Skillet Cauliflower Mac and Cheese


It's no secret that we love our classic mac and cheese in the South. We wouldn't think about planning a holiday spread or dinner party without it, and it often makes its way onto our dinner menu. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that we wouldn't dare replace our pasta with caulifower. Instead, we decided to combine the two. In this Skillet Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe, we add cheesy cauliflower to bring an extra dose of flavor and a touch of veggies to the traditional recipe. This creamy recipe is so delicious that your kids won't even notice that they're eating veggies while enjoying their mac and cheese at dinner or during lunch.Cook the cauliflower, cheese, and pasta all in the same skillet for easier cleanup after dinner. Top this cheesy, creamy dish with crunchy panko breadcrumbs for a nice crunchy finish.

Skillet Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Photo: Antonis Achilleos
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 cup)


  • 1 (1-lb.) pkg. cavatappi pasta

  • 1 pound cauliflower florets (about 5 cups) (from 1 medium head)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1/3 cup (2 2/3 oz.) unsalted butter

  • 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups whole milk, warmed

  • 8 ounces extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

  • 1 teaspoon Mexican-style hot sauce (such as Cholula)

  • 3/4 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (from 3 scallions)


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.

  2. Stir together cauliflower, 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Cover and cook over medium-high until florets begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add water; partially cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, 14 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Wipe skillet clean.

  3. Melt butter in skillet over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and whisk in cheeses, hot sauce, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Working in batches, carefully fold in cauliflower and pasta.

  4. Stir together panko, green onions, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle mixture over mac and cheese. Broil until topping is golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

Related Articles