Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

5 from 93 votes

These creamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are super fluffy and tasty - make them as a lighter low carb alternative to the traditional recipe!

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If you’re keeping it low carb, you need to try my cauliflower mashed potatoes! Once blended with sour cream, and butter and topped with chives, it’s really hard to tell the difference visually between cauliflower mashed potatoes and actual mashed potatoes. Plus, this cauliflower mash makes for a hearty side dish that is lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to potatoes, so it’s perfect for those on a keto diet too.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes in a bowl with a wooden spoon
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The mashed cauliflower actually has the texture of potatoes. I like to call them “fauxtatoes” around here, and every time I make them, my kids honestly have no idea it’s cauliflower.

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Steamed
Dietary Info:
Gluten-free, low-carb, & vegetarian
Key Flavor:
Tart and buttery
Skill Level:


  • Low-carb potato alternative: Cauliflower mashed potatoes offer a lighter twist on the classic comfort food. They are lower in carbs and calories, making them suitable for those looking to reduce starch and calories in their diet.
  • On the table in less than 30 minutes!: With minimal prep and cooking time, cauliflower mashed potatoes are a convenient side dish for weeknight dinners. Prepped and ready to enjoy in less than 30 minutes.
  • Great for picky eaters: Even picky eaters often enjoy the taste and texture of cauliflower mashed potatoes. It’s an excellent way to introduce more veggies into your family’s diet.
  • Dietary flexibility: This recipe is versatile and can accommodate various dietary needs. It’s naturally gluten free, vegetarian, and low-carb.

Ingredients to make cauliflower mashed potatoes

  • Cauliflower: Cauliflower is a great low carb alternative to potatoes and it’s high in fiber, B vitamins and contains antioxidants. When mashed it has a fluffy consistency!
  • Butter: Butter adds a great flavor to the cauliflower and helps to bring out the natural nuttiness. I use salted, but you can also use unsalted if you prefer.
  • Cheese: I use a mixture of parmesan cheese for flavor and cream cheese to add extra creaminess.
  • Seasonings: Garlic, salt and fresh chives, for serving.
  • Make it vegan: Instead of regular butter, you can use vegan butter to make this recipe vegan-friendly. This recipe is made using salted butter, so keep that in mind when choosing a vegan butter. Unsalted will work too. Simply adjust the saltiness to your likeness before serving.
  • Boost the flavor: For a more robust garlic flavor, consider adding roasted garlic cloves. Once roasted, the fragrant garlic cloves will blend beautifully with the soft cauliflower infusing the garlicky flavor throughout.
  • Top with fresh herbs: Adding fresh herbs like chopped chives, green onions, parsley, or thyme will add a burst of fresh color and flavor.
  • Cauliflower mashed potatoes leveled up!: For a luxurious, earthy aroma, add a drizzle of truffle oil. When adding the oil, a little goes a long way. Consider it a garnish. Start with a small drizzle, taste, and then adjust to your preferences.
Ingredients to make the recipe all measured

How to make mashed “potatoes” using cauliflower

  1. Cut the cauliflower into florets and sauté in a skillet with butter.
  2. Add water to the skillet, bring to a boil and cook until tender.
  3. Drain the cauliflower and place in a bowl with the other ingredients.
  4. Use an immersion blender to blend into a creamy consistency.
The mash served with steak and green beans

Tips for making the best cauliflower mashed potatoes

  1. Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets. This will help them to cook through evenly. Check out my post on How to Cut Cauliflower for tips.
  2. Use an immersion blender to blend the cauliflower. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a potato ricer or you can do it by hand with a potato masher. I do find that I get the best results with an immersion blender though.
  3. Add finely minced garlic instead of garlic powder for a stronger flavor. But make sure to mince it finely so you don’t have garlic lumps. Check out my How to cut garlic post to learn how to prepare it quickly and easily.
  4. Wring the cauliflower in a kitchen towel to remove extra moisture. This allows you to add more liquid ingredients like milk or sour cream without worrying about the mashed cauliflower being too loose.

