Food & Nutrition

Creamy Low Carb Mashed Cauliflower

cauliflower mash in a white bowl with text overlay
cauliflower mash in a white bowl with text overlay
cauliflower mash in a white bowl with text overlay

Move over mashed potatoes, there’s a new low-carb kid on the block, and it is still as smooth, buttery and totally satisfying as their higher-carb cousin. Meet this creamy Low Carb Mashed Cauliflower recipe with only 4 grams net carbs. It’s the ultimate keto-friendly comfort food side dish you’ll make over and over again.

a white bowl with mashed cauliflower topped with melted butter

Table of contents

Why I Love Mashed Cauliflower

I remember the first time I tried Mashed Cauliflower. It was about 20 years ago, and I had recently started the South Beach diet. When I read about making cauliflower mashed potatoes I got so excited to have a side dish for Thanksgiving that would fit into my diet. (I know what you’re thinking: who starts a low-carb diet during the month of November? Guilty!)

One taste and I was blown away by how much like mashed potatoes they resembled both in flavor and texture.

I ended up serving them to my whole family and nobody even minded one bit. From that point on, I was a big fan of having mashed cauliflower as a lower carb, lower calorie, yet still tasty option for topping shepherd’s pie, pairing with Thanksgiving turkey or just as a side with classics like Turkey Meatloaf.

I love that it only takes about 15 minutes of actual hands-on time and comes out perfectly creamy and light every time! Read one for my tips on how to make the best Mashed Cauliflower!

Ingredient Notes

the ingredients for mashed cauliflower with text overlay

Cauliflower

You’ll need one medium head of cauliflower for this recipe. Avoid cauliflower that has brown or black spots.

One head makes about 8 cups of cauliflower florets. That’s about all that will fit in the steamer basket and food processor so it was meant to be!

Cream Cheese

I have experimented with all sorts of mix-ins over the years. Having loved Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, I tried using low-fat buttermilk. Not great. I also have used half and half (and even fat-free half and half.) But I have found using cream, milk or buttermilk makes them too watery.

Instead, I have found that the key to great texture is to avoid liquid dairy and to use Cream Cheese instead. It keeps the pureed cauliflower nice and creamy without thinning it out too much. And I love that it adds a tangy flavor like buttermilk would!

Note: I opt for reduced-fat cream cheese (sometimes packaged as neufchatel here in the US) to shave off additional calories and grams of carbs. You can use regular cream cheese though if that’s what you have on hand. Other alternatives to cream cheese are Greek yogurt, sour cream, mascarpone or creme fraiche.

It is important to bring your cream cheese to room temperature before adding it to the cauliflower.

Butter

A little butter goes a long way in these cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” I find that a couple of tablespoons is all that is needed to give buttery flavor without making the recipe too high in calories. When I am getting fancy I serve melted butter on top too. About 1 tablespoon of additional melted butter is plenty.

Garlic

Garlic is the magic ingredient here because it is what really helps to mask any strong cauliflower flavors. It is important to cook it first though to take away the bite.

Parmesan

This is like icing on the cake! That cheesy punch of Parmigiano Reggiano really helps to override the cauliflower taste and make the mash tangy and savory.

Step By Step Instructions For Cauliflower Mash

set up steamer and chop cauliflower

Step 1: Set Up Steamer

Set up large saucepan with a steamer basket. Fill with water to the bottom of the basket. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Set up food processor with steel blade attachment.

Step 2: Chop Cauliflower

Meanwhile, remove any green leaves from the head of cauliflower and cut away any dark spots. Cut through the whole head of cauliflower with a sharp chef’s knife. Remove the core in a triangular shaped wedge cut from both halves of the head. Roughly chop the cauliflower into 2-inch chunks and florets. You should have about 8 cups, chopped.

steaming the cauliflower and cooking the garlic in butter

Step 3: Steam Cauliflower

Add the cauliflower to the steamer basket, cover and steam over high heat 10 to 12 minutes until the cauliflower is completely tender when pierced with a fork.

Step 4: Saute Garlic in Butter

While the cauliflower is steaming, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and thyme, and cook, swirling until the garlic is fragrant and turning golden, about 30 seconds. Immediately scrape the garlic butter into the food processor to prevent the garlic from burning.

the ingredients in the food processor

Step 5: Puree in Food Processor

When the cauliflower is tender, transfer it to the food processor with the garlic mixture. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape sides several times, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately garnished as desired with melted butter, chopped chives or parsley.

mashed cauliflower in a white dish with chives on top

Expert Tips and FAQs

Can this recipe be doubled?

