Cauliflower as mash potatoes (or simply, cauliflower mash), is a staple side dish on many Keto and Low Carb diets. The recipe below is both easy & delicious and is so similar to the creaminess and texture of mashed potatoes- you might not even bat an eye!
I’ve included 2 versions of the recipe. The first is mashed cauliflower in your Instant Pot, the second is stovetop directions (for those who don’t have an Instant Pot).
Oh, and if you’re wondering what to serve this cauliflower mash with, it goes super well with this Keto Instant Pot Meatloaf!
Before diving into the recipe, I’ll go over some common questions you might be asking about cauliflower, and tips and tricks with cauliflower mash.
Let’s get started…
What does cauliflower taste like?
If you’re curious about the flavor of cauliflower, many people describe it as mild-tasting that’s slightly nutty and sweet.
It’s mild flavor (especially when cooked) make it a great option to replace potatoes, rice and pasta in recipes – especially if you’re eating Ketogenic or low carb.
What is a good keto substitute for mashed potatoes?
Cauliflower is not only higher in nutrients and antioxidants than potatoes but its also lower in calories, carbs and higher in fiber!
Let’s look at the differences.
1 cup of potatoes has 116 calories, 3 g protein, 0.2 g fat and, 26 g carbs, and 3.4 g fiber (net carbs: 23 g).
1 cup of cauliflower 27 calories, 2.1 g protein, 0.3 g fat and, 5 g carbs, and 2.1 g fiber (net carbs: 3 g).
Potatoes can also raise your blood sugars faster compared to cauliflower because potatoes have a higher glycemic index.
Nutritionally speaking, cauliflower is a good source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and potassium. The majority of a potatoes nutrients come from it’s skin, and not from it’s flesh. With dishes like mashed potatoes, the potatoes skin is usually removed and not eaten. Making cauliflower mash healthier than mashed potatoes. 
How Do You Thicken Mashed Cauliflower?
To thicken a watery/soupy batch of cauliflower mash, you can continue cooking it an extra couple minutes, so that the extra water evaporates. Another alternative is adding more cream cheese to the mash to thicken it up.
Cauliflower as mash potatoes
When you cook the cauliflower until it is tender (instructions below), and blend it with the right spices and ingredients, it will be smooth, velvety, cheesy and taste very on par with mashed potatoes.
My family (yes, including the kiddos), LOVE the recipe below.
They haven’t asked to make the “other mash potato” yet! And with cauliflower being more nutritious and all- I am going to keep making this one!
And there are 2 secret weapons to making velvety cauliflower mash:
Steaming the cauliflower until very tender AND the cream cheese!
Get those 2 right, and the texture of your mash will be perfect!
Can you freeze cauliflower puree?
Yes, you can freeze Cauliflower puree. If stored properly in a freezer-safe container it should keep for 2 months or so.
Cauliflower Mash in the Instant Pot vs Stove Top
I like to cook this cauliflower mash recipe in my Instant Pot because I roast garlic and pressure cook my cauliflower in 1 pot. Also (and this is the best reason) the Instant Pot steams the cauliflower much faster than letting it steam on the stove.
And no need to stand by the stove to monitor. Just set the Instant Pot and you can walk away and come back when it’s done.
I totally love my Instant Pot(I have been using it for the past and I use it to significantly cut down cooking time for many of my meals, especially weeknight meals when you need to get something on the table, FAST!
Check out my other Instant Pot dinner recipe, Low Carb Keto Chili.
Is Cauliflower a Keto-Friendly Food?
Cauliflower is a very low carb vegetable that can be eaten raw, boiled, roasted or added to your favorite recipe!
Does cauliflower mash have carbs?
At only 3 net carbs per cup, you can safely substitute it for higher carb sides (like potato, rice, and pasta), without kicking you out of Ketosis.
One big green checkmark for cauliflower being Keto-friendly!
Can cauliflower kick you out of ketosis?
You would have to eat A LOT of cauliflower to kick you out of ketosis. Since it has only 3 net carbs, that would mean eating multiple cups of cauliflower in one day, which is quite unlikely, since many recipes use it as a side dish option.
