Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Potatoes are creamy, comforting, delicious… and can be a bullet train to CrankyTown, thanks to their direct route over the craggy heights of Insulin Spike Peak. But bow your head in gratitude to the cauliflower. (What a friend we have in cauliflower!)

Mashed with some coconut milk, coconut oil, and chives, humble cauliflower provides all the texture and comfort of mashed spuds, without the trip into dangerous territory. This is the recipe from Well Fed: Paleo Recipes For People Who Love To Eat.


Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 2-4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 5 minutes | Whole30 compliant

I use frozen cauliflower in this recipe for convenience, but if you prefer, you can use fresh. Just steam until it’s very tender and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

  • 1 bag (16 ounces) frozen cauliflower florets

  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (about 1 teaspoon)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons dried chopped chives


Cook the cauliflower according to the package directions until it’s very soft, but not waterlogged.


In a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan, heat the garlic, coconut oil, coconut milk, salt, and pepper, about 1 minute.


Meanwhile, purée the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor, scraping down the sides. Add the coconut milk to the processor, along with 1 tablespoon of chives. Process about 10 seconds. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with remaining chives before serving.

Print this recipe
WF2 Recipe: Mustard-Garlic Brussels Sprouts

A few facts: Tiny things are cute. People love cute things. Brussels sprouts are really just stupid-cute, tiny cabbages. So if Brussels sprouts are loveable,...

Read More
Golden Cauliflower Soup

It's not exactly soup weather in Austin yet. The temperature is still annoyingly hovering in the high 80s, and the stack of (super cute) sweaters...

Read More


  • DJDeeJay says:

    I love your recipe for mashed cauliflower, but I like it even better when I make a batch that’s half cauliflower/half parsnips. It’s creamier and feels more filling. Sometimes I swap out the coconut oil for different fats, like butter, bacon fat or duck fat. In fact, I’m having some for lunch today with a meat and mushroom ragu. It’s basically the highlight of my day. (I know that sounds kinda sad, but I swear it’s a good thing!)

    • Dana says:

      I actually tried a mix of half cauliflower and half turnips, and it turned out super yummy! Even my cauliflower-hating husband said it would be a fine substitute for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Hannah says:

    Crazy, I made these last night! However – I think mine got waterlogged because I ended up having to add (very non-paleo) mashed potato flakes to make them even close to the consistency they needed to be. We are in the process of transitioning to a paleo diet, but it’s a hard sell with my hubby! I knew he wouldn’t stand for the cauliflower “soup” I had made, but next time I won’t cook it nearly as long!

  • recommendations for a good coconut milk?

  • I love mashed cauliflower but my husband really doesn’t like it for some reason. I add a little grassfed butter to it 🙂

  • Diane says:

    I can’t eat coconut products (oil, etc) or dairy so I’m wondering if I could substitute olive oil and Almond Milk instead of coconut oil and coconut milk? Do you have any recommendations for substitutes because I could make a lot more of your recipes if I could substitute them. Thank you! Love your book and your blog.

    • Holly says:

      I need coconut products substitutions as well. I have fructose malabsorption (diagnosed) and can’t have any fruit products 🙁

      • Mel says:

        In this recipe, you can substitute chicken broth for the coconut milk — or if you have homemade mayo on hand, skip the coconut milk and throw in 1-2 tablespoons of mayo. I did that once, and it was luscious.

    • reit says:

      Mashed cauliflower is our starch staple, as my husband is diabetic. We don’t use any kind of milk at all. Our favorite is to put several whole clove pieces of garlic in with the cauliflower when it is steaming and mash that up as well. We will add butter for thanksgiving but generally don’t even add that and it is delicious. I have used almond milk in the past and it worked fine until I discovered we didn’t really need the extra ingredient!

  • Melds says:

    I will try this recipe.

  • Alana says:

    How would I make this without a food processor?

    • Mel says:

      You use old-school tools like a potato masher or a potato ricer… or an immersion/stick blender… or a hand-held or countertop mixer.

