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Cauliflower Cheese with Croutons: You Must Try This Recipe!

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You might be wondering why this is the best cauliflower cheese recipe and what’s it doing on a website all about bread?

I decided to include this recipe because not only is it a great way to use up leftover bread, it also goes really well as a complete meal with some homemade granary bread.

Cauliflower cheese is a classic dish, which is slightly underrated because done well, you can really take it up to the next level.

I’m going to show you how to make the perfect cauliflower cheese which tastes amazing, along with tips on how to get the best results.

The extra flavours and texture which make this the best cauliflower cheese recipe come from not one, but three kinds of cheese, along with a crispy cheesy crouton topping.


Cauliflower Cheese with three cheeses and croutons

A deliciously cheesy cauliflower cheese topped with crispy croutons – a great way to use leftover bread
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine British
Servings 8
Calories 347 kcal

Equipment

  • Large Pan
  • Colunder
  • Medium pan
  • Whisk
  • Large baking dish
  • Cheese grater
  • Spoon

Ingredients
  

For the Cheese Sauce

  • 100 g Butter
  • 100 g Plain flour
  • 600 ml Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt to taste
  • 40 g Parmesan cheese grated
  • 100 g Red cheese double Gloucester or red Leicester – grated
  • 100 g Mature cheddar grated

For the cauliflower

  • 1 large Cauliflower or 2 small
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt

For the Croutons

  • 2 slices Bread thick – brown or white
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions
 

Make the cheese sauce

  • Grate all the cheeses onto a plate ready for when you need them.
  • Measure the milk into a jug.
  • Heat a medium sized pan on a medium to high heat.
  • Add the butter to the pan and stir until its melted and bubbling well – but not turning brown.
  • Add the flour to the butter and mix together to form a thick paste. Stir for a minute or two to cook the flour.
  • Add some of the milk (about 100ml) to the flour and whisk well until its incorporated into the paste. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy at first, if you keep beating the lumps will go.
  • Repeat this step adding a bit of milk at a time until you have a thick silky sauce, keeping it moving all the time so the sauce at the bottom of the pan doesn’t burn.
  • Add about two thirds of the cheeses to the pan, holding back a third of each cheese for the topping.
  • Add the nutmeg and salt and check the seasoning, stir well and turn off the pan.

Prepare the cauliflower

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the salt.
  • Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut it in half across the top.
  • Remove the main core from the cauliflower in a triangular shape.
  • Break up the cauliflower and place the florets into the pan of boiling water.
  • Boil for 5 minutes then drain the water and leave in the hot pan for a few minutes to evaporate any excess water.
  • Tip the cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and pat down to get rid of as much water as possible.
  • Place the cauliflower in a large baking dish.

Make the Croutons

  • Cut the bread into cubes which are about 1-2cm square – they don’t have to be perfect because a rustic look is good.
  • Place them in a bowl and pour over the olive oil, toss the breadcrumbs in the oil and set aside.

Assemble and bake

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower in the baking dish and spread out evenly.
  • Sprinkle over the croutons and the remaining cheese.
  • Place in the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes so the croutons go crispy and the top is golden.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

 
The cheese sauce is made by adding cheese to a basic roux sauce.  Because cauliflower contains a lot of water, it’s important that your sauce isn’t too thin because more water will be released when the cauliflower cheese is cooked in the oven. 
The key is to make the sauce thicker at the beginning to allow for the released water later on.
To avoid any lumps and to make sauce cooking time quicker warm up the milk first in a small pan.  This way the sauce thickens much quickly so no lumps develop. 
In this recipe, I use Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and mature cheddar for flavor and a coloured cheese for colour, but it’s really up to you if you want to change one of the cheeses or just use what you have in the fridge, as long as the overall quantity is the same.

Nutrition

Calories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 14gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 1022mgPotassium: 468mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 635IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 352mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Cauliflower Cheese, Cheese, Croutons
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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What can you serve with cauliflower cheese?

The following dishes go really well with cauliflower cheese:

  • Thick back bacon or a gammon steak.
  • Use it as a side dish for a roast beef Sunday dinner.
  • Serve it with sausages and oven-baked tomatoes drizzled with a bit of olive oil.
  • It also goes really well with a chunky wedge of granary bread and butter (you might want to make the recipe without the croutons if you’re doing this to avoid a bread overload!). Find out how to make homemade Granary bread here.

How to stop cauliflower cheese from going watery

Watery cauliflower cheese is something that can happen because the cauliflower releases water as its cooking. 

Here are some tips which you can follow to counteract the extra water release and produce creamy rather watery cauliflower cheese. 

  1. Make the cheese sauce thicker so it can withstand some water release while baking.
  2. When you parboil the cauliflower drain it thoroughly in a colander and transfer it back into the hot pan for a minute or two to evaporate excess water.
  3. Pat the cauliflower dry using a tea towel before placing it in the baking dish. 
  4. Use fresh cauliflower rather than frozen for cauliflower cheese, I’ve tested both and the frozen version released a lot more water. 

How to store and reheat cauliflower cheese

Cauliflower cheese with croutons can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated.   

That said, cauliflower cheese is best eaten when it’s freshly made because the croutons and the cauliflower tend to go soggy when refrigerated and reheated. 


You might also like…

If you enjoyed using left over bread to make croutons, you might also like the following article on croutons:

How to make and use croutons