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Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Brown Butter

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Brown Butter

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Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are mock mashed potatoes made with cauliflower! They're low carb and absolutely delicious with brown butter.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

I had to laugh at our last holiday meal when my sister proclaimed, “these are the best mashed potatoes ever!” only to be informed that she was eating mashed cauliflower.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes have been around for a while, and if you have yet to get on the bandwagon, I encourage you to try them!

Cauliflower makes an excellent low carb substitute for starchy potatoes. Though we like mashed cauliflower so much that we usually serve both—cauliflower and mashed potatoes—at our holiday meals.

In this version we are steam boiling the cauliflower first in salted water, then draining and mashing. While the cauliflower is cooking, we brown some butter on the side to get mashed with the cauliflower. Do you ever make brown butter? It’s easy to make and brings a warm, nutty, deeply buttery flavor to everything it touches.

The addition of sour cream provides some tang and helps smooth out the mashed cauliflower.

The result? Amazing! Seriously good. Like, I’ll pass on the potatoes, just give me some more of the mashed cauliflower good.

Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Brown Butter Recipe

Cauliflowers vary in size. If you are working with a cauliflower that is larger or smaller than 1 1/4 pounds, increase or decrease the amount of butter and sour cream to add.


  • 1 large cauliflower (about 1 1/4 pound or 565 g), core removed, cut into large florets (see How to Cut and Core Cauliflower)
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) sour cream
  • Chopped chives, green onions, and/or parsley for garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1 Steam/boil the cauliflower: Place 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the cauliflower florets.

Bring to a boil on high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer.

Cover and let the cauliflower cook for 10-14 minutes, until very tender.

2 Brown the butter: While the cauliflower is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan (easier to use a stainless steel pan so that you can see the browning occur) on medium heat.

Once the butter melts, it will begin to foam up a bit. When the foam subsides, look for amber colored bits forming at the bottom of the pan.

When the butter begins to brown, smell it. It will have a lovely nutty aroma.

When you can see lots of flecks of browned bits, and the melted butter smells wonderful, remove it from the heat and pour into a bowl (glass or metal).

Butter can quickly go from browned to burnt, so keep an eye on it and work quickly when the butter starts to brown! (See our more detailed instructions on How to Brown Butter.)

3 Strain the cooked cauliflower: When the cauliflower is cooked through and tender enough to mash with a fork, strain out all but a tablespoon or two of the remaining water.

4 Mash with a potato masher and stir in the brown butter and sour cream. (Make sure to scrape in all the browned bits from the butter; that's where the flavor is!)

5 Purée to desired consistency: Use an immersion blender or a standing blender and blend the mashed potatoes to as smooth a consistency as you would like. Or just mash more with a potato masher if you like a chunky consistency.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with chopped chives, green onions, or parsley to serve.

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