Low-Carb Cauliflower Cheese Soup

cauliflower cheese soup
Cauliflower Cheese Soup. Philippe Desnerck/Photolibrary/Getty Images
  • Prep Time
    15 min
  • Cook Time
    20 min
  • Total Time
    35 min
  • Yield
    8 servings
I've tried making this soup (and broccoli cheese soup) off and on over the years, but I was never totally satisfied with the result. Most recipes have corn starch or flour, which, of course, I wanted to avoid. It seemed that if I put in enough cheese for the soup to really taste cheesy, it was kind of gloppy and tending to separate upon reheating. But with experimenting, I found that only one tablespoon of corn starch 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 corn starch, see the tips at the end of the recipe.)


  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 7 inches in diameter), broken or chopped up into roughly equal florets
  • 1 medium onion (about 4 oz), chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic - pressed, grated, or minced fine
  • 4 cups of chicken stock or broth, or 4 cups of water with chicken base such as Better Than Bouillon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • pinch cayenne or other hot pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional, but adds a nice rosy color)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb cheddar cheese (white preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon yellow or brown 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.

Garnish with chives, parsley, or bacon crumbles.

Yields 8 servings of about one cup each.

Additional serving suggestions: This soup is great with ham in it, or greens.

To make without cornstarch: To be clear, it's not bad without the cornstarch, it's just less good, especially on reheating. Other things you can do are to use about half the amount of cheese, or no cheese -- the soup is actually quite good as a creamy cauliflower soup. You might want to add a touch more cream in that case.  Also, you can try adding some cream cheese, as I've found this tends to have a stabilizing effect in some sauces.

Nutritional Information: Each of 8 servings has 7 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 3 grams of fiber (10 grams of total carbohydrate), 10 grams of protein, and 215 calories.

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