National Keto Day (January 5) is here, and this Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower recipe is the perfect accompaniment for it. It’s an easy low-carb alternative to the famous mashed potatoes with that familiar creamy, garlicky, buttery flavors you love.
Is Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower Recipe Healthy?
Yes, it is.
This mashed cauliflower is a nutrient-packed, low-calorie, low-carb, and naturally gluten-free side dish. No more piling on the carbs. You can now get the same creaminess and buttery flavor of mashed potatoes in a simpler, healthier way.
Cauliflower is naturally low in calories and carbohydrates. 100 grams of cauliflower only have 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates — much lower than white potatoes with 69 calories and 15.7 grams of carbohydrates
Working on this Instant Pot mashed cauliflower recipe, we put everything on the scale and made sure we included just the right amount of each ingredient, even the extra seasonings and toppings.
This mashed cauliflower can also serve as a lighter alternative to a standard carb, such as rice or pasta. This recipe will help you cut down on heavy carbs and excessive fat without compromising on taste and satisfaction.
How Does It Taste?
Cauliflower has an earthy and lightly sweet taste that can take on literally any spices and seasonings. In today’s recipe, we try to take its natural flavor to another level by adding a hint of richness and creaminess from the mixture of parmesan cheese, salt, butter, garlic, heavy cream, sour cream, and olive oil.
Cauliflower itself is a low-starch, cruciferous vegetable and doesn’t mush easily. Making a mash out of cauliflower is basically an effortless task.
Similar to our Instant Pot mashed potatoes recipe, it’s easy to customize and get creative with this mashed cauliflower. Below are some of our ideas for additions to kick the flavors up a notch:
Butter, sour cream, and Greek yogurt can be interchangeable for this dish. Full-fat Greek yogurt can offer extra tang, just like sour cream, while still keeping the total fat down.
Half and half, heavy cream, and non-dairy or skimmed milk can work amazingly well in this recipe. However, we believe whole milk and full-fat heavy cream will provide the silkiest texture for this mash due to their high fat content.
For the toppings, feel free to sprinkle more fresh herbs or spices, or even chopped crisp bacon if that’s what your heart desires. Besides parsley, we surely welcome some other great options such as green onions, chives, thyme, chili, chipotle peppers, and Italian seasonings.
Although freshly-grated parmesan gives this mash a beautiful touch of richness and tanginess, feel free to opt for cheddar or Gouda cheese, whatever most pleases your taste buds.
Vegetable or chicken broth can be used to steam the cauliflower in place of water to add more flavor.
If you prefer a thicker and less fluffy cauliflower mash just like we did, here’s a simple way to tweak it: After cooking, wait for the mash to cool down a bit. Then, add it to a colander or wrap it in a clean towel to press/squeeze out some of the water.
For people who want to add extra air and make the mash even fluffier, they can simply whip it with the hand mixer for longer.
We also have a large collection of instant pot recipes for your reference. Come check them out.
How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers
This Instant Pot mashed cauliflower can easily be made in advance as it can last up to 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Remember to let it cool down completely before storing.
Mashed cauliflower can be reheated in the microwave at 2-minute intervals until it’s warmed through. You can stir in more butter or milk if desired and adjust the amount of each to your taste.
While the leftover mash is freezer-friendly, it’s important to know that it will get watery very quickly after thawing, leading to a predictable change in consistency.
If sealed tightly in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag, the leftover portions can last up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat it in the microwave.
What to Eat With This Recipe
This Instant Pot mashed cauliflower can be served as a healthy side dish with many meals. It can pair well with a wide range of dishes, including these great choices:
Pork chops with mushroom gravy
Tuna casserole with green beans
Our fluffy mashed cauliflower can also be topped with scrambled eggs and served alongside slices of avocado for a quick and nutritious breakfast.
Discover other healthy and delicious recipes we’ve made with cauliflower as the main ingredient:
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower: This air fryer Buffalo cauliflower recipe is a vegetarian version of the well-known Buffalo wings. It’s simple, too — nothing more than crispy cauliflower florets dipped in batter, baked to perfection, and finally bathed in spicy Buffalo sauce.
Broccoli Cauliflower Salad: This easy salad recipe celebrates two humble ingredients — broccoli and cauliflower — accompanied by lemon and bacon. The cruciferous vegetables are blanched until tender and then mixed with nuts and raisins to create the ultimate blend of textures and flavors.
Today's Instant Pot mashed cauliflower recipe presents an easy, low-carb, Keto-friendly alternative to the famous mashed potatoes that can be made in no time. The familiar creamy, garlicky, buttery flavors of mashed potatoes are perfectly resembled, but with far fewer carbs. We just couldn't ask for more!
Place a steamer basket in the Instant Pot and arrange 24 oz cauliflower on top. Add 1 cup water to the pot. Close the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Cook on the “Steam” setting for 15 minutes.
Perform a quick release of the steam. Roughly mash the cauliflower with a masher for 5 minutes.
Stir 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 tsp minced garlic, 0.5 oz parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 1/2 tbsp sour cream, and 1 tbsp olive oil into the roughly-mashed cauliflower. Cook on the “Sauté” setting for 1 minute.
Turn off the Instant Pot. Mash the cauliflower into a purée with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth.
Portion out onto serving platters. Taste and season with 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, and 1/4 tsp paprika. Drizzle the remaining 1/2 tbsp olive oil on top and enjoy.
Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 134Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Vitamin A 155IU
Vitamin C 84mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.