Mashed Cauliflower (Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes)


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Mashed cauliflower (cauliflower mashed potatoes) are a healthy, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. They’re also a great way to sneak more veggies into your meal. Add fresh garlic and herbs for the best flavor!

What to serve with mashed cauliflower? I love my Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs, Dijon Baked Salmon, Slow Cooker Pulled Pork and Scallops with Citrus Ginger Sauce. They also help to lighten up a heavier meat dish like my amazing prime rib.

Mashed cauliflower in a white bowl with a spoon.

We’re in that funky transitional time of year when holiday recipes are on over-drive and I’m over here enjoying 80 degree Cali sun and drinking smoothies. My brain says “it’s holiday time” and my body says “let’s hit the beach.” Confusing, eh?

Right now I’m holding onto the latter, but I do have lots of autumn recipes in the queue. And as I was thinking this week about holiday indulging I started thinking about ways to “lighten” some classic recipes.

The first thing that popped in my head was traditional mashed potatoes and replacing those with mashed cauliflower – to make cauliflower mashed potatoes. So that’s what I have for you today. Mashed cauliflower with garlic and herbs. And trust me, it’s delicious.

Cauliflower Mashed Potato Ingredients

The great thing about this recipe is there’s only a handful of ingredients, including:

  • Cauliflower: look for a fresh, unblemished head of cauliflower
  • Olive Oil: which is used to saute the garlic
  • Garlic Cloves: because cauliflower has such a mild, neutral flavor, minced garlic gives it a kick of flavor
  • Fresh Herbs: I love fresh thyme, but you could also use rosemary, sage, chives or parsley

Why You Should Swap Mashed Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes

Mashed cauliflower is a great idea because you’re replacing a starchy vegetable (which can spike blood sugar) with a low-carb vegetable alternative.

Now, for the record I’m not a low-carb girl and I don’t think carbs (especially those from potatoes) are bad. But during the holidays you’ll have a plethora of ways to spike blood sugar, so swapping mashed cauliflower for classic mashed potatoes is a smart idea.

Mashed cauliflower ingredients.

What Does Mashed Cauliflower Taste Like?

Personally, I think mashed cauliflower tastes amazing. Really. Especially with garlic and fresh herbs. It’s not as starchy as potatoes, but it’s creamy and has a similar thick texture (if you make it my way).

You can also get creative with different add-ins based on your dietary preference. The basic recipe I’m presenting today is dairy-free, paleo, vegan and keto friendly, but if you tolerate dairy, feel free to add some butter, ghee or cheese (chevre is creamy and delicious).

Mashed cauliflower in a white bowl, topped with butter and herbs.

A Few More Tips

Because I’ve made mashed cauliflower numerous times (with a few fails along the way), here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t boil the cauliflower. I know it’s easy to toss the cauliflower florets into a pot of water (and many recipes say to do this), but this introduces too much water into the vegetable and you’ll end up with cauliflower puree rather than mashed cauliflower.
  • Steam the cauliflower instead. This is the best, fastest and most fail-safe method. I also recommend steaming for 6-8 minutes and not over-steaming. Again, you want to keep your cauliflower nice and crisp.
  • What about roasting the cauliflower? You could do this as well. And it imparts a lovely flavor, but it does take 2-3x the amount of time so I don’t do it often.
  • Definitely add garlic and herbs. When I’ve heard from folks who cringe at mashed cauliflower it’s because they’ve had it plain. And let’s be honest, cauliflower is a fairly bland vegetable, so I imagine the end result would be bland. Fresh herbs are best (though dried work as well) along with a little butter, ghee or olive oil. If you’ve made a homemade compound butter in your ice cube tray (as I show on my Kitchen Gadgets video), you could just toss a cube in and call it a day!
  • Mash the cooked florets with a potato masher for a firm, chunky consistency or use a handheld immersion blender for creamy mashed cauliflower. You could also use a food processor, but again, be careful that you don’t over-process and end up with a puree.

And that’s it guys. Mashed cauliflower that’s super easy, delicious, healthy, low-carb and flavorful. And remember that you could also do 50/50 with traditional potatoes and mashed cauliflower for a happy medium as well.

Mashed cauliflower in a bowl with a pat of butter.

More Healthy Cauliflower Recipes

If you love cauliflower recipes (as I do) make sure to check out some of these reader favorites…

Mashed cauliflower in a bowl with herbs and butter.

Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Herbs

5 from 17 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Mashed cauliflower (cauliflower mashed potatoes) are a healthy, low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. And bonus, you'll be eating more veggies and most won't even know the difference. Watch the video above!



  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tsp finely chopped herbs, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley, chives, etc


  • Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the florets. Rinse the florets under water.
  • Heat 1-inch of water in a pot on medium heat and bring to a boil. Place a steamer insert in the pot and add the cauliflower florets. Steam for 6-8 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is steaming, heat the olive oil in a small pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.
  • Remove the steamed cauliflower from the pot, drain the water from the pot, then add the cauliflower back in. Add the olive oil, garlic, chopped herbs and any optional ingredients.
  • Use a potato masher or handheld stick blender to mash the cauliflower. Serve immediately.

Lisa’s Tips

  • Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower or else your cauliflower mash might end up more of a cauliflower puree. The same can be said if you use a food processor instead of using a potato masher or handheld stick blender. The goal is to gently mash, not to puree.