      If you don’t have any of those things, you could go at it with a wire whisk and get an upper body workout.

  • Alana says:

    That would be a workout! I used our good ol’ potato masher. It tasted great! Thanks Melissa.

  • Nancy M says:

    Hi Melissa!
    this will be my first Thanksgiving without Pepperidge Farm stuffing. I’m thinking of using Bell’s seasoning mix and using cauliflower as the “bread”, with diced onions, celery, pasture butter, and home made chicken stock– have you tried this, and do you have any recommedations?
    Thanks so much, love your passion and especially, love Well Fed!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried a cauliflower stuffing, but I bet it will taste great. I’d recommend making it in a casserole on its own, rather than actually putting it in a bird, however — I think it might get too mushy inside the birdy.

      If you make it in a casserole, you could make some almond flour “bread crumbs” to sprinkle on top so it gets crispy. Instructions for “bread crumbs” are part of this recipe:

      • Nancy M says:

        what a great idea about the bread crumbs! I was definitely planning to bake it– I got the notion from a twice cooked cauliflower curry I invented one night (steamed it, chopped it, stirred it up with some coconut butter and a Savory and Spice shop curry blend and baked it). I’ll try to remember to let you know how it turns out!

  • Brittany W says:

    I ADORE this recipe. I’m away from my family for a few months training, and when I was back home this past weekend I made this, Cinnamon Beef Stew, and Chocolate Chili in HUGE pots to stock up the fridge to make my hubs’s life easier. I’ve never been a huge fan of cauliflower, but this…this I licked the bowl clean. So good!

  • Erica says:

    One of my favorites from Well Fed! I cannot wait for Well Fed 2!!!

  • Kel says:

    I had to tell you what I did tonight! My store had no frozen cauliflower – really? – so I bought a head of fresh. Cut it up, boiled it and during the last 3 minutes or so of boiling it, I added half a bag of frozen spinach! Once it was done, I prepared it using this recipe. Bright crazy green but really tasty! I am like a little kid; sometimes you have to sneak in the spinach.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Pingback: Whole30 day 6
  • Tracy says:

    Holy crap!! These are amazing. The best recipe EVER for mashed cauliflower. Now I wonder if I can trick my kids.

  • Mel says:

    Hey, another Mel(issa) here – I came across your website after googling whipped cauliflower with coconut oil. Never liked the mashed/whipped cauliflower with butter or parmesan (we’re not paleo but try to keep it whole foods, lower glycemic, and clean,) thought something different was in order. I love love love coconut oil and wanted to see if anyone out there had any suggestions for how much to use. I have to say, your recipe was beyond perfect! I did not have any chives on hand, I’m sure that would have put it over the top. We had this with some sauteed green beans and marinated steak we grilled, and I think my husband and I pretty much licked our plates clean. It truly was comfort food-esque. I’m so very happy right now. Yum. Just yum. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi, Mel! I’m so glad you like the mashed cauliflower with coconut oil… yay! I’ve also made it with a dollop of homemade mayo, and that makes a really creamy, luscious blend, too. Have fun experimenting!

      Happy cooking to you.

      • Mel says:

        Oh that is so next on my list. I love a good homemade mayo. I see we have very similar styles (and approaches to) cooking, have enjoyed what I have read so far. I’m a big prep cooker as well but started to get boring with my meat and veggie plates. I’m moving on to PILES. Also, I’m half Turkish and have an Armenian husband, and I love you have lots of middle eastern flavors incorporated into your staples – just like us 🙂 Will continue to watch your blog, thanks for all your efforts, I know it’s tough to keep up with (from a now-defunct food blog author.)

