The Best Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

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Keto Mashed Cauliflower is a fantastic alternative for high-carb potatoes with their creamy, buttery flavor and smooth texture. It’s one substitution you won’t mind making.

» You might like Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash or these 8 Low-Carb Ways to Dress Up Cauliflower.

Keto Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower mash is keto friendly and a great alternative to traditional mashed potatoes in any dish you’d typically serve them with. Try them with our keto turkey gravy, keto sausage gravy or this keto stuffing recipe as a great side dish to serve with it.

Starting around September every year, I start replacing cauliflower rice with mashed cauliflower to go serve with many of the fall dishes I love making.

They go really well with any roast meat. I serve them with pot roast, brisket, fried chicken, and definitely for Thanksgiving dinner, when it’s an absolute necessity.

The best part about keto mashed cauliflower for me is that the texture is quite similar to mashed potatoes and they have all the same great buttery, creamy flavor I want. It’s a comforting and satisfying substitution.

▶ If you love cauliflower, try this crispy air fryer cauliflower. It’s one of my favorite ways to eat this veggie.

Keto Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Cauliflower – 1 head. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Avoid using the stems of the cauliflower because they are more fibrous and don’t puree as well.
  • White vinegar – Adding vinegar while steaming helps the cauliflower stay white and reduces that cauliflower smell while cooking.
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Green onions – For garnish.

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower

It’s quite easy to make keto cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. It does require a few tools, but there are a few ways to make it, so you can go with whatever tools you have on hand.

My preferred method is to steam the cauliflower in a large pot with a steamer basket. If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can still steam the cauliflower without it. It might get a bit more watery, but that won’t have a major affect on the final product.

You can also microwave steam the cauliflower or cook the cauliflower in the Instant Pot. If you want to use a shortcut then try microwaved prepared cauliflower rice.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, you will need to puree it. For this, I use my immersion blender. It works perfectly and I don’t have to transfer the cauliflower or dirty another dish.

If you don’t have a stick blender, you can use a food processor or a blender.

Keto Mashed Cauliflower

How to Steam the Cauliflower

Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Avoid using the stems of the cauliflower because they are more fibrous and don’t puree as well.

Add about 1/2 inch of water, plus 1/2 tsp white vinegar, to a large pot with the steamer basket inserted. Add the cauliflower to the basket. Heat over high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and steam for 10-15 minutes, until the florets are super tender and nearing the fall apart stage.

Steaming Cauliflower in the Microwave

If you do not have a steamer basket or want to keep it super simple, you can steam the cauliflower in the microwave.

To steam cauliflower in the microwave, add cauliflower florets to a microwave-safe bowl and fill with about 1/4 cup water to cover the bottom of the bowl.

Drape the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes or until fork-tender.

Cooking Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

Place the cauliflower florets in a steamer basket. Set it inside the Instant Pot and pour in the water. You only need 1/2 a cup of cold water, since the cook time is so brief. Use 3/4 cup water in the 6-quart Instant Pot.

Close the lid of the Instant Pot. Set the valve to the sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook or manual button and set the cook time to 2 minutes on high pressure. When the time is up, do a quick pressure release and carefully remove the steamer basket from the pot.

cooking cauliflower in the Instant Pot

Blending the Cauliflower into Mash

If you’re using an immersion blender, drain the water from the pot and remove the steamer basket.

Or drain the cauliflower and transfer it to the blender or food processor.

Add butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper, and blend. Make sure you puree it completely to blend all of the chunks into a smooth mash. If it’s too dry to blend, you can add a bit more cream or butter.

The reason I like using the immersion blender best is that it adds a large amount of air to the whip, making it really fluffy and smooth. It leads to the best texture, in my opinion.

If you’re not going to eat the mash right away, transfer it back to the pot and keep it over warm heat until ready to serve.

mashed cauliflower and gravy

How to Serve Cauliflower Mash

This cauliflower mash can be served just as it is. It has a buttery creamy taste that is great on its own. However, you can also serve it with low-carb gravy, just as you would with mashed potatoes. That’s why it makes a perfect holiday mashed potato replacement.

It makes a great side dish for roast meats, chicken, pork chops and sausages (Bangers & Mash). You can also use it as a topping for Shepherd’s pie. Really any thing you’d use mashed potatoes for you can use this for.

Tips and Notes

  • Don’t use the stems of the cauliflower for the smoothest mash.
  • Add white vinegar to the steam water to reduce the cauliflower smell.
  • You can substitute sour cream or heavy whipping cream for the cream cheese if you want.
  • Be sure to check the mash for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Cauliflower needs a lot of salt.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it Have a Strong Cauliflower Smell?

One of the questions I get the most often about this keto cauli mash is about the cauliflower smell. If the mash smells so much like cauliflower, it’ll be hard to pretend they’re potatoes. Good point.

The reason we add a few drops of vinegar to the cauliflower water when steaming it is to pull out the smell it produces. The vinegar does the trick. It won’t smell up your house as it’s cooking and it won’t have a strong smell when eating it.

How Many Carbs Are In Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable that is one of the best for keto dieters. You can replace a serving of high-carb mashed potatoes with this mashed cauliflower for just 5 net carbs.

That’s a huge carb difference over high-starch potatoes, and since it’s so tasty, you will be surely be rejoicing that you’ve found such a great alternative.

If you are looking for other potato substitute recipes you might like to try this easy keto gnocchi recipe or this cauliflower “potato” salad recipe.

More Cauliflower Recipes to Try

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Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
4.6 from 40 votes
Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower
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Mexican Street Style Cauliflower
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How to Make Cauliflower Rice

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Keto Mashed Cauilflower

Keto Mashed Cauliflower

The cauliflower mashed potatoes are smooth, buttery, and creamy, plus perfect for a keto diet.
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 113kcal
Author :Laura Lynch


  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt more, to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 green onion sliced for garnish


  • Cut the cauliflower into florets, removing the stems.
  • Add the water and white vinegar to a large pot. Add a steamer basket and fill with cauliflower.
  • Steam for 10-15 minutes, until very tender.
  • Add butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Blend with an immersion blender (or transfer to a blender or food processor to blend) until smooth.
  • Reheat over low heat until ready to serve. Garnish with green onion, if desired.


  • Don’t use the stems of the cauliflower for the smoothest mash.
  • Add white vinegar to the steam water to reduce the cauliflower smell.
  • You can substitute sour cream or heavy whipping cream for the cream cheese if you want.
  • Be sure to check the mash for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Cauliflower needs a lot of salt.


Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 264mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 70mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Keto Mashed Cauilflower
The Best Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

6 thoughts on “The Best Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

  1. Jacque Hastert says:

    5 stars
    I have saved this recipe so I can enjoy it on Thanksgiving without all the guilt of the regular mashed potatoes. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    This sounds very delicious and so healthy. I never tried mashed cauliflower. But now I definitely must make this. You convinced me to give it a try.

  3. Maria Murillo says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe and it is delicious! This will be a replacement for mashed potatoes. It is not only easy to make but also so tasty. Thanks for sharing it!

4.78 from 9 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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