Tender cauliflower and cubed ham in a creamy cheese sauce topped with crispy bacon. This keto mac and cheese recipe is easy, cheesy and delicious! You’re going to love it.
Want an easy keto dinner the kids are going to like? Need dinner ready in 30 minutes? Are you looking for a creamy, cheesy one-pan keto meal that rivals your childhood comfort favorite? This is it!
There are a bazillion recipes for keto mac and cheese around these days. Who would have guessed that a low carb staple like cauliflower would become a mainstream favorite? (See this low carb food list for more low carb vegetables.)
Using cauliflower as a pasta substitute was just the next natural progression. I, for one, love low carb cauliflower mac and cheese and all its variations. My family’s current favorite is this creamy keto mac and cheese casserole with ham. It’s hearty, tasty and very easy to prepare.
Typically, a casserole is a mixture of meat and vegetables held together with a starchy binder, eggs, cheese and maybe canned soup to make a creamy sauce. Then it’s cooked in the oven. People like them because they are easy – just throw the ingredients together and let it bake. Keto casseroles take a little extra thought, but they are also easy and full of flavor.
Cheesy Keto Mac and Cheese
This keto mac and cheese recipe is more of a stove top casserole and super easy to make. The cheese sauce is made in a pan and then mixed together with the cauliflower and ham.
The addition of ham makes this low carb casserole a hearty “one pan meal”. It’s the perfect recipe for incorporating leftover ham from a holiday dinner. Because cheese, ham, and bacon have a fair amount of sodium, I opt for using low sodium bacon.
TIP: Don’t have leftover ham? Use 1-2 thick slices (1/2 inch) of deli ham, a precooked-dinner ham or a ham steak for this recipe. It’s all good.
How to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Keto
It’s easy to make cauliflower mac and cheese Keto. Replace the traditional pasta with cauliflower and the flour-thickened cheese sauce with cream cheese and grated cheese. Using a smaller amount of liquid helps keep the sauce nice and thick.
Cut the cauliflower into bite sized florets and steam (I use my microwave). While the cauliflower cooks, Dice the bacon and fry on medium heat in a 10-12 inch frying pan. When crispy, remove and drain on paper towels.
Dice the onion, mince the garlic, cube the ham, and grate the cheeses. When the cauliflower is tender, drain very well and leave uncovered to release steam.
Pour-out the bacon grease, but do not wipe-out the pan. Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil-coated pan over medium heat until softened. Add the wine, water, chicken base, white pepper, and cream cheese. Stir to soften the cheese. Add the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, and white pepper. Simmer, stirring often, until nice and thick.
Stir the well-drained cauliflower and ham into the thickened cheese sauce to heat through. Top with bacon, and serve. Alternately, spoon the cauliflower mac and cheese into to a casserole dish for serving and top with the bacon.
How to Reheat Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
MICROWAVE: To reheat, place leftover keto mac and cheese in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and cook at full power, stirring halfway through. Cooking times will vary depending on the amount of leftovers and the power of your microwave.
OVEN: Alternately, cover leftover cauliflower mac and cheese with foil and place in a moderately hot oven (350 degrees F) and cook until hot. Make sure to stir at least once. Cooking times will vary depending on how much is being reheated and whether or not you have a smaller wall oven or a larger oven.
NOTES: The sauce is thickest when left to cool a little before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.
I tested this recipe a few times by baking in the oven. Each time it became a little watery as the cauliflower released moisture. For best results, follow the directions for making this particular cheesy cauliflower casserole on the stove top.
Tasty Low Carb Keto Cauliflower Recipes
Are You Crazy for Cauliflower? Here are more great keto cauliflower recipes.
- Crispy Cauliflower Pizza Crust (Keto)
- Creamy Cauliflower Hummus
- Broccoli Cauliflower Rice Casserole
- Amish Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
- Roasted Cauliflower with Bacon and Caramelized Green Onions
- Fluffy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (keto, low carb)
- Cauliflower Hash Browns
- Cauliflower Pilaf
Creamy Keto Mac and Cheese with Ham
- 1 pound cauliflower
- 10 oz ham, cubed
- 3 slices reduced sodium bacon
- 1/4 cup onion (1 oz)
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (2 oz)
- 1 cup cheddar cheese (4 oz)
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Cut cauliflower into bite-sized florets and steam until tender. Then drain well and leave uncovered to release steam.
- While cauliflower steams… chop onions, mince garlic, cube ham, and chop bacon.
- Heat a medium-large pan over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Remove bacon and pour out fat leaving enough to coat the pan.
- Saute the onions and garlic until softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine, water, chicken base, and cream cheese, stirring occasionally to help melt the cheese.
- Next, add the cheddar, mozzarella, Worcestershire sauce, and white pepper. Gently simmer until cheese has melted and the sauce is nice and thick.
- Add the drained cauliflower and ham to the pan. Heat through and top with the bacon. Serve. Alternately, spoon into a serving dish and top with bacon.
- NOTE: The sauce is thickest when left to cool a little before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 4 at 5.7g net carbs per serving.
- To reheat, place leftover mac and cheese casserole in a microwave safe bowl, cover, and cook at full power, stirring halfway through. Cooking times will vary depending on the amount of leftover cauliflower casserole and the power of your microwave.
- Alternately, cover leftover casserole with foil and place in a moderately hot oven (350 degrees F) and cook until hot. Make sure to stir at least once. Cooking times will vary depending on how cauliflower casserole is being reheated and whether or not you have a smaller wall oven or a larger oven.