Bacon Cheddar Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower makes your basic cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe even better by adding cheddar cheese and bacon. Would you believe me if I said this veggie-packed, keto-friendly cheesy cauliflower bake might even be better than mashed potatoes?
Trust me, this is a total crowd-pleaser. And with only five ingredients, a few minutes of work, and a couple of tricks, you can whip up this easy low carb side dish casserole. Make everyone forget about mashed potatoes when you serve Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Mash!
Disclaimer: This recipe was developed through a sponsored partnership with Cabot Creamery Co-operative. As always, all opinions are my own.
How do I know that you’ll be passing on the spuds to get your hands on a scoop of this deliciousness?
I could say it’s because I was basically ready to sit down with a spoon and the entire casserole dish and just go to town. Or I could say it’s because after restraining myself from doing that I kept going back to the fridge and sneaking bites of cold mashed cauliflower. And I’m not even a mashed potato fan. But I am a cauliflower fan since the day I discovered cauliflower tots. So perhaps my love of this dish does not come as a surprise to you.
Instead, I could tell you that our dinner guests loved it too.
But to really convince you, I am going to tell you that my husband, the man who previously banned roasted Brussel sprouts from the house and prefers his salads drenched in hot bacon dressing, went back for seconds. And thirds. Each time he declared how good the “mashed potatoes” were despite knowing full well AND being reminded that he was, in fact, eating cauliflower and not the cheesy mashed potatoes that this recipe is based on.
I suspect this has something to do with the Cabot Cheddar Cheese!
Which is healthier potatoes or cauliflower?
Potatoes do have their place for providing fiber and vitamin B6 and potassium for those who don’t have to restrict their carb intake. But cauliflower does have the benefit of being lower in both carbs and calories while still providing high amounts of fiber and B vitamins.
With only 5 grams of carbohydrates per 1 cup of raw cauliflower and 2 grams of those carbs being from fiber (source), cauliflower is definitely a keto-friendly vegetable. That’s why many people now turn to this cruciferous vegetable to turn it into cauliflower rice, as the creamy base for a keto broccoli cheese soup, as the topping for low carb shepherd’s pie, and so much more!
Cheesy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes with Bacon
When it comes to making cauliflower mashed potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes, there are two things that will make it outshine the traditional spuds.
What does cauliflower taste like?
While some people might characterize cauliflower as bland or bitter, it actually has a fairly mild flavor that, when prepared properly, is actually a little sweet. With such a neutral taste, it is perfect for pairing with other ingredients to highlight their flavors.
In this case of this recipe, that’s bacon and cheddar cheese! The smoky saltiness of the bacon and sharpness of these cheese really shine.
How to thicken mashed cauliflower?
While one benefit to mashed cauliflower over mashed potatoes is that you can’t whip it to the point of being gluey, sometimes it can be a bit too thin. So here are my tricks for the perfect cauliflower mash consistency:
- You’ll want to steam the cauliflower instead of boiling it. Also, I recommend fresh cauliflower instead of frozen, as frozen cauliflower sometimes has excess moisture.
- After steaming the cauliflower, remove it from the pot and leave it on a steamer rack or laid out on a sheet pan to allow some of the excess moisture to evaporate for just a few minutes.
- Instead of just mashing it and serving it in a bowl, adding Greek yogurt and an egg, then baking in a casserole dish gives it a nice, scoopable consistency.
- I like to use a food processor to puree the cauliflower, as it breaks it down so that it stays thick but doesn’t have large chunks of cauliflower.
- Of course, if you like the chunks, you can just mash it with a hand potato masher, then stir in all of the other ingredients before baking.
- If you prefer a more smooth whipped cauliflower puree, a high powered blender will do the trick.
In the photos below, the left one was whipped in the food processor and the right in the high-powered blender.
How Do You Make Mashed Cauliflower?
This easy mashed cauliflower only has five ingredients (plus salt and pepper). While the cauliflower cooks, you can prepare the baking dish, crisp up the bacon, and gather the other ingredients. Then just mash everything together and pop it in the oven while you prepare the rest of your meal.
You’ll get the full amounts and detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here is a brief overview and a few tips to show you just how easy it is.
What you’ll need to make cheesy mashed cauliflower:
- cauliflower – one large head or one and a half to two smaller ones
- plain Greek yogurt
- cheddar cheese – I used Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- bacon – cooked until crisp
- salt and pepper
- Steamer basket or large pot with steamer insert
- Baking dish – I prefer a 1.5 quart ceramic baking dish that is fairly shallow so that it is filled completely and you can see the nice golden, cheesy top. A 2 quart ceramic or 9-inch square glass baking dish will work, but it won’t be filled quite to the top.
- Food processor or blender – either will work for pureeing the cauliflower mash, but if you use a blender, I’d recommend one of the high-powered blenders so that you don’t have to add the extra liquid you’d need with a regular blender. With either the food processor or blender, you’ll likely have to scrape down the sides a couple of times.
