This creamy, cheesy tangy microwave cauliflower recipe is one even cauliflower haters will love. Cooking a whole head of cauliflower in the microwave is a super easy side dish. Topped with a mixture of mayonnaise, mustard and slices of American cheese.
About This Recipe and Why It Works
I’ve always claimed that even cauliflower haters would cozy up to this recipe. And being married to one, I can attest that even the Ranch Hand likes this one.
Way back in the dark ages, when microwave ovens were first available for purchase for our home kitchens, I got one for Christmas.
It was a Radar Range and I wish I had a photo of it. Compared to our sleek modern versions, it’s probably somewhat laughable. The appliance came with a cookbook illustrating how you could magically prepare anything from pot roast to desserts …in a flash.
This new appliance seemed so daunting, I was compelled to take a class offered at our local Sears store. A demonstration type class, that lasted a couple of hours.
This is where I learned of this microwave cauliflower recipe, a recipe to microwave a whole head of cauliflower. I’ve been making it ever since, and regularly for over 40 years.
To steam cauliflower in the microwave yields a tender texture and sweet flavor.
Once the topping of mayonnaise, mustard and American cheese are added the tangy, creamy cheesy flavors truly enhance the entire experience.
If you’re looking for easy cauliflower recipes, and looking for whole cauliflower recipes, you must give this one a try. It’s so easy, creamy and cheesy.
Ingredients To Make Microwave Cauliflower
- Cauliflower: 1 whole head. Any size will do. I always grab a large sized head of cauliflower for more servings and leftovers.
- Mayonnaise: A good quality mayo works well for cooking. Dukes or Best Foods are good here.
- Mustard: Plain yellow prepared mustard.
- Onion: Fine diced sweet or yellow onion.
- American Cheese: Individual slices of American Cheese is a beautiful melting cheese.
- Cheese: Substitute grated cheese for the American Slices. A medium cheddar works well. I highly recommend grating the cheese yourself as the pre-grated bags of cheese contain ingredients to keep it from sticking together in the bag. In turn, those ingredients will keep the cheese from melting as well.
- Onion: To make things even easier, I’ve used dried onion flakes for this recipe. Just mix in the flakes and let it sit a few minutes to soften before cooking.
How To Make This Easy Microwave Cauliflower with Cheese
Step 1: Using a sharp large chef knife, cut around the core area and remove the protruding core and outer leaves of the cauliflower.
Step 2: Place the cauliflower, core side down in a deep 2 – 3 quart microwavable casserole dish. Add 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook for 8 – 10 minutes on high.
Step 3: Make the sauce. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine the mustard, mayo, and onions and blend together with a fork.
Step 4: Remove the cooked cauliflower from the microwave and spoon the sauce over the top.
Step 5: Using the back of a spoon, coat the cooked cauliflower with the mayo, mustard sauce. Make sure to coat the cauliflower as far down the sides as you can.
Step 6: Add the slices of American Cheese to the top of the sauced cauliflower. Alternate the angle of the cheese slices for even melting.
Step 7: Cover the pan with the lid and return the cauliflower to the microwave. Cook on high for 2 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the mayonnaise mustard sauce. Let the cauliflower stand, covered, for two minutes before slicing.
Step 8: Using a sharp knife, slice the cauliflower in wedges and serve immediately.
Tips for Success
By the way, did you read that the Millennials are throwing American Cheese out of their diets? If you are one that simply doesn’t like processed American cheese, you can most certainly substitute grated cheddar cheese. But it doesn’t melt as beautifully.
I tried cooking this in my Instant Pot and it took longer than in cooking cauliflower in the Microwave. Due to pre-heating, coming to pressure, and releasing pressure, the microwave had it beat by about eight minutes. Score one for the microwave. But yes, you can cook a whole head of cauliflower in the Instant Pot. Just follow the same steps for the microwave recipe.
Microwave powers vary as do the size of a full head of cauliflower. After 8 minutes of cooking the cauliflower in the microwave, remove it and use a fork to test its doneness. If the fork inserts into a tender vegetable, the cauliflower is done. If it feels too crisp, return to microwave and cook 1 – 2 minutes longer.
Did your perfect deep casserole dish not come with a lid? Simple, just cover tightly with plastic wrap. Using a fork , poke a few holes in the plastic wrap.
Pro Tip – Garnish: I like to sprinkle this microwave cauliflower with something red to enhance the presentation. A pinch of chile powder or paprika work well here.
Recipe for Microwave Cauliflower, How To Cook Cauliflower in the Microwave
I hope you give this microwave cauliflower recipe a try. And if you do, please come back and let me know how you liked it and give the recipe a star rating.
Your feedback is valuable to me for developing future recipes. And if you have a any favorite microwave cauliflower recipes, or a quick microwave vegetable side dish, please let me know, I’d welcome the opportunity to give it a try.
If you’re looking for something a little more hoity-toity, take a look at this Creamy Swiss Cheese Cauliflower. It’s from the Silver Palate Cookbook and I’ve made this many times for dinner parties. Rich and wow.
And if you’re looking for more side dish recipes, don’t miss my Side Dishes Category. You’ll find lots of tasty recipes, including the most popular side dish recipe on my site for Broccoli Cheez Whiz Rice Casserole.
Tangy Mustard Cauliflower, Microwave Cauliflower
- 1 head head cauliflower rinsed, core and bottom leaves removed
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon onion — finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 3 slices American cheese or 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- Place cauliflower in microwavable 2 – 3 quart casserole with lid. Add water and cover with lid or plastic wrap.
