Mashed Cauliflower // Stovetop or Instant Pot

Mashed Cauliflower is a delicious, low carb & keto friendly side dish. With 5 flavor variations and instructions for making it on the stove or in the Instant Pot.

I love a creamy side dish like Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Creamy Polenta. But when you’re looking for a perfect low carb alternative, cauliflower mash is where it’s at!

I instantly became obsessed with this recipe. So much so that I made it over, and over and over again. In so many different ways.

  • I made it on the stovetop.
  • I made it in the Instant Pot.
  • I added cheddar cheese to it.
  • I swirled it with sour cream.
  • I added garlic…

And today I’m sharing with you all my tips and tricks for making the BEST mashed cauliflower in 5 different ways!

This keto mashed cauliflower is perfect for any occasion, and I think you’ll love it.

I will say that to me, the cauliflower taste is not very noticeable, so it makes a great alternative to mashed potatoes.

This easy mashed cauliflower recipe calls for using fresh cauliflower florets, cooking them until tender, then mashing them with a potato masher and a little butter. It’s a great recipe made with simple ingredients and the end result is delicious. They’ve got a creamy texture and so much flavor!

Two hands holding bowl of cauliflower mash.

How to make Mashed Cauliflower

  • Cut fresh cauliflower into large florets.
  • Place in steamer basket.
  • Steam 20 minutes.
  • Remove and puree/mash with 3 Tablespoons butter and optional mix-ins.

How to make Mashed Cauliflower in the Instant Pot

  • Trim stem of leaves off cauliflower, but leave head whole.
  • Place on trivet in pressure cooker and add 1 cup water.
  • Cook on MANUAL for 5 minutes. Quick release pressure.
  • Remove and puree/mash with 3 Tablespoons butter and kosher salt and black pepper / or optional mix-ins (see below).

I have also tried steaming my cauliflower with chicken broth rather than water. I’ve found that it may add a bit more flavor to the cauliflower mash, but the taste difference isn’t too noticeable, so I’ll often just use what I have on hand.

Head of cauliflower in instant pot.

Note: If you prefer a thicker cauliflower mash, you can either either add your cauliflower to a colander and press out some of the water, or wrap it in a couple dish towels and squeeze out some of the water.

How long does it last?

  • It will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Note that it may begin to separate. Just give it a good stir before serving.

Can it be frozen?

  • You can freeze it for up to three months.
Overhead shot of cauliflower mash in bowl next to butter and sour cream.

How to season it:

Wondering what to add to give it extra flavor? Try these easy recipe mix-ins that give the best flavor:

Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

  • Try adding in some roasted garlic cloves before processing the mashed cauliflower.

Sour Cream Mashed Cauliflower with Chives

  • Add 1/4 cup sour cream and 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives.

Pesto Mashed Cauliflower

  • Add 2 Tablespoons prepare pesto.

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan

  • Saute 1 clove fresh garlic with 3 Tablespoons butter before adding to the puree, and add in 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.

Cheddar Mashed Cauliflower with Chipotle

  • Add 1 Tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo and 1/4 cup cheddar cheese.
Close up side view of bowl of mashed cauliflower.

If you loved this recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings. I’d love to hear what mix-ins you tried! 

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Tools for making Cauliflower Mash:

What to serve with Mashed Cauliflower

Cauliflower recipes:

Cauliflower Mash Recipe

Overhead shot of bowl of mashed cauliflower in grey bowl with swirls of butter.

Mashed Cauliflower // 5 Ways // Stovetop + Instant Pot

Mashed Cauliflower is a delicious, low carb & keto friendly side dish. With 5 flavor variations and instructions for making Stovetop Mashed Cauliflower or Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower.
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • Water (or chicken broth)
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)



  • Cut cauliflower into large florets.
  • Add cauliflower to a steamer basket and place in a pot filled with water (or broth) to just below the basket. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and steam for 15-20 minutes, until cauliflower is very tender.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add butter. Process until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a blender or immersion blender. Season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste.

Instant Pot

  • Trim leaves off cauliflower and trim stem. Leave cauliflower whole.
  • Add 1 cup water or broth to Instant Pot. Place trivet in pot and place cauliflower on top.
  • Place lid on Instant Pot and set valve to seal.
  • Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 5 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build, then a countdown timer will begin.
  • Once the cook time is up, quick release the pressure and remove the lid.
  • Add cauliflower to a food processor along with butter. Puree until smooth. Alternatively, you can use a blender or immersion blender. Season liberally with salt and pepper, to taste.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Pressure cooker
Food processor
Steamer basket


Calories: 128kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 628mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 262IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

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