20 Minute Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

How to make mashed cauliflower in less than 20 minutes. These are even easier than mashed potatoes. No peeling! Jump to the full Mashed Cauliflower Recipe now. Or, watch our quick, straight-forward recipe video showing you how to make them.

This recipe started as a replacement to our beloved mashed potatoes, but then it took a turn. We fell in love. This mashed cauliflower recipe is light, fluffy, and creamy all in the same bite. It’s easy, too — let me show you how to make them.

Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Parmesan and LemonYOU MAY ALSO LIKE THIS: Cheesy Roasted Cauliflower Recipe with Lemon is simple to make and has parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. The cauliflower becomes sweet, nutty, and delicious. A must try! We have a similar recipe with broccoli.

Secrets to Our Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

How to make mashed cauliflower in less than 20 minutes.

Mashed or “smashed” cauliflower is very simple to make and is so versatile. Our recipe only calls for a few extra ingredients, but you could really spice things up. Whether you make our basic recipe or add you own spin, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

TUTORIAL: How to Buy, Choose, and Cut Cauliflower. Cauliflower is so versatile and is packed with vitamin C and K. Click over to our simple tutorial showing how to buy and cut cauliflower the best way.

Cauliflower Cooks Quickly

There’s no need to boil the cauliflower for more than 10 minutes. You’ll be able to tell when the cauliflower is done when it’s easily pierced with a fork.

Let the Cooked Cauliflower Stand

We’ll do this when we make mashed potatoes, too.

Just after draining, throw the cooked cauliflower back into the hot pot you cooked it in. Cover, then let it stand 2 to 3 minutes. During this time, the cauliflower will continue to steam and any extra moisture will reabsorb into the cauliflower. If you don’t do this, the mashed cauliflower will be watery.

Spice it Up

Our recipe below is very simple and tastes creamy and light. We love it so much we’ll eat it with a spoon, but there are so many things you could do to spice up the flavors. Think of what you could do to mashed potatoes — this is the same.Think about adding your favorite spices, garlic oil, chili oil, or some shredded cheese. (We love spicing cauliflower up. Our roasted Thai curry cauliflower recipe is a great example.

Blue cheese and caramelized onions would be amazing. Cheddar cheese and a little bacon would also be delicious. Anything goes.

How to make mashed cauliflower recipe in less than 20 minutes.Recipe updated, originally posted January 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

4.6 from 13 reviews
20 Minute Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Why we love this recipe. While this recipe began as a replacement for mashed potatoes, it quickly became one of our favorite sides. Mashed or “smashed” cauliflower is light, fluffy and creamy. Best of all, though, it’s easy.

What you need to know. Our recipe calls for a little cream cheese, which we think adds extra creaminess. You could omit it, though. The cauliflower would still be quite delicious. We also call for a tiny bit of nutmeg, which rounds out the flavors and adds a little richness.

Equipment you’ll need. You will need a large pot with lid, chef’s knife, potato masher and if you are freshly grating the nutmeg, a microplane.
Created By:
Yield: Serves 4
You Will Need
  • 1 medium cauliflower or 4 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 ounces (40 grams) cream cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground or grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sliced green onion (optional)
Cook Cauliflower
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut cauliflower into florets then add to boiling water and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until a fork can easily be pierced through the cauliflower.
  2. Drain cauliflower then throw back into the hot pot (off the heat) and cover with lid. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes.
Mash Cauliflower
  1. Add the cream cheese, a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to the cauliflower. Then, use a potato masher to smash the cauliflower. Finish with a pinch of nutmeg. (If you have whole nutmeg, just grate a little over the cauliflower using a microplane).Mashed Cauliflower Recipe Steps
  2. Stir then serve with sliced green onions on top.

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41 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Jay April 15, 2016, 6:43 pm

    An immersion blender does a great job, too.

  • Ann Mahon February 11, 2016, 2:23 pm

    More tasty than potato….what a good idea …and a good vehicle for experimentation ! I have just made it and tasted a little and going to put it under the grill before enjoying later this evening . I’ll have fun with this one and have the family guessing Thank you for this …….I wonder if Jamie Oliver knows about this !

  • Coralie February 6, 2016, 3:36 pm

    Super easy recipe – we love it! A real winner in our home. Our favourite twist is to add grain mustard to make the perfect accompanient to the traditional sausages and mash. Yummy!

  • Marisa January 23, 2016, 4:59 pm

    I just made these and WOW. The only thing that I did differently was that I pureed it in a food processor. Tastes just like real mashed potatoes. Freaking love!!! Thank you!

  • Chris January 10, 2016, 6:36 pm

    Thank you so much! i am researching vegan ideas for my meals and you have made this so simple. of course, i will find a replacement for the cream cheese 🙂 It was fun watching and listening to you 🙂

    • Natalie January 29, 2016, 8:54 pm

      Instead of cream cheese you can use a little sour cream or ranch sauce, maybe even yogurt.

  • Sorbus December 7, 2015, 12:11 pm

    Well this didn’t work at all! I must have done something very wrong because my end result was a bunch of watery bits of cauliflower, nothing like I expected. Maybe the cauliflower was still to raw? Although I steamed it for 20 minutes or so…

    • Joanne December 22, 2015, 12:58 pm

      Try mashing a little longer next time. It’s possible the cauliflower wasn’t as tender as it needed to be (although, 20 minutes sounds right).

  • Chantale June 13, 2015, 4:46 pm

    Wish I saw your blog and recipe before I made my first attempt at cauliflower mash. Will definitely try it your way next time. I was very careful and boring with my first attempt but then started following my instinct by adding pecorino cheese, garlic & herb spice and little bit of cream and off course S&P. End the end my mash was saved and received with open arms.