- Microwave on high 8 – 9 minutes or till tender crisp. Use a fork to test doneness. If it feel too crisp, return to microwave for 1 – 2 minutes longer.
- In the meantime, combine mayonnaise, onion, and mustard in small mixing bowl. Use a fork to blend into a smooth sauce.
- Once the cauliflower has completed its first cook in the microwave, spoon mustard sauce on top of cauliflower. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the sauce evenly over the top of and sides of the cauliflower.
- Lay slices of cheese over the top, alternating the way they face so they melt evenly.
- Microwave for 1 – 2 minutes more, covered, to heat topping and melt cheese. Let stand two minutes before serving.
Microwave Cauliflower Recipe … It’s whats for an easy side dish
JANIE ROSE ENDRESS says
I THINK I LOVE Y0U, THIS RECIPE WAS LOST IN THE FLOOD OF IAN. I HAVE BEEN PREPARING THIS RECIPE FROM MY LITTON COOKBOOK 30 + YEARS. THANK YOU SO MUCH. JANIE ROSE
This was absolutely a perfect side dish. Made it a few times and gave the recipe to my daughters who in turn loved it.
Lea Ann Brown says
Good Morning David and thanks so much for taking the time to let me know. So glad you and your daughters enjoy this recipe. It’s popular around out house.
I am very pleased with my results following this recipe. The vegetable was easy to core, wash and let drain with minimal handling, consequently there was very little crumbled cauliflower. Real mayonnaise and prepared mustard: staples I always have on hand. I used Tillamook pepper jack cheese slices and no additional seasonings. In a word, delicious.
LOL…Laughed when I read this because I had same intro to microwave cooking and got a very similar “Frosted Cauliflower” recipe that’s been a family favorite ever since!!! Advance apologies but I’ve broken review rules. My rating is using my recipe, but I have no doubt yours is also a 5star! I’m going to try it and return with another rating, but I’m sure it’s wonderful with the onion included! The only difference in my orig recipe is the “frosting” ingredients, which I’ve included:
2/3 c mayonnaise
1 Tbsp mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
NOTE: I double this amt of frosting and incl half of it on the side since everyone loves lots of this sauce.
Looking fwd to trying this wonderful recipe with your version of the frosting!
Jean | Delightful Repast says
Hi, Lea Ann! I’m back to let you know I just made this today. As I said in my first comment, I was a late adopter of the microwave, so I missed this early recipe. I used my 2.5-quart round Corning French white casserole with glass lid, and my medium cauliflower was just under 1 3/4 pounds. I cooked it for 9 minutes, figuring my little microwave is probably less powerful than some. Then put on the mayo mixture (think I’ll use less next time) and a well packed 1/2 cup of freshly grated medium cheddar (think I’ll use more next time, maybe 4 ounces instead of 2) and gave it 2 minutes. Then let it stand for 2 minutes. Mr Delightful was delighted with it! I was shocked when I took it out and saw that the cheese hadn’t all run off into a puddle, but was perfectly coating the cauliflower. As soon as we got up from the table, I said I must tell Lea Ann about it before it slips my mind. Thanks for passing along this fun recipe. I wouldn’t have tried it at “just anyone’s” recommendation!
Lea Ann Brown says
Good Morning Jean. Hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend.
Thank you so much for your detailed note about the success of that recipe. I really appreciate that. And so glad you and Mr. Delightful liked it.
So good to hear from you!
Jean | Delightful Repast says
Lea Ann, I am definitely going to try this out now for summer. My husband’s favorite is oven-roasted, but I won’t want to be running the oven when hot weather hits, and this could be our new summer favorite! Unlike you, I was a late adopter of the microwave. Didn’t get it till maybe around 2000 and told my friend who had been needling me for years about not having one “I finally got with the 90s and got a microwave” and she said “The 90s? Try the 70s!”
Margy Slivkoff says
I was searching for this recipe and found your site. Thank you! I had lost the original copy. By the way, I will be making this for Easter dinner in my still-going-strong Radarange circa 1988. We love the way the door opens, and the fact that there is no turntable in it. It has an extra rack and a probe for internal use. 🙂 It’s part of our family now! This is a great recipe site, and I will be back. Margy in Astoria, Oregon
Linda McClellan says
So glad I found this recipe. Back in the dark ages I sold tahose same microwave ovens you tool home. Then I had to teach people how to use then, so had a tv show Cooking with Microwaves, and put together a hand out booklet to go with it with recipes, including this one! Something wrong with the website, cannot repair the typos, sorry!
I had the same first microwave and my mother and I took classes on microwave cooking together. Wish I would have saved those recipes and I would guess this was one of them. I does look delicious and a great side for Thanksgiving too!
Have been making cauliflower rice – excellent as fried rice for our dinner last night. Will try this with next head. Thank-you for sharing! Colleen
Abbe@This is How I Cook says
I have a cauliflower in the fridge and am so trying this! I do remember my father needing two people to bring our first microwave into the house. They were so heavy and big back then. So funny!
We had it tonight and it was a big hit.
This sounds delicious! I did read that America cheese had lost its popularity. There goes cheese sandwiches. I like buffalo cauliflower and even got my (CAULIFLOWER?!) hubby on board with cauliflower rice in stir fry. ?
We rarely eat cauliflower but I’m sure I would enjoy this.