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Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

If you’re looking for an incredible appetizer to serve at your next party or gathering, look no further! This Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce is perfect for a crowd and includes lots of delicious smoked cauliflower and homemade velvety smooth cheese sauce. NO Velveeta in sight.

Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Traeger Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

Our love of a great appetizer is epic, and we have so many great appetizer recipes on the site already that it could have you hosting parties for a few months straight. This easy cheesy cauliflower is one that I’m so proud to add to this list. Plus, it has the excellent benefit of being PERFECT for a crowd. You can walk around a party with a tray of this cauliflower and watch it disappear.

Another reason I love this recipe is because it is HOMEMADE. Most cheese sauces are basically just melted Velveeta with some seasonings and milk or cream in the mix. Not this one. We use a little chemistry to turn REAL cheese into the smoothest, most melty sauce ever.

What’s the secret to a smooth, creamy cheese sauce?

Sodium Citrate!

Sodium citrate allows cheese sauces to stay smooth and fluid when melted. It’s an emulsifying salt, promoting cheese and water to blend without the fats separating. This creates a stable emulsion and prevents the oily, gritty texture often found in melted cheese. Sodium citrate achieves this by lowering the cheese’s acidity, increasing the pH, and allowing the proteins to disperse evenly, resulting in a smooth, homogenous sauce.

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With sodium citrate, you can use cheeses that typically don’t melt well, expanding options beyond processed cheese. This results in a sauce that retains the bold flavors of aged or artisanal cheeses while maintaining a creamy, smooth texture. Sodium citrate also reduces the need for additional fats like butter or cream, leading to a lighter sauce that doesn’t compromise on a velvety mouthfeel.

Why you’ll love this dish…

  • Easy to make, but doesn’t skimp on flavor!
  • Low carb for even your friends and family living that low-carb keto life!
  • You’ll use this cheese sauce for a lot more than just cauliflower. It is incredible!
  • KETO-friendly!

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Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce shopping list

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Cauliflower
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Sodium citrate
  • Cheese
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Dijon mustard

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Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

How to make Low Carb Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

This is just the overview so you can see what you’re actually getting into here. When you are cooking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.



Fire up the pellet grill and preheat to 220°F.



Place the cauliflower head onto a grill-safe baking sheet and season. Put on the grill. Smoke for 20 minutes. Turn up the heat to 350°. Continue to cook until a skewer can be easily inserted into the head, about 30-45 minutes on average.


Cheese it up

While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce.



When the cauliflower is done cooking, cut it into bite-sized chunks and pour the cheese sauce over the top.



Serve warm with toothpicks or short skewers.

Try our Smoked Beer Cheese Sauce too!

Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

Smoked Cauliflower FAQ

Can this recipe be made in advance?

This dish is best served immediately after cooking. However, it can be made in advance and kept warm in a slow cooker, or reheated at a second location if you have to travel with it. Cheese sauces made with sodium citrate reheat very well.

What’s the best way to store and reheat leftovers?

We just toss any leftovers in a glass or plastic food storage container that is covered.

Is this Smoked Cauliflower Recipe Keto?

Yes! This recipe is keto and great for most low-carb diets. Watch the BBQ rub that you use on the cauliflower, as some of them contain sugar, but as long as you keep that in mind you will be well within your macros for this delicious dish.

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Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce
Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce

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Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce
Yield: 8 servings

Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

Smoked Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce

Our easy Smoked Cauliflower with homemade cheese sauce is a surprising and delicious appetizer to serve at your next party or potluck!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes



  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons sodium citrate
  • 16 ounces cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat your smoker to 220°F.
  2. Season your head of cauliflower with all of the seasonings in the cauliflower section of the recipe.
  3. Smoke for 20 minutes and then increase the heat on the grill for about 40 minutes, or until a long skewer can be inserted easily.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, prep the cheese sauce.
  5. Heat the broth in a pan on the stove and dissolve the sodium citrate in the liquid.
  6. Keep the heat on low to medium-low and stir in the shredded cheese.
  7. Once the cheese is melted, stir in the garlic powder, paprika, and Dijon mustard.
  8. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle the cheese sauce over the top.
  9. Stick some toothpicks or small skewers in the cauliflower and serve while warm.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 288Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 792mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 19g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate.

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KETO Smoked Cauliflower With Cheese Sauce
Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.

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