How to Make Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

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Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower potatoes Recipe
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Side Dish Recipes » How to Make Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

Did you know that when prepared correctly, mashed cauliflower has a very similar texture to mashed potatoes, not to mention a sweet and buttery taste?

I happen to love potatoes, but most of us in the U.S. are getting way too many starchy white foods in our diet anyway. (Fries anyone?)

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.

Why Eat Mashed Cauliflower (Instead of Mashed Potatoes)?

Absolutely, a potato has some nutritional benefits and a baked potato beats processed Frankenstein “foods” every time. Still, it can’t top cauliflower from a health perspective.

Here’s why cauliflower rules:

  • Lower Carbohydrate Load – According to the USDA website, one small potato contains over 20 grams of carbohydrates. Cauliflower, in comparison? A mere 5.3 grams. We absolutely need carbohydrates for energy, but consuming too many can work against us. These Paleo “potatoes” protect blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spikes that take a toll on health.
  • Fewer Pesticides – Potatoes rank high on the list of foods heavily sprayed with pesticides. In fairness, non-organic cauliflower is on the list as well but ranks much lower (better). When organic isn’t available, cauliflower is a better choice.
  • Balanced Protein and Fiber – A white potato appears to win this one, with a few tenths of a gram more protein than cauliflower and about the same amount of fiber (if you eat the skin). On the other hand, cauliflower does offer a more balanced amino acid profile.
  • Nutrient Dense – It’s true potatoes pack a lot of vitamin C and a good amount of B6, potassium, and iron. Still, just a cup of cauliflower contains almost 30 mg more vitamin C than a potato, comparable levels of B6 and folate, and an extra dose of vitamin K. (To give potatoes their due, they are higher in potassium than cauliflower … again, only if you eat the skin.)

So how to win your family over to this better-for-you mashed potato alternative?

Here’s how:

How to Make Perfect Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes (Kids Will Eat!)

This is one substitute that I think actually tastes better than the original recipe! In fact, a friend made these for her husband and he even didn’t realize it was actually cauliflower. Veggies for the win!

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

Incidentally, we love to use cauliflower to make Paleo “rice” also.

Here’s how to make cauliflower mashed potatoes that are truly guest (and kid) worthy:

Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower potatoes Recipe

Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes Recipe

A more nutritious version of mashed potatoes made with buttery cauliflower instead!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Calories 80kcal
Author Katie Wells





  • In a large pot, bring a couple quarts of water to a boil.
  • Add cauliflower and cook until tender.
  • Drain well.
  • Transfer cooked cauliflower to large bowl and add butter and optional cream cheese or sour cream and Parmesan.
  • Use immersion blender or hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy. This is the most important step … chunks of cauliflower are a giveaway!
  • Sprinkle with extra cheese if desired and serve warm.
  • Top with fresh chopped parsley or chives for a nice garnish!


Nutrition Facts
Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes Recipe
Amount Per Serving (3 /4 cup)
Calories 80 Calories from Fat 66
% Daily Value*
Fat 7.3g11%
Saturated Fat 4.8g30%
Cholesterol 19mg6%
Sodium 48mg2%
Carbohydrates 3.6g1%
Fiber 1.7g7%
Sugar 1.6g2%
Protein 2g4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Option for Instant Pot:
  1. Wash and quarter cauliflower, removing leaves and stem.
  2. Add steamer/trivet basket to Instant Pot along with 1 cup water.
  3. Add cauliflower pieces.
  4. Set to manual high pressure for 4 minutes.
  5. Manually vent/release pressure.
  6. Open, drain, and remove inner basket.
  7. Gently squeeze any remaining liquid out of cauliflower and return to pot.
  8. Add other ingredients and whip until creamy!

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Tips for Success

If you’ve tried making mashed cauliflower potatoes before and didn’t love the result, don’t be afraid to try again using the following tips:

  • Be sure to drain the cooked cauliflower well and squeeze out any additional liquid before the mashing and whipping step
  • Don’t just mash, whip! My preferred method is an immersion blender right in the pot to get the “potatoes” nice and airy.
  • Dress it up! Top with grass-fed butter, crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, and/or fresh or dried herbs.

