Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese

Braise a whole head of cauliflower in a seasoned broth before baking it covered in a delicious cheddar and Parmesan cheese frosting.

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese Frosting

Years ago I used to make a recipe quite often that was similar to this Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese. Simply called ‘frosted cauliflower’ it was steamed cauliflower with a simple mixture of cheese and mayonnaise spread over it before sticking it in the oven to bake just enough to melt the cheese.

I believe I thought the cheesy part would help me get my two girls to eat this veggie and doggone if it didn’t work! Like many recipes made so many years ago, it fell by the wayside and it was while perusing one of the many Bon Appetit magazines from a stack I have yet to get through, that I noticed an updated version of that old classic.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese Frosting

I loved their method of braising the cauliflower in a seasoned liquid on the stove; I can assure you that even without the sauce, this veggie cooked in wine and herbs was much tastier than my previous method of plain steaming.

I thought the influence of red pepper flakes a bit too much though so I’ve reduced them a bit…want more heat; go for it!

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan and Cheddar Cheese Frosting

Still, I decided to go with a version of the sauce I remember. The goat cheese mixture served on the side in the Bon Appetit recipe sounds wonderful and I will try it but you know how sometimes something hits you and NOTHING else will do?

That’s what happened to me and a cheese sauce frosted on the head of cauliflower was what it had to be! I’ve updated some of the components mostly because I could eat whole grain mustard with a spoon and the addition of Parmesan made a sauce more to my liking today.

Roasted and Frosted Cauliflower |

The end result was simply fabulous. Much prettier than I remember and tasty enough I could have eaten it all alone for dinner.

Lucky for me I had some of my favorite chicken leftover in the fridge; an entire meal was made with just the chicken and Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese and it was SO good.

Do you remember Frosted Cauliflower or am I dreaming?

Roasted and Frosted Cauliflower |

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 345 kcal


  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 whole cauliflower leaves and thickest part of core removed being careful to keep the head intact.

For the Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • Pepper to taste
  • Parsley for Garnish (optional}


  • Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add whole cauliflower, reduce heat and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  • Remove cauliflower from pot using 1 or 2 slotted spoons, drain and transfer the cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.
  • Reduce the oven to 375 degrees.

To Make the Cheese Sauce

  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl and ‘frost’ the top and sides of the cauliflower. Return to the oven for about 5-7 minutes or just until the cheese has started to melt. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired.
  • To serve, cut into slices.


Nutrition Facts
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce
Serving Size
1 Slice
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword cauliflower, cheddar cheese, Cheese, Parmesan, roasted
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. Do you think its possible to do the boiling hours before roasting up to 1 day before roasting? Last year for friendsgiving (more of a party with 50 ppl) I only made 3 heads and they were devoured before I had a chance to take a photo even! This year I plan on making 6 heads instead–hence I’m wondering if part of the prep can be done ahead of time or not.

    1. I don’t think that’s a problem. If you refrigerate them just make sure they come to room temperature before you finish so they are warm enough when done. And WOW…6 heads!! So glad you love the recipe and Happy Friendsgiving!

    1. I seriously loved it so much that I served a simple lettuce salad on the side. No reason to spoil the goodness and fill myself up with steak. 🙂

  2. This looks amazing. I have only had my grandmother’s steamed vegi plate with cauliflower. I will have to show this to her. Do you have any recipes for green bean or tatertot casserole?

  3. OMG, I remember a recipe like that. It was from a blender cook book, you put mayo, mustard & cheese in the blender & slathered it over the cauliflower. Update looks good.

    1. That was pretty much it Cyndi…this is definitely a bit more work but the results are more than a bit more better! 🙂

        1. That’s how I felt too; a bit more work but the end result was worth every second!

  4. this sounds like a delicious recipe. I love cauliflower anyway. I will try this soon. please add me to your network so I can receive more like this. BOB

  5. I am so glad I found this website. Recipes look amazing. I am making this cauliflower tonight.

  6. I should have eaten it when I had the chance. I thought I will heat it up when we sat down for lunch then forgot. Sigh!

    Oh that cheese on top is simply too good to resist.

  7. Hi Barb,

    Just thought I’d stop by your blog and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely love cauliflower and am always looking for new recipes and low and behold – here it is! Right now my favorite is a hot, peppery, garlicy recipe and I wanted to do something different.

    I’ll try it this week-end and let you know. Take care for now.
    Barbara Charles

    1. Hi Back…love you jumped over! I do a cocktail every Friday too if you enjoy a sip every now and then!

    1. I’m just sure you would love this; a bit more prep than I use to do but the flavor was worth it.

  8. I don’t remember Frosted Cauliflower, although from your description it does sound like something I’ve seen before (but never made). But who cares when this beauty is around? What a fun recipe. Looks great, and just from reading the recipe I know the flavor is terrific. Thanks.

    1. I actually think I must have done that here in CO first but then I’ve heard from others more Midwest who know of it. It’s one of those oldies but goodies so happy to spread the love!

  9. I just love how that beautiful cauliflower is peaking out of the braising liquid in your pot. The color of that pot is lovely too. I think this would be a great meatless Monday meal all by itself and I am going to suggest this to a friend who wanted more ideas for meatless meals for Fridays during lent.

    1. Thanks Holly and I agree; that sauce makes it a much more hearty veggie dish. And a good one. 🙂

  10. Barb, I saw the whole cauliflower on your Instagram feed last night and hope it was going to be Frosted Cauliflower! It must be a. Midwest thing because I was first introduced to it when I lived in Ohio. It is a staple at our Easter table ever since. I use cheddar cheese but I’ll switch it up this year and try your recipe. Love Frosted Cauliflower!

    1. I love how some things are so regional don’t you? This is a really nice version Liz; hope you do try it!

    1. Thanks Wendy; I love that pot too…think I got it at Saver’s for a buck or two. Can’t really bake in it but it sure looked pretty on the table!

    2. I love the pot too Wendy; think it was from a trip to a Saver’s store…so REALLY cheap! Love those finds. Hoping better times are soon.

  11. Dang, Barb! I love everything about this. And that’s really all I have to say except that I’ll be ordering a head of cauliflower from the Carolina Grown delivery service so I can make this baby myself!

  12. Wow…. I am so fascinated by this method of braising the cauliflower. Who would have thought? I can see how delicious this would be even without the cheese sauce, but then cheese sauce just makes everything better doesn’t it?

    1. I know right? Poor mistreated cauliflower never got wine before in this house! Add cheese? Amazing.

  13. I’m the same way. I’ll get something in my head and John will say, “Maybe we could try…” and it’s always “no, I’ll do that next time but this time, I want this.” He just nods. 🙂

    I can see why you wanted this. I’ll go light on the heat too.

    1. I changed the cheese topping up and love the Parmesan but you got me; I had a vision in my head and it had to be THIS! 🙂

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