Roasted Cauliflower White Cheddar Soup

This soup, oh, this soup.

It’s roasted cauliflower and fragrant garlic, savory thyme and sharp white cheddar. Basically, it’s amazing. And if you top it with croutons made from these out-of-this-world pretzel rolls, you’ll probably roll over and die from pure happiness (no time for homemade pretzel rolls? no worries, you can skip the croutons altogether or use store bought).

The creaminess comes from a bit of lowfat milk and pureeing half the soup. Can I get a huge yippee for a creamy soup without heavy cream? Now, I’m not saying this soup is calorie-free (hello, white cheddar cheese), but it is a delicious, lightened up creamy soup that is probably in my top 5 favorite soups of all time. Roasting the cauliflower and garlic brings out entire levels of flavor heretofore unknown and the subtle hints of thyme and rosemary compliment the cauli-cheese combo magnificently.

With all the decadence of holiday baking staring us in the face right now, this roasted cauliflower soup is the perfect weeknight meal to refresh your taste buds and work up an appetite for more cookies.

Roasted Cauliflower White Cheddar Soup

What To ServeThis simple shredded chicken can be added if meat is desired
Store bought dinner rolls (or these homemade Soft Pretzel Rolls)
Fresh fruit with this Honey Yogurt Dip

One Year Ago: Toffee Crunch Cupcakes  
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Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

Yield: Serves 4

Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

This soup is easily doubled. Just as an FYI, these amazing pretzel rolls make the most fabulous croutons in the world.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 4 whole cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow or white onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh), finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 2 teaspoon fresh), finely chopped
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • Croutons for topping (optional)


  1. Wash and trim the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Toss with the cloves of garlic and one tablespoon of the oil. Scrape the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until the cauliflower is crisp-tender and golden in spots (it will cook a bit longer in a later step).
  2. Remove the garlic cloves, let them cool slightly, and finely chop.
  3. In a 4- or 5-quart saucepan, heat the remaining one tablespoon olive oil and add the onion, cooking until the onion is translucent, 4-5 minutes, stirring often. Add the chopped garlic, thyme and rosemary. Cook for another minute.
  4. Stir in the cauliflower and broth; bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. Carefully ladle about half the soup (in batches, if needed) in a blender and puree until smooth. Stir the pureed soup back into the pot - be careful as hot soup in a blender can be a recipe for disaster if the blender is overfilled. Add the milk and the cheese,
  6. Stir and cook on low heat until the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
  7. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with fresh parsley and croutons, if using.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

82 Responses to Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup

  1. Linda Clemons says:

    I’ve made this soup several times and we are having it for dinner tonight. We LOVE it! My granddaughter is a vegetarian and she loves it. Thanks, Mel

  2. Sharman says:

    This soup is amazing. I added mushrooms and chicken, and I am in love.

  3. Caroline says:

    Loved it! I had to add more broth as my cauliflower was huge. I pureed the whole soup but I kept some roasted cauliflower and chopped it to use as a garnish along with additional chopped fresh thyme.

  4. Cathy says:

    Making this soup again tonight! We have to count carbs at our house, and this fills the need for a creamy, nutritious soup!

  5. Joyce says:

    sounds delicious, think I’ll make it for dinner tonight.

  6. Toni says:

    This is a go to favorite quick easy and very versatile I have made it with romanesco as well as cauliflower yellow cheese white cheese even jack cheese whoever I have on hand always flavorful it freezes very well great for a quick lunch or soup and sandwich dinner even people who don’t like cauliflower like this soup! I purée half and leave half chunky so there is some texture. I also use cream ( I know bad for you but oh so good)
    Thanks of the great recipe

  7. Lindsey Hall says:

    I LOVE your website Mel and it is often my go-to for a recipe so I hate to leave a bad review but…. I made this soup following the recipe exactly and my whole family grimaced when they took a bite. They are pretty healthy eaters and like cauliflower. Maybe it was the combination of rosemary and/or thyme with the cauliflower but something didn’t work. Only the 2nd recipe of yours that I haven’t liked!

  8. Heather bell says:

    I know zero sbout cheeses. Could I use Swiss instead? I googled it but couldn’t find anything. I have some in the fridge sadly alone and needing to be used

    • Mel says:

      Good question, Heather – I haven’t tried it myself, but I use Swiss in a broccoli cheese soup that I love (with a healthy amount of cheddar). Do you have another good-melting cheese you could use also (like Monterey Jack or yellow cheddar)?

  9. Emily K says:

    I’ve made this soup a few times now, and it’s so very good. I think that because the ingredients are simple and few, fresh herbs are a must. Tonight I was short on rosemary by a teaspoon, so I substituted some finely chopped sage for the rest. It was awesome! Very hearty and earthy, and oh so satisfying. Thanks for all you do, Mel… this website is my go-to place for no fail recipes that my family always love!

