It doesn’t matter if you love carbs or you’re following a low carb diet — you’re sure to fall for this Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe! It’s a versatile side dish that’s smooth and creamy with the flavors of garlic and fresh chives, and it’s beyond easy to make!

Bowl of garlic mashed cauliflower with spoon digging in

I’ve loved carbs in every shape and form for my entire life. Homemade bread, potatoes and baked goods are some of my biggest weaknesses, but a few years ago I decided to reduce my intake for a healthier life.

I’ve found that it’s fairly easy to make a few simple swaps at meal times to minimize my carbs and eat more balanced. And surprisingly, I don’t miss them as much as I thought I would.

This Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe has become our new favorite low carb side dish. Admittedly, I was skeptical that it would be a satisfying substitute for my favorite carb loaded dishes, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I don’t know why I was surprised as I enjoy cauliflower. It has very mellow flavor once it’s cooked, which makes it extremely versatile.

Whether you’re making roasted cauliflower as a side dish, or using cauliflower rice as a base in chicken burrito bowls or cauliflower stuffing, it pairs perfectly with whatever ingredients, herbs and spices that you add.

This recipe is quite sneaky. If you don’t tell someone that they’re eating mashed cauliflower, they probably won’t even notice. It’s every bit as creamy and indulgent as mashed potatoes without the heaviness!

Garlic mashed cauliflower in a white serving bowl with chives

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Cauliflower mashed potatoes are smooth and creamy, with the flavors of garlic and fresh chives.
  • A little butter and cream go a long way to add richness, creating a silky, luxurious texture.
  • The cauliflower flavor is nice and mellow, so it’s a blank canvas for any type of flavors that you care to add.
  • It’s gluten-free, low carb and keto friendly, and it may be made dairy-free by substituting the butter and cream with your favorite fats such as olive oil, vegan butter or coconut milk.

Recipe ingredients

This mashed cauliflower recipe includes 6 basic ingredients for a silky smooth, satisfying low carb side dish.

A bit of butter and cream transform puréed cauliflower into a creamy, luxurious dish that rivals your favorite mashed potatoes.

Mashed cauliflower recipe ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Cauliflower. Prepping an entire head of cauliflower yourself is the most cost effective way to prepare this dish. Step by step instructions on how to cut cauliflower are below, or you may purchase pre-cut cauliflower florets as a time saver.
  • Butter and cream. A little butter and cream go a long way in this dish to add richness and a silky texture. If you follow a dairy free diet, substitute with olive oil, dairy free butter or coconut milk.
  • Chives. The chives add a mild onion flavor and freshness to the dish. They may be substituted with your favorite chopped fresh herbs.

How to cut cauliflower

It’s completely up to you whether to take the cost effective approach of prepping a head of cauliflower yourself, or purchase pre-chopped cauliflower florets to save a bit of time.

I prefer to purchase the largest head of organic cauliflower that I can find (about 2.5 – 3 lbs.) and prep it myself. It runs around $5, which yields about 7-8 cups of florets, as opposed to purchasing multiple packages of prepped cauliflower florets at $3-4 each and cutting them into same size pieces.

How to cut cauliflower
  1. Wash and dry the head of cauliflower and pat dry. Place top side down on a cutting board, and cut in half down the middle of the core.
  2. Remove the core by cutting along each side of it.
  3. Break into florets and cut into uniform pieces.

How to make cauliflower mashed potatoes

Once the cauliflower is prepped, this recipe goes very quickly.

I recommend setting the butter and cream out when you begin cooking the cauliflower to give it time to come to room temperature.

Pro tip: An immersion blender is the easiest method to purée the cauliflower as it’s easy to clean and you can do it right in the pot you cooked it in. If you don’t have one, use a food processor or blender.

How to make cauliflower mashed potatoes
  1. Place the butter and cream on the counter to come to room temperature. Place the cauliflower florets and garlic in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover by 1″. Cover and bring to a boil, then remove the lid and decrease the heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
  3. Place the cauliflower back in the pot and purée using an immersion blender until smooth. You may also purée in a food processor or blender if you don’t have an immersion blender!
  4. Stir in the butter, heavy cream, salt, pepper and fresh chives until combined. Serve and enjoy!
Garlic mashed cauliflower in a white bowl with a spoon

Recipe FAQs

Does cauliflower really taste like mashed potatoes?

Surprisingly, mashed cauliflower does taste like mashed potatoes. Cauliflower has very mellow flavor, so it takes on the flavors that are added to it. Once it’s puréed, a little butter and cream go a long way to give it a creamy, luxurious texture and richness that rivals mashed potatoes!

How long do you have to boil cauliflower?

Boil cauliflower florets in a pot of water on the stove top for about 10-15 minutes until very tender.

How do you keep mashed cauliflower from being watery?

Drain cooked cauliflower very well before puréeing to eliminate excess water. The mashed cauliflower will release some water as it stands, but it typically isn’t much so it’s easy to pour off before placing in a serving bowl.

What do you add to cauliflower to thicken mash?

Butter and cream adds richness and body to mashed cauliflower. Cream cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream are also great alternatives for a thicker texture.

Serving suggestions

Serve mashed cauliflower the same way you would mashed potatoes!

Recipe notes

  • Pro tipPre-prepped cauliflower is a big time saver, but it’s much more cost effective to purchase an entire head and prep it yourself.  See instructions above on how to cut cauliflower!
  • This dish may be made completely in advance…simply warm before serving.  If cauliflower mashed potatoes are a bit watery, pour off the water.
  • Thicken this dish with softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired.
  • Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Garlic mashed cauliflower in a bowl topped with butter and chives

More low carb recipes you’ll love:

If you try this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, and don’t forget to snap a photo and tag me @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Bowl of garlic mashed cauliflower with spoon digging in

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

This Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe is a delicious low carb side dish! It's smooth and creamy with the flavors of garlic and fresh chives, and it's so easy to make!
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Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower about 2 1/2 – 3 lbs, or 7-8 cups of cauliflower florets. Cut florets into 2" pieces.
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon regular table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped chives

Instructions 

  • Place the butter and cream on the counter to come to room temperature. Place the cauliflower florets and garlic in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover by 1". Cover and bring to a boil, then remove the lid and decrease the heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until very tender.
  • Drain the cauliflower well in a colander.
  • Place the cauliflower back in the pot and purée using an immersion blender until smooth. You may also purée in a food processor or blender if you don't have an immersion blender!
  • Stir in the butter, heavy cream, salt and pepper and fresh chives until combined. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Pro tip:  Pre-prepped cauliflower is a big time saver, but it’s much more cost effective to purchase entire head and prep it yourself.  See instructions above on how to cut cauliflower!
  • This dish may be made completely in advance…simply warm before serving.  If cauliflower mashed potatoes are a bit watery, pour off the water.
  • Thicken this dish with softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt or sour cream if desired.
  • Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 652mg, Potassium: 660mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 593IU, Vitamin C: 103mg, Calcium: 66mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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