mashed cauliflower

Mashed Cauliflower

A perfect addition to your Paleo Thanksgiving.

I’ve been making this mashed cauliflower recipe for several years now.  So I must be on the same page as my readers –when I posted my  Cauliflower Rice recipe I received suggestions from Jose and several others to make mashed cauliflower.

This cauliflower dish (which I make in place of mashed potatoes) is perfect for a gluten free, Paleo Thanksgiving.  I like to have something mashed and gooshy at Thanksgiving not only as a vehicle for gravy, but also to mop up all of the delicious goodness floating around my plate.

What suggestions do you have for a Paleo version of mashed potatoes?

Print Recipe
Mashed Cauliflower
  1. Steam the cauliflower pieces until very tender
  2. Puree cauliflower in a food processor, add in olive oil and salt
  3. Reheat in a casserole dish in the oven at 350° for 20 minutes
  4. serve

Chris of Celiac Handbook has a fabulous Gluten-Free Blog Showcase that you might just want to check out.  I really enjoyed reading his little blurbs about each of my favorite gluten free bloggers, and also greatly appreciated his blurb about Elana’s Pantry.  Thanks Chris!

Here are some other gluten free vegetable dishes you may like:

Roasted Cauliflower and Zucchini from Stephanie of Wasabimon
Roasted Artichokes from Kate of Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts from Gwyneth of


  1. Renee says

    I just made a batch with cauliflower, parsnips, garlic, shallots, horseradish root, ghee, and bone broth. Simmered all together until soft, then blitzed with an immersion blender. Yummy leftovers for breakfast with a crispy fried egg on top.

  2. Suzanne Davis says

    I’ve been wheat free/grain free/low carb 10-15 carbs per meal ( Dr. William Davis’s Wheat Belly plan) since February 2014. Love living this way and will never go back! And this is what brought me to you, a lucky day that was!
    About the mashed cauliflower. Love it! Could eat that every day or as a meal all by itself. Very eager to try your Cauliflower Rice recipe, and to find kelp noodles too. But when I make mashed cauliflower, it never looks like your photograph. No, mine turns out limp, never a nice mound. What’s the secret? I use a potato masher and add cream cheese. Do I need to use a thickener? I have wondered if I should use a ricer instead of the masher. Help, please! Thanks!

  3. Lila says

    I made this last night and it was fantastic! I’m addicted! The only thing I noticed today (I used the Earth-Balance spread) is that the spread apparently contains corn. My family members are allergic to corn and although I have never been tested I suspect that I might be too (with symptoms seemingly more apparent as I get older). Does anyone know if this spread is appropriate for corn-sensitive individuals? I remember reading that Elana can’t have corn, but cannot tell from context if she eats this too with the spread or if it is just for her family.

    I’m making this again tonight with the olive oil! Yum!

    • Sharon says

      We love to use real butter too. Never any margarines or spreads because they always contain soy, corn or some sort of undesirable ingredient(s).

  4. says

    Mashed cauliflower is great and I found that if you substitute parsnips for half of the recipe its even better! Gives it a little bit more body and sweetness…
    Its great on your Paleo Shepherd’s Pie.
    Love your site!

  5. Jen Mason says

    I just made this dish and it was a total hit with my family. I have a 7 yr old and twin 6 yr old (all boys). They ate every last bite of the mashed cauliflower.
    Thank you so much for this recipe and idea! I will definitely be making this again!

  6. Nancy Nurse says

    Hi guys,

    PLEASE know that potatoes are NOT your enemy!! I have lost 40 pounds eating potatoes! It’s the animal fats that make us fat. Anyway, enjoy; this recipe is wonderful! If you’re interested in learning more about the potato, google: The Starch Solution by Dr. John McDougall. He has literally saved my life! All kinds of ailments are gone including angina!

    • Sharon says

      I’m glad this worked for you but this is opposite of Paleo or low carb which is what Elana’s group is about.
      Seems to me, a low fat, high fiber group would better suit your needs.

