Anyone else crave buffalo everything and anything? Truthfully it was never my jam until I got pregnant and now I basically crave buffalo sauce on everything: from my morning eggs, to buffalo chicken wraps and yes, even in my mac and cheese.
What could be better than buffalo cauliflower + mac and cheese having a delicious little baby? The answer: not much. I opted to make this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese recipe vegetarian but you can always feel free to add in some cooked, shredded or cubed chicken. Tony especially loved this one, even though he’s not a huge fan of cauliflower.
I lightened up this recipe just slightly by adding the boost of veggies and skipping the heaviness of cream cheese, but you can absolutely make it more indulgent with extra cheeses and even a drizzle of my blue cheese dressing on top (omg, yum).
Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below! xo.
What is buffalo sauce?
In case you’re wondering what makes this mac and cheese recipe to the next level, it’s buffalo sauce. Buffalo sauce is traditionally made from hot sauce (usually a cayenne pepper hot sauce), butter, vinegar & extra spices.
The flavor can be mild or spicy, so you can truly make this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese your own! My two favorite buffalo sauces are this brand and this one.
Everything you’ll need to make buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese
You’ll of course need some glorious buffalo sauce, plus some easy pantry staples to make this incredible vegetarian buffalo mac and cheese with cauliflower.
- Cauliflower: a trendy boost of veggies you’ll feel good about eating.
- Pasta: feel free to use any pasta shape you’d like – even gluten free! I love shells or cavatappi, but traditional elbow macaroni noodles would be perfect.
- Butter: you’ll need some butter to create the cheese sauce and the crunchy breadcrumb topping.
- Flour: the cheese sauce is also made with a bit of flour. Feel free to use an all purpose GF flour if you’d like.
- Spices: we’re using onion powder, garlic powder, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
- Milk & cheese: I like to use unsweetened cashew or almond milk, but you can use any milk you’d like. Plus, plenty of sharp cheddar cheese! I think blue cheese crumbles would also be delicious on top.
- Buffalo sauce: the one and only. Feel free to use a mild or spicy buffalo sauce.
- Panko breadcrumbs: we’re topping this bad boy with a panko breadcrumb mixture to give it that crispy, delicious topping. Here’s a gluten free option.
Can I make this gluten free?
Absolutely! Simply use gluten free pasta, gluten free all purpose flour and gluten free breadcrumbs.
Can I make this buffalo mac and cheese vegan?
I haven’t tested out a vegan version of this buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese, but I think it would work just fine using your favorite vegan cheddar brand or use my vegan cashew cheese sauce. Vegan butter is a great option for the topping, or you can simply omit the breadcrumb topping!
Customize your buffalo mac and cheese
The great thing about this creamy vegetarian buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is that it’s super easy to customize with your fav mix-ins.
- Make it spicy. Use a spicy buffalo sauce like this one, spicy shredded cheddar cheese, and/or add some jalapeño slices or chopped jalapeno to the cheese sauce.
- Boost the protein. Feel free to stir in some cooked, cubed or shredded chicken, bacon or even some chickpeas. Who doesn’t love a buffalo chicken mac? It’s a great way to use up rotisserie chicken!
- More veggies, please. Looking to up the veggies in here? Try roasting some brussels sprouts with the cauliflower and add it in. You could also throw in some spinach before baking!
How to make buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese from scratch
- Roast your cauliflower. You’ll kick off the recipe by roasting that cauliflower to perfection.
- Noodles & sauce. While the cauliflower is roasting you can boil your noodles and make the delicious cheese sauce.
- Gimme the buffalo. After pouring your cheese sauce on those noodles, stir in plenty of buffalo sauce and add the cauliflower to your noodle mixture.
- Top & bake. Pour the buffalo mac and cheese into a prepared baking dish, top with the remaining cheddar cheese and the breadcrumb topping, and bake until golden!
Make it ahead of time
Crunched for time? You can easily make this vegetarian buffalo mac and cheese ahead of time!
- Prepare the mac and cheese fully up until the point where you add everything to a baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it.
