Mashed Cauliflower

This dreamy mashed cauliflower gives mashed potatoes a run for it’s money! It’s creamy, buttery, and gloriously gluten-free.

easy smashed cauliflower
 This month will hereby be forever known as the December I ate my weight in cauliflower, and loved every second of it.

Mashed Cauliflower

makes approx 2.5 cups

Mashed Cauliflower


  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • a pinch of white pepper (black pepper will work too!)
  • delish dried (or fresh!) parsley and paprika for topping


Cut + separate into large florets.  Blanch for 15 minutes in shallow, boiling water. (just enough to cover the tops)  I'm in the habit of seasoning the water with some freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of kosher salt -- feel free to follow suit!  To maintain texture and avoid watery cauliflower, toss strained cauliflower into an ice bath immediately after blanching.  Allow to cool and strain, placing cauliflower in either a pot or directly into your food processor.  [see note below]

Side Note: If you're making this for yourself and/or other adults, you can easily skip the food processor and simply mash the cauliflower with a masher or fork just like you would with potatoes.  Break out the processor if you're making this for texturally-challened or picky children to give the cauliflower a smooth, whipped consistency.  Since making it with the processor the first time, I now just fork-mash the cauli and call it a day.

Choose your mashing method [above] and heat on medium-low on the stove top in a small pot or pan.  Add 1/2 cup of half and half, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Next add your white pepper.  Stir to incorporate and taste.  Adjust seasonings as needed.  I always add extra garlic powder and a little extra salt + pepper. 

Garnish with chopped chives or dried parsley + paprika and serve steaming hot aside your favorite meal or atop a bed of roasted spaghetti squash.

VEGAN? use refrigerated So Delicious coconut milk instead of the dairy, its really good and has a thicker consistency than other dairy-free milks.  A splash of their coconut milk creamer would also work marvelously!  To make up for the lack of dairy, you can add a little extra flavor with a drizzle of olive oil or a teeny bit of earth balance if desired =)

GO GREEK! If you’re a fan of sour cream and chive mashed potatoes, add a little plain greek yogurt and freshly chopped green onions to the recipe or even as a later addition to jazz up leftovers.

mashed cauliflower recipe and steps
The key to making veggies delicious is to cater them to your own personal tastes.  Think about what you like best about a dish.  Do you prefer dishes that are garlicky?  Buttery?  Creamy?  Chunky?  Take what you like about food and use that knowledge to enhance everything you make =)  Take a favorite veg-centric meal or side and make it a different way every. single. time.  You’ll be surprised to see what you end up loving!
Towards the end of each veggie experiment, taste your result.  Take the time to figure out what flavor you want to highlight.  I always add more garlic and sneak in a dash of paprika +/or cayenne pepper to nearly all my dishes because I adore the flavor.  You may want a little extra salt and pepper, or perhaps some chives or parsley.  add a sprinkle at a time and taste until its your idea of foodie perfection =)
easy mashed cauliflower side dish

So… how was it?!

Rarely do I ever need to test a potential recipe 5 times before blogging it, but when it came to this one, I couldn’t stop making it!!!

Instead of making it the same way each time, I changed a few small things in each batch and can honestly say I loved every. single. one. My favorite is posted above and I can totally vouch for substitutions with coconut milk, butter, and even greek yogurt.  It is also absolutely AMAZING over roasted spaghetti squash — by far my favorite way to eat it!  I add a little of my favorite spaghetti sauce to the plate and stir it all together.  In. Love.

If you’re a little behind on your own personal love affair with cauliflower, give this cruciferous wonder another chance!  Despite its color-less facade, cauliflower is a nutrient powerhouse!

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Yuuuuuummmm. I love mashed cauli! This looks like a great recipe :). Glad you’re starting to feel better!

Renewed Upon a Dream

This sounds yummy!  I wonder what my husband would think about it if I made it & didn’t tell him what it was 🙂


Yummy! I loved mashed cauliflower. It is soooo good. =) Thanks for sharing!


Ooh I love mashed cauliflower – I hd it with celeriac over the holidays – yummy.

corey melke

I make this all the time…soooo good! 
This is my favorite cali recipie..
My hubby even loves it and he isnt a big C fan at all! 
xoxo from Trinidad

Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama

I like roasted cauliflower best, but I used to make it this way a lot. Cauliflower is so underrated!

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen

I have never tried the mashed cauliflower/faux potato thing and I really have no idea why. With coconut milk sounds to die for!

Mary @ Bites and Bliss

I’ve always been skeptical to try these kind of recipes to sub the real thing thinking it really wouldn’t be a complete sub..but it’s great to know this really works! Thanks!


I haven’t made cauliflower in awhile, but I do love it! Looks great to me 🙂


I loved mashed cauliflower!  Have you tried it with pesto yet?  Very yummy!  Biggest Loser had a recipe the other night and they had mashed white beans and I think leaks in it.  I copied the recipe but haven’t made it yet.


Love your photos! Can’t wait to try this!


OMG!  Mashed cauliflower is amazing!  I need to make it more often!


nom nom nom, I just roasted a head of cauliflower today!!!  Now I need to buy another one to mash ASAP!


YES! I’ve always wanted to try this, but really didn’t know how to make it. Thank you!!!

Adrienne@Apples N Adrienne

Every time I see this on a new blog, I  keep reminding myself I need to try this! it sounds great! 🙂


Oh so sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. Hope you will be feeling great again real soon! We made this not to long ago and it was delicious!! Hope you all have a wonderfully blessed New Year!!