  7. Jenn says

    When asked the question, “What is your all-time favorite food?” I’ve always responded, “Mashed Potatoes!” After trying this recipe tonight, I may never make mashed potatoes again! I used olive oil and the were simply divine! I can’t wait to have them at Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! Thanks Elana! You’re recipes are always wonderful!!!

  8. Nichole says

    I just died and went to heaven. My husband and I agree, there is no need to ever eat real mash potatoes again! This was divine. I subbed out the buttery spread for coconut oil. YUM. Love your site and your recipes.

  9. kelsey says


    I’ve tried in the past to make mashed cauliflower, but it never turned out well until I tried your recipe. It’s delicious!! Tastes just like mashed potatoes. I used olive oil instead of butter/coconut oil because it was all I had on hand. I also added some garlic and pepper.


  10. Annette says

    Tried this tonight as a topping on a gluten-free salmon and leek pie. I mashed it with parsley, salt, pepper and garlic and when I baked the pie, sprinkled a little bit of almond meal on top for colour & crunch. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Aileen says

    Um, potatoes ARE gluten free to begin with, so you don’t really need to “replace” them with the mashed cauliflower. BUT if you are a Celiac (like me) who is also on a low-carb diet, the mashed cauliflower is perfect.

  12. Kathleen says

    this was so good. I made it with some added coconut milk and ghee instead of the spread. Oh my it tasted fantastic. Thanks for the great idea. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

  13. Dorothy Ellis says

    Tried this tonight with a little cream and seasoned salt. Fantastic recipes, thanks for all your hard work!

  14. Susan says

    Tonight I made mashed cauliflower with a blender….and I think it would go much, much better in a food processor! I added sour cream, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (only a bit!), lime juice * a necessary addition which really pulls it all together…I also added asiago cheese (shredded) for a great kick! So yummy…..and it would be so much simpler with a food processor. I could chop the cauliflower first….before steaming…which would further simplify the recipe.
    Thank you for your great inspiration for my version of mashed cauliflower!!!

  15. Barbara Bos says

    Never thought of making a mash of cauliflower, great! I added broccoli and some nutmeg which tasted wonderful too. Keep ‘m coming!

  16. Brooke Atkins says

    I made these tonight but roasted the cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I blended it with vegetable stock and grated parmasean cheese. It was great!

  17. Jan says

    Don’t forget to add some garlic powder to the recipe. I have been making this since the ’70’s…it is a family favorite. I have added root veggies also!!!
    Thanks for all the comments from the low thyroid folks…I am part of you too!

  18. Bomama says

    Sounds yummy, still stuck on your Cauliflower rice…and many variations I’ve come up with…..yumm!!!My kids however will have nothing to do with cauliflower, I will try to sneek this mash in though….;)

  19. Kari Miller says

    Elana, I am in the kitchen most of my day trying new recipes and trying to fix as many Primal/Paleo recipes as I can for variety in my military family’s meals. I love your website and all the recipes you list. I am in the process of buying your cookbooks so my library of foods choices are as large as can be. I really would love to create a Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe that is as close to a southern sage/sausage recipe I remember as a child. I’d love to visit with those who are trying find the same. Thank you for giving me a world of new flavors and textures and in learning more about Gluten-Free foods. You are truly a visionary!

    • Tammy says

      Hi. I’m making my mom’s sausage/sage stuffing recipe this year, though I’ve made it paleo/primal.

      3 lbs sausage of choice
      4 ribs celery diced
      1 medium onion diced
      4 cloves of garlic (put through press)
      1 cup dried cranberries
      1 loaf paleo bread (Elana’s recipe) diced and dried
      1 qt. chicken broth
      2 Tbsp ground sage
      Rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper to taste

      Preheat oven to 350. Brown sausage in skillet. Drain. In a large bowl
      combine sausage, celery, onion, garlic, dried cranberries, bread crumbs,
      sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper & mix well. Add the
      chicken broth and mix. Stuffing should be really moist. If more liquid is
      needed add more broth or coconut milk until stuffing reaches desired consistency. Transfer to casserole dish. Bake in oven covered for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until browned.

