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Hidden Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a great way to sneak in a healthy vegetable and mask it with delicious creamy mac ‘n’ cheesy comfort food.

This is a recipe for homemade mac and cheese with pureed cauliflower hidden inside. Your family may or may not notice, but it’s always fun to try and sneak in extra veggies!

cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Hidden Cauliflower Mac and Cheese might just surprise you. Cauliflower… I’m not a huge fan.

I have friends go on and on about how much they love cauliflower and how many different ways they eat it – roasted, cut into thick “steaks”, made into “rice” which is just raw cauliflower cut to look like rice.

You can’t fool me.  The only way I eat cauliflower is if its covered in cheese or a wonderful dip. I will admit, however, that I do devour buffalo cauliflower bites.

How does one hide cauliflower in mac and cheese?

Good question.

I got a head of cauliflower and decided to steam it, puree it with half and half, and sneak it into some mac n cheese.

Pureed cauliflower added to mac and cheese

How to make cauliflower mac and cheese:

The only difference between my hidden cauliflower mac and cheese and regular mac and cheese is that I mixed in that smooth cauliflower puree.

You will still cook the pasta and then mix it into the cheese sauce. For my original version of this recipe, I used a combination of sharp cheddar and jalapeno jack because its what I happened to have in my frig, but any cheeses that melt nicely will do.  Go ahead.  Be creative.

I popped the pasta into the broiler for a few minutes to slightly brown the top because there are fewer things in this life better than crispy browned cheese straight from the oven (bacon, for example, is one of those fewer things).  But there is a huge part of me that enjoyed the pasta more before I put it in the oven because it was just so creamy and yum.

Only you can decide what works best for you.  Be sure to let me know if you pulled one over on your family and you got any non-lovers-of-cauliflower to eat it.

Watch the recipe video below!

Hidden Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Prep5 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Total20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Hidden Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is a great way to sneak in a healthy vegetable and mask it with delicious creamy mac ‘n’ cheesy comfort food. This is a recipe for homemade mac and cheese with pureed cauliflower hidden inside. Your family may or may not notice, but it’s always fun to try and sneak in extra veggies!




  • 16 oz macaroni
  • 1 head cauliflower see notes
  • 1/2 cup half and half divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces cheese grated (roughly 3 cups, use sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, fontina, gruyere, or a combination)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste


  • In boiling salted water, cook macaroni. Cook just slightly al dente. Drain, do not rinse, and set aside.
  • Separate cauliflower florets from stalk and steam until soft and tender. Puree in blender with 1/2 cup half and half.
    Hidden Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese | Self Proclaimed Foodie
  • Combine butter and flour in pot over medium heat and whisk to form a roux. Add milk and bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add shredded cheese, cauliflower puree, garlic powder, mustard powder, and salt in large pot. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Add in drained pasta and stir until well combined. Serve with fresh ground pepper.
  • If preferred, put in oven safe dish and broil on high 5 minutes to slightly brown the top, giving a toasted nutty flavor.


You can also use cauliflower rice instead of a head of cauliflower. You will need about 4 cups, or 32 ounces, of cauliflower rice to equal one head of cauliflower


Calories: 471kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 63mg, Sodium: 619mg, Potassium: 312mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 665IU, Vitamin C: 6.6mg, Calcium: 406mg, Iron: 1.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you’re in the right place! Stick around… I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. 5 stars
    Very good recipe. I followed instructions, and put a few extra items in:
    Some cayenne pepper powder and paprika. Saw the roux and figured it would be nice with a touch of heat.
    I roasted part of the cauliflower head with salt, pepper, olive oil and white vinegar. Did it at 375 for 30 minutes. Added to mac and cheese mixture right before baking.

  2. Could I use Dijon mustard instead of mustard powder? If so, how much? Planning on using Dijon. I used to work in a restaurant that made Mac n cheese with a bit of dijon and it was delicious. I just don’t feel like going to the store for one ingredient that I will never use for anything else.

  3. 5 stars
    Like some earlier comments, I found the cheese sauce to be grainy when following the directions (not the recipes fault, but it will come down to blender power). I used my immersion blender afterwards to smooth it out which fixed it up. Definitely steam the cauliflower until it can easier be pierced with a fork and blend the heck out of it!

    1. Hi Liana, I would just ensure that it’s fully thawed before you bake it. Then I think 30min covered with the last few minutes uncovered at 350F would do the trick.

  4. Hi there

    Made this tonight. We all enjoyed it. if you do not like cauliflower you will not like it.
    Cauliflower has a distinctive taste and you can taste it. It was delicious and super moist.
    I like making a recipe exactly the way its told first time. Next time I would use fresh garlic.
    thank you

  5. I had a Mac and cheese where the cauliflower was not pureed but finely chopped and included bacon. As a non veggie eater, do you have any suggestions? Any pitfalls that I might encounter? Thank you for this recipe, I am going to give it a try.

    1. Hi Michelle, The texture of the cauliflower is masked in this recipe but unfortunately, you can still taste it a little bit. Give it a try and let me know what you think. I also love throwing in very small pieces of broccoli in the water during the last minute of boiling the pasta and mix that in as well (or instead of). Plus, as you wrote, bacon makes everything better! – Krissy

  6. Wow, delicious! My friend’s 8 year old who doesn’t eat veggies gobbled this one up! It was so creamy and delicious!

      1. Made this today. Sorry but I think it will be a miracle if my family eats it. I followed the recipe to a T. The flavor is too bitter and the texture if too grainy. I will stick with making a roux. Kinda bummed at the moment. I hate writing neg reviews and I usually don’t unless I really didn’t like the taste.

        1. Hi Suzie, I’m very sorry to hear that! When I made it the texture was super smooth. I wonder if you steamed the cauliflower long enough? Mine was pretty fresh as well… not sure if that had anything to do with it. Mine didn’t taste bitter. The cauliflower taste wasn’t completely masked, but it was definitely more subtle than if you just had a side of it and it wasn’t bitter. Hopefully this won’t deter you from trying other recipes! -Krissy