Mashed Cauliflower (Keto & Low-Carb)

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Cauliflower is one of the world’s most versatile vegetables. Not only does it make a perfect pizza crust and a tasty fried rice, it’s also a surprisingly delicious alternative to traditional mashed potatoes. This Mashed Cauliflower is lower in carbs, higher in nutrients, and tastes amazing!

mashed cauliflower with thyme on top

Benefits of Cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower makes a healthy and satisfying alternative to mashed potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I still love real mashed potatoes, but if you need to avoid starches (like if you’re following a specific carbohydrate diet or GAPS protocol), or are following another special diet around the holidays, this recipe makes the perfect side dish.

Here’s what I love about cauliflower:

  • Compared to potatoes, cauliflower has less than half the calories per the same 100 gram serving. (source)
  • Cauliflower has only 3 grams of “net carbs” per 100 gram serving, while potatoes have 14 grams of net carbs. (Net carbs = total carbohydrates – total fiber.)
  • Just 1 cup of cauliflower contains 35% of your vitamin C needs for the day. (Based on recommended daily values.)
  • Since it’s a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is high in antioxidants, particularly glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have been linked to slowing growth of cancer cells.
  • Cauliflower is 92% water, and eating more water-dense and low-calorie is linked to weight loss.

I also love how quickly cauliflower cooks! This is a side dish that is ready in just about 20 minutes from start to finish.

What Does Mashed Cauliflower Taste Like?

Cauliflower is a mild-tasting vegetable, which is why it works so well as Cauliflower Rice, and even as Cauliflower Buffalo Wings. These mashed “potatoes” will taste like whatever you add to them!

cauliflower mashed potatoes in a white bowl

I recommend adding a hefty seasoning of salt and pepper, and I also like to pulse a batch of quickly sauteed garlic in for an extra boost of flavor. But, you don’t have to stop there! You can stir in your favorite cheese (my mom always used cream cheese when I was growing up, but now I’ll use soft goat cheese because I prefer the flavor and how it digests easier than cow’s milk).

To keep this side dish vegan, try stirring in some hummus for creaminess! I was inspired to do this after using hummus to make my Vegan Pasta creamy, and the results are unbelievably delicious. You can use store-bought hummus for convenience, or make your own. (Try my Zucchini Hummus if you want a bean-free option.)

How Long Does this Cauliflower Mash Last?

Mashed cauliflower can last up to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. Try it with my Vegan Gravy for a totally vegetable-based meal, that’s also dairy-free and gluten-free!

gluten free vegan gravy over mashed cauliflower

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower (1-minute video):

mashed cauliflower with thyme on top
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Mashed Cauliflower (Keto & Low-Carb)

Mashed cauliflower is an easy way to lighten up a holiday meal, since it's low in calories and carbohydrates. You can stir in your favorite seasonings to make it taste like the real thing!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine low-carb
Keyword mashed cauliflower
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 57kcal


  • 1 Medium-sized head of cauliflower , chopped into florets (about 1 1/2-2 lbs.)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper , to taste


  • Fill a large saucepan with about an inch of water, and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, and add the cauliflower florets. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, allowing the cauliflower to steam for 10 minutes, or until fork tender.
  • Drain the cauliflower and set it aside. Return the pan to the heat and add in the olive oil and garlic. Saute briefly, just until the garlic is softened and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the cauliflower and garlic to the bowl of a large food processor fitted with an "S" blade. Season with salt and pepper, and the fresh thyme. (I start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and about 5 grinds of the pepper mill.)
  • Process until the mixture is smooth and resembles mashed potatoes. You can add a splash of water if needed, but usually the cauliflower already has enough moisture that you won't need it. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt if desired. You can also stir in cheese or hummus at this point, for extra creaminess.
  • Serve warm (you can return the prepared mash to the pan to heat up again, if needed) with gravy on top, if desired. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.



This mashed cauliflower dish makes a great base for any of your favorite add-ins. If you prefer cheesy mashed potatoes, try adding 2-3 ounces of creamy goat cheese, or a sprinkling of nutritional yeast for a vegan variation. You could also add in some extra chives and a few spoonfuls of plain goat yogurt for a "sour cream & onion" flavor. The options are endless! Also, be sure to note the serving size on this recipe. One medium head of cauliflower only made enough to serve two people in our house-- we love to heap it onto our plates! If you're serving a bunch of mashed potato fans, you may want to double or triple this recipe, to be on the safe side.


Calories: 57kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 678mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 110.9mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Mashed Cauliflower Nutrition (per cup of mash): Calories: 57, Fat: 0g, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 4g

Recipe Notes:

One head of cauliflower makes roughly 2 cups of mash, which only serves about 2 in my household. We love mashed “potatoes!” If you are okay with smaller 1/2 cup servings, this should serve 4 people.

Anything you love to add to mashed potatoes, you can add to mashed cauliflower. You can add yogurt or sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar, bacon, green onions, or chives. For a vegan version, definitely try stirring in some hummus for added creaminess!

Reader Feedback: Have you tried mashed cauliflower before? Let me know if you have any other tips to share!

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Michele Sparrow

This is a great recipe. I love cauliflower! This is what I use when I make my rice for my sushi, too. I pulse it raw, however. Such a great veggie!

Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness

This looks great! I made a total recipe fail one time with mashed cauliflower so I like that this has no liquid in it! I think the recipe I tried was way too watery from what I remember!

the delicate place

i tried cauli mash for the first time in 2009 when i was making a cottage pie recipe from mark’s daily apple. i never looked back! some of my friends had no idea that it was not potatoes! i love to do a coconut curry mash with cauliflower, i love the richness that coconut milk or oil brings to the mashed dish. it’s a staple at my thanksgiving table 🙂


    How did you do the coconut curry mash!?!?!

Jen @ Existential Evolution

Finally got around to making your cauliflower pizza recently and it was delish! Wow you’re really laying out a great Thanksgiving spread for us this week. Thanks for sharing the fruits of your labor with us.

kaity @ kaityscooking

i LOVE mashed cauliflower! to get my family who dislikes most veggies to eat it, i first made it with a few potatoes thrown in there and they loved it and each time i decreased the amount of potatoes in it until there was none and they loveee it still


I tried mashed cauliflower for the first time last week. Loved it!! A new favorite for sure:) I enjoyed how light they were compared to how heavy mashed potatoes normally leave me feeling. Can’t wait to try your version!! Thanks for all your hard work in posting so many recipes this week!! Enjoying them:) I was wondering, do you have any plans for a healthy version of sweet potato casserole? Yum…..


You can also substitute celery root (cèlèri râve) for the cauliflower to GREAT effect and family commentary….really…try it!! (Low carb/low cal/paleo)..I love this recipe for BOTH veggies!


I loved this recipe! I prefer this to masked potatoes. Thanks for the recipe.


Drats, meant MASHED potatoes!


I’ve also done it by boiling it in a small amount of vegetable broth(depends on how much cauli I put in) but usually fill the pot an inch or two with it. Bring everything to a boil together. It’s really good! And adds a little bit of flavor as well. 🙂


While steaming is faster, I prefer to roast my cauliflower before mashing (which means a whir with the immersion blender) after adding a pat of grassfed butter and a splash of coconut milk. Delicious!


I made this today and it was amazing! I can’t believe it tastes so much like mashed potatoes! Thanks for the recipe!


I put mine in the Ninja and with NO additional liquids… they always come out looking like MASHED potatoes! I call them Ninja taters!


    Hi can i pinch your instructions for recipe in Ninja foodi Im in Australia finding hard to find and want to love it as much as you thanks

Kris Simms

Just started on the paleo diet this month and feel so much better! Making this recipe tonite along w skirt steak and chimchurri YUM!!!!!


Tip for everyone! Don’t sub raw garlic for roasted garlic.
I’m a garlic fiend and it was way too garlicky. Next time I’ll try the roasted garlic. Otherwise I loved this recipe, super easy and great texture. All of the other recipes I found were full of
Butter or cream!


What if I don’t have a food processer. Can I use a mixer?


    You can mash the cooked cauliflower very well with a potato ricer.


This is seriously the easiest, most delicious side dish ever! I added 2 tbsp of coconut cream to the mix for a little creamier consistency! I’ll definitely be making this more often!


Am wanting to loose weight and should avoid potatoes and any of that starchy food so I definitely will try this recipe… stay tuned for tomorrow after I have tried this.


Love the fact that there is no unnecessary butter, cream, coconut oil/milk, or other oil. You simply don’t need it!


I didn’t know what to do without mashed potatoes, and now I’m so happy I found this recipe! I used sautéed onions, coconut oil, and roasted garlic. Soooo yummy!


WOW! These are awesome!! I spent 35 years avoiding cauliflower because as a child, an adult told me they were just like mashed potatoes. The circle is now complete 🙂


This recipes even got two thumbs up from my picky teenage daughter! Thanks a million 🙂


What is the nutrition facts for this recipe?
Thank you!


Now THAT was delicious. I don’t have a food processor but I mashed it as best I could and it was awesome. I added a bit of cheese to it and my husband loved it. Maybe it’s time to by a food processor !! Thanks for sharing !!


Just made your Mashed cauliflower recipe and it was PERFECT! Thank you!


What if you don’t have a steam basket? Is there another way to do this?


    You could put the florets in a covered casserole dish with a tablespoon of water and heat in the microwave on high for a few minutes (2 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of your cauliflower). That’s how I normally steam broccoli and cauliflower.


    You could put the entire cauliflower head into a dutch oven pot with about an inch of water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then remove, cut up, and process per recipe.


      Trying it for the first time today!! Does anyone suggest a substitute for salt?


Hi, how would I make this if I don’t have s food processor?

Virginia Murrell

I do my cauliflower mash basically the same,but add a half of potato, to add some body, it’s delicious.


good evening!This recipe looks absolutely amazing! When researching some healthier options for this Thanksgiving we came across your recipe and would like to feature it in our blog, with your permission of course. We would share the recipe by linking it directly to your site , while utilizing your photos if you are okay with that.

We are looking forward to working with you!

Becca and Alicia

    Megan Gilmore

    You are always welcome to share one of my photos with a link back to the full recipe, as long as the recipe itself isn’t shared on another website. Thanks so much!


Love this but your nutrition info is wrong. A tablespoon of olive oil has more calories than what is showing for the entire recipe.

    Megan Gilmore

    Sorry, the automatic nutrition calculator I use has been down today, so this recipe still has the old nutrition info (before I added the olive oil for sautéing the garlic– which makes this recipe 10x tastier!). I’ll try to update it as soon as I can, but in the meantime just keep in mind that the nutrition info is for everything except the olive oil.


So easy and amazing. We added extra butter.


Try cooking your cauliflower in the microwave, no water and you get a much less mushy mess

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