Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

These Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are a creamy vegetable side that’s easy to prepare, with less carbs than your usual mashed potatoes, but just as smooth and creamy!

I’m always a little suspicious of lighter recipes that are substitutions of classics, but mashed cauliflower is legitimately delicious.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

The first time I made it, I was trying to recreate the cauliflower puree I so often had at fancy restaurants.

They always tasted similar to mashed potatoes, but with a silkier and lighter texture, plus more flavor.

The beauty of mashed cauliflower is that you can try tons of different flavor variations, just as you would with mashed potatoes. You can add garlic, butter, cheese, chives, scallions, and more.

Mashed Cauliflower - Cauliflower Mashed Potato

How to Make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes:

Because we will be squeezing a lot of the water out of the cauliflower, you will need more cauliflower than you think.

I usually do two heads for four people:

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Low Carb

Cut the cauliflower down into florets:

Easy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Then steam or boil the cauliflower until fork tender. I do this in my instant pot, but you can steam in a pan, in the microwave, etc.

How to Make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Let the cauliflower cool, then squeeze the excess water out using a kitchen towel:

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Sometimes when I’m impatient, I’ll just twist the bottom using tongs. It’s very hot, so don’t touch with bare hands!

Also, don’t skip this step! I’ve tried other methods for getting rid of excess water, even pressing the cauliflower through a strainer, and it’s not enough. You really need the towel.

Cauliflower Puree

Combine the cauliflower with cheese, butter, sour cream, salt, and pepper:

Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

But really, you can do any sort of flavorings you want to.

To finish, you have two options:

  1. Mix it all by hand, and enjoy a chunkier mashed cauliflower.
  2. Transfer the ingredients to a food processor, and mix until smooth.

I personally like it with a smoother texture:

Cauliflower Mash

This is a great side for Beef WellingtonRoasted Pork Tenderloin, and other meat entrees.

I also love making Cauliflower Rice, either plain or this Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice. Enjoy!

Recipe Questions:

Can you make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes without a food processor? Yes, so long as you’re okay with a chunkier texture, you can mash everything by hand.

Can Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes be frozen? Eh, kind of. I find the texture to be so much worse that I don’t bother, but it’s definitely edible.

Can you make Mashed Cauliflower ahead of time? Yes, just simply rewarm in the oven or microwave to serve again. The only downside is that I think that cauliflower is always a bit smellier once it has been refrigerated as leftovers.

If you have issues with the cauliflower being too watery, this means you need to squeeze the cauliflower a little better with the towel next time. I’ve tested it without the towel, just pressing as much water out as possible through a strainer, and it wasn’t good enough. The towel is important!

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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

These Cauliflower "Mashed Potatoes" are a creamy vegetable side that's easy to prepare, and quick to make!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cauliflower mashed potatoes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 209kcal


  • 2 heads of cauliflower*
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (about 2.5 ounces by weight)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped chives optional


  • Cut the cauliflower heads down into florets, then steam or boil for about 8-10 minutes, until completely fork tender and soft.
  • You can also cook the florets in an Instant Pot, by adding 1/2 cup of water to the bottom, and placing the cauliflower florets on the steamer insert. Using low pressure, steam for 8 minutes.  
  • Let the cauliflower drain and cool, then squeeze in a kitchen towel to remove the majority of the water in the cauliflower. If you're in a hurry, I've had success with using tongs or rubber gloves to squeeze the cauliflower while it's still hot, just don't use your bare hands!
  • For a chunkier cauliflower mash, mix the cauliflower with the remaining ingredients by hand.
  • For a smoother texture, puree the squeezed cauliflower in a food processor with everything but the chives, for about one minutes, until smooth.
  • Mix in the chives if desired, or simply sprinkle on top to garnish. Enjoy! 


 *Weighing about 4 pounds in total, before trimming the stems.


Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 698mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 5g

Post updated with new photos, writing, and tips in September 2018. Originally published April 2013. This post contains affiliate links.