Mashed Cauliflower Variations

Dairy Free Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower Fauxtatoes Recipe

I haven’t personally made this recipe dairy-free (here’s my take on that), but reputable brands of butter-flavored coconut oil along with a little coconut milk to lighten up the texture would probably work well. (p.s. If you’re suspicious about “flavored” coconut oil here’s one explanation.)

Instant Pot and Other Cooking Options

When I first posted this recipe I got a few questions about why I boil the cauliflower instead of steaming to preserve nutrients. I get the best texture results preparing the cauliflower this way, but as long as you start with tender (but not overcooked and mushy) cauliflower, pretty much any cooking method will work. (I take it back … no microwaving!)

The Instant Pot is a great solution to this debate and actually does a great job of preserving nutrients. If you’re new to it, here’s where I weigh in on my favorite Instant Pot model and cooking tips!

Will you try this mashed cauliflower recipe instead of mashed potatoes? If you’re a mashed cauliflower believer, have any tips to share? Please let me know in the comments!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


57 responses to “How to Make Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes””

  1. Monica Avatar

    Wow wow Katie, I tried your recipe but followed the Bright Line Eating rules…. and it’s delicious !!! I could eat it every day I love it soo much. Thank you thank you for this recipe !

  2. Arlene Avatar

    I mix 1/2 and 1/2 potatoes and cauliflower myself for family gatherings and add Bragg’s nutritional yeast seasoning instead of cheese for vegans and if you like garlic go gently it can really overpower the cauliflower.

  3. Justina Gibson Avatar
    Justina Gibson

    4 stars
    I love the idea of adding veggies to our meals anywhere we can but my question is, why not regular potatoes too? Seriously they are an iron food when skins are left on and have quite a bit of potassium, calcium, vitamin c and b6 along with a little protein. I know the S.A.D. includes waaay too many potatoes but like everything else, in moderation, potatoes are a wonderfully healthful food. Its a shame so many people are tossing spuds saying they have no value but being empty carbs- just not true. I’ve done a recipe similar to this with mashed cauliflower and turnips mixed in with the potatoes to get my brothers’ children who are picky eaters to get more veggies in their holiday meal. They gobbled it up and never knew the difference and it was about a third of each veg. I started my children off right eating mashed egg yolks, liver, and sardines as their first foods at 6 mos, then going to veg and not getting any grains until they had molars and my children are not picky eaters at all. The funny thing is that at friends and family b-day parties they usually get picky not wanting to eat the hot dogs or hamburger or pizza. I don’t hide the veg for my own children at all- instead we celebrate the veg, discussing what vitamins they are getting in each and make whole meals around certain veg at diff’t times of year.

  4. Jill Avatar

    Going to try this in my new IP. I’ve only done meat and chili so far. Yay for the veggie recipe! Thx!

  5. Alisa Studer Avatar
    Alisa Studer

    I’m obsessed with cauliflower rice at the moment. I get the frozen organic from either Costco or Trader joe’s, what do you think of those? So easy and versatile!

  6. Denise Denton Avatar
    Denise Denton

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!
    To the replier who posted ‘caulitators’. LOL! Love it!
    I, too, do not use a microwave, and haven’t for for 6+ years. My husband was totally frying every plastic dish in the house, even my brand new Tupperware :/. Out went the nuker AND most of the plastic!

  7. Janet Avatar

    My friend substituted half of her mashed potato recipe with mashed cauliflower and said it tasted NO different. Maybe start out there and then move to all cauliflower the next go round.

  8. Katie Avatar

    I’m thinking you could substitute sour cream or cream for plain yogurt, for a healthier way to make it.

  9. Janis Avatar

    5 stars
    Oh my Goodness, The Mashed Cauliflower is wonderful!!!! I just made it for the first time and this IS the best recipe I have ever had for Mashed Cauliflower. I wonder why I took me so long to try it. I will be making this again, and again, and again. Thank you for ALL that you share with us!!!!!!!!

  10. Ellen Avatar

    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.

  11. Brooke Avatar

    4 stars
    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.

  12. Zoe Avatar

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

  13. Terry Avatar

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

  14. Anna Avatar

    4 stars
    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.

  15. Marcia W Avatar

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

  16. Irene Avatar

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

  17. amy Avatar

    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.

  18. Dee Avatar

    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.

4.04 from 25 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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