How to Make Yummy Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” (Recipe)

Mashed Cauliflower Fauxtatoes Recipe

Did you know that when prepared correctly, mashed cauliflower has a very similar texture to mashed potatoes and a sweet and buttery taste?

Most kids won’t flinch at the difference, and you can rest happy knowing you are squeezing in extra protein and nutrients. Top with melted cheese, and even the most adamant of veggie haters will give it a try.

Why Mashed Cauliflower?

I love potatoes, but they are one of the most-consumed foods in the US and most of us are getting way to many of them (fries anyone?). White potatoes are tasty and have some nutritional benefits, but are nothing compared to this nutritious substitute: cauliflower!

This cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe (or fauxtatoes as I like to call it) is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or other holidays, or for a healthy family dinner any night of the week. In fact, this is one substitute that I think actually tastes better than the original recipe and there are endless ways to customize it!

If you have really picky eaters in your house, whip really well, and provide toppings like bacon and cheese- they won’t know the difference! You’ll love that you are serving a healthy vegetable, and they’ll love their “potatoes.” In fact, a friend recently made these for her husband and he asked if she had added cheese or extra butter to the mashed potatoes because they tasted a little different. Yet, he didn’t realize it was actually cauliflower!

Vegetables for the win!

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower:

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Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes
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A more nutritious version of mashed potatoes made with buttery cauliflower instead!
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Thanksgiving
Serves: 8
  • 1-2 head of fresh cauliflower or 1-2 bags of frozen
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 T cream cheese or sour cream (optional)
  • 2 T or more Parmesan (optional)
  • Salt, pepper, garlic and other spices to taste
  1. Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil in a large pan and add cauliflower.
  2. Cook until tender (I suppose you could also use a microwave, but I've never tried since we don't have one and don't use them!)
  3. When tender, put into large bowl and add other ingredients.
  4. Use immersion blender or hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy. This is the most important step... chunks of cauliflower are a giveaway!
  5. Sprinkle with extra cheese if desired and serve warm.

More of a visual person? Check out my 90-second video tutorial here:

Ever tried a mashed potato alternative? Share your favorite options below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Finally someone has explained a little better to me about why potatoes are on the no list.

  2. I made this last month for cottage pie and while my son wasn’t thrilled (he adores mashed potatoes!), he never imagined it was …. cauliflower!! My husband, super duper picky, said I could absolutely make it again. WHOOHOO! And I had been so dreading trying this. Love your blog, btw.

  3. My family loves this – just be sure not to add too much liquid -I did the last time I made it – it was too soupy.

  4. We love caulitators at our house and eat them all the time!!

  5. I like to serve this with heavier dishes, such as liver and onions because it just doesn’t feel as stodgy as potatoes!

    • Looks great! Liver and onions is on my list to cook next week!

  6. I am looking for a low carb AND low fat sub. for mashed potatoes.  But with 4 tbsp. butter, 2 tsp. cream cheese and 2 tsp. parmesan cheese….I know you can sub the cream cheese with low fat cream cheese.  Anyone have any lower cal. recipe.

    • Just omit the fats and mash with salt if you are concerned…

    • Just omit the fats and mash with salt if you are concerned…

    • I have also made with 1 head cauliflower, chicken stock (or broth if you don’t have stock around), and spices (salt, pepper, garlic powder).  A bit of butter really adds to it, but you can do without if you want.  

  7. I’ve finally found another person without a microwave!  People seriously think I’m crazy.  But as you know, you don’t really miss it once you get used to not having it around.  In my last house it was out on the counter and I would use every few weeks to melt butter or something, but haven’t had it plugged in in over a year.  Last week I actually missed a potluck I was supposed to go to as my grass fed ground beef hadn’t thawed in time to bake the meatloaf I had planned.  I realized I was officially never going to use my microwave again when the thought of finding it in my basement and plugging it in to thaw my meat crossed my mind – but I immediately dismissed it because I just couldn’t do that to food I would eat or serve someone else!  Time to post it on freecycle 🙂 .  

    • Exactly 🙂 At first I was desperate without it when it broke. But the time without it made me realise I didn’t really miss it at all. And the oven is so much simpler and lovelier 😉 I also managed to get away with making good eggs in the fryer which was first for me. So I know I can change my daily habits simply because I know the no matter what I eat I enjoy it and no matter how it’s made I can enjoy it. So long as it is nutritious and safe for my body. Or as a cheat taste really delicious and suddenly take aways can even steer me away. Lol but I know now I can make my own firm meals of substitute grains and still eat my korma just in a healthy assured way. Anyway I don’t think I want the microwave my friend and I was going to get one when kitchen was finished. But nah lol I rather invest that cash if I had it into buying a food processor. Making cauliflower rice and all kinds of veggies. I can make do with hand held too though 😉

  8. Tried this last night and we loved it! I used one head but added more of somethings: cream cheese – about 4 oz (half of a foil package), half a cup of shredded Parmesan and I also added half a tsp of powdered garlic. We loved it! Thanks for a great idea.