  10. Mary P says:

    Could I use frozen cauliflower in this, and would you thaw first and then roast? I have lots of frozen in my freezer from last summer’s garden.

    • Mel says:

      Sure, I think frozen cauliflower could work just fine. I’d probably just roast it up from frozen – there might be a bit of extra liquid and you might need to add a few minutes but it should work fine.

  11. Helen Brown says:

    I have never made cauliflower soup before but this sounded good. I used garlic white cheddar I recently bought from a visit to Amish country and topped it with texas toast croutons and bacon. It was Ahhhh…..Some! Thank you for sharing with us! Can’t wait to make for company! Your recipes are calling me back to try another! Have a warm soup day!

  12. Sarah says:

    I’ve made this recipe a couple times now, and I think it might be my new favourite soup. SO nice and creamy, and reasonably healthy to boot! I’m not even a big fan of rosemary and thyme but the relatively small amounts work perfectly in this soup. I LOVE IT. Thank you for the wonderful recipe!!

  13. Kari says:

    Has anyone made this using vegetable stock?

  14. Erika says:

    Just finished making this & can’t wait for dinner! It took me so little time, dinner is ready a half hr early lol! Need to wait for hubby to get home.

    I used one of the tips above & roasted the diced onion w the cauli. Then just sauteed the spices w the evoo before adding the cauli & broth. I didn’t bother to cook the cauli any more after roasting as for me it was already perfectly tender. For me, the roasted garlic really makes it! I am serving this w your brazilian cheese puffs, a family fave 🙂 Thank you for a super easy, fast & healthy dinner Mel!

  15. Debbie says:

    I really want to try this soup but the only garlic in the house is jarred chopped garlic- do you think i could sub a small amt of it for the 4 whole cloves? I can;t get to town today and dreaming of having this soup for my lunch!

    • Melissa says:

      I would think that should be fine…. I would just keep in mind that the jarred garlic gets stronger the longer it sits in to flavor it….. I use jarred garlic frequently and just make sure to taste periodically…

    • Mel says:

      Definitely Debbie! I’d suggest starting with just half a teaspoon and adding more if you need it.

  16. Jamie says:

    Just made this for the second time in as many weeks. Love it!!!! My kids are very picky and they all ate this without complaints. It was like a dinner miracle! This time I roasted 2 heads of cauliflower and didn’t purée one of them. I also steamed some broccoli and carrots and added them to the soup at the end with the extra cauliflower. You know, just to trick my kids into eating a little healthier. Awesome!

  17. Donna says:

    Great recipes. I have shared with my friends…..

  18. Donna says:

    I have made at least 10 of your recipes so far and each one is delicious… Thanks for the great food and tips…

  19. Karen says:

    Eating it as I’m typing. Delish. Had to stop myself from eating the roasted cauliflower off the pan when it came out of the oven. Added 1/4 finely diced jalepeno and 1/4 tsp. each of cumin and turmeric. Only added 1 cup oft he cheddar. Wonderful.

  20. Lisa says:

    I made the soup yesterday and it was a big hit with my husband and my kids! The pretzel rolls were the perfect compliment!!! I pureed the entire batch and it was so creamy and yummy!!

  21. I made this tonight and it was so good! I blended it all smooth and then needed to add a bit more milk. I love that you roast the cauliflower instead of boiling it, I think that makes so much of a difference. So yum! I can’t wait to share it on my blog and try more of your recipes…Thanks for the soup!

  22. Becky says:

    I made this tonight for supper and my family loved it, so I’m blogging about it… but of course linking credit back to you 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe!

  23. weekly meals: Jan 19-25 | lucky red rabbit says:

    […] Roasted Cauliflower & Cheddar Soup (from Mel’s Kitchen […]

  24. karin says:

    This soup was so delicious! In fact I’m reheating it right now to have for lunch!(lucky me) Love your web site!! Thanks!

  25. Karen K says:

    Okay, I have never liked cauliflower, so I have NEVER bought it….ever! The beautiful pictures of this soup are what tempted me to try this recipe out for a small dinner party. OMG, did it turn out awesome!! Everyone loved it, including me. The “icing” on the “cake” (soup) was definitely the pretzel croutons!! I used store-bought pretzel buns. SOOOO good, that I couldn’t stop eating them right out of the oven 🙂 I also topped the soup with chives. THANK YOU for sharing this awesome soup! Oh, and while I was chopping up the cauli, I tried some of it raw, and i could not believe how much I liked it!!

  26. Jessica says:

    This looks so good and I am definitely making it for my boyfriend and I this weekend. I want to make a special meal and have this soup as a starter. Do you have any type of chicken entree suggestions that would compliment the soup well? Thanks!

  27. Em says:

    Hi! This recipe looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it.