      I’m excited to try this one paleo this year! :-)

  20. Linda says

    I love this dish & have been making it since a friend gave me a similar recipe. We like to call these “mashed faux-tatoes”!

  21. Joelle says

    I just made these…pretty yummy! I asked my 3 yr old what they tasted like and he said, “Mashed tatoes.” Any thoughts on how to thicken them up to be even more like the real thing?

  22. Kelsey says

    This is a recipe I used at our (Canadian) Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and the non-Paleos ate just as much of it as their regular mashed potatoes. I can’t recall what website I gleaned this from, or I would give credit, but I can say that it turned out great (I doubled the recipe to feed our crowd of 10 and had lots left over):

    Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
    2 good-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into about 1-2 inch chunks
    1/2 C shallots (or sweet onion), chopped fine
    3 cloves garlic, mince
    1/2 C fresh basil, chopped
    1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    1/4 C coconut milk
    1 T coconut oil

    Bring about 4 qts. water to low boil, and add sweet potatoes. Boil for about 10-13 minutes (until potatoes are tender). Drain and mash. (I used a potato ricer… which is nifty kitchen tool that enables the perfect fluffy smooth texture for mashed potatoes) But, mashing with a fork is just fine, too! Add Coconut milk and mix well. In a separate small pan heat coconut oil an saute shallots and garlic, when they are just about done (about 5 minutes), add basil. Saute for a few more minutes and add to sweet potatoes. Stir well, add a little ground black pepper,

  23. MaryBeth Matthews says

    I’ve been making smashed cauliflower for some time. In fact I made it last night, adding chopped parsley. I haven’t seen the reheating aspect of this recipe in any previous version. It makes sense, as the cauliflower usually cools by the time it is mashed and flavored. I’ll have to try the reheating part next time. Thanks!

  24. Amy Willis says

    These are yummy I have been doing them for years also. When I make a roast in the crock pot I add some beef stock. After the roast is cooked. I pour off the juice and then cook that down until its thickend up and use it as “gravy”. One thing that I do different for my “taters” is I cook them in Chicken Broth..when I am feeling festive, after they are mashed. I add garlic and Parm Cheese to them also!

  25. says

    Hiarious! I literally just found a giant cauliflower that my mother-in-law left here last week and I was wondering what to do with it.

    I’m starting right now!

    • MaryBeth Matthews says

      I’ve done this too, including a lentil-based shepherd’s pie.

      Just keep an eye on it or cover it for awhile as the caulifolower tends to get crisp.

  26. Melissa B. says

    I love mashed cauliflower as well! I make it with coconut oil and coconut milk, to give it a creamy texture. We also LOVE your cauliflower rice recipe- so good!

    Yes, could you please share your gravy recipe?

  27. Licia says

    Celeriac puree is a amazing substitute for mashed potatoes. Its prepared in exactly the same way as your recipe above. I’ve only used butter (lots) and salt with it, but other oils or fats might also work. Its especially fantastic with game. Its borderline SCD – some tolerate it, some don’t.

    • June says

      Yes, celery root is a great potato substitute! For those who eat dairy…a little butter and cottage cheese mashed with the celery root is very good.

  28. Janet says

    I’ve made cauliflower “mashed potatoes” several times (I found the recipe on I love to add a couple gloves of garlic in with the cauliflower while steaming it and pureeing them right in with the cauliflower.

  29. Linda M says

    Thanks for making it a dairy-free recipe! All the other mashed cauliflower recipes I found have sour cream or cream cheese or such in it. I will try this one soon!

  30. says

    Wow, is it Thanksgiving time already? Much as I love my mashed potatoes (with almond milk) the mashed cauliflower sounds delicious! I think I will try half cauliflower and half parsnips, or maybe throw in some turnips. My body really loves roots, but they can be a little strong. I think maybe cauliflower would be a good addition.

