chicken and cauliflower cheese bake recipe

Chicken and cauliflower cheese bake

Sometime you just throw together a recipe idea and it works out so well.  I had some leftover roast chicken and wanted to try something different, so tried a combination which ended up being a chicken and cauliflower cheese bake.  With a cheesy sauce, added vegetables, and a crunchy savoury crumble breadcrumb topping it’s really tasty.

Of course, new recipes don’t always go down well with everyone in the family. Despite everyone liking cauliflower cheese, chicken, and a kind of savoury crumble topping, there were still moans. Surprisingly N wasn’t keen. The OH moaned the cauliflower wasn’t cooked enough. Oops.

But I thought it was really delicious, and I’ll be trying to get them to eat it again in future.

chicken and cauliflower cheese bake recipe

If you like a cheese sauce, you can make it anyway you want (or buy a ready made one if you prefer).  I’m a lazy cheese sauce maker, and usually make it in the microwave rather than on the stove. It involves less stirring and attention if you’ve got a large enough jug or bowl.  You can find my cheese sauce microwave method over at my other post.

Cheese sauce done in the microwave

As with most of my recipes, you have flexibility over what you include.  I had leftover roast chicken, but it would also work well with leftover turkey.  

If you’ve got some bacon or pancetta you could fry that off and add it.

For veg, I usually include half slices of courgette with a cheese sauce. But you could add peas (which I meant to include, but forgot!), broccoli, spinach or other veg as you want.

The cauliflower needs a bit of parboiling first unless you’ve chopped it quite small.  I parboiled mine for 5 minutes, but it did need a little longer, maybe 7-8 minutes in total. 

If you only have raw chicken you can pan fry or air fry chunks of it while the cauliflower is cooking. This will give a bit of colour to the meat, and add some extra flavour. However poaching the chicken is also good – just simmer chicken breasts in water in a pan – add garlic, shallots, lemon or other veg to help flavour it – for 8 to 10 minutes until it’s cooked through.  However, you prep your chicken, just shred it or chop into pieces ready to include in the dish.

I usually have breadcrumbs in the freezer. But this time needed to blitz some bread to make some fresh. It’s not a problem to use shop bought, but you want chunkier ones like panko breadcrumbs, rather than the really fine ‘breadcrumbs’ like Bisto ones. Combining the breadcrumbs with grated parmesan gives a really nice flavoured topping.

breadcrumbs and grated parmesan

Once you’ve got everything cooked off, shredded, and breadcrumbs ready, it’s just a case of combining the filling ingredients with the cheese sauce in an ovenproof dish.

chicken and cauliflower cheese mix

Then top with the breadcrumbs mixed with cheese, and bake until hot through and the topping is lightly browning and getting a little crispy.

chicken and cauliflower cheese crumble

How to serve this chicken and cauliflower cheese bake

Green veg on the side are the perfect accompaniment – I went for tenderstem broccoli and peas. Mash or boiled potato goes really well too, or even some crusty bread. 

This is a simple but tasty recipe. And if you’ve already got cooked chicken it’s pretty fast to make as well.

chicken and cauliflower cheese savoury crumble with peas

Find the chicken and cauliflower cheese bake recipe below.

Chicken and cauliflower cheese bake

Chicken and cauliflower in a cheesy creamy sauce with a crispy breadcrumb topping

Course Main Course
Keyword bake, chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4


  • 3-4 chicken breasts cooked then sliced/or chopped into pieces
  • 1/2 cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1/2 courgette sliced, then halved
  • 1 stick celery chopped
  • 1 shallot peeled, diced
  • cheese sauce homemade or shop bought
  • breadcrumbs panko or homemade (I used 3-4 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese grated, optional
  • 1 clove garlic chopped or crushed, optional
  • 90 g pancetta or bacon lardons optional
  • handful broccoli florets optional


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan

  2. Parboil the cauliflower (and broccoli if using) in a saucepan of boiling water, for around 5 minutes til tender. Drain, then set aside

  3. If you've only got raw chicken breasts, then slice/chop into chunks, then fry in some oil until cooked through and lightly browned, set aside.

  4. In the pan, add a little more oil, then fry the pancetta til cooked, adding in the shallots, courgette, celery, then the garlic to get a bit of colour.

  5. Make the cheese sauce, if making it yourself.

  6. Transfer the chicken, cauliflower, and rest of the veg and pancetta into a baking dish. Pour over the cheese sauce and mix to coat everything.

  7. In another bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the grated parmesan, then sprinkle liberally over the chicken and cauliflower cheese filling.

  8. Top with more grated cheese (if you're like our house!)

  9. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes until hot and the topping is lightly browned, and the cheese is a bit bubbling. You could put under the grill for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and crisp the top if you want intead.

  10. Serve hot with green veg on the side.

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    1. They can be yes. I don’t mind, as long as they say the first time, but when I’ve cooked something 3 or 4 times, and then they say they didn’t like it, that’s frustrating!