  • Jane Harris March 9, 2015, 1:56 pm

    I made it substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream. After putting mashed cauliflower in a casserole dish I sprinkled flavored breadcrumbs on top followed by a thin sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and finished with a drizzle of EVOO. I place in oven and broil until golden brown and crusty.

  • Paula January 30, 2015, 8:12 pm

    I love this recipe! I am moving toward cooking a healthy diet. My husband usually likes potatoes with everything. I tried this recipe, thinking that he would definitely give it a “thumbs down.” Instead, he really liked it and I’ve been cooking it in place of mashed potatoes — a much healthier, and tastier, replacement.

  • Lindsay Smith November 21, 2014, 11:02 am

    This recipe looks great -especially the suggestions from Bo Stenberg. can this be made in advance and reheated? any tips would be appreciated.thx

  • Meginnah July 19, 2014, 10:43 am

    Well everyone else boiled their califlower….where as I just placed it in the microwave for about 12 minutes…..still extremely moist and easy to cut into chunks. I made the mistake of putting too much garlic for my first batch….so next batch I will not use any garlic per hubby’s request. Added about 1/4 of cup of cream cheese, butter….no milk needed and placed in the food processor…..the consistency was amazing…..my hubby is doing the paleo diet so this will work for his “mash potatoes”. 🙂

  • Bo Stenberg July 14, 2014, 3:08 am

    Brilliant. I added bacon fat. I wash my meds down with bacon fat. What the hell.

  • Amanda June 2, 2014, 6:58 pm

    This is sooo good! I bet it would fool the crowd at my parent’s house on Thanksgiving!! I would even serve it to my dad (who hates cauliflower)! Of course I wouldn’t tell him what it was… 😉

    • Anne November 22, 2015, 5:08 pm

      I loved this recipe. I boiled the cauliflower in half low-sodium chicken broth and half water with 4 garlic cloves for 8 minutes. After the cauliflower and garlic was boiled, I put it all in the food processor. OMG, the consistency was smooth and the flavor so good! I had my dad try it, telling him it was garlic mashed potatoes(he hates cooked cauliflower). He liked it! I may add 3 garlic cloves next time.

  • Sam May 12, 2014, 12:30 pm

    Thank you for very clear an concise video

  • Josie May 4, 2014, 5:23 pm

    This is a very good idea, so I tried it and liked it. I used onion and chive cream cheese for more flavor. can’t wait to make this again for my family.

  • peggy May 10, 2013, 2:00 pm

    just found your page i am going to try the hummus and mashed cauliflower tonight’ Do you have vegan recipes? peggy

    • Joanne May 11, 2013, 9:30 am

      We have a meatless category and we may have a few recipes that can be vegan adaptable but we do not have specifically a vegan category.

  • Bruce April 21, 2013, 9:17 pm

    I love this site. I can’t believe it has all this information and does not contain the nutritional values. I must be missing it. I am a senior citizen and I am sure that must be it. Could some one tell me where to look for this information.

    • Joanne April 22, 2013, 12:43 pm

      Hi Bruce, At the moment we do not provide nutrition facts for our recipes. It is something we are considering, though. For now, a great resource is this url: CalorieCount.com

      It allows you to copy the ingredient list of our recipe and paste it into the form. Then it outputs nutritional facts. Hope that helps.

  • kristi de March 5, 2013, 8:14 pm

    i made these tonight and they are DELICIOUS! next time, double the recipe! (and i used chicken broth to boil the cauli.) 😛 very tasty and creamy texture; with just a bit of “lumpiness” – just like mom’s mashed potatoes, lol!

  • lynnette clark February 27, 2013, 5:07 pm

    this was so good will def make again

  • Fiona Maclean January 14, 2013, 5:58 am

    I’ve been mashing celeriac to reduce calories and carbs – looks like cauliflower is a great alternative as I know some poepl don’t like the celery taste you get with that

  • Jessica January 8, 2013, 2:51 pm

    This is a great idea and could be a great substitute for mashed potatoes as a healthier alternative. I’ve never seen this before but think it looks delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks January 7, 2013, 5:53 pm

    Oh heaven help my face.

  • Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon January 7, 2013, 8:53 am

    We LOVE cauli mash at our house. Makes me feel completely not guilty about going back for seconds!

    • Adam January 7, 2013, 5:07 pm

      or thirds!

  • Mandie January 7, 2013, 3:25 am

    I’ve never liked mashed potatoes, but I liked anything else mashed—sweet potatoes, squash, rutabegas, parsnips, etc. I’ve never tried it with my favorite veggie, cauliflower, though. Thanks for the tips! I’ll be sure to try them soon 🙂

  • Lindsey January 6, 2013, 10:19 pm

    Yum! We LOVE mashed cauliflower in our house! I cook the cauliflower in chicken stock instead of water so that it has more flavor. 🙂

    • Jeneen November 27, 2014, 5:18 pm

      I agree, I use the chicken stock as well n it’s a very yummy recipe.

  • Susan January 6, 2013, 7:08 pm

    Thank you for the yummy sounding combination of cauliflower with nutmeg, onion, and cream cheese! I’ve made mashed cauliflower with a consistency of mashed potatoes – in a food processor with added butter and milk. Then I add in some grated cheddar cheese. Also sooo great!

  • Clem January 6, 2013, 12:43 pm

    Great recipe! I’ve been looking (who isn’t) for healthier recipes for January, this one is definitely on my list!


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