars
    The texture and creaminess was good, I didn’t absolutely love the flavor though. Unfortunately won’t be making this again.

  8. 5 stars
    Love this recipe and have made it several times. One pot clean up is great. I added crumbled bacon on the top. Yummy!

    1. Hey JoAnn,
      Wonderful!! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed!! 💕xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Make this right now. I used provolone and heavy cream for the optional parts, and the riced cauliflower I had in the freezer (thawed). My husband ate 3 bowls and insisted I put it on the meal schedule again this week. He won’t stop talking about how good it is. Simple to make and no one even knew cauliflower was in there until I told them.

    1. Hey Kristie,
      Happy Sunday! I am thrilled to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

  10. Yummo! I got home late after a long day but had this in mind. It really didn’t take long!- loved that it was a one pan meal and I have lots to share or have leftovers. The cauliflower adds great texture and flavor. I think I was a little heavy on the Dijon but gave it a good zing.
    My second HBH new recipe in 2 nights! I’m on a roll!

  11. 5 stars
    The kids and hubs loved this recipe – thank you, TG! I made it with the coconut milk alternative, and nobody noticed (big win!).

    1. Hi Erica,
      I really appreciate you giving the recipe a try, so glad to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great week! xxT