This is an easy cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe that is all you need to replace carbs with veggies. It’s so simple and absolutely delicious.

With a few tips and tricks (shh…it’s cream cheese!) along the way, no one will ever know it’s actually just mashed cauliflower – no potatoes required here!

A white plate with mashed cauliflower on it.
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One of the many joys of the holidays is all of the appetizers, sides, and desserts. I always look forward to those dishes you don’t make every day because they’re a little too indulgent.

Dips, potatoes, pies, oh my! It’s no wonder we all rush to the gym in January. I’ve been striving to work toward a balance this holiday season, without having to compromise great flavor.

That’s when I discovered the magic of cauliflower mashed potatoes.

A white plate with mashed cauliflower on it.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Mashed cauliflower is eerily similar to mashed potatoes, without the carbs. I’m always looking for ways to boost my intake of veggies and protein, and desperately need to reduce my carbs, so this recipe was a no-brainer for me!

When made correctly, no one will know they are actually cauliflower garlic mashed potatoes. It’s the perfect way to get picky eaters to get their veggie intake!

The freshest ingredients make the best dishes and topping a dish with fresh herbs is like putting a centerpiece on a table. It brings it to life and makes this healthy side dish feel special!

Garlic cauliflower mashed potatoes is the perfect low carb side dish. I can’t wait to see if Chris even notices the difference!

A white plate with mashed cauliflower on it.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Cauliflower – The fresher the better. This is the star of the show, after all.
  • Whole Milk – You want the whole milk variety for a super creamy texture.
  • Cream Cheese – This is the secret ingredient to my homemade mashed potatoes. It also provides an added dose of sweet cream flavor.
  • Garlic – Minced to the finest texture. Learn how to mince garlic.
  • Parmesan – Freshly grated, of course. The few moments it takes to grate fresh Parmesan cheese is totally worth the effort since fresh is much more flavorful than the pre-grated variety. Learn how to grate cheese here.
  • Rosemary (or your favorite fresh herb) – Fresh rosemary, or your favorite herb. It adds so much color and flavor to this simple side dish.
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper – Use whole black peppercorns from a grinder, if possible.

How to Make

  1. Fill pot with water just below where your steamer rests. Add the cauliflower and lid. Steam for 10 minutes over high heat.
  2. Transfer to your food processor and process until thick and creamy. Or, to your desired texture.
  3. Add the milk, cream cheese, and garlic and pulse a few more times.
  4. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Fold in the Parmesan.
  5. Place in your serving dish. Garnish with fresh rosemary and black pepper. Enjoy!
A white pot filled with cauliflower on top of a stove.

Tips for the Best Cauliflower

  • Steam the cauliflower rather than boil it.
  • Puree the cauliflower to give it the real texture of mashed potatoes.
    • You can also leave it slightly chunky, depending on how you like your mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes {if you’ve never tried it}. My nephew describes them as mashed potatoes, but better and more flavorful.
  • Fold in the Parmesan. This will prevent the cheese from becoming stringy and provides a creamier texture.

Make it Vegan

Vegan mashed cauliflower can easily be made with a few simple swaps.

  • Replace the Fairlife whole milk with your favorite unsweetened plant-based milk, such as almond or cashew.
  • Use vegan butter rather than the cream cheese.
  • Omit the Parmesan cheese and use up to 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for that special, cheesy flavor.
White risotto with cauliflower mashed potatoes on a white plate with a gold spoon.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate – In an airtight container up to 5 days.
  • Freeze – Allow the mixture to cool and pour into freezer bags, or an airtight container. Make sure the mixture is flattened and freeze for up to 3 months.

Once you’re ready to serve it again, thaw and heat the mixture in a saucepan over medium heat until heated through.

Love a deliciously comforting side dish like this one? Don’t miss my gratin dauphinois potatoes and our family favorite bacon mac and cheese!

More Side Dish Inspiration

A white plate with mashed cauliflower on it.
5 from 6 votes

Garlic Mashed Cauliflower Recipe

A delicious classic side dish with a twist! No one will know that these aren't starch heavy mashed potatoes! This mashed cauliflower is incredibly creamy and flavorful.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 8
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  • 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup fresh grated parmesan
  • rosemary
  • cracked pepper


  • Fill pot with water just below where the steamer rests. Add cauliflower and lid. Steam for 10 minutes over high heat.
  • Add florets to food processor until desired texture.
  • In food processor or mixing bowl, add milk, cream cheese, and garlic. Fold in parmesan.
  • Garnish with rosemary and fresh cracked pepper.

Julie’s Tips


  • Milk – The richest you have on hand.
  • Cream Cheese – Any amount of fat.
  • Garlic – Fresh minced or minced garlic in a jar.
  • Parmesan – Asiago and pecorino romano are great substitutes.
  • Rosemary – Your favorite herbs, fresh, if possible.
Make it Vegan – replace the whole milk with unsweetened plant-based milk. Replace the cream cheese with vegan butter. Omit the Parmesan and use up to 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.
Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 277IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 1mg

Estimated nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is not guaranteed.

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  1. Hmmm, I wonder if this will “fool” my daughter. She’s a mashed potato fanatic, but this would be a healthier option for the family.