- Finally, bake it when you’re ready! You may need to add a few more minutes of baking time. FYI: This mac and cheese can be prepped up to 3 days ahead of time.
You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. Simply reheat in the microwave.
I would not suggest freezing this recipe as the cheese sauce won’t likely reheat well.
More delicious recipes using buffalo sauce
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Bleu Cheese Yogurt Dip
- Cheddar-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf
- Buffalo Mac and Cheese Stuffed Zucchini Boats
- Avocado Buffalo Chickpea Salad Wraps
- Buffalo Tuna Melt Stuffed Peppers
- Vegetarian Three Cheese White Bean Buffalo Dip
- Buffalo Zucchini Chicken Burgers
Try these wonderful pasta recipes
- Spinach Bacon Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
- Vegan Pasta Primavera with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce
- 30 minute Healthier Pasta Carbonara
- Brown Butter Pistachio Pesto Pasta with Chickpeas
- Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Incredible Caramelized Onion Spinach Chicken Pasta Bake
Get all of my pasta recipes here!
I hope you love this creamy, delicious buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese recipe! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Incredible buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese made with sharp cheddar, your favorite buffalo sauce and a boost of veggies from roasted cauliflower. This easy buffalo mac and cheese with cauliflower is baked to perfection with a crumbly topping and will be a family favorite!
- For the cauliflower:
- 4-6 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the mac and cheese:
- 8 ounces dry pasta shells or cavatappi (or any pasta you’d like, gluten free if desired)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all purpose flour (or sub whole wheat or GF all purpose flour)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 3/4 cups unsweetened cashew milk, almond milk or regular milk
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese)
- ½ cup medium to hot buffalo sauce
- For topping:
- 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and reserved for the topping (or about ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese)
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- To garnish:
- Green onion, (green part only)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cauliflower, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the cauliflower in the oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly golden, flipping cauliflower halfway through cooking. Keep heat in the oven.
While the cauliflower is cooking you can boil your noodles and make the sauce: boil the noodles in a large pot until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Once done cooking, drain and return noodles to the large pot.
While the noodles are boiling, make your mac and cheese sauce: in a large skillet, add butter and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens up a bit. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, salt and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.
Next add in 6 ounces (or about 1 ½ cups) of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the sauce and stir until completely melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, then add in buffalo sauce. Stir to completely coat the noodles, then add in your roasted cauliflower and stir again.
Spray a 2-quart baking dish or 9x9 inch or 11x7 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or grease with olive oil or butter. Pour in the cauliflower mac and cheese and spread out. Top with remaining ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese if you like extra cheesiness!
In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of casserole and bake for 25 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serves 6.
I typically make this with unsweetened almond or cashew milk because we don't buy regular milk. However you can use whatever milk you'd like. If you want a richer mac and cheese, use 2% or whole milk.
I recommend shredding your own cheese from a block of cheese. It generally melts better.
For a heartier option, feel free to add in shredded or cubed cooked chicken breast before baking the mac and cheese!
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on February 1st, 2021, and republished on February 2nd, 2023.
My husband and I made this last night and couldn’t stop going back for more! Definitely a new favorite in our house!
The best! Glad you both loved it!
So yummy! (I sent you a DM of my photo last night I was so excited lol) I didn’t have onion powder ugh! But I think the buffalo sauce made it just so divine I could go without it for the first time. I also added chicken, upped the cauliflower and cut the pasta by a little. Boyfriend loved it!!!
Amazing!! Love that 🙂 Such a great dinner!
I made this for dinner yesterday and it was a huge hit. So easy and delicious!
So happy to hear that!
Would broccoli be a good sub for cauliflower?
This was delicious. I’m a vegetarian and got jealous of my husband’s superbowl buffalo wings. I miss those flavors and this definitely did the trick! Followed your suggestion and added a bunch of spinach. This will definitely go in the repertoire. Thank you!
Love it! Glad you enjoyed!
This recipe is amazing!! I made it for Super Bowl Sunday and my husband absolutely loved it! We are both lactose intolerant so we subbed the cheese for Miyoko’s Sharp Roadhouse Cheese, and it was perfect!
