Creamy, delicious, and nutritious mashed cauliflower! This vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipe is packed with nutrients, easy to make, and can be customized to your liking.

Creamy mashed cauliflower in a blue bowl.

Cauliflower is one of my go-to low-carb veggies. It’s so versatile, you can use it in many dishes, including cauliflower fried rice, hummus, cauliflower pizza crust, soup, and, of course, this mashed cauliflower recipe.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes are a tasty and healthy alternative to regular mashed potatoes. They have a similar texture but have way fewer calories and carbs. This creamy, delicious, and satisfying recipe is easy to make in just 15 minutes with five basic ingredients.

Why you’ll love this cauliflower mash

  • Healthy: made with cauliflower, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh garlic, these cauliflower mashed “potatoes” are packed with nutrients.
  • Delicious: it has a smooth, creamy texture and a rich flavor that’s sure to please everyone at the table. 
  • Quick and easy: ready in 15 minutes, this is the perfect side dish for busy weeknights.
  • Customizable: add herbs, spices, cheese, or crumbled bacon to make it your own.

Serving suggestions

Serve cauliflower mash in the same way you’d serve regular mashed potatoes! A few ideas:

  • As a side dish, pair mashed cauliflower with breaded chicken, fish, beef stroganoff, or any other main course.
  • As a dip, serve with pita chips, veggies, crackers, or breadsticks.
  • As a filling, use it to stuff tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.
  • As a topping for casseroles like cottage pie.

Ingredients & substitutions

Here are some helpful notes about the key ingredients for this side dish recipe:

  • Cauliflower: you can use fresh or frozen cauliflower for this recipe; just adjust the boiling time as needed to make sure the cauliflower is tender. You can also use riced cauliflower, which will significantly reduce the prep and cooking time.
  • Garlic: if you don’t have garlic, you can omit it or substitute with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Olive oil: you can use butter instead of oil for this recipe. It will give the mashed cauliflower a richer flavor.
  • Seasoning: salt and pepper are the basic seasonings; feel free to add other herbs and spices of your choice, such as thyme, chives, or nutmeg.

See the recipe card below for a detailed ingredient list and step-by-step instructions.

How to make creamy mashed cauliflower

  1. Steam or boil the cauliflower florets and garlic until tender.
  2. Drain well and return the cauliflower to the warm pan. Cover and let it sit for 2-3 minutes. The cauliflower needs to be pretty dry; otherwise, you’ll end up with watery “mashed potatoes”.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth and fluffy.

If desired, roast the cauliflower and garlic instead of boiling them for extra flavor.

Recipe variations

I garnished my mashed cauliflower with thyme, homemade flavored salt, freshly ground pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Here are some ideas for adding your own twist:

  • Cheesy: combine grated cheese such as Parmesan, cheddar, or nutritional yeast to keep it vegan.
  • Herbs and spices: incorporate chopped parsley, chives, rosemary, a pinch of onion powder, nutmeg, or red pepper flakes.
  • Lemony: add a squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkle of lemon zest for a brighter and more refreshing flavor.
  • Stir in some cooked vegetables, such as peas, carrots, or broccoli, for a more nutritious and flavorful dish.
  • Experiment with different toppings such as crispy bacon bits, chopped nuts, seeds, crumbled feta cheese, or pesto.
  • For extra creaminess, fold in a dollop of cream cheese or Greek yogurt.

Tips for success

  1. Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets to ensure even cooking.
  2. Cook the cauliflower until soft and tender to avoid a grainy texture.
  3. As with mashed potatoes, be careful not to overmix.
  4. Use a food processor or immersion blender for a silky texture, or a potato masher for a bit of a bite.

Storage instructions

You can make cauliflower puree ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Note: mashed cauliflower can be stored for a few days, but it may develop a noticeable “cabbage smell.” This is normal, and it will not affect the flavor. However, I prefer to enjoy mashed cauliflower the same day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does mashed cauliflower taste?

Mashed cauliflower has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. The texture of mashed cauliflower is similar to that of mashed potatoes, but it is slightly lighter and fluffier.

Can I freeze mashed cauliflower?

I do not recommend freezing it as it will change the texture.

Why is my mashed cauliflower watery?

After cooking the cauliflower, drain it well and return it to the warm pan. Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes to allow any remaining moisture to evaporate.

Why is my mashed cauliflower grainy?

Mashed cauliflower can become grainy if the cauliflower is not cooked long enough. Make sure that you are cooking the cauliflower until it is very soft and tender.

Cauliflower mashed potatoes in a blue bowl garnished with fresh thyme.

Have you tried this mashed cauliflower recipe yet? Share your feedback, variations, or any questions you have in the comments below. We’re here to help!

How To Make It: Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

(5 stars) 21 ratings
Creamy, healthy, and satisfying cauliflower mashed potatoes! This recipe is so easy to make in just a few simple steps, and it's a low-carb, gluten-free, and vegan alternative to traditional mashed potatoes.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower (3 lbs / 1.3 Kg) trimmed and cut into florets
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • chopped fresh thyme, extra virgin olive oil, and homemade flavored salt.


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and garlic and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
  • Drain, and return the cauliflower to the hot pan. Cover and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower and garlic to a food processor. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and purée until smooth. (You can also use a potato masher or hand blender.)
  • Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh thyme, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve immediately.


  • Cauliflower: fresh or frozen works; adjust the boiling time to ensure that the cauliflower is tender. Riced cauliflower reduces prep time.
  • Garlic: you can omit it or use 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Olive oil: substitute butter for a richer flavor.
  • Storage: refrigerate the cauliflower mash for up to 3 days; reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave. Note: mashed cauliflower may develop a cabbage-like odor when stored, but it will not affect the flavor.


Calories: 96 kcal, Carbohydrates: 14 g, Protein: 5.1 g, Fat: 3.8 g, Saturated Fat: 0.5 g, Sodium: 366 mg, Fiber: 6.3 g, Sugar: 6 g
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