Calories: 84.6kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.9g | Protein: 4.1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.7g | Sodium: 63.3mg | Fiber: 4.2g | Sugar: 4g
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, How to Make Mashed Cauliflower, Mashed Cauliflower, Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published Oct 2017, but updated to include new photos and information. 

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Recipe Rating


  1. In the past I have been lazy and boiled or cooked my cauliflower in the Instant Pot. This method of steaming was perfect and the mash was creamy but not watery. Thank you so much!

  2. This is a great recipe and use of hidden veggies (you’ve never know!) I’m going to use less garlic next time. Thanks!5 stars

  3. I guess I prefer puréed cauliflower. I conked it in a littl chicken stock until tender and purée in a Cuisinart along with Parmesan cheese, a dollop of whipped cream cheese and Greek yogurt. I also cook what little bit of chicken stick down to about a tablespoon and add it to the purée. It is so delicious. 

  4. This looks wonderful. I found you when I was shopping for my Vitamix and you convinced me it’s the best thing … And it is.  Thank you.  Love all your recipes.  So easy and delicious.

    Next I want to try the mashed Cauliflower.  Could I use my Vitamix to make make this?

    1. I haven’t tried making this in a Vitamix, but I’m thinking it might not be the best choice. Otherwise it can easily turn into cauliflower soup!

  5. What I appreciate most about your recipes are the tips. I can’t imagine how much trial and error you went through coming up with them. With food prices being so high these days trial and error must be minimized and you’ve done all the work for us! Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!5 stars

    1. It can get costly depending on the recipe, but I’m happy to do it for this community as I don’t want you all experiencing failed recipes!

  6. When you are looking at calories, it says 84.6 calories, is that per serving? This recipe says it’s 4 servings.

  7. Why on earth, would you not also use the stem of the cauliflower. Such waste.
    It’s getting mashed, so cook and mash the stem too. Should also recommend using the leaves somehow as well, because they’re edible too.

  8. This was so good!!! that I ate a whole bowl by myself so did my daughter. I followed every step by steaming the cauliflower heads vs boiling or roasting them and Lisa was right about that. Thank you Lisa!!
    I could see that this will become a staple dish in my family. 5 stars

  9. How many grams are you accounting for in a head of cauliflower for this? They can range anything from 300-900grams here.

  10. Hi, Lisa!
    I’m still waiting for my steamer insert to arrive.
    Would it turn out well if I boiled the cauliflower instead?

    1. Hi Dawn – you can boil the cauliflower, though I find the texture turns out much softer (more like a puree) than when it’s steamed.

  11. This recipe is the best cauli mash I have tried! Most turn out mushy but this one is the one that makes it seems like I’m eating potatoes!!! Served this at a party and it was a hit! 5 stars

  12. Hi, this may be a dumb question but the macros you show here, are they per serving or the value of the content of the recipe?  Also if this is for the entire content , I guess I would divide the macros by how many  servings ? Like I said I’m dense lol.

    1. Hi Paul – The calories are per serving, and there are about 4 servings in this recipe :) Hope that helps!

  13. We dont eat many vegetables, but are trying to eat healthier. We decided to try a new vegetable each week. Tonight, I made this smash cauliflower and was very pleased, especially when hubby went for seconds.5 stars

    1. Hi Jan – So happy to hear you are challenging yourself to hop onto a more healthier lifestyle! I’m glad you and the hubby loved this mashed cauliflower :) Can’t wait for you to make more of my recipes!!

  14. Yum!! Do you mix all of those herbs in there? Or just pick a select few? What’s your favorite combination of herbs together for this? 

    1. Hi Madalyn – My favorite combo would probably have to be rosemary, thyme, and parsley :) But any combination works!

  15. I just made this for friday night dinner! With roasted carrots and celeriac chickpea patties to go with it. Crazy delicious!!!5 stars

    1. Yay – so happy you loved it! And celeriac chickpea patties….umm, those sound amazing!! xo

      1. Thanks <3. And I sprinkled some roasted pine nuts on top for a little extra crunch. You must try it!!!

      2. Thank you!!! It means a lot when you say it!!!<3 I really really want to… but it seems I'm a bit of a coward… ;) But some day I will!

  16. Okay, this is easily the most beautiful cauliflower I’ve ever seen. Your photos are amazing! I’ve had cauliflower rice, but not mashed cauliflower and I need to give this a try soon! Love the addition of the herbs!

    1. Thanks so much Amy! There’s so much you can do with cauliflower (for sure), but this method is so easy and fast! :)

  17. I love all the cauliflower everywhere these days. It’s absolutely my favorite veggie and it’s so versatile. This cauliflower mash looks beautiful!

    1. It truly is a versatile veggie – as you can mash it, rice it, boil it and even turn it into pizza dough (that one is coming). ;) x

  18. I usually do mixed parsnip, carrot and potato mash at Christmas, this looks like a great variation. I love your tip to steam it, there’s nothing worse than soggy mash.

    1. I love a carrot parsnip mash as well! And yes, steaming is definitely the way to go to prevent mush. ;) x

  19. Mashed cauliflower > potatoes always, in my opinion. So much tastier when prepared right, just like this recipe. Yum!5 stars

      1. Thanks for the recipe. I’m eating this mashed cauliflower right now. Absolutely superb!5 stars