Proof that some things that seem too good to be true actually can live up to the hype: Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes! A low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes that’s just as smooth and creamy, swapping cauliflower for potatoes in everyone’s favorite side is a great way to provide a healthier option at the holidays, and to sneak more veggies into your everyday dinners.
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Why You’ll Love This Easy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- It’s Actually Delicious! While cauliflower mashed “potatoes” aren’t a 100% I-can’t-even-tell dupe of traditional Crockpot Mashed Potatoes and Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, hear this: they are really, really good. Whether you want to keep your meal low carb, sneak a healthy serving of vegetables past picky eaters, or find a healthy side dish that goes with just about anything, cauliflower mash is an excellent option (as is my Roasted Cauliflower).
- You Can Use It in a Variety of Ways. Of course, you can serve mashed cauliflower straight from the pot for an easy side dish, but it is also a stellar low-carb swap for carby, creamy potatoes in a variety of dishes. Add them to casseroles (like Shepherd’s Pie and Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie), top them with Beef Bourguignon (this is a crowd-pleaser!), or enjoy them as part of a holiday spread with Air Fryer Turkey Breast and Mushroom Gravy.
- A Nutritious Side Dish. For an extra nutrition boost, I try to sneak cauliflower into recipes whenever I can (like in my Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Cauliflower Chowder). Not only is cauliflower an excellent source of fiber and vitamins, but it’s also packed with antioxidants.
How to Make Healthy Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Cauliflower. Cauliflower gets a dreamy makeover in this recipe. Low in calories and packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, it’s a great, low carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
- Garlic. Adds delightful garlicky flavor to the mashed cauliflower (just like Garlic Mashed Potatoes). If garlic isn’t your thing, feel free to omit it (if garlic is your thing, you must make this Roasted Garlic soon!).
- Butter. Rich, buttery goodness is a must for crowd-pleasing flavor. It also adds some much-needed fat.
- Greek Yogurt. Adds tanginess and creaminess in a healthy way. Greek yogurt is packed with protein and calcium.
- Milk. Helps make the mashed cauliflower creamy. Use any milk you have on hand.
- Parmesan. Parmesan adds the perfect cheesy, salty flavor and is key for the best cauliflower mashed potatoes. Don’t skip it!
- Salt + Pepper. Classic, simple seasonings.
- Chives. The onion-like flavor and beautiful green color of chives make them the ideal finishing touch.
- Boil the Cauliflower and Garlic. Cook until fork tender.
- Add Everything to a Food Processor. Make sure your cauliflower is thoroughly drained first.
- Puree. Serve with fresh chives and ENJOY!
- Vegan Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Using dairy-free butter, dairy-alternative milk and yogurt or sour cream, and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan.
- Loaded Mashed Cauliflower. Use my Loaded Baked Potato Dip for inspiration and add Baked Bacon (or Air Fryer Bacon) and extra cheese for loaded mashed cauliflower.
- Mix Up the Vegetables. If you want the best of both worlds (and vegetables), you can combine your favorite mashed potato recipe with this mashed cauliflower. Or, try stir it together with Mashed Butternut Squash or Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
- To Store. Refrigerate mashed cauliflower in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of milk as needed. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze cauliflower mashed potatoes in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
For easy, portion-sized mashed cauliflower, prepare the recipe as directed, then let it cool completely. Use the leftovers to fill an ice cube tray or muffin pan (with silicone liners). Freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen cubes or “muffins” to a freezer-safe ziptop bag or storage container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and enjoy as desired.
What to Serve with Mashed Cauliflower
- Chicken. Pair this mashed cauliflower recipe with Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, Baked Chicken Thighs, or Cranberry Chicken.
- Pork. Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Pork Chops would both be delicious with this recipe.
- Beef. No two dishes pair better with cauliflower mashed potatoes than Braised Short Ribs and Instant Pot Roast.
- Turkey. This would be the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving Turkey or Turkey Meatloaf.
- Seafood. Pair this recipe with Broiled Salmon or Air Fryer Shrimp.
- Vegetables. For a delicious vegetarian dinner, serve mashed cauliflower with Grilled Portobello Mushrooms or Grilled Brussels Sprouts.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Saucepan. A versatile kitchen staple.
- Food Processor. Perfect for pureeing the cauliflower.
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. A good-quality knife makes chopping a breeze.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Cook the Cauliflower Until Tender. When you’re cooking your cauliflower florets, make sure they’re fork-tender before removing them from the pot. If the cauliflower isn’t cooked long enough, it can make your mashed cauliflower grainy.
- Don’t Overmix. As with mashed potatoes, you want to be careful not to overmix your mashed cauliflower. If overmixed, it can turn into a puree or become gummy.
- Fat is Necessary. Full-fat yogurt (or sour cream) and butter is necessary for this recipe to taste its best. They help create the right texture and satisfaction factor.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- 6 cups cauliflower florets about 24 ounces or 1 large head
- 2 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 2 tablespoons nonfat milk or milk of choice, plus additional as needed
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh chives optional for serving
- Place the cauliflower and garlic in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover it. Add ¼ teaspoon of the salt, then bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until the cauliflower is fork-tender, about 6 minutes.
- Drain the cauliflower and garlic in a colander, shake them very dry, then transfer to a food processor fitted with a steel blade (or return to the pot and puree with an immersion blender—this is a little tricky but will do the job). Add the yogurt, milk, Parmesan, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Puree until the cauliflower is smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. If it is thicker than you would like, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until your desired consistency is reached. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve immediately or transfer to a heatproof bowl and keep warm over a pan of simmering water. Top with fresh chives.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate mashed cauliflower in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat, adding splashes of milk as needed. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze cauliflower mashed potatoes in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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