I did struggle to make the roux with the given instructions (could not get rid of lots of lumps), so I ended up remaking it based on my own experience making many other roux’s (I mixed the 1/4 cup flour with a little bit of water until it was totally dissolved, then mixed into the butter, stirring constantly, and added milk slowly, also stirring constantly. The pre-dissolving of flour avoided lumps). Then proceeded with the rest of the recipe as normal.
Thank you always for the great recipes!
So glad you both loved it! And glad the roux worked out the second time around – it can definitely be a tricky process!
This was quick and easy to make and so, so good. Will definitely make again!
Dinner perfection! Only thing I changed was adding 1 lb chopped chicken breast. I roasted it at the same time I roasted the cauliflower. I LOVE your caramelized onion chicken pasta and this recipe is super similar, but easier and quicker. My husband and I both loved it.
I loved this recipe! Super easy and very flavorful, will definitely be making this again!
I’m not usually a big Mac and Cheese fan but the Buffalo BBQ sauce addition makes this so delicious! Not overly cheesy, which is a good thing. We will be adding this recipe to our favorites
Truly the Mac & Cheese of my dreams! This is the kind of dish that is so good it makes you sad to take the last bite. So easy and so so delicious.
Glad you enjoyed!
Loved this recipe! Next time I would probably use around 1/3-1/4 cup of Buffalo sauce because it was a little too strong and I love Franks! But otherwise super quick and easy 👍
Perfect! Glad you enjoyed regardless 🙂
Made this delightful dish for the Super Bowl and it did not disappoint. Didn’t feel any guilt because the cauliflower added sneaky veggies that my husband didn’t even notice haha
Sneaky veggies are the best! Glad it was a hit 🙂
So delicious! I added some roasted chicken for extra protein and it was a great addition! Easy to make and so addicting.
Perfect! Love that idea 🙂
truly amazing, my fiance and I inhaled every bite. 6 portions were gone in one sitting.. 🙂
So glad it was a hit!
I made this for the Super Bowl and it was 💣💣💣. I used a mix of 2% milk and almond milk. Husband’s review: This is really good. I’m going to have gas later. 🤦🏼♀️
Hahah best snack!
The instructions are easy to follow – this recipe is fool proof and FULL of flavour! Plus eating about half a cauliflower makes it feel healthy 🙂
So glad you love it!
Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed!
This was SO delicious. I added some shredded chicken and is was a big hit.
This was so so delicious! It also wasn’t too filling, like I sometimes feel with hearty mac n cheese dishes. The cauliflower balanced it out perfectly!
I made this recipe a few nights ago and it was absolutely delicious! It’s definitely going to be a new staple!
Made this for the superbowl and it was yum! Super easy too. Will definitely make again.
SO good. Just make it.
THIS WAS SOOO GOOD! Huge hit in my house, everyone loved it! Made with banza, turned out great!
Another delicious recipe! Next time I’ll add shredded rotisserie chicken to make it a little heartier, but this was such a good dish as is!
SO delish! I made this with green pea and quinoa pasta, and used regular milk. I literally could have eaten half of the pan in one sitting, but we need it for dinner tomorrow too. The buffalo sauce is a great way to sneak extra veggies to picky eaters! Next time I’ll probably chop the cauliflower smaller so that it’s even less noticeable, but this is such a winner.
Amazing! So glad it was a hit 🙂
This was absolutely delicious!!!! My husband went back back seconds and commented he would have it again. I never would of thought hot sauce and cauliflower in mac and cheese and I am so in love with the combination. Thank you.
Isn’t the flavor combo amazing?? Glad you both enjoyed!
I made this tonight and it was delicious! The buffalo sauce added that little extra zing and made it interesting. Next time I will add shredded chicken for protein.
So glad you loved it!
I cannot wait to make this later. I will be adding peas along with the cauliflower. Thanks so much for all of your fabulous ideas and recipes. Love, love, love…. this site!!!!
Perfect!! Hope you loved it!
I made this with the silk unsweetened almond milk, country crock plant butter and vio life cheddar shreds since I’m dairy free and it was delicious! Definitely will be making again
Perfect! So glad you enjoyed!
