July 6, 2022
Gone are the days you crave cheesy pasta and feel bad because you’re eating low-carb. This cheesy cauliflower rice isn’t just good; it’s EPIC and hits the spot!
It’s the perfect midweek side dish when you want something to go with your protein but need comfort. Doesn’t it look amazing?
Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Skillet
Like all great sides, be it from vegetables or rice, they often start in a skillet, and this cheesy cauliflower rice is no different!
Whether you use freshly riced cauliflower or frozen, one pan is all you need to get this side dish going.
While I always include a printable recipe card in all my posts, I like to explain why I use certain ingredients in my recipes. To make this cheesy cauli rice, you’ll need:
- Riced cauliflower: the star of the show. Make it yourself with one of my quick methods below, or use frozen; just thaw it first.
- Butter: both for a little flavor and to sauté the garlic.
- Garlic: I suggested 2 cloves, but add more if you like.
- Salt: for seasoning.
- Cream cheese: creates a creamy base for the cheesy sauce.
- Cheddar cheese: white, yellow, mild, or sharp; use what you love.
- Water or milk: adds volume to the sauce (make more).
- Bacon: totally optional, but who doesn’t love bacon bits on top?
- Chives: optional, but omg, it makes me think of a baked potato (i.e., carbs!)
How to Make Cheesy Cauliflower Rice
Friends don’t let friends eat plain cauliflower rice topped with shredded cheese; we’ve got a step or two that will turn this into epic cheesy cauliflower rice. Here is how:
- Get the cauli ready:
If using a head of cauliflower, rice it first. If using frozen, ensure it’s thawed out, and you ring out the excess water/moisture inside a kitchen towel.
Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, melt the butter. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute until toasted and fragrant.
To the skillet, add the cauliflower rice and stir to combine with the garlic. Cook it for about 5 minutes until it has softened.
- Make the cheesy sauce:
To the soft cauli, add the cream cheese to the middle of the pan and begin to melt it slowly into the cauliflower. Add the cheddar cheese, and combine.
Slowly add one tablespoon of water at a time to the pan to help give the melted cheeses a thinner texture and make it saucier. Once incorporated, turn off the heat.
- Add the toppings:
Sprinkle the chopped bacon over the top and finely chopped chives if using.
How to Keep Cheesy Cauli Rice from Getting Mushy
One of the reasons cheesy cauli rice gets mushy is from using frozen, riced cauliflower directly in the recipe (without thawing it first), and the other is from not removing excess water from the riced cauliflower after it’s thawed out.
Prevent this from happening by placing your thawed cauliflower on a kitchen towel, wrapping it, and ringing it out over your sink, as I do in this video.
Is Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Keto?
Thanks to the cauliflower being naturally low-carb, cheesy cauliflower rice is a keto-friendly recipe with 5.5 net carbs for a generous serving, also packing 8.4g of protein (shown below as 4 servings).
If using this as a side dish or a smaller portion size and making 6 servings out of the recipe (vs. 4 as calculated), then you’re talking about 3.6 net carbs, 5.6g protein, and just 134 calories!
How to Store Leftover Cheesy Cauliflower Rice
Once the cheesy cauliflower rice has cooled down, transfer it into a food storage container or zip bag and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Reheating Cheesy Cauliflower Rice
To reheat cheesy cauliflower rice and maintain the delicious texture of when it was first made, add a tablespoon or two of water or milk, mix it, and heat it in the microwave.
Cheesy Cauliflower Rice
- 1 large head of cauliflower, riced or
- 16 oz bag riced cauliflower
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons water or milk
- 2 strips of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped
- Chives, optional
- If using a head of cauliflower, rice it first. If using frozen, thaw it out completely and ring out any excess water.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat; once hot, melt the butter. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute until toasted and fragrant.
- To the skillet, add the salt and cauliflower rice and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the cream cheese to the middle of the pan and begin to melt it slowly into the cauliflower. Add the cheddar cheese, and combine. Slowly add a tablespoon of water at a time to the pan to help give the melted cheeses a sauce-like texture. Once the cheesy mixture has been incorporated into the cauliflower rice, turn off the heat.
- Sprinkle chopped bacon bits over the top and finely chopped chives, if using.