Slow Cooker Mashed Cauliflower (Dairy-free!)

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I know how crowded the stove can get around the holidays, so today I thought I’d share a way to make Mashed Cauliflower in the slow cooker. It’s a healthy and easy side dish!

best mashed cauliflower recipe (vegan & Paleo!)

This creamy side dish has a remarkably similar texture to mashed potatoes, and since the taste of cauliflower is relatively neutral, you can add any seasonings you like to make them your own. I like to add plenty of sea salt, garlic, and black pepper, along with some fresh thyme.

I love making mashed cauliflower in a slow cooker because you can cook, mash, and serve it all from the same pot!

slow cooker mashed cauliflower with immersion blender

Mashed cauliflower is:

  • Low-Carb
  • Paleo
  • Vegan
  • Dairy-Free
  • Oil-Free
  • Nut-free

And did I mention, super easy to prepare? Simply add the cauliflower and water into the slow cooker, cook until tender, then mash directly in the pot and season to taste. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

mashed cauliflower in slow cooker

Now, if you’re like me and want to keep things as easy as possible, I like to cook the cauliflower in just enough water that I don’t have to drain the cauliflower later. As a result, the cauliflower that touches the edges of your slow cooker might brown a bit, because they aren’t fully submerged in water.

I don’t mind a bit of browned cauliflower, but if need to leave your slow cooker totally unattended for hours or you want your mashed cauliflower to be as “white-looking” as possible, I’d recommend adding more water for the cooking portion of this recipe, then drain the cauliflower before mashing it. Your choice!

Either way, I hope you’ll enjoy this mashed cauliflower any time of the year. It’s a delicious way to eat more vegetables, particularly if you top it with my healthy vegan gravy.

gluten-free vegetarian gravy over mashed potatoes

best mashed cauliflower recipe
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Slow Cooker Mashed Cauliflower (Dairy-free)

Neutral  |  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, Vegan
This healthy side dish is low-carb and fat-free, and has the taste and texture similar to real mashed potatoes. Serve it for Thanksgiving or Christmas!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Slow Cooker Mashed Cauliflower
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 38kcal


  • 1 head cauliflower (2.5 to 3 pounds, chopped)
  • 3/4 cup water (or more if cooking longer)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon fine sea salt , to taste
  • black pepper , to taste


  • Combine the cauliflower, water, and garlic the bowl of a slow cooker, cover with the lid, and set to cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6 hours. (For longer cooking times, use more water to prevent burning then drain the cauliflower before mashing.)
  • When the cauliflower is tender, use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash the cauliflower until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, (I use a full teaspoon to mimic traditional mashed potatoes) and add any other herbs you like, such as fresh thyme or rosemary. 
  • Use the slow cooker to keep the mashed cauliflower warm until ready to serve. 
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. 


Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 2g | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 69.8mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.6mg
Per serving: Calories: 38, Carbohydrates: 7, Fiber: 2, Fat: 0, Protein: 2

Recipe Notes:

  • A whole head of cauliflower doesn’t make a huge amount of mashed cauliflower. If your family likes to eat larger portions of sides, or you need to serve more than 4 people, I’d recommend doubling this recipe.
  • As written, this recipe is neutral for food combining purposes, so you can eat it with turkey for a properly combined Thanksgiving feast, or with Stuffed Acorn Squash for a vegan alternative.
  • I have a feeling you could probably make this in the Instant Pot (possibly with slightly less water?) by cooking it on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • If you don’t have a slow cooker, simply steam the cauliflower on the stove until tender (about 10 minutes) then mash and season to taste. You can see my original Mashed Cauliflower recipe for that.

As always, if you make any modifications to this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what worked for you. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite holiday side? I can’t pick just one, but I’ve recreated my favorite Vegan Corn Casserole, Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing, and Gluten-Free Vegan Gravy so I can enjoy them all!

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We like to combine mashed cauliflower and mashed potatoes. Do you think this would work in the crock pot?

    Megan Gilmore

    Yes, I think that would be fine! I did that combo in my Instant Pot for Friendsgiving this past weekend, and it worked out great.

Shawna Lee

Have you tried making this in the instant pot? If so, what are the directions please?

    Megan Gilmore

    Oh, yes. I make this in the Instant Pot all the time now. (My new Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook has a recipe for mashed potatoes and a healthy gravy that you make at the same time, in the same pot!) I’d put the cauliflower in a steamer basket to keep it out of the water (use 1 cup water on the bottom), and cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, with a quick release. Drain and then mash the cauliflower in the pot with whatever seasonings you like.

Victoria Searle

Dose the long slow cooking not distroy the vitamins in the vegetable!

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