- Cheese grater
- Skillet or baking sheet – for cooking the bacon on the stove or in the oven.
How to make mashed cauliflower:
- Steam cauliflower until very tender.
- Transfer to a food processor or blender and add yogurt, egg, shredded cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. Puree to desired consistency, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Crumble two slices of bacon and stir into the cauliflower.
- Transfer the mashed cauliflower to the baking dish and top with more shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.
- Bake at 400°F until heated through and slightly browned on top.
BRIANNE’S PRO TIPS and FAQs:
Is it better to boil or steam cauliflower?
For this recipe, it is better to steam cauliflower. Boiling not only causes some of the nutrients to be stripped from the cauliflower, but it allows it to get tender without absorbing excess moisture that will make your cauliflower bake too watery and runny. Truthfully, you could probably even use roasted cauliflower to add even more flavor!
How long does cauliflower take to steam?
You’ll want the cauliflower very tender so that the mashed cauliflower recipe turns out creamy and smooth. This will take about 15 minutes. You’ll know it is done when a form goes through it very easily and it can be cut and mashed with the side of the fork.
Can you double this recipe?
Yes, you can double the recipe for a large family meal. Then just bake it in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish ort a 9×14-inch glass baking pan for the same amount of time.
How long does mashed cauliflower last?
When covered tightly and refrigerated, this mashed cauliflower recipe can be made a day in advance, and leftovers can be kept for three to five days.
How do you reheat mashed cauliflower bake?
The entire casserole dish can be reheated in a 350°F-400°F oven for 10 to 20 minutes. The time will depend on whether you just pulled it out of the refrigerator and how much is still remaining in the baking dish. You want it to just get hot in the middle.
Can you freeze a cauliflower casserole?
You can freeze it. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before putting in the freezer, where it will keep for up to two months. The texture might change slightly, but it will still be delicious.
Why do I use Cabot cheddar cheese?
Cabot has long been my favorite cheddar. Perhaps that because they have been making high-quality dairy products since 1919. With a 100-year history, you know their award-winning cheddars will make this and any recipe extra delicious. You can use your favorite Cabot cheese, from Vermont Sharp to the Legacy Collection Farmhouse Reserve. Whatever cheese you choose, you’ll taste Cabot’s commitment to making the best products in every bite.
In addition, Cabot is a co-operative owned by farm families throughout New England and New York and 100% of profits go back to the farmers. Plus Cabot is dedicated to communities, the environment, and volunteers. Learn more about not only the products, but also their B Corporation certification and the Reward Volunteers program by following them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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What can you serve with cheesy mashed cauliflower?
- Served with Cube Steaks in a Cast Iron Skillet, you have a quick and easy dinner idea for busy weeknights.
- Cranberry Crusted Prime Rib and cauliflower mash make an impressive holiday meal.
- Skip the buns and scoop your Buffalo Chicken Sloppy Joes on top.
- Swap it for the cauliflower rice you serve with Skillet Chicken Enchiladas.
What are other Cheesy Cauliflower Bake variations?
- Parmesan Whipped Cauliflower
- Horseradish Cheddar Whipped Cauliflower Gratin
- Mashed Cauliflower with Goat Cheese
- Bacon Cheeseburger Cauliflower Casserole from Sugar Free Mom
Bacon Cheddar Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
This keto mashed cauliflower recipe takes your usual veggie side dish to another level. Skip the carbs but keep all the flavor of fully loaded mashed potatoes by adding plenty of bacon and cheddar to this cheesy cauliflower bake. Five ingredients, seriously easy, and so delicious, the entire family will be going for seconds and thirds.
I hope you’ll leave a comment and give it a FIVE STAR rating or share a photo on this pin on Pinterest!
Bacon Cheddar Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower
- Preheat your oven to 400°F, and lightly coat a 1.5 quart casserole dish with oil or cooking spray.
- Place a steamer basket in a large pot with about an inch of water.
- Cut the cauliflower into large florets, discarding the tough stem, and add to the steamer basket in the pot.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and steam until very tender, about15 minutes
- Remove steamer basket from the pot and allow to cool slightly so that some of the excess moisture evaporates.
- Place the cauliflower, Greek yogurt, egg, 3/4 cups of the shredded cheese, salt, and pepper into a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.
- Stir in about two slices of the crumbled bacon.
- Transfer the cauliflower to the prepared dish and sprinkle with remaining cheese and the rest of the crumbled bacon.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until heated through and browned on top.
- The casserole can be prepared ahead of time and baked or reheated before serving.
- The entire casserole dish can be reheated in a 350°F-400°F oven for 10 to 20 minutes. The time will depend on whether you just pulled it out of the refrigerator and how much is still remaining in the baking dish. You want it to just get hot in the middle.
- You can easily double the recipe for a large family meal. Then just bake it in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish ort a 9x14-inch glass baking pan.