cauliflower mash in a bowl with a silver spoon

the creamiest cauliflower mash {keto + dairy-free}

Have you ever made cauliflower mash and ended up with small chunks of cauliflower instead of the smooth and creamy “mashed potatoes” texture you had hoped for? Well, I have. Countless times. And after trying several ways, I’ve finally mastered cauliflower mash, aka cauliflower mashed potatoes. It’s the creamiest, dairy-free, keto-friendly side dish and it only requires 3 ingredients!

head of cauliflower

what is cauliflower mash?

Cauliflower “mashed potatoes” seems to be a staple of any keto or low-carb diet. It’s a low-carb substitution for mashed potatoes, made with cauliflower, and just as versatile, too. A quick online search for cauliflower mash will result in a boat-load of recipes, each with a different name. Cauliflower mash, cauliflower mashed potatoes, faux-tatoes or mashed faux-tatoes….they all mean the same thing, NO potatoes. 😉 Some recipes call for roasting the cauliflower while others recommend a quick cook in the microwave or boiling the vegetable. I think the secret to the creamiest cauliflower mash lies in how you cook the cauliflower.

how to make the best (and best for you) cauliflower mash

Steaming is where it’s at. Steaming cauliflower is the best way to cook the vegetable while preserving its nutrients. Boiling cauliflower removes most of the antioxidants which are then lost completely when you drain the water. I used to prefer roasting the cauliflower but the end result never turned out quite as smooth. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • one head of cauliflower broken into florets
  • coconut milk (full-fat and canned to get the most cream) or macadamia milk
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: minced garlic or garlic powder (but really, should garlic ever be optional?)

And here’s how to make it (the steamer basket method):

  1. In a pot, bring water to a boil.
  2. Break apart an entire head of cauliflower and place the florets into a steamer basket.
  3. Place the steamer tray on top of the pot with boiling water (I use a steamer pot set), then cover with a lid.
  4. Cook the cauliflower for about 10-15 minutes (on medium heat), stirring the cauliflower florets about five minutes in. It’s done when you can easily pierce the cauliflower with a fork.
  5. Remove the cauliflower from the pot and transfer (carefully, it’s hot!) to a high-speed blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper, coconut or macadamia milk, and fresh minced garlic (optional) and process until smooth.

A blender or a food processor isn’t absolutely necessary, you can always mash the cauliflower the good old-fashioned way. But processing it results in smooth and creamy cauliflower faux-tatoes, that perfect mashed potatoes consistency.

While this recipe really only requires three ingredients, you can get creative! If you’re not dairy-free, top your cauliflower mash with butter, sour cream or shredded cheddar cheese. I’ve stirred in horseradish, blue cheese, roasted garlic, rosemary, the list goes on…

Whatever you’d typically serve mashed potatoes with, swap in this tasty keto side dish for a quick and healthy low-carb meal!

overhead shot of cauliflower mashed potatoes in bowl

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closeup of cauliflower mashed potatoes in a bowl

the creamiest cauliflower mash {keto + dairy-free}

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

A creamy cauliflower mash that is low-carb, dairy-free and gluten-free! It only requires three ingredients and is ready in 20 minutes. This cauliflower mash is a healthy and simple substitute for mashed potatoes that is keto-approved!


  • 1 head cauliflower, large (broken into florets)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk (mostly coconut cream)*
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (optional)


  1. Using a steamer set, fill the bottom pot about halfway with water and place on the stovetop. Heat the water on high until it comes to a full boil.
  2. Cut out the bottom stalk of the cauliflower head and remove any leaves. Break it apart into medium-sized florets and then rinse.
  3. When the water boils, turn down the temperature to medium and place the cauliflower into the top half (steamer basket) of the steamer set. Cover with a lid.
  4. Steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes then gently stir the florets. Cover again and steam for another 5-10 minutes, checking after 5 minutes to see if the cauliflower is done. The cauliflower is ready when you can easily pierce it with a fork.
  5. Remove the steamer from the stovetop and carefully transfer the cauliflower into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  6. Pour in the coconut milk, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and garlic (optional), then blend or process on high speed until the cauliflower mash is smooth.
  7. Taste and adjust, if needed, adding more salt or more coconut milk (only add about 1 tablespoon at a time) if it needs to be creamier or saltier.
  8. Transfer the mash into a bowl and serve with chopped chives or other "mashed potatoes" toppings.


    I only recommend using full-fat coconut milk from a can (not a carton) because it has a thicker, creamier consistency similar to heavy cream. Use more of the thicker coconut cream at the top and less of the thinner coconut milk at the bottom of the can.

    You can also swap in unsweetened macadamia milk for coconut milk.

    You can use a steamer pot setup like this or a steamer basket.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 40Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 4gNet Carbohydrates: 2gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

    This nutritional information is approximate and is provided for convenience as a courtesy.


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