One bite of this creamy, garlicky mashed cauliflower, and you’ll wonder why you ever bothered with potatoes in the first place. They’re the perfect side to help soak up extra sauce or gravy, and they’re crazy easy to make. Not to mention, they’re significantly lower in carbs.
Move over cauliflower mac and cheese and cauliflower pizza. It’s mash time.
How does mashed cauliflower taste?
Mashed cauliflower doesn’t taste exactly like potatoes, but it’s surprisingly close. And truly delicious. The addition of sour cream and cream cheese helps to mask the cauliflower flavor, if you’re not a fan. If you love the taste of cauliflower and want to let it shine, see my tweaks + substitutions below.
The added benefit to mashing cauliflower, rather than potatoes, is that cauliflower can’t be overwhipped or mashed–as many of you know, when mashing potatoes, there’s a fine line between mashed and gummy.
Cauliflower Mash Recipe Ingredients
Not much to this mashed cauliflower, just a few ingredients for loads of flavor. Here are some things to consider:
- Fresh vs. frozen cauliflower – either will work here, as always I prefer fresh (except when making cauliflower risotto). If using frozen, be sure to drain it very well before mashing.
- Whole cauliflower vs. florets vs. rice – You can use whole cauliflower or cauliflower florets, rice is harder to “mash” but great for purées. The most important part is to make sure you weigh your cauliflower.
- White vs. colorful cauliflower – avoid purple, yellow, or green when mashing cauliflower, they won’t hold up as well during the steaming process.
Tweaks + Substitutes
Although we love this cauliflower mash as is, it’s flexible and easy to make unique to you. Here’s how:
- Let the cauli flavor shine – reserve some of the cauliflower steaming liquid, and add that to help mash instead of sour cream or cream cheese. You’ll still want to add a bit of butter (or butter alternative) for flavor.
- Dairy free – Use your favorite dairy free milk (almond is best here) instead of cream cheese and sour cream. You’ll want to add something to thicken it, consider cornstarch or xanthan gum.
- Herbs – parsley, more garlic (always), you name it! Mashed cauliflower is flexible–heck the same veggie can become cauliflower hummus!
How To Cook Cauliflower For Mashing (3 Ways!)
You can cook your cauliflower any way you prefer. Just know that some methods take longer, while others will add a bit more flavor. Here are your options, and how-to:
- Microwave: Place in a microwave-safe bowl and add a few inches of water to the bottom. Place a towel on top and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Check, and continue to cook until tender.
- Stovetop: Bring cauliflower and water to a boil, place lid on top, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Oven: Or make roasted cauliflower for added flavor. Simply spread florets onto a baking sheet, and bake at 400 F until tender. (Below you’ll see my roasted cauliflower steaks, but same concept).
How To Make Mashed Cauliflower
I’ll show you how to make mashed cauliflower with an immersion blender, but know that you can use a potato masher for a chunkier texture, or purée your cauliflower using a stand-up blender for silky smooth results…
- Cook your cauliflower, options above.
- Add all other ingredients.
- Use an immersion blender to combine.
What Goes with Cauliflower Purée?
Serve it as a side to your Thanksgiving turkey, or under your favorite meat and pan sauce combo. I love to serve everything from saucy keto pork chops, to grilled steak, to simple baked chicken over a bed of this cauliflower puree.
Cauliflower mash is about as easy as they come. Just keep in mind these tips for success:
- Soften the cream cheese and butter, this is the best way to ensure they fully incorporate.
- Weight your cauliflower florets to make sure you have the correct veggie-to-herb-to-cream ratio.
- Make sure your steamed cauliflower is DRY, otherwise your mashed cauliflower can get watery. Allow steamed cauliflower to dry in a colander before mixing everything together.
- Preventing watery mashed cauliflower: As mentioned, fully dry your cauliflower before attempting to mash it. Also, the cream cheese in this recipe does a great job of thickening! Some recipes add a little cornstarch, which I don’t find necessary, but feel free to do so.
Is mashed cauliflower good for you? Is it keto? Paleo?
Cauliflower is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals (more on the health benefits here). It’s also significantly lower in carbs than potatoes–1 cup chopped has 3 g net carbs, while 1 cup of russets contains 25 net carbs.
This recipe does contain cream cheese, butter, and sour cream, so it’s not a great fit for those following a paleo or dairy free lifestyle.
More Cauliflower Recipes
- Cauliflower Potato Salad
- Cauliflower Lasagna
- Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
Mashed CauliflowerPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 Pounds Cauliflower Florets 1 head of cauliflower is typically around 2 pounds. Weigh for best results.
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter softened
- 4 Cloves Garlic minced
- 8 Ounces Cream Cheese softened
- 1 Cup Sour Cream
- 2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Chives chopped
- Cook cauliflower:– Stovetop: add 1" of water to a large pot with a steamer basket, and place cauliflower florets in the basket. Cover with a lid, bring water to a simmer, then steam until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.– Microwave: place cauliflower in a large microwave-safe bowl with a few inches of water on the bottom. Cover with a kitchen towel, and microwave for 4 minutes.Allow cauliflower to dry completely.
- Mash. Remove lid and turn off the heat. Add unsalted butter, minced garlic, cream cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper. Use an immersion blender to combine the ingredients until smooth. (Alternatively, you can puree ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. Or mash them with a potato masher). Stir in chopped chives. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference, and enjoy!