Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes recipe is delicious, low carb traditional mashed potatoes substitute and is just as smooth and creamy. Cauliflower taste is 1 out of 100, I promise!

Cauliflower really is a versatile vegetable! Try to make cauliflower rice with it, cauliflower potato salad and even cauliflower crust pizza!

Cauliflower mashed potatoes with melted butter and chives in a bowl with a spoon.

You can swap cauliflower mashed potatoes (aka mashed cauliflower or cauliflower mash) for traditional starchy potatoes and consume fewer calories. Almost no one will notice!

I love my healthy mashed potatoes and Instant Pot mashed potatoes but I make this low carb alternative as well.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy: Cauliflower cooks faster than actual potatoes and there is no peeling involved.
  • Quick: Ready in 15 minutes total!
  • Fewer calories: One potato has approximately 26 grams of carbs, 1 cup of cauliflower has 5 grams of carbs.
  • Simple ingredients: Just 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper.
  • Flavorful: This mashed cauliflower recipe uses the same garlic, butter and salt found in traditional mashed potatoes. They give cauliflower potatoes a very similar taste!

Ingredients for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe

You will need 5 simple ingredients to make this ultimate comfort food. I am also including notes on possible substitutions.

Head of cauliflower, garlic, butter, salt and pepper.
  • Cauliflower: One large head of cauliflower of about 2 pounds. You can also use about 6 cups or 1.5 pounds of pre-cut fresh or frozen cauliflower florets.
  • Garlic: Fresh whole garlic cloves are added to water and then mashed with cauliflower for more flavor. You can substitute 4-5 cloves of roasted garlic or 1-2 teaspoons of garlic powder instead but fresh garlic is the best!
  • Butter: I prefer to use real butter but ghee, coconut oil, vegan butter or even olive oil will work. If your butter is unsalted, add more salt.
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper: To season and to taste.
  • Optional fresh herbs: Like minced chives, green onion or parsley for garnish.

How to Make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Here is a quick overview how to make cauliflower mashed potatoes with 4 simple steps. Full recipe card is located below.

Step by step process how to make mashed cauliflower.
  • Prep: Separate cauliflower into florets and chop them into even size pieces. Learn how to cut cauliflower in this tutorial. In a medium pot, combine cauliflower, garlic and enough cold water to cover the vegetables.
  • Cook: Place lid on top and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is very fork tender. Drain cooked cauliflower and do not discard garlic.
  • Season: Add butter, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Garlic stays too.
  • Blend: Best way to mash cauliflower is by using an immersion blender or in a food processor. Garlic is blended as well. Just process until smooth texture or desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.

Recipe Tip

Cauliflower mash tastes best when it’s served fresh within few hours or at least the same day. Next day cauliflower puree has more prominent cruciferous taste and smell.

Other Methods to Cook Cauliflower for the Mash

If you would like to use any other method for cooking your cauliflower, here are a few other options, including how to cook cauliflower rice instead to make this cauliflower mash recipe.

In all of my tests I found that cauliflower cooked with water rather than roasted cauliflower yields the most creamy texture.

  • Steam: In a medium pot with a steamer basket bring a few cups of water to a boil. Then add chopped cauliflower, cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until soft.
  • Slow cooker: If you would like to make it in a crockpot, just use my slow cooker cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe all together.
  • Instant Pot: I cook cauliflower as part of other steamed vegetables in Instant Pot. Just place it in a basket, add 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 0 minutes. I would wait 2 minutes before releasing pressure for extra soft cauliflower for the mash.
  • Cauliflower rice: If you have fresh or frozen cauliflower rice, you will need about 1.5 pounds of it. Preheat large skillet then add a bit of oil, add cauliflower rice and saute until very soft, 5-10 minutes. You want to stir it a few times and know that frozen rice will take a bit longer (no need to defrost it first).

Tips for Best Results

For the best cauliflower mashed potatoes follow these expert tips.

