Loaded Baked Cauliflower


  • 4 cups riced cauliflower
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 small clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (optional)
  • For topping:
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 8 strips applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Set an oven rack in upper third, and preheat to 400 degrees. Grease 4 small baking dishes.
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, add the cauliflower, milk, butter, thyme, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, or until you see gentle bubbles forming around the perimeter – do not boil. Cook for 10 minutes to soften the cauliflower. Turn off the heat, cover and steam for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the lid and cool to room temperature. Remove the bay leaf and thyme.
  3. Carefully pour the cauliflower into a blender or into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. For a creamier texture, add the cream cheese. Puree on low speed and gradually increase to high until completely smooth.
  4. Spoon one cup of the puree into each baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  5. Top each with 1/3 cup of cheese, 3 tablespoons sour cream, bacon and chives. Season with salt and pepper.