This recipe can be challenging to double because one head of cauliflower fits into a steamer basket and into the food processor. If you need more servings, I suggest doing so in batches and then blending them together afterward.

How many net carbs are in Mashed Cauliflower?

For each half-cup serving there are 6 grams total carbs and 2 grams fiber, giving a total 4 grams net carbs each.

Is Cauliflower Mash Keto friendly?

Yes this cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe is keto friendly. It has only 4 grams net carbs and will fit into most ketogenic diet carbohydrate budgets.

How To Store

Keep leftovers covered with plastic wrap or foil or transfer to a resealable container. Keep refrigerated up to three days.

How To Reheat

Reheat in the microwave for about 1 minute per serving on high power. Alternatively, mashed cauliflower reheats very well in the oven. Place it in an oven-safe baking dish and cover. Bake at 350 degrees, stirring once or twice, for about 30 minutes or until steaming hot.

Freezing Instructions

Freeze individual portions or the entire batch in resealable food storage containers. It can be kept for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours. Reheat until piping hot and stir very well before serving.

Can I steam the cauliflower in the microwave instead of on the stovetop?

I find that the cauliflower is a little less watery when steamed in a steamer basket, but that said you definitely can steam it in the microwave. Place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap or a microwave safe plate. Microwave on high power for five minutes. Stir well and microwave again for another 5 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender when tested with a fork. Drain it very well. TIP: Briefly spread out on a dry kitchen towel to remove excess moisture before transferring to the food processor.

Variations To Try

  • Instead of garlic, use finely minced onion or shallot. Omit the fresh garlic and add 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to the mash instead.
  • Use Roasted Garlic and roasted garlic oil instead of the garlic sauteed in butter. It’s like a low-carb version of my Healthy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes!
  • Add shredded white cheddar cheese and make this a cheesy mash!
  • Make this dairy-free by substituting olive oil for the butter (or your favorite vegan butter) and using plant-based cream cheese or plain vegan yogurt.
closeup of the bowl of mashed cauliflower with butter drizzled on top

More Fast and Easy Low Carb Side Dishes To Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Description

Move over mashed potatoes, there’s a new kid on the block, and it is still as creamy, buttery and totally satisfying as their higher carb cousin. Meet this creamy Low Carb Mashed Cauliflower recipe. It’s the ultimate keto-friendly comfort food side dish you’ll make over and over again.


  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese or Neufchatel, softened
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch white pepper or ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional Garnishes: melted butter, chopped chives or parsley


  1. Set up large saucepan with a steamer basket. Fill with water to the bottom of the basket. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Set up food processor with steel blade attachment.
  2. Meanwhile, remove any green leaves from the head of cauliflower and cut away any dark spots. Cut through the whole head of cauliflower with a sharp chef’s knife. Remove the core in a triangular shaped wedge cut from both halves of the head. Roughly chop the cauliflower into 2-inch chunks and florets. You should have about 8 cups, chopped.
  3. Add the cauliflower to the steamer basket, cover and steam over high heat 10 to 12 minutes until the cauliflower is completely tender when pierced with a fork.
  4. While the cauliflower is steaming, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and thyme, and cook, swirling until the garlic is fragrant and turning golden, about 30 seconds. Immediately scrape the garlic butter into the food processor to prevent the garlic from burning.
  5. When the cauliflower is tender, transfer it to the food processor with the garlic mixture. Add cream cheese, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, stopping to scrape sides several times, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately garnished as desired with melted butter, chopped chives or parsley.

Notes

To Steam Cauliflower in Microwave

  1. Place the florets in a large microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap or a microwave safe plate.
  2. Microwave on high power for five minutes. Stir well and microwave again for another 5 minutes until the cauliflower is very tender when tested with a fork.
  3. Drain it very well. For the best texture briefly spread out on a dry kitchen towel to remove excess moisture before transferring to the food processor.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 97 cal
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 4 g

Keywords: low carb mashed cauliflower, mashed cauliflower, keto mashed cauliflower, cauliflower mashed potatoes

Source: healthyseasonalrecipes.com