Low-Carb Cauliflower Cheese Soup

cauliflower cheese soup in a black bowl

Philippe Desnerck / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Total Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Servings: 8 (1 cup each)

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

209 calories
16g fat
9g carbs
10g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 (1 cup each)
Amount per serving  
Calories 209
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 50mg 17%
Sodium 734mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 10g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 252mg 19%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 443mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Most recipes for cauliflower soup call for cornstarch or flour, which can sometimes make them gloppy, and the soup tends to separate upon reheating. For this recipe, only 1 tablespoon of cornstarch can stabilize a whole half-pound of cheese and adds just a little less than a gram of carb per cup. (If you don't want to use even this much ​cornstarch, see the tips at the end of the recipe.)

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable among those on a low-carb diet, and for a good reason. It can stand in for more starchy foods such as potatoes while adding thickness and creaminess.

Cauliflower, along with other non-starchy vegetables and fruits, can decrease your risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophageal, lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers while providing vitamin C and other health-protective compounds.


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed, grated, or finely minced
  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 7 inches in diameter), broken or chopped up into roughly equal florets
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 pinch cayenne (or other hot pepper)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp mustard


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven (it's best if it holds about 3 quarts), heat the oil and cook the onion until it begins to soften about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook another 30 seconds or so.

  2. Add the cauliflower, and stir. Then add the chicken broth, herbs, and spices. Cover, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

  3. While the vegetables are cooking, grate the cheese, and toss it with the cornstarch.

  4. When the cauliflower is soft, puree the soup with an immersion (stick) blender if you have one. If not, puree in batches in a regular stand blender, but be careful not to blend too much at a time—hot liquids can "explode" when blended, spewing hot liquid all over the place.

  5. Add the cream and the cheese. Stir as the cheese melts, and then add the mustard. Taste and adjust salt and spices.

Variations and Subtitutions

This soup is also great with ham or greens added.

Instead of cornstarch, you can use about half the amount of cheese or no cheese. The soup is actually quite good as a creamy no-cheese cauliflower soup, but in the case you skip the cheese, you might want to add a touch more cream. You could also try adding some cream cheese as this tends to have a stabilizing effect in some sauces.

You can replace the fresh cauliflower with frozen. One head is equal to about 4 large cups of florets.

Though optional, the paprika adds a nice flavor and appealing rosy color. While white cheddar is preferred for this recipe, typical yellow cheddar works just as well (it will just affect the color of the soup). Prefer using fresh thyme? You can substitute the 1 teaspoon of dried thyme with 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme. When it comes to the mustard, use whatever you prefer.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Garnish with chives, parsley, or bacon crumbles.
  • Serve with a side garden salad for a complete meal.

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Article Sources
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  1. American Institute for Cancer Research. Cauliflower: Full of Vitamin C and Health-Protective Compounds. April 8, 2021.