Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower

Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower - interior

March 22, 2024

Long before cauliflower became the darling of low-carb diets or the steak substitute for vegetarians, we were making this tasty side dish. Think of it as an updated version of the boarding school side dish.

Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower

The microwave is your friend

This is a perfect weekday side dish – the microwave makes it possible. All you need to do to prep the cauliflower is trim the leaves and level off the bottom. The cooking is all done in the microwave. And while the cauliflower cooks, you can whip together the simple mustardy sauce and prep the cheese (or buy the pre-shredded stuff to make it even easier).

Once the cooked cauliflower is coated with the mustard sauce and shredded cheese, it only needs a few more minutes in the microwave to get the cheese melty. You cook everything in the serving dish so it makes it even easier to get to the table. Just be careful because the dish and the cauliflower will be very hot.

Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower with one serving


  • As you can see from the picture, using red onion instead of a yellow onion gives a nice pop of color without any change in taste.
  • You can also make this with cauliflower florets – just reduce the initial cooking time in the microwave.
  • Switch up the cheese to your liking – want something milder, use a Monterey Jack; want something sharper, try a nice gruyère.
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Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower

Cheesy Whole Steamed Cauliflower

  • Author: She’s Almost Always Hungry
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This whole cauliflower, covered in a cheesy mustard sauce, makes a tasty and impressive side dish. It is ready in under 20 minutes thanks to the microwave.



1 medium cauliflower

3 tablespoons water

½ cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons dijon mustard (or your favorite mustard)

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

Paprika and chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


Remove the leaves of the cauliflower and trim the bottom so it will sit flat. Place in a large microwave-safe dish, preferably one with a cover. Add water and cover (use plastic wrap with a couple of tiny holes to allow steam to vent if your dish does not have a cover).

Microwave on high 8 – 9 minutes or till tender crisp. Use a paring knife to test doneness. If you encounter resistance, return to microwave for 1 – 2 minutes longer. Remove the cauliflower from the microwave and uncover. Carefully drain any remaining water from the dish.

BE VERY CAREFUL, there are multiple ways you could burn yourself. The dish will be very hot. The steam escaping from the cover/plastic wrap can burn you. There will be boiling water in the bottom of the dish.

While the cauliflower cooks, combine mayonnaise, onion, and mustard in small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Spread the mustard sauce evenly over the top and sides of the steamed cauliflower.

Sprinkle the cheese over the cauliflower, gently pressing it into the mustard sauce so it will stick.

Microwave for an additional 1 – 2 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese melts.

Let stand two minutes before serving.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Inactive Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 11 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 197.59
  • Sugar: 2.77 g.
  • Sodium: 264.94 mg.
  • Fat: 17.65 g.
  • Saturated Fat: 4.14 g.
  • Carbohydrates: 6.58 g.
  • Fiber: 2.47 g.
  • Protein: 4.6 g.
  • Cholesterol: 17.26 mg.

Keywords: cauliflower, cheese, mustard

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