  9. I am wondering if one could roast the cauliflower rather than boiling? I love the flavor that comes from roasting it, but I’m not sure if the texture would be correct for this dish. Anyone tried this cooking method?

    • Yes, worked great!

  10. Excellent recipe here again Katie! Thank you for all you do! We had an awesome island style Thanksgiving feast with a great side of mashed cauli! Aloha!

  11. I have a question would you use. Regular sour cream or low fat? And what is a healthy butter?

    • Regular sour cream and healthy butter is from grassed cows, raw if possible 🙂

  12. These (as well as cauliflower rice) have become a favorite in our house! It’s great because it tastes just like its starchy counterpart, goes well with anything, it’s great for my diabetic dad, and even the non-paleo members of my family like it!

  13. I don’t know if it would work or not with cauliflower, but with mashed potatoes, I use cottage cheese instead of sour cream. I don’t even like cottage cheese, but I LOVE it with potatoes, and it is a much healthier substitute for sour cream.

  14. I would like to make this and cauliflower rice more often but there is an issue with the price of the vegetable up here during the off season…which is most of the year! Has anyone had success with freezing raw, pre-grated cauliflower? I tried freezing blanched chunks once and they tasted really weird after a only a month or two. Not freezer burn or anything, just weird…and very watery so I’ve been afraid to try again.

  15. I just made this…I’m embarking on a Ketogenic way of eating…anyway, it’s delicious – super quick and easy. I’m so excited. Thank you 🙂

  16. Could I add a little broccoli to this and still have the same outcome? We love broccoli so I was thinking texture wise it may work

  17. I put my broccoflower in the Vitamix – silky smooth texture and looked like an avocado smoothie!
    I saved the water the broccoflower was boiled in. Seems there would be plenty of nutrients still in that water, right? I drank some just as is/was, then I used it to water down some store bought beet juice that was too sweet.

  18. I would think steaming the veggie would be better than boiling them less nutrients lost in the water. I am thinking if you do not have a really good immersion blender or vita mix, putting the cauliflower though a food mill first would make it easier to get creamy result from a regular blender. I am going to try doing this tonight.

    • Yes I made the cauliflower recipe the other evening and I actually steamed it so the nutrients were left in it and it was just as tender that is the way to go steaming so simple

  19. Can you freeze the remainder of the mashed cauliflower?

  20. Be careful about serving this unannounced to extended family. Some of our bodies do not like cauliflower. I would like to taste it but I wouldn’t eat more than a small taste if I was not home to deal with the consequences.

  21. My family scoff at my mention of using cauliflower instead of potatoes and I reluctantly keep making mash potato. I have just printed this recipe and definitely going to make it instead. I like the idea of bacon for a topping. Everyone loves bacon in my house and will see what the responses will be.

  22. We make mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes all the time. One piece of advice I would give: after cooking your cauliflower, place it in a clean dish towel & squeeze out as much of the water as possible, I normally get about 1/4-1/3 cup of liquid out of one head of cauliflower. Then continue to mash with whatever ingredients you’re going to use. Squeezing out the liquid truly makes a HUGE difference & gives it more of a mashed potato texture.

  23. Hi! We add horseradish and Trappey’s pepper juice to this, it’s amazing. Thank you for your blog!

  24. If you tolerate the starch well enough, you can make a mash combining cauliflower with potato.

  25. Sometimes I cook the cauliflower in about an inch or two of goats milk, drain but keep the milk, and then add back the milk as needed while mashing to get the consistency I want. It’s tangy like I had added sour cream but I don’t have to remember to buy sour cream and I think the flavor is deeper because it cooks in.

  26. Do you think I could add some gelatin to this for added protein or would it make it to thick?

  27. I would also like to know if anyone has had any success freezing any leftover mash for use another day?

  28. I love that this is a recipe that actually works! I have been trying to make cauliflower mashed potatoes for so long and they always end up clumpy or watery.

  29. I made this a couple of years ago–not this recipe though. Didn’t really care for it at all. I shall give it another go with this recipe. Thanks for posting this.

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