No roast dinner is complete without a Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese bake. This is the easiest, cheesiest & most darn right delicious side dish you’ll ever make!
As a young warthog, the only way you’d get me to eat broccoli and cauliflower is to smother them in cheese. Of course now my tastebuds have grown up, but this dish still has a firm place in my heart. Follow me…
The BEST Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese
Cauliflower cheese was a staple in my house growing up, especially as a side dish for roast dinners and especially around the festive season. It’s a dish I’ve perfected over the years and make on the regular!
So, what makes this the best cauliflower cheese recipe?
Well firstly there’s broccoli, and we all love broccoli. Even if only when smothered in melted cheese. Secondly, and this is my absolute game-changing step, pre-roasting the broccoli and cauliflower. Yup, no boiling, no steaming, just good old fashioned roasting.
Why roast the broccoli and cauliflower?
- Flavour – Roasting the broccoli and cauliflower in olive oil and S+P gives so much flavour that boiling just can’t provide. Broccoli and cauliflower are the hero ingredients of this dish so to me it makes no sense to add them into the sauce unseasoned.
- Texture – When you boil or steam the broccoli and cauliflower it holds on to a lot of water (especially in the broccoli) and it’s released when you bake in the oven. And we all know cheese + water = a hot mess. When you roast them you also get a nice crispy crunchy texture which beats sloppy veg any day!
Process shots: dice broccoli & cauliflower and place on baking tray (photo 1), coat in olive oil, salt and pepper (photo 2), roast until lightly charred (photo 3).
Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese Sauce
The cheese sauce really is the money maker here. It’s rich, ultra cheesy and silky smooth. You’re essentially going to making a cheesy roux (mornay sauce).
What cheese to use in Cauliflower Cheese?
I use a mix of Cheddar and Gruyere. Gruyere adds a gorgeous nutty flavour to the sauce, but if you don’t have it you can just sub more cheddar. Because too much cheddar is simply not a thing.
Alongside the cheese, I recommend a few extra additions to really take the sauce to new heights:
- Garlic – cheese and garlic is a match made in heaven.
- Mustard – you don’t notice this once it’s baked, but it heightens the cheesy flavour!
- Nutmeg – compliments the nutty tones of the gruyere.
Process shots: melt butter (photo 1), fry garlic (photo 2), stir in flour (photo 3), whisk in milk (photo 4), add seasoning and cheese (photo 5), stir in roasted broccoli/cauliflower (photo 6).
Baked Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese
If you don’t bake your broccoli and cauliflower cheese in the oven then you’re doing it allllll wrong. It not only marries and intensifies the flavours, but also gives you that jaw-dropping golden crust. After you’ve thickened the sauce, pour into a suitably sized baking dish, top with cheese and bake away!
Process shots: top cauliflower broccoli cheese with cheddar (photo 1), bake until golden/bubbly (photo 2).
Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese FAQ
Why does my Cauliflower Cheese go watery?
As discussed above, this is down to boiling (or over-boiling) the cauliflower. The ends of the broccoli and cauliflower suck up moisture, and when baked, release it into your yummy cheese sauce. This is exactly why I roast my broccoli and cauliflower and urge you do too! It may also go watery if the cauliflower/broccoli overcooks, which is why you want it still a little firm when it’s out the oven, so it can continue cooking as it bakes.
Can I make ahead Cauliflower Cheese ahead of time?
Broccoli and Cauliflower cheese is perfect for making in advance! Just prep up until roasting (without extra cheese on top) and cool, cover and store in the fridge. Take it out, sprinkle over the cheese and roast away (more on this in the recipe card notes).
How long can you keep cauliflower cheese in the fridge?
I usually keep leftovers for 3-4days. The broccoli/cauliflower will soften as it rests.
Can you freeze cauliflower cheese?
I don’t recommend freezing this dish. You run the risk of it going watery and the sauce splitting upon reheating.
Serving Broccoli Cauliflower Cheese
You’ll notice it’s extra saucy when it’s initially out of the oven, but after it rests it’ll begin to retain its shape. I always serve this with fresh chives for a final hit of flavour and a pop of colour!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this roasted broccoli cauliflower cheese shall we?!
How to make Broccoli and Cauliflower Cheese (Full Recipe & Video)
Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese
- 7" x 7" Baking Dish (or similar size)
- Large Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Cheese Grater
- Jug (for milk)
Ingredients (check list):
- 300g / 10oz large bite sized pieces of Broccoli (approx 1x 14oz/420g whole head of broccoli)
- 400g / 14oz large bite sized pieces of Cauliflower (approx 1x 2lb/1kg whole head of cauliflower)
- 500ml / 2 cups Milk, at room temp
- 1.5 cups / 150g Cheddar, grated (save 1/3 for topping)
- 1 cup / 100g Gruyere, grated (see notes)
- 3 tbsp Flour
- 3 tbsp Butter (45g)
- 1 heaped tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 clove of Garlic, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp Salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, plus more to taste
- few pinches of Nutmeg
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- Fresh Chives, to garnish
- Add the broccoli and cauliflower to a large baking tray and combine with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven at 200C/400F for 18-20mins, or until lightly charred and slightly softened (will cook properly when baked).
- Melt the butter in a suitably sized pan over medium heat then add garlic. Fry for a minute, then stir in the flour to form a roux. Gradually pour in the milk, continually whisking as you go to avoid lumps forming.
- Bring to a gentle bubble, then cut the heat and stir in the gruyere and cheddar. Once melted, stir in the mustard, nutmeg and salt & pepper to taste. Stir in the roasted broccoli/cauliflower.
- Pour into the baking dish, sprinkle over the rest of the cheddar and pop in the oven at the same temp for 20 mins or until golden/lightly charred and bubbly all around the edges. Allow to rest for a few mins to reform shape and cool down, then sprinkle with finely chopped chives and serve up!
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
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