Learn how to make an easy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce for veggies, chicken, pasta and more. This simple sauce has a hefty dose of cauliflower tucked right inside for extra nutrition, but also lends creaminess for a cheese sauce the kids may love!

cauliflower cheese sauce in bowl with broccoli and cauliflower

Cauliflower Cheese Sauce

I love adding veggies to sauces to add flavor and nutrition to food for kids—it’s often an easy and effective way to boost nutrient intake! And the thing about using cauliflower in this cheese sauce is that it adds creaminess and nutrition, but blends right in.

And the best part? You can make it ahead of time, stash it in the fridge, and use it as needed throughout the week.

This easy cheese sauce, which simply blends together without the need to make a fussy roux, pairs really nicely with broccoli and is a little less salty than a traditional cheese sauce might be.

It’s also gluten-free (if that is an issue in your house) and perfectly smooth.

how to make cheese sauce step by step

Ingredients You Need

To make this cheese sauce you’ll need:

  • Grated cheddar cheese: You can buy it shredded or shred it yourself on a box grater.
  • Butter: I use unsalted butter.
  • Milk: I use whole milk, but low fat would work, too, if that’s what you have.
  • Cauliflower florets: Fresh or frozen will both work here. You can buy a whole head of cauliflower or use precut florets.
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

TIP: This is a nice way to use up a small amount of lingering cauliflower or to simply offer a healthy dipping sauce to go with dinner.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make cheese sauce. Scroll down to see the full recipe at the bottom of the post.

  1. Gather your ingredients (photo 1).
  2. Add the cauliflower to a steamer basket fitted in a medium pot with water. Cook until soft (photo 2).
  3. Add all ingredients to a blender (photo 3).
  4. Blend until very smooth. Season to taste (photo 4).

TIP: You can use yellow or white cheese, depending on your family’s color preference.

broccoli and cheese sauce

How long can I store leftovers?

This makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.

Of course, you can cut the recipe in half to make less from the start. I like to have extras in the fridge to use for future meals.

TIP: One batch of this quick cheese sauce makes enough for 1 pound of pasta.

chicken meatballs on plate with dipping sauce

What goes well with this Quick Cheese Sauce (besides broccoli)?

You can serve this with additional steamed cauliflower, steamed broccoli, pretzel sticks, chicken strips, or anything else the kids might like to dip into cheese sauce.

It’s great as a dip to serve with Chicken Meatballs, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Nuggets, Tofu Nuggets, or stirred into pasta to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.

How to Store

You can make this up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Best Tips for Success

  • Use yellow or white cheese, depending on whether you’d like the sauce to be yellow or white.
  • Serve with additional steamed cauliflower, steamed broccoli, fries, pretzel sticks, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Meatballs, as Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, or anything else the kids might like to dip into cheese sauce!
  • You can omit the garlic powder for a more mellow flavor.
  • You can add a pinch of mustard powder for additional flavor.
  • Use store-bought cauliflower florets or cut up a head of cauliflower. You can also start with frozen florets.
  • You may also like Favorite Toddler Meatballs, Cauliflower Tots, and Quick Steamed Cauliflower.

I’d love to know what your family thinks of this recipe so please comment below to share!

This post was first published January 2019.

how to make cheese sauce

Easy Cauliflower Cheese Sauce (4 Ingredients!)

Perfect for dipping and dunking veggies, this recipe makes enough for 2-3 servings, so you can store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat it for 15-30 seconds in the microwave to serve. You can also toss any leftovers with pasta for a quick and healthy mac and cheese.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dinner
Calories 85kcal
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk (warmed slightly)
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • Pinch garlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Steamed broccoli florets (optional)

Instructions

  • Add the cauliflower to a steamer basket fitted in a medium pot half filled with water set over medium heat. Cover and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower, butter, milk, cheese, garlic powder, and salt to a blender. Blend until very smooth.
  • Serve with additional steamed cauliflower, steamed broccoli, fries, pretzel sticks, Chicken Tenders, Chicken Meatballs, as Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, or anything else the kids might like to dip into cheese sauce!

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Heat in the microwave in 15-second increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.
  • Use yellow or white cheese, depending on whether you’d like your sauce to be yellow or white.
  • You can make this up to 3 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Stir into pasta to make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, serve as a dip for Chicken Meatballs, or as a dip for veggies, pretzel sticks, or Baked Chicken Tenders.
  • You can omit the garlic powder for a more mellow flavor.
  • You can add a pinch of mustard powder for additional flavor.
  • Use store bought cauliflower florets or cut up a head of cauliflower. You can also start with frozen florets.

Nutrition

Calories: 85kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 114mg, Potassium: 109mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 125mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. Hi, I’m curious if you’ve ever made this using frozen cauliflower florets? They are something I often have in the freezer because here the fresh heads are ridiculously expensive.

    1. I think so though it may separate a little when it’s thawed so stir it vigorously if that happens!

  2. Just to let you know that I tried to save this to Pinterest for my recipes but it says there are no photos to save?!

    1. That’s odd, I’m sorry! I can do it from my computer so I’m not sure what the issue is. Can you let me know if this happens with any other posts? Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    This was delicious!! I don’t have a blender but I put everything into a food processor and cooked it on low for a while on the above top. My daughter are like all of it. We poured it over our steamed broccoli and our parmesan pasta and everyone had seconds!!

  4. Can plain frozen cauliflower rice be used instead of a fresh head? Cant wait to try with my picky toddler! Already have the it in freezer! 😛

  5. CAn use goats chesse for this recipe? My grand daughter is gas tolerant to lactose..
    Or what else I can use chesse substitute ?

    1. I haven’t tried it with goats cheese and I’m not sure that the final texture would be the same. You might look for a lactose-free cheese or one that’s naturally low in lactose such as aged cheddar.

  6. 5 stars
    I just made this dip for dinner. It is really delicious!
    It would be so good on pasta. I will try it with the leftovers since I doubled the recipe.
    Thanks!