What to serve with cauliflower mashed potatoes

How to store and reheat

Like most hot dishes, allow your cauliflower mash to come to room temperature before storing.

How long will cauliflower mashed potatoes last in the fridge? Store leftovers in an airtight container, and if stored properly, leftover cauliflower mash will last refrigerated for up to 3 to 4 days.

Can I freeze cauliflower mashed potatoes? While it is possible to freeze cauliflower mash, the texture is likely to change once thawed. If you choose to freeze, store them in a freezer safe airtight container and reheat gently, adding a little milk or butter to restore that creamy texture.

Reheating leftover cauliflower potatoes: I would recommend the stovetop method for reheating for the best results. This offers you the ability to add liquid or butter, giving you more control over the final product. 

Frequently asked questions

Can you make them ahead of time?

Yes! This cauliflower mash can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, making it an ideal side for a holiday meal. Make the recipe and let the cauliflower cool to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat the mashed cauliflower in a pot over a low heat until heated through.

Do they taste like cauliflower?

Cauliflower is a fairly bland vegetable and so it easily replaces the classic mashed potato. It’s not as starchy but it has a similar thick consistency. The added garlic powder and cheese makes this such a tasty side everyone will love!

Can you use a food processor to blend the cauliflower?

I prefer not to use a food processor as it is very easy to over process the mash and it can turn soupy. If you do use a food processor, pulse it so that it gradually blends and you have more control.

Can I use frozen cauliflower for mashed potatoes?

Yes! Before using it’s important to thaw and drain the frozen cauliflower well before mashing. Frozen cauliflower can release more moisture so keep that in mind when trying to achieve the creamy texture.

How can I achieve a smoother texture without an immersion blender?

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender or a food processor to create smooth and creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes. Do keep in mind that over-processing can cause your mashed cauliflower to become gluey.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes in a bowl and topped with chives

Cauliflower mash offers a delightful twist on the classic buttery mashed potatoes providing a lighter and nutritious alternative without compromising taste. This handful of ingredients combined create a velvety texture and rich flavor, fooling the pickiest of eaters. Serve alongside any weeknight dinner or share as part of your Thanksgiving or Christmas spread, they’ll be an easy family favorite!

More low carb cauliflower recipes:

More Thanksgiving recipes:

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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

These creamy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are super fluffy and tasty – make them as a lighter low carb alternative to the traditional recipe!
5 from 93 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Calories 148
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into florets
  • cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons butter plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Fresh chives chopped for serving optional


  • Steam the cauliflower until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes. Allow the cauliflower to cool enough to handle and then use a paper towel to dab it dry as much as possible.
  • Place the warm cauliflower in a large bowl along with the parmesan cheese, butter, cream cheese, garlic powder and salt. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy, about 30-60 seconds. You can also mash them with a fork for a more chunky consistency.
  • Serve warm with fresh chives, and melted butter, if desired.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.


Calories: 148kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 535mg, Potassium: 450mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 344IU, Vitamin C: 69mg, Calcium: 131mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Side
5 from 93 votes (92 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. E says:

    Sooo delicious. Will be a staple.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      So glad you liked it, E!!

  2. Wendy Andberg says:

    What is the herb or spice sprinkled on the mashed cauliflower? I don’t see it listed. Thanks.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Wendy! I topped it with fresh chives. Hope you enjoy!

      1. Wendy Louise Andberg says:

        Hello again. I saw the chives. I was referring to the brown powdery herb or spices sprinkled on top. Thanks

        1. Yumna J. says:

          Ah-gotcha. That’s cracked black pepper.

      2. Wendy Andberg says:

        I see the chives but what is the brown powder or granules sprinkled on top?

        1. Wendy Andberg says:

          P.S. With all due respect, #4 should say “wring”–not “ring.” Thanks