Yum!! I’ve recently been learning how glorious cauliflower is in place of potatoes. These look super yummy!


yummmy! I am seriously in love with this recipe 🙂

Lora @cakeduchess

Happy you’re feeling better in time for the new year. I adore cauliflowers and this is just awesome:)Happy New Year!

Lindsay Loves Veggies

Looks super yummy! 🙂  I was actually just about to roast up some cauliflower as a snack!  I’ll definitely have to try mashing it one of these days.

sarah learns

yum! i’ve heard of mashing cauliflower instead of potatoes before, but never tried it. this looks like a delicious version!

i’m glad you’re feeling better.


So glad you’re feeling better, Jenn!!  I love cauliflower.  My grandmother used to make sour cauliflower as a side dish.  We always loved it.  I think my sister has the recipe. Now I want some!  This looks yummy!

Professor Vegetable

I really like plain old simple roasted cauliflower!


I LOVE cauliflower, steamed with broccoli and a wee bit of butter it is the most amazing thing in the world. I tried making a cauliflower mash a few months ago and was underwhelmed. I think part of it was that after steaming it there was just too much water and it had a seperated, watery consistency. Blech. Yours looks like it turned out so well! I am going to have to give it another try I think, because I absolutely love the idea!

Kiri W.

Oooh, looks gorgeous! The colors in your pictures are just so pretty 🙂 I like mashed cauliflower a lot, especially with garlic.


One of my favorite things to eat. Love the little changes that make this even more amazing!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Blanching vs. steaming should help. I think the trick is to prevent it from giving up too much liquid and getting soggy and then straining/draining along the way as well! I’ve heard of people using thick heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, and even corn starch to thicken the cauli but the method I use gives me a great texture so I stay away from the higher fat add-ins. I’m always here if you have random questions!

MWAH! love ya M!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Thanks Kiri! I’m with you on the garlic!!!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Thanks Lora!!! I’m getting a full blown cold now… but it’s not terribly bad! Happy New Year girly!!!!! xoxo

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Happy New Year Alicia!!!! <3 I’m hoping my sniffles are gone by the first so I can kick off this new year the right way! MWAH!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Its 100% worth trying! =)

Julie Luong

It looks like mashed potatoes! I never liked cauliflower, but I want to make some cauliflower rice.

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Cauli rice is soooooo good!!!!!! Esp with a little curry powder! =)

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Hope you love it!!! make sure you don’t over-blanch (mushy leads to excess liquid and it goes limp) and add any of your fav mashed potato mix ins! <3 xoxo

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

It’s in season! <3 hehe keep making it!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

ahhh mashed white beans and leeks? SOLD! and I haven’t added pesto yet but totally will try it out! Thanks Anne! <3

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

It def lacks the heartiness of mashed potatoes but makes a DELICIOUS side dish… esp over spaghetti squash with red sauce. I am always a skeptic too 😉 Happy New Year Mary!


i can’t even believe that i’m reading this recipe!!!!!!!!!  i think that i might have just found inspiration for tonight’s dinner.  if i do, indeed, concoct this amazing looking dish, then i will certainly link back to your site!  wowsa! <3

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

awwww thanks girl! LMK what you think! ooh! and add the liquid slowly, depending on the cauli you may need less than I did! <3


Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Thanks Anne!!!!!


you are a dear!  i think that i might just start participating in WIAW because of your caring response!  and i’ll be using the coconut milk, fo sure! 🙂  (yes, fo was intended, haha!).


Love this! October was my cauliflower heavy month but I think I’m ready to dive back in with this recipe! 

Ann Mc

I’m glad you’re feeling better and this looks SO delicious!  I love it!  I’m a huge fan of cauliflower and it’s been a while since I’ve had it mashed! 


i’m glad you posted this..i’ve been wanting to try it!

Koko @ Koko Likes

Yum yum yum. Looks amazing! Glad you are feeling better lady!


I LOVE cauliflower <3 it’s like my new favorite veggie. I’ll have to try this! Also, are you aware that cauliflower comes in different colors? I’ve seen purple, orange, green, and white. Though the colored is twice the price!



I can’t wait to try this recipe, it looks delicious! BUT. I also want to try it with your suggestion of putting it on top of roasted spaghetti squash. I am a newbie to spaghetti squash. How do you  roast  yours?

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

Hey Rohan!!!!

Spaghetti squash was one of my least favorite veggies until I learned how to highlight the flavor and make it taste delish! My husband still insists it looks like brains but he’ll eat it with his eyes closed =) haha!

To roast, I normally slice the squash in half lenghtwise, place face down on a cookie sheet with a teeny bit of olive oil rubbed on it, and bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until the squash is tender enough to “shred” with a fork. Over-cooking will still yield yummy results but you end up with mushy squash so I usually test it about 20 minutes in to see if it cooked fast. The time will vary on the size, ya know? =)

I roast it, season it with a teeny bit of salt and pepper, top it with the mashed cauli and then pour some warm marinara or red sauce on the sideto add an extra spike of veggies and flavor =) If you have a TJ Maxx, Homegoods, Marshalls, or Whole Foods near you there is a sauce called “Daves Gourmet Red Heirloom Tomato Sauce” <— worth every penny of the $5 they charge for it. Its HEAVENLY with this dish and on just about anything! =)

Hope that helps! =) xoxo

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

YES!!! I wish I could find them locally!!!!

Lauren Lelli

a coworker suggested today and it’s something he’s done … add spinach to the mashed cauliflower and it gives off the taste of creamed spinach w/out all the cals! I think I would top it off with some nutrional yeast too!