    Thanks Elana!

        • Helen says

          Thanks, Charmaine. That video on raw cruciferous vegetables is very helpful; glad I saw your comments. It’s been very hard having to avoid those vegetables while trying to heal hypothyroidism through a healthy diet. I’ll just up my iodine intake & enjoy the veggies!

        • says

          Thanks for this video link, Charmaine. After watching it and reading info online about goitrogens, I’ve decided not to worry about consuming cruciferous veggies. The so-called ‘offending culprit’ (if you can call it that!) is greatly reduced by cooking, steaming or fermenting. And according to the gentleman in the video, eating them raw really is not an issue, either. Problem solved!

        • Elyse Early says

          Be careful with Iodine–not everyone can tolerate it. I have been low thyroid for years and it became apparent that I could not tolerate Iodine when I was given an Ioderal supplement for thyroid support. I know several low-thyroid gals who had a similar problem when they upped their iodine–it’s not for everyone. ;)

      • Aura says

        Sally Fallon talks about avoiding ALL cruciferous vegetables, raw, cooked, fermented, etc. when treating hypo-thyroid conditions.

  31. says

    I love making mashed cauliflower as well. Even the most pickiest of my family members will eat it, and it is so good and nourishing. Thanks for sharing! Next will you tell us your gravy recipe? I will be tinkering around with my own here and there before Thanksgiving.

  32. says

    We often make a combination of mashed yams (the bright orange ones) and cauliflower and potato, or any 2 of the 3 depending on what we have on hand. The yams are so moist that you don’t need any milk, so they are then dairy free.

    I’d also like to learn more about the cauliflower thyroid connection. Thanks for that flag.

  33. Patricia N. says

    I can’t eat cauliflower, or many of the plants in this family, as they mess with the Thyroid. I have too many problems trying to keep THAT on track along with the Celiac condition I have.
    For many women/men who suspect that they have low/hypothyroid situation, beware of these goitrogenic vegetables, along with Peanuts!

    • says

      Hi Patricia…I’m being treated for a low thyroid with wholefood supplements, no drugs. So can you tell me what it is that cauliflower does to the thyroid? And where should I go online to learn more info? Thanks for that warning, and thanks in advance for your help! KarenO

      • Joelle says

        From what I understand, eating the cooked version of those foods, “deactivates” the problem. If you are on a whole foods diet, and eat more raw foods you may notice a change in your thyroid (for the better because it is healing), and these foods will not cause you problems. It’s all about experiment on your own body and you will find out what works and what doesn’t. Have fun with it! = )

    • Charmaine says

      I used to think as long as cruciferous vegetables were *cooked* and not consumed RAW, then they’d be okay in regards to the thyroid. But, this was a very interesting video that I came across–he says that even raw cruciferous vegetables won’t affect the thyroid as long as someone isn’t deficient in iodine. Unfortunately, many of us are deficient in iodine and that is more often than not the culprit in thyroid issues.

  34. Noel says

    I’ve tried this and love it.
    Tonight I made something similar — it included cauliflower, but also turnips, parsnips and an apple — all chopped and boiled, then smashed/blended with a little nutmeg and plenty of butter and milk (I used almond milk), salt and pepper.
    I’ve read that this can be made 2 days ahead and reheated, as you suggest — in a dish in the oven at 350 for 20 – 30 min.

    Such a nice alternative to mashed potatoes!

    : )

  35. Jane Ballantyne says

    I’ve been eating a version of this for quite a while as pureed caulifower…great when cutting carbs…
    So I must say how much I also like the cauliflower rice….super additions to our repetoire.

  36. Linda says

    Yummy, and I just happen to have a couple of heads of Cauliflower in my fridge! This will be a great new dish for dinner tomorrow! Sounds easy enough too…I think my blender and a hand potato masher can do the trick.

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