So delicious and quick & easy to make! The buffalo sauce is a great addition to mac n cheese and I love that it sneaks in some good veg too. Will definitely be part of the regular rotation in our house.
Absolutely! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
This recipe was magical!!! The only changes I made were to add a bit more onion and garlic powder but otherwise, I stayed true to the recipe. I love that it combined two of my favourite dishes into one bowl of deliciousness!!!!
Perfect! So glad you loved it!
Loved this recipe. Used almond flour instead of the suggested flour and it still turned out, just had to use 1/2 cup. Love the veggies in the pasta, add great flavor and texture. The green onion makes the dish.
Perfect! I’m glad that worked out well 🙂
SO GOOD even my picky teenager had seconds, I used whole milk bc that is what I had on hand.
Perfect! So glad it was a hit!
Another winning recipe! I personally love cauliflower, so this recipe hit the spot. But if you aren’t a cauliflower fan, it would probably be overpowering.
Glad you enjoyed!
This was tasty! I wasn’t sure if by Buffalo sauce, you meant straight hot sauce (like Frank’s) or Buffalo wing sauce, which usually has butter and maybe some other stuff in it, so is probably a little milder. I used 1/2 cup straight Frank’s, which was a little too much heat for me. I think with 1/3 cup it would have been fine. For my picky son, I just made mac and cheese using the same recipe (no Buffalo sauce), with roasted cauliflower on the side. I look forward to making this again!
Mmm! I was so happy I could use several of the same ingredients for this recipe that I used the other day for your Buffalo Cheddar Chicken Meatloaf. I used Chobani’s Zero Sugar Oat Milk & the roux was simple! Thank you for another amazing recipe. 🙂
Delicious and easy to make. It’s a great comfort food. I used hot Buffalo sauce and it was the perfect hotness.
Yum! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
This recipe is EXCELLENT! I have now made it twice. First time I added chicken. Delicious! Made it again tonight and added red onion and bacon. Spectacular! I’ll be making this recipe for years to come.
I completely agree! Tried both the chicken and bacon versions and loved both!
So happy to hear that! Sounds delicious 🙂
Added broccoli with the cauliflower and it was amazing! Not too cheesey and not too spicy. Definitely will be worked into my dinner rotation!
Perfect! Love that idea.
I’ve never been disappointed by one of Monique’s recipes and this one is no different. The flavor was delicious and I loved the mix of the pasta and roasted cauliflower! I found myself eating it out of the pan as I put the leftovers away. A definite add to the usual recipe rotation!
Amazing! Glad you loved it 🙂
Made this for dinner last night – great recipe! We love both mac and cheese and buffalo caulflower so this combo solved for both! The crunch from the cauliiflower adds a nice texture to the dish that we loved and adds a healthy element to an indulgent dinner 🙂
I didn’t have any milk on hand so used half/half & water as a sub. For mac and cheese, I always grate a block of cheddar instead of the pre-bagged stuff as it has far less oil and lends to a creamier texture. The scallions were a nice add and next time, if we want to be a bit more decadent, we may add some crumbled blue cheese on top 🙂
Love that! And yes, hand-grated cheese is always better 🙂
Another winner! Even the meat eaters in my house couldn’t stop going back for seconds and thirds. Love how easily customizable it is too — I added brussell sprouts with the cauliflower and loved the added taste and texture. This will absolutely be added to our dinner rotation! Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Love it! Perfect dinner 🙂
This was great! The hidden cauliflower makes me feel better about eating Mac & cheese!
Absolutely! Gotta love the sneaky veggies 🙂
This looks amazing! Do you you think unsweetened vanilla almond milk would be okay or would you recommend getting the plain unsweetened? Can’t wait to try!
I’d recommend plain so that it doesn’t add any strange sweetness to the dish 🙂 Enjoy!
Delicious!!! Will def be making it again. Thank You for the creative recipe.
You’re welcome, I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Perfect amount of Buffalo flavor, Love being able to add meatless dishes to the rotation!