    Just to clarify…is it 6 oz of cheese, or 1 and a half cups of cheese? I’m confused because isn’t 1 and a half cups of cheese 12 oz? I want to make sure i follow the recipe correctly so it comes out as well as the oicture. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Em – with cheese, the ounces is referring to the weight not the cup measure. So 8 ounces of cheese (weighed) usually gives about 2 cups of shredded cheese. Hope that helps!

  28. Deb says:

    Made this for dinner tonight…SO good! I used an immersion blender to puree the cauliflower and it worked great, no transferring between pot and blender and back. Great flavor from simple healthy ingredients!

  29. Melissa says:

    I’m not a fan of rosemary or thyme, do you think just some salt & pepper with a little garlic powder would be jut as good? My family & I LOVE roasted cauliflower so this sounds perfect for us!!!

    • Mel says:

      Melissa – well, the flavors will obviously be a bit different but I think as long as it is well seasoned with spices you enjoy, it has a good chance of being great. Good luck!

  30. Kay says:

    Made the soup, the Pretzel rolls, and the croutons this weekend. All are delicious! My rolls turned out almost as pretty as yours, but not quite.

  31. Dawn says:

    Is there a flavor difference between white cheddar and orange cheddar? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Dawn – I think there is a flavor difference – white cheddar has a creamier, sharper flavor in my opinion (of course it also depends on what brand you are using). Also, orange cheddar tends to be greasier when it melts and white cheddar has a smoother, less greasy consistency.

  32. Kathie says:

    Awesome! I love cauliflower but even so I hesitated making this soup as I wasn’t sure that it wouldn’t be overwhelming. It is totally a keeper.

  33. Judith says:

    I made this tonight for the first time. The flavor was amazing, but the consistency did not go over well with my kids. It was similar to cream of wheat or malt-o-meal consistency-kind of grainy. Is this normal? Should I have cooked the cauliflower longer? Open to any suggestions! Thanks! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Judith – cooking the cauliflower longer so it is really soft may help. The consistency is slightly grainy due to the cauliflower but it should still have an overriding creaminess. Definitely not as smooth and creamy as say, a clam chowder or cheesy broccoli soup (since this isn’t a roux-based soup) but still quite creamy in its own right. Hope that helps a little.

  34. Laura Simpson says:

    I made this and must say it dramatically improves as the days go on. My advice is make it a day ahead, the flavors really intensify on the 2nd and 3rd day. Also, make sure the rosemary is finely chopped or crushed. My hubs didn’t like “things” in his soup, ugh. Still another good recipe!! Love your site, frequent flyer 🙂

  35. Courtney says:

    Just made the second batch of this soup in two weeks–it’s my new favorite! The first time, I made it as written; tonight, I was feeling impatient and just roasted the onion (cut in large pieces) along with the garlic, cauliflower, and herbs; while the vegetables roasted, I brought the stock to a simmer. This saved time and a whole tablespoon of olive oil, and probably sacrificed the flavor only a smidgeon. I also added a dash of smoked paprika. (Both times, I pureed everything until smooth–makes it easier to disguise the vegetables for my sometime veggie-phobe husband.) Thank you, Mel, for another winner!

  36. liz says:

    Mel, your barbie-loving gal pal here. I am excited because when I saw this soup posted I thought it liked divinely delicious but was sure with the creaminess there must be some flour in it. Nope! If I nix the croutons is totally gluten-free which is awesome! Keep up the good work. Love ya.

  37. Jackie says:

    For the first time in my life, all fourty plus years, I just bought cauliflower! My 10 year old self was screaming don’t do it, but I did and the soup was delish! I let my picky eater add some crumbled bacon and extra cheese and he has agreed to eat it two more times this winter! Thank you!

  38. 1/5/2014 | stephaniecameron says:

    […] Roasted Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup-Serving w/pretzel rolls (going to be brave and make these) […]

  39. Jessica says:

    Mel, have you ever posted nutritional facts with your recipes? I thought I did see them once or twice, but it would definitely be helpful for those of us that might be trying to diet. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica – I haven’t ever posted nutritional facts. Sorry! There are several online nutritional calculators that might help if you are looking for information on specific recipes.

  40. zena thomas says:

    Sounds delish. I am going to buy a cauliflower today and try this. Do you think it will freeze okay?

  41. Nikeva says:

    DELICIOUS!! I ate quite a bit of the roasted cauliflower before I could get it into the soup. This is truly a winner. It’s also good without the cheese.

  42. Rita says:

    Made your soup last night and it was a hit! My husband could eat it quick enough! Really great! Thanks for sharing.

  43. Christy says:

    Making this for tonight! Can you make it a day ahead? I was going to make it now and heat it up for. Christmas eve dinner. Think that would be ok? Have a great Christmas!!!

