Cauliflower Mash

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If you’re counting carbs, cauliflower mash is an excellent substitute for traditional mashed potatoes. A few expert tips will ensure you get perfectly smooth, creamy, and delicious mashed cauliflower. This cauli mash is as good as the real thing.

cauliflower mash topped with butter and chives

Mashed cauliflower is a delicious and healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. It’s a low-carb option that is perfect for those who are following a keto diet and looking for a healthy and tasty side dish.

In this blog post, I will take you step-by-step through how to make mashed cauliflower that doesn’t suck.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can customize the flavors to your personal preference. This recipe can be super simple. You can simply season it with a little butter and salt and pepper, or you can go all the way and go for the fully loaded version of cauliflower mash.

Mashed cauliflower can be made with or without dairy. I will show you a few variations, and you can decide which version is your favorite.

Ingredients

To make the simplest form of cauliflower mash, you only need cauliflower. I recommend buying one to two heads of fresh cauliflower.

  • Cauliflower: 1 to 2 heads of fresh cauliflower.
  • Optional additional ingredients: Salt and pepper, butter, heavy cream, sour cream, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, green onions, or chives.

How To Cook Cauliflower

There are three main ways to cook the cauliflower to make the perfect mashed cauliflower recipe. The three ways we will talk about are boiling, roasting, and steaming.

No matter which method you choose, you will start by cutting the head of cauliflower into four pieces, removing the core, and then separating it into large florets.

  • Boiling: to boil the cauliflower add the broken part florets to a large pot of salted water. Bring the water back to a boil after you’ve added the cauliflower, and then reduce the temperature to medium simmer until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
  • Roasting: To roast cauliflower florets, preheat your oven to 400℉. Place the cauliflower on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes until all the florets are fork-tender. Timing can vary significantly due to oven temperature and the size of the cauliflower florets.
  • Steaming: Steaming can be done on the stovetop or in your microwave. Simply add a few inches of water to your pan or dish cover and cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
creamy cauliflower mash with butter and chives in a white serving bowl

Common Issues With Cauliflower Mash

What could possibly go wrong? There are a few questions that I get over and over again about making mashed cauliflower. Let’s discuss the problems and dive into a few solutions.

Problem #1: The cauliflower puree is too watery.

Your cauliflower can become too watery. If you’ve either boiled it too long or steamed it too long. What’s the solution?

The Fix: The best way to fix watery pureed cauliflower is to return the cooked cauliflower to a large pot and let it cook over medium-low heat so that some of the excess water can evaporate before you add any butter or cream to the mixture I found that this solution works every time.

Problem #2: The cauliflower mash isn’t smooth and creamy.

More than likely, it’s because you didn’t cook the cauliflower long enough, and it still needs to be softer.

The Fix: The best way to fix this is to add your cauliflower to a pot, cover it and allow it to continue to steam over a medium-low heat until the cauliflower is cooked more thoroughly.

Problem #3: The cauliflower mash doesn’t taste like mashed potatoes.

While I can’t guarantee that cauliflower mash will taste 100% like mashed potatoes, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure that your cauliflower has less of a cauliflower taste.

The first trick is to make sure your cauliflower is well-cooked. Under-cooked cauliflower has that raw cauliflower taste.

The Fix: Roasting cauliflower makes the most significant difference in the flavor of cauliflower. I find that roasted cauliflower has less of a cauliflower flavor than boiled or steamed cauliflower.

The trade-off is that roasted cauliflower tends to be darker in color. Because roasting removes much of the water, you end up with a cauliflower puree that’s less fluffy than a cauliflower mash made with boiled or steamed cauliflower.

Another Fix: You can also mix mashed cauliflower with mashed potatoes. Adding the potato will increase the carb count and the “mashed potato flavor.”

What Can You Add To Cauliflower Mash?

I will break down a few simple variations I make all the time.

Simple Cauliflower Mash: The first will start with the simplest version, adding tablespoons of butter, salt, and freshly ground black pepper to mashed cooked cauliflower.