      • Mel says:

        Just had to tell you I made this with the mayo the other day. I don’t think I’ve licked a bowl clean since helping my grandmother make chocolate chip cookies as a child. Holy balls, that was amazing. I’ve also taken to roasting the cauliflower because 1) I’m lazy and 2) it takes out all the excess moisture and the combination of the two…..I will never crave mashed potatoes again! Also: WellFed2 arrived a while back and am thoroughly enjoying it! Thank you 🙂

  • Shannon J says:

    Let me just say that this is comfort at its best! You do the most remarkable recipes and I never feel like I am missing anything. For the record, before I bought your cookbook, I NEVER ate cauliflower. I thought it was the DEVIL! LOL No really, I hated it with every fiber of my being. You have made me love it and look forward to eating it. (Your rice dish was the first) Thank you for your brillant ingenuity and ability to make food taste delicious! Your cookbook is the first one I pull in order to find something tasty!
    You would be proud, I had left overs and thought “what could I do with these…” Cauliflower cakes! I added a couple of eggs, chopped onion, a little coconut flour and fried them in coconut oil!

    Thank you for making food fun!

  • Betty says:

    Hello! Huge fan here! Love your cookbooks and are my go-to for my paleo cooking! You’re a flavor genius!

    So, I tried this mashed cauliflower version and used,as recommended, frozen cauliflower. Flavor: Amazing!. But it did turn out a little soft , not quite runny/soup-ey, just soft and lacked some kind of structure. I was super careful with the water logging. Any tips?

    btw: Dried chives is brilliant.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the sweet compliment!

      It might be the brand of cauli — perhaps they cook it more than mine before freezing. If you don’t like the texture, you might try steaming fresh cauliflower instead of using frozen.

  • Camala says:

    I usually don’t like mashed cauli – but yours is delicious! Thank you!

  • Sportnee says:

    Hi Mel from Sydney Australia,
    Quick question – can the mash (made via your recipe – except was made with fresh not frozen cauli) be frozen ok?
    Thanks for all the deliciousness! Have recently made Piña Colada Chicken & Beef Provençal – the addition of olives in the latter was GENIUS!!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t had good experiences freezing cauliflower. It has a lot of moisture in it, and when it defrosts, it gets really watery. I don’t recommend it.

      Glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • Pingback: Mary Eggers
  • Paola says:

    Hi, I just started this journey and have lots of questions…I am wondering if the following rendition of the recipe still works for the Whole30 plan, steamed cauliflower, garlic, 2 tbsp of ghee, nutmeg all in food processor until desired consistency is achieved.
    I tried this version and it is incredible and almost seems to good to be true.

  • Garlic Addict says:

    I love this recipe! After it was prepared I layered it over the Greek Beef Stew and baked it. Great shepherd’s pie! No one even thought to ask if it was a mashed potato substitute. This is a keeper. Though I double the garlic. Because I double the garlic in everything.

  • Tanya says:

    OMG, this was amazing! Served it with chocolate chili and a lettuce salad, so goood. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Sue Felmlee says:

    Love both your books and I must say your mashed cauliflower is the best I have tried. A friend suggested this weekend that I try making it with an immersion blender instead of my food processor – so I gave it a try. Much creamier and more like the texture of mashed potatoes! My husband said you could fool anyone with this recipe!

    • I’m really glad you like that recipe! You know, I resisted the stick blender for a long time because I didn’t want another kitchen gadget. Now I feel really silly for waiting so long to get one! I use it every week to make mayo, zucchini soup, and mashed cauliflower. WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG?!

  • Louise Gagne says:

    WOW! That was sooooo very good. I’ll definitely bs making that on anregular basis. I’m fairly new to Paleo but can’t believe how much I’m enjoying my food. Btw, I used paleo mayo in this instead of milk and just loved it. Hubby isn’t a big fan, so I’ll just have to keep feeding him rice or regular potatoes instead. Not a biggy.
    Thank you for this recioe. I’ll be back again. 🙂

    • Glad you liked it! I’ve used mayo when I’ve been out of coconut milk, and I almost like it even more than the coconut milk. So creamy!

      Give your hubby some time; maybe he’ll come around!

  • Jana says:

    I discovered this mashed cauliflower last week and I prepared it with Blue Ribbon Country Captain Chicken from your cookbook and OH MY GOD it is the best side-dish I had in looong time. Thank you!