    • Mel says:

      Christy – sorry for the late response; I swore off all things computer for a few days to enjoy the holidays. I hope this soup worked out for you. I definitely think you could make it ahead of time and heat it up the next day. Happy new year!

  44. Lisa says:

    I’m making this for dinner tomorrow night! Pretzel croutons, over the top!! I LOVE your “Best Of” recipe folder. I’m curious, what are you other favorite soups in the top five? It’s soup season! =)

  45. Maureen says:

    Wow this was wonderful, i made it today and my husband and 12 year old son loved it!! Thanks

  46. nicole says:

    I made this last night with the help of my 11-year old son (who has never tried cauliflower before) and it was so good! He had a great idea of adding some heat so we added a little cayenne pepper which worked out really well. We just added it to our servings so that the heat is adjustable. Thanks for this great recipe. I’m really enjoying your site!

    • Nicole says:

      Made this again tonight with a few additions….lean ground turkey and cream of mushroom soup (Pacific organic). My family could not stop eating it; served with pumpkin fritters. Perfect Fall meal!

  47. Andreya says:

    I made this soup for dinner last night. I prefer and different soup; but all three kids ate it up super fast and wanted more. I told them next time we will have to arm wrestle to see which recipe to use. It is a keeper!

  48. Sheila says:

    Yummm . . .this was supper tonight! Yep, most of our favorites are “Mel originals” and this one is no exception. I couldn’t quit eating the pretzel roll croutons and was afraid there wouldn’t be any left to dunk in the soup. Unbelievably delicious even though there is no cream or butter within.

  49. Andrea says:

    Just had my first taste. OMG I thought I was in heaven. It is awsome. I made croutons with pretzel bread sticks, melted butter, garlic powder and Romano cheese.

  50. Cammee says:

    The most favorite soup to ever cross my lips is the Cauliflower White Cheddar soup from the Grand Luxe restaurant. I have only had it once because there isn’t a Grand Luxe in my state! I will be trying this immediately. Pretzel roll croutons…genius!

  51. Lisa says:

    Oh man, this is sitting on the stove waiting to be eaten, and the “quality control” bits I’ve snitched have confirmed another winner from Mel. The only change I made was to use an immersion blender (a lifesaver and way easier than a regular blender). I also chose to make foccaccia, which seems much easier than the pretzel rolls (sensing a theme here?). But to have the exact amounts of cheese and cauli in the fridge seemed serendipitous and I’m so glad I tried this one. Thanks, Mel!

  52. Jenny McAllister says:

    This seems silly to ask, but do you just bake your croutons? My mom always used to drench them in butter and fry them. How do you do yours?

  53. Jackie says:

    Can’t wait! It is so stinkin’ cold I need a good soup. Unfortunately we just ate our cauliflower yesterday. I guess I had better go to the grocery store.

  54. Michelle says:

    How do you think broccoli would do in this? I’m guessing it would work?

  55. alyssa says:

    my son loves creamy soups and is gluten free, so love that this one is! will add to my recipes for next week – yum!

  56. Monica says:

    This looks delicious! Let me tell you, life becomes so much happier when you learn that butter, heavy cream, cheese, bacon are all so good for your body!! We need healthy fats!! The key is getting them from good sources, like grass fed butter and cream. It’s loaded with vitamins and healthy things. Then everything tastes better too! 😀

  57. Rachel P. says:

    This is so on the list for meals next week. This recipe sounds absolutely delicious! Thank you for saving me from the recipe blahs once again!

  58. SallyBR says:

    Pinning this right away, while I laugh about the roll over and die with the pretzels croutons… die happy, I have to agree! 😉

    I am drooling over the first photo in particular…

  59. Sally says:

    This looks delicious! Creamy vegetable soups are among my favorites and I make them often. Can’t wait to make this variation.

  60. Kathy says:

    Can’t wait to try this soup! I love that it doesn’t have any added cream!

  61. Andrea says:

    I just made cheesy cauliflower soup with cheddar last week. It is one of my favorites, and I can’t wait to try your version!

  62. Sheila says:

    Top 5 favorite soup recipes! Oh, Mel. I am so excited simply because it is a Mel original and most of our favorites are the “Mel originals.” And I just happen to have your pretzel rolls in the freezer waiting to be transformed into out-of-thsi-world croutons. As the snow is getting deeper and heavier here and I’m getting anxious about my commute, stopping for cauliflower at the end of the workday is “the light at the end of the tunnel” to brighten my day. Thank you, my cyber friend!

  63. You’ve already made me craving it. Pretzel rolls croutons? Who would have ever thought. Sounds like dinner to me!

  64. PRETZEL ROLL CROUTONS?? What?!?!? This needs to happen immediately.

  65. Kim in MD says:

    This looks absolutely delicious, Mel! I am going to get the ingredients to make this for dinner tonight!

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