How to Make Cauliflower Mash (process shots)
First, you’ll need to add some garlic (you can smash with a knife beforehand, to release flavours) to a heated Instant Pot/Pot with cooking oil -on Saute Mode (or medium-high heat if using stove-top)
Once the garlic is nicely browned, you’ll add some Chicken Broth to the pot (this will infuse flavors into the cauliflower as it steams).
Let the broth come to a boil in the pot before adding the cauliflower. This will reduce the cooking time in the Instant Pot- the biggest Instant Pot tip I’ve learned so far!
Next, you will add your steaming basket into your Pot (If using Instant Pot, place your steam basket on top of the trivet).
Put your Cauliflower Florets in the steaming basket and lock Instant Pot Lid (or place the cover over the pot if stove-top).
Set Instant Pot for 5 minutes (about 15 minutes if steaming stove-top).
After steaming, the cauliflower should be tender. You should be able to easily poke through the cauliflower with a fork. The key to a smooth mash is getting the cauliflower as tender as possible.
Once cauliflower is tender, add it along with the rest of the ingredients (including the roasted garlic from the pot, but not the broth), and blend in a food processor (or blender).
Once blended, it’s ready to serve! Sprinkle with some fresh chives and add some extra butter on top, and watch it get gobbled up!
The Best Cauliflower Mash
Make this silky and fluffy Cauliflower Mash that won't make you miss the "other-kind".
- 1 large head of cauliflower (cut into florets)
- 1 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 3 tablespoon cream cheese (softened)
- 1 tablespoon full cream
- 7 garlic pieces smashed (see above for directions)
- 1/2 cup fresh parmesan
- 1.5 cups beef broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooking oil
- chopped fresh chives (as garnish)
Instant Pot Directions
- Put Instant Pot in "Saute" mode and drizzle some oil in the pot.
- When oil starts to bubble, toss in all the smashed garlic. Stir around until garlic is browned ( about 1 minute)
- Pour in the beef broth, and let come to a boil
- Once boiling, add in the Instant Pot trivet and then place your steamer basket on top of trivet. Dump all the cauliflower florets into the steamer basket.
- Lock the Instant Pot lid, and set the valve to sealing.
- Set Instant Pot to "Manual" and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes
- Use the quick release function to release pressure from Instant Pot (once 5 minutes is done)
- Cauliflower should be tender and you should be able to poke a fork through easily. If not tender, add back into Instant Pot for another 2 minutes.
- Drain the roasted garlic from the broth. You can discard the broth or use it for another recipe.
- In a food processor(or blender) add the roasted garlic, cauliflower, cream cheese, butter, cream, salt and pepper, and process until you're happy with the consistency.
- Add your creamy mashed cauliflower to a serving dish and stir in parmesan and chives with a spoon.
- Serve with added butter and salt/pepper to taste.
- Can store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the Microwave.
Stove Top Directions
- Heat up a pot with cooking oil on medium-high heat. Once the oil starts to bubble add in your smashed garlic pieces.
- Roast garlic for about 1 minute, or until golden brown
- Pour in the beef broth into the Pot
- Add your steaming basket into the pot, and then dump in all the cauliflower.
- Close lid and steam for 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. You should be able to poke a fork through it easily. If not tender, steam for another 5 minutes.
- Drain the broth and save the roasted garlic chunks.
- In a food processor (or blender) add the roasted garlic, cauliflower, cream cheese, butter, cream, cream, salt and pepper, and process until you like the consistency.
- Transfer to a serving dish and mix in the chopped chives and parmesan cheese.
- Serve with extra butter and salt and pepper and pair it with a main dish like this Instant Pot Meatloaf.
- Can store in the fridge (max 3 days) and reheat in the microwave.
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Oster Sangerfield Steamer Set with Lid for Stovetop Use, Stainless Steel, 1
House Again Original Sturdy Steamer Basket for 6 or 8 Quart Pressure Cooker, 304 Stainless Steel Steamer Insert with Silicone Covered Handle
Instant Pot Lux 6-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, and Warmer|6 Quart|12 One-Touch Programs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 578mgCarbohydrates: 10gNet Carbohydrates: 6gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g