Creamy Cauliflower Mash: You can add heavy cream, sour, and/or creme fraise to give this recipe more creaminess.

Fully Loaded Mashed Cauliflower: This is sure to be your favorite variation. Add butter, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. Top with crispy bacon and sliced green onions.

Dairy-free or Vegan cauliflower mash: A few dairy-free options are almond milk or coconut milk, vegan butter, or Kite Hill cream cheese.

Special Tools You Might Need

A few kitchen tools that make this recipe much easier is a stick blender, otherwise known as an immersion blender. You can also use a food processor or a high-speed blender.

Directions

  1. Prepare the cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Cut out the core and then break up the cauliflower into large florets.
cauliflower florets in pan

How To Boil Cauliflower

  1. Add 4 to 6 cups of water to a medium to a large pot. Add a few teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water. Allow the water to return to a boil.
  3. Reduce the temperature to simmer and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender.

How To Roast Cauliflower

  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  2. Place the cauliflower on a heavy baking sheet and place it in the oven.
  3. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes until the cauliflower is fork-tender.

How To Steam Cauliflower

  1. Place a steamer insert into a large pot.
  2. Add a half cup to a cup of water.
  3. Add the cauliflower florets, cover, and steam until the cauliflower is fork-tender.

How To Make Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

FAQs

Is mashed cauliflower better than regular mashed potatoes?

As far as carbs go, this keto cauliflower mash is way better than mashed potatoes. A half cup of cauliflower has 1g of carbs vs. a half cup of potatoes that packs in 20g of carbs.

What is cauliflower mash made of?

Low-carb cauliflower mash has cooked cauliflower, butter, and heavy cream. You can also add sour cream and shredded cheese for an extra special treat.

What do you add to cauliflower to thicken the mash?

If your cauliflower is too watery, cook it over medium heat before adding any additional ingredients. This will allow excess water to evaporate and thicken up the cauliflower mash. You can also add thick sour cream and shredded cheese to make this recipe more creamy.

Does mashed cauliflower taste like potatoes?

Does this taste like the real deal? Probably not to a decerning palate. However, I find that this keto recipe is a great option if you’re following a low-carb diet and miss having mashed potatoes with your dinners.

How To Store

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheat in the microwave, in a saucepan, or in an oven preheated to 350℉.

Can You Freeze Mashed Cauliflower?

Yes, you can freeze mashed cauliflower. Place any leftovers in a freezer bag. Press all of the air out and lie it flat. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

What to serve with cauliflower mash

Low-carb cauliflower mash is a perfect side dish for all of your favorite recipes.

Similar Recipes

Other low-carb side dishes.

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creamy cauliflower mash recipe

Cauliflower Mash Recipe

by: Laura Reigel
Discover the secret of that deliciously creamy texture with this crowd-pleasing cauliflower mash recipe! Enjoy a quick and easy side dish like never before.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 86 kcal

Equipment

  • immersion blender
  • food processor
  • high-speed blender

Ingredients
 

  • 1 head cauliflower, cored

To Boil The Cauliflower

  • 4 to 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Additional Ingredients (Use one or use them all)

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup shredded cheddar cheese, or parmesan
  • 2 to 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 to 3 green onions, sliced

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Cut out the core and then break up the cauliflower into large florets.

How To Boil The Cauliflower

  • Add 4 to 6 cups of water to a medium to a large pot. Add a few teaspoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add the cauliflower florets to the boiling water. Allow the water to return to a boil.
  • Reduce the temperature to simmer and cook until the cauliflower is fork tender.

How To Roast The Cauliflower

  • Preheat the oven to 400℉.
  • Place the cauliflower on a heavy baking sheet and place it in the oven.
  • Roast for 15 to 25 minutes until the cauliflower is fork-tender.

Laura’s Tips + Notes

  1. Nutrition info is calculated using just the cauliflower and the butter. 
Keyword cauliflower mash, keto, low carb, mashed cauliflower

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