Air Fryer Cauliflower Cheese, a dish that effortlessly transforms the humble cauliflower into a creamy, cheesy masterpiece. Whether you’re seeking a delightful main course or a scrumptious side dish, this recipe promises to be a crowd-pleaser, perfect for any occasion. The magic happens within minutes, as the air fryer creates a golden, melted cheese coating around each cauliflower floret.
Cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
Cheddar cheese (mild, medium, or mature)
White breadcrumbs (optional for extra crispiness)
Milk (full fat for optimal results)
Onion (optional for added savory flavor)
Spices: clove, bay leaf, nutmeg (optional but delightful)
English mustard (optional)
Butter (or olive oil as an alternative)
Plain flour (all-purpose for the roux)
Salt and black pepper to taste
How To Make:
Cauliflower Cheese Sauce:
In a saucepan, gently heat milk with a bay leaf and clove-studded white onion until it reaches a gentle simmer.
Allow the flavors to infuse for a few minutes before removing the spices and onion.
In another saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add flour and whisk continuously to form a roux, cooking until it turns lightly golden.
Gradually pour in the warm, infused milk while whisking to avoid lumps. Continue cooking and whisking until the sauce thickens and becomes smooth.
Introduce grated cheddar cheese, stirring until fully melted. Season with salt, pepper, mustard, and nutmeg for that perfect blend of flavors.
Air Fryer Cauliflower Cheese:
Slice the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, ensuring even cooking.
Steam or blanch the florets until tender yet firm.
Drain and allow cauliflower to steam dry for at least 1 hour to prevent excess moisture in the sauce.
Place cauliflower in a casserole dish, pour the cheese sauce over, and sprinkle with additional cheese.
For an extra crispy topping, add breadcrumbs.
Preheat the air fryer to 360°F (180°C) and air fry for about 10 minutes until golden brown and heated through.
Allow to stand before serving.
Combine broccoli with cauliflower for a delightful twist.
Infuse the dish with sautéed leeks for an extra burst of flavor.
Boost protein by adding white kidney beans or butterbeans.
Experiment with bread sauce and extra cheese for a unique touch.
For a gluten-free option, use a suitable flour blend or tapioca starch in the roux.
Cut into bite-sized florets for even cooking.
Drain and steam dry for at least 1 hour before cooking.
Ensure cauliflower is fork-tender yet holds its shape.
Cheese Sauce Tips:
Use equal quantities of butter and flour for a perfect roux.
Gradually add warm milk to the hot roux to prevent clumps.
Whisk the sauce to avoid lumps, using full-fat ingredients for the best flavor.
Adjust air fryer timing and temperature as needed.
Garnish with fresh herbs or toppings for an extra flavor boost.
Storage and Reheating Wisdom:
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Freeze for up to 1 month; reheat directly from frozen in the oven or air fryer.