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. Melanie Avatar

    I have a kitchen aid mixer (no blender, immersion blender, or food processor). Will the mixer work to get the creamy texture?

  2. Christopher Wheeler Avatar
    Christopher Wheeler

    This is delicious and similar to how I do it. But our bodies do not need carbohydrates for energy. There is no minimum requirement for dietary carbohydrate whatsoever.

  3. Monica Avatar

    5 stars
    My grandmother makes mashed cauliflower for my grandpa all the time, and her tip for getting the cauliflower dryer is to saute it in the pan a bit after draining it. I try to eat vegan, so I substituted plain almond yogurt alternative and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast for a single head of cauliflower (I don’t measure spices unless I have too…). I cooked it until the texture was dry enough to our tastes, stirring frequently. with a bit of salt and pepper, it tasted just like mashed potatoes with a good pan gravy. My grandma’s never tasted that good, despite having good texture!

  4. Pam Avatar

    I am so excited to have found this!! Quick question: do you recommend all stainless steel cooking pots/pans or what do you prefer? Thanks for all the great info!!

  5. Sharon W Avatar

    I usually like to cook once and eat at least 3 times. I was making pork with gravy and a side of roasted acorn squash. I have had some fails in the past with frozen mashed potatoes, so I decided to make mashed cauliflower. It worked great! I steamed two heads of cauliflower, used butter and whipped cream cheese which I mixed with my immersion blender. I can’t say it tastes like mashed potatoes, it tastes like cauliflower. We love cauliflower, so it was a win win! Tonight we had leftovers that had been frozen, they were just as good as the night I made it. Will definitely make again. Thank you for a delicious recipe!

  6. Janet Avatar

    5 stars
    I made this recipe to go with Cajun pork loin with mushrooms and onions for supper tonight. I didn’t tell the Hub it was mashed cauliflower until he finished it and loved it! This is going to be our new go-to side dish as we are both Diabetic and cutting carbs drastically. Thank you Katie, You Rock!!

  7. Elizabeth Avatar

    4 stars
    Such a great explanation of why cauliflower over potatoes! I always heard that white foods in general were to be avoided so I assumed cauliflower wasn’t that great either. Love learning something new 🙂

    I made this recipe with roasted cauliflower to cut down of the moisture and give it a deeper/more interesting flavor. Then I added the sour cream and Parmesan as suggested. It took FOREVER to blend this to a smooth consistency in my Vitamix (don’t have an immersion blender), but the results were well worth it. I don’t think they tasted a bit like mashed potatoes, but were a creamy yummy side for turkey and your grain-free stuffing nonetheless.

    Thanks for all the great info and a recipe that’s sure to become a winter regular!

4.04 from 25 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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