This was such a hit with my husband!! We love this and rotate it into our meal plan often. So comforting and a great reminder of childhood, with a grown up twist.
Yes, my thoughts exactly! So glad to hear you guys are loving it 🙂
So easy and delicious! It was great reheated, too, which many times Mac and Cheese gets gross when reheated! Keeper!
Oh yes totally know what you mean, happy you loved this one!!
I just made this for dinner and it is DELICIOUS! Not hard at all either. Thank you so much for this wonderful dinner.
Yay!! Happy you loved it, Alisa!
Made this for dinner earlier this week and it was absolutely delicious! I’m normally not a fan of baked Mac and cheese, but this was creamy and was great as leftovers for lunch. I also loved the addition of cauliflower! Will make again
Awesome! So happy you loved this one 🙂
I absolutely LOVE this recipe! Perfect for fall and game day!
Honestly? My fave Mac n cheese recipe EVER (and I’ve tried a lot). We used hot buffalo sauce and it was the perfect amount of heat and cheese. Likely my boyfriend’s favorite thing that I’ve made. Will be making this again soon, no doubt!
Omg I’m SO glad to hear that!! Glad you guys both loved it 🙂
Made this for dinner tonight. There were some snarls beforehand about the cauliflower, but once it was on the table, everyone loved it. There was nothing left. Made a green bean salad to go with it. My husband’s comment, “this is the best cauliflower I’ve ever had”.
Run, don’t walk and go make this right now! Made it for the first time for thanksgiving, and it was rated #1 dish by the whole family. Luckily I made two batches, because everyone went back for seconds and thirds! This will forever be a thanksgiving staple and easy dinner (will try to add shredded chicken!)
This was a 15/10 delicious! Everyone had seconds & I can’t wait to make this again. I added some onion powder and garlic powder in with the butter/panko mixture at the end, and the bread crumbs were to die for.
Wooohooooo! So happy to hear you loved it! Bet it was amazing with the onion and garlic powder in the topping 🙂
This is phenomenal! I used only half the Buffalo sauce so it wouldn’t be too spicy for my toddler, I wasn’t sure how he’d react to Buffalo sauce. We all loved it! Next time I think I’ll use less pasta + a little less cauliflower so it’s more saucy.
Very hearty and delicious even without any meat added. I needed 4 TBSP of butter in using King Arthur gluten free flour to be able to whisk. I also need a few more splashes of milk. I also didn’t put the panko topping as I was trying to keep gluten free but I will be adding them next time and then I think it’ll be 5 star! Lol
Thanks for sharing, that all sounds great! Excited for you to enjoy it again 🙂
Another to die for weekly recipe in this house! So full of flavour ! And the best way to make my son eat a vegetable!
Hahah YES love those sneaky veggies! Thanks for the review, Miranda 🙂
Wonderful spin on ordinary Mac and cheese. So easy to prepare and so tasty😀
This recipe is so good. It’s the second time I am doing it. So easy and I like prepare it 1-2 before cooking it. I will definitely try spreading the cheese from a cheese block,
Thank you so much
So glad you love this one, Naomie!
One of my favorite recipes from your site,so easy and delicious!
Thank you so so much for this recipe. Sounds like a delicious twist on a classic dish. Right?? Can’t wait to try it and see how it turns out.
We love this recipe – it’s always on the rotation in our house 🙂 I want to make it for a superbowl party – do you think I could put together the dish in the morning (up to step 5) and then bake in the evening?
This was such a tasty dish! I used chickpea pasta and it held up! Will definitely be making this over and over!. It was a huge hit at my house!
Love this recipe! We added broccoli as well – delish and semi easy to make!
So yummy! I have never made mac & cheese with unsweetened almond milk. I think my GI track appreciates less dairy. I just sprinkled about 1/4 cup panko on top rather than adding the extra butter. Also left out the 2 oz cheese on top. Next time I will saute 1/4 minced onion in the butter for the sauce like my usual mac & cheese recipe does. Will definitely make again. May even try to get my husband to try it with the cauliflower!
So delicious & easy! We added shredded chicken. Will become part of our dinner rotation meals! 😊