Cauliflower cheese: Jamie Oliver's recipe with a hearty, meaty twist

Jamie’s given his cauliflower cheese some winning extras. Try it and fall for it

bacon cauliflower cheese
(Image credit: Getty)

Cauliflower cheese is such a class, yet it's often overlooked these days in favour of more exotic dishes. And yet, there's a way to cook this dish to make it both substantial and immensely satisfying. And who but the wonderful Jamie Oliver would come up with this gorgeous upgrade to an everyday dish?  

Yes, it’s a cauliflower cheese, but not as you know it. Jamie has added crispy bacon (mmm), and spring onions (great), plus he’s broken with tradition by using Red Leicester along with Cheddar (fab).

As you can tell, this one definitely got a round of applause at our table. Try it, and we think it’ll go on to your list of family favourites. Vegetarian in the family? Skip the bacon and it’s still a winning dish.

You can find out how to make this ultimate cauliflower cheese below plus you can visit our food hub for plenty more recipe ideas and inspiration for every meal.

Jamie Oliver’s ultimate cauliflower cheese

(Image credit: Getty)
  • Special thanks to Tesco for sharing this recipe with us

Planning to dish up Jamie Oliver’s ultimate cauliflower cheese? You will need: 

  • 2 large cauliflowers, broken into florets and large leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped 
  • 100g spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 120g plain flour
  • 1.2ltr semi-skimmed milk
  • 250g mixed Cheddar and Red Leicester cheese, grated
  • 2tsp English mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/GM4. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 10 minutes or until slightly softened. Drain and leave to steam dry.

2. For the sauce, add the bacon pieces to a large pan on a medium heat for a couple of minutes until crispy.

3. Add the spring onions to the pan and stir and, after 2 minutes, add the butter and allow to melt. Whisk in the flour until it’s formed a paste, then add the milk gradually, whisking throughout, until the mixture is smooth. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until it thickens and is silky in consistency.

4. Turn off the heat. Add two-thirds of the cheese to the pan, then the mustard. Taste and season. Add the cauliflower and stir to combine. 

5. Transfer the cauliflower cheese to a 30 by 40cm baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake for an hour, mixing half way through, until it’s crispy and golden.

If this recipe’s a hit with your family, you’ll want to check out the fabulous combo Jamie shared on Insta. Yes, it’s cauliflower mac and cheese. 

What cheese goes best with cauliflower? 

Cauliflower goes so well with cheese largely because it's not a very strongly flavoured vegetable in and of itself, so the world's your (cheesy) oyster when it comes to choosing cheeses to go with your cauliflower. The general rule is to mix at least two different types for a greater depth of flavour. Try mixing a blue cheese such as Gorgonzola with your Cheddar for a stronger flavour, or add Parmesan or Gruyère for a sophisticated tang; we also really like adding Taleggio – this sheep's cheese from Italy is creamy, soft, and a little sour, and works really well with vegetable-based dishes.