  • Make sure cauliflower is very soft: When you insert the fork, it should go into it like knife into soft butter. Soft cauliflower equals creamy mashed cauliflower.
  • Remove excess water: No one really wants an extra watery mash. Drain your cauliflower in a colander for about 2-3 minutes, this will allow all water to drain.
  • Using frozen cauliflower florets: Add cauliflower to a boiling water. It will take a few more minutes to come to a boil rather than fresh cauliflower. That is the only difference.
  • Use more florets than stems: When pureeing, florets will produce more creamy texture than stems.
  • Cooking garlic: Cooking garlic makes it less spicy. Once mashed with cauliflower it adds nice garlicky flavor.
  • Extra additions: You can add a bit of cream cheese or sour cream to mimic traditional mashed potatoes even more. For cheesy flavor, add Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, if vegan. For a bit of a tang, a dollop of Greek yogurt will do. Just note the calories content will change.

What to Serve with Mashed Cauliflower?

I highly recommend to make cauliflower mashed potatoes right before serving. It tastes the most creamy and fluffy this way. Here are a few suggestions for pairing it:

How to Store

I recommend to make and enjoy this recipe the same day. I know other recipes online say otherwise but this is my personal experience and preference.

I do not suggest to reheat it next day. It’s a good idea to make only what you will eat same day. You can cut the recipe in half, if you need to.

I also do not suggest to freeze it. I tried and I did not like the results.


How to make cauliflower mash thicker?

To make cauliflower mash thicker, like in my video, you have to remove extra water. Place drained cooked cauliflower florets in a towel lined bowl and let cool down until safe to handle. Then hold onto the ends, make a ball and twist to squeeze out extra moisture. The trick is not to touch super hot blob with hands and use tongs instead.

However, I personally prefer the recipe as is, I tested it both ways.

What if I don’t have a blender or food processor?

Regular potato masher will produce more rustic with chunky texture “mashed potatoes”. But it works if you don’t have an immersion blender or a food processor. I also think a hand mixer or standing Kitchen Aid mixer will work. Some readers have just mashed cauliflower with a big spoon!

What does mashed cauliflower taste like?

It tastes almost like mashed potatoes but less starchy and has a tiny bit of cruciferous vegetable taste. Otherwise it is same creamy, buttery and garlicky.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try

Mashed cauliflower served in a bowl garnished with melted butter, chives and pepper.
Cauliflower mashed potatoes with chives in a bowl.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Learn how to make Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes recipe that is delicious, low carb mashed potatoes substitute. It's just as smooth and creamy!
4.91 from 32 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 184
Diet Low Calorie
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes



  • Separate cauliflower into florets and cut in smaller chunks.
  • In a medium pot, combine cauliflower, garlic and enough cold water to cover the vegetables.
  • Place a lid on top and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is fork tender. Drain and do not discard garlic clove.
  • Optional step: For thicker mash, transfer cooled boiled cauliflower into linen towel, twist and turn, and squeeze excess water. For more thin mash, leave as is. Matter of personal preference.
  • Add butter, salt and ground black pepper. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, process until very smooth or desired consistency.



  • Serve: Cauliflower mashed potatoes taste best fresh and consumed same day. Next day, there is a very prominent cabbage smell.
  • Reheat: I do not suggest to reheat it next day. I recommend to make only what you will eat same day. You can cut the recipe in half.
  • Freeze: I also do not suggest to freeze it. I tried and I did not like the results.


Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 503mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 12g
Course: Side
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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  1. 4 stars
    Thank you for the simplest cauliflower mashed potato recipe I could find: Just cauliflower, butter, salt & pepper, and garlic, which you can easily leave out if you don’t like garlic. No cream cheese or yogurt. Who puts cream cheese or yogurt in mashed potatoes? I know my mother never did!

  2. 5 stars
    This was perfect for our low-carb Thanksgiving. We actually even had leftovers the next day, and we were nervous about it because of what you said about the bad smell/taste, but it was still good! Thank you!

4.91 from 32 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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