Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese doesn’t have to be an inferior version. This cauliflower cheese is rich, creamy, cheesy and infused with roasted garlic, dijon mustard and plenty of white pepper.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board with plates

Is there any more comforting and homely supper than cauliflower cheese?

This gluten-free version is incredibly quick and uses only cornflour and milk instead of the roux. Absolutely perfect as a smash and grab dinner for the family. It has even passed the Luke test who can be pretty severe in his judgment of gluten-free alternatives.

It is so much easier actually than making a roux as all you need to do is whisk together the cornflour and milk for a few seconds in a cold saucepan then once it’s smooth place on the heat and bring to a gentle simmer. The sauce will thicken and at this point you stir in the cheese so it becomes a gorgeously creamy and velvety sauce.

side shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish on a wooden board

Cheese

The secret to any decent cheese sauce I think is to use a mix of cheeses, here we use:

  • Mature cheddar for flavour
  • Red Leicester for sweetness and colour

You could use all cheddar or all red Leicester. I have also been known to swap the whole amount for gruyère which has a lovely nuttiness.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish on a wooden board

Now, using just cornflour and milk rather than a roux can lead to a rather bland sauce that doesn’t have the richness of the original. However, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve to make sure that our version is as good as, nay surpasses, the roux version. These extra ingredients are no bother and really kick our sauce up a notch.

Dijon Mustard

The true trick when making a cheese sauce is to add a dollop of Dijon mustard to the proceedings which really brings out the cheesiness.

Roasted Garlic

I love to add roasted garlic into the sauce which sounds like a bit of a faff but really all you need to do is pop the garlic cloves in the oven on a baking tray with a splash of olive oil and they roast for 10 minutes as the cauliflower is put on to boil. They add a mellow flavour which gives the sauce depth.

However, if you simply cannot bear this one extra step then a ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder is also acceptable.

Crème fraiche

Since we’re not making a traditional roux we lose a little bit of the creaminess to our sauce. We can easily sort that out though with a final stir of crème fraiche in at the end. It adds richness to the sauce and the tanginess really compliments the cheese. It is an optional step but one I rarely skip.

Crunchy topping

As well as the mound of extra cheese I will insist you grate over the top of the assembled dish you will also need a little bit of crunch. You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs but what works really well are ground almonds. They crisp up beautifully and add a final touch of nuttiness to the finished dish.

side shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board

How do you serve Cauliflower Cheese?

  • Cauliflower Cheese makes a great vegetable side dish to your Sunday Roast.
  • Delicious with gammon or pork chops as a midweek meal.
  • Or as very simple supper with a hunk of toasted gluten-free bread.

Can it be made ahead?

Yes – assemble the dish in the ovenproof dish right up until you add the grated cheese and ground almonds. Leave to cool and then you can keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Then sprinkle on the cheese and almonds before placing in the oven. Increase the oven time by 5-10 minutes since you are cooking it from chilled.

Can it be frozen?

Yes – Although you should mix the par-boiled cauliflower into the cheese sauce and then freeze in a tight-fitting container. It can keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost completely overnight before pouring into the ovenproof dish and then sprinkling over the cheese and ground almonds. Increase the oven time by 5-10 minutes.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board

Would you like more vegetable side dishes?

Carrot and Swede Mash
Braised Red Cabbage
Cheesy Brussel Sprout and Leek Gratin

Or perhaps more accompaniments to your Sunday Lunch table?

Gluten-Free Yorkshire Puddings
Gluten-Free Gravy
Gluten-Free Stuffing

If you make this Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

overhead shot of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese in a serving dish with a spoon on a wooden board

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese

Gluten-Free Cauliflower Cheese doesn't have to be an inferior version. This cauliflower cheese is rich, creamy, cheesey and infused with roasted garlic, dijon mustard and plenty of white pepper.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 326kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 100 g red Leicester grated (+25g for grating on top)
  • 50 g mature cheddar grated (+25g for grating on the top)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves roasted and mashed*
  • 1 tablespoon crème fraiche
  • 15 g ground almonds

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas mark 5.
  • Separate the florets of the cauliflower then place in a large pan of boiling water. Bring up to a gentle simmer, then cook for 10 minutes. Drain and place the florets in an ovenproof dish.
  • In a medium sized saucepan whisk the cornflour into the whole milk then once smooth switch on the heat and bring to a low boil.
  • Sprinkle in the cheese and stir in until melted in.
  • Add the mustard, pepper, garlic cloves and crème fraiche and stir in until it becomes a thick smooth sauce.
  • Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower florets then sprinkle on the extra cheese and the ground almonds.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes when the cheese should be bubbling and the almond breadcrumbs turning golden.

Notes

*I break the cauliflower into large florets which requires par-boiling for this length of time. It produces a softer cauliflower. If you prefer a firmer cauliflower with bite then just par-boil for 5 minutes.
*Roast the garlic by placing the whole cloves in their skins on a baking tray with a splash of olive oil in the pre-heated oven for the 10 minutes whilst the cauliflower is par-boiling. Remove from the oven, peel from their skins and mash the creamy insides.
You can swap the roasted garlic for ¼ teaspoon garlic granules.
Making Ahead - It can be made ahead by assembling the dish in the ovenproof dish right up until you add the grated cheese and ground almonds. Leave to cool and then you can keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Then sprinkle on the cheese and almonds before placing in the oven. Increase the oven time by 5-10 minutes since you are cooking it from chilled.
Freezing - you should mix the par-boiled cauliflower into the cheese sauce and then freeze in a tightfitting container. It can keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost completely overnight before pouring into the ovenproof dish and then sprinkling over the cheese and ground almonds. Increase the oven time by 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 631mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 440IU | Vitamin C: 69.8mg | Calcium: 434mg | Iron: 0.9mg
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This recipe was updated in September 2020 to clarify the method, adding more helpful information and editing my lengthy waffle which was no longer relevant to the recipe.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious but only cooked cauliflower for 5 mins as it would ha e been too soggy

  2. 5 stars
    Lovely recipe, makes a hearty supper dish for two

  3. How much is a head?!

    • As cauliflowers range in sizes I developed this recipe with a medium to large head of cauliflower which is the average size you might buy at the supermarket. If you have a small head of cauliflower (weighing about 250-300g) you might choose to use two heads or have the final dish very saucy. Or if you have a large head of cauliflower – weighing about 800g then it will be a higher veg to sauce ratio. The photographs depict a cauliflower of about 600g.

  4. I’m in the US… Is your cornflour what we call cornstarch – white and super fine? Or is it finely ground cornmeal – pale yellow and the consistency of wheat flour? Thanks!

    • Georgina says

      Hi Erica, in the UK cornflour is white and superfine – just like your cornstarch and is what I used in this instance.

  5. Jenny Clark says

    fabulous absolutely delicious thank you Georgina

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