Sneak Peek: Try the best microwave mashed cauliflower recipe that makes a thicker mashed cauliflower than traditional recipes. This post includes seven tips for making your mashed cauliflower taste better than you ever imagined.
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I don’t want soggy cauliflower on my dinner plate. My secret to non-soggy mashed cauliflower starts with a microwave but does not involve the grueling task of squeezing out moisture. If you want to make mashed cauliflower thicker and less watery, check out this marvelous side dish with fresh cauliflower.
Are you a cauliflower lover?
When I first started making and eating mashed cauliflower, I wondered how Khloé Kardashian could eat what she calls “Magic Mash-up” daily. But after experimenting with a Keto (low-carb) diet some time back, I finally figured out the best way to make it.
Why mashed cauliflower is usually soggy
In my search for thicker mashed cauliflower, I’ve tried several methods and many recipes, including my Instant Pot, steaming on the stovetop, and cooking in the microwave with a cover.
All these methods have one thing in common. They cause the cauliflower to retain too much moisture. The cauliflower is water-logged even when I try to press out excess water.
Some recipes call for adding additional liquid when mashing. This only makes matters worse.
How to make mashed cauliflower thicker:
Cook the cauliflower in a microwave WITHOUT a cover (like plastic wrap) or any liquid added to the microwave-safe bowl.
- No cover means the moisture can evaporate as the cauliflower cooks.
- No need for an extra step to squeeze out excess water.
- No need to drain the cauliflower.
- No steamer basket is required.
Conveniently, cauliflower cooked this way does not need to be “riced” or finely chopped. Large 1-inch chunks will suffice.
Seven ways to make your mashed cauliflower more delicious:
1. Don’t overcook your cauliflower.
Poke a knife into the cauliflower. If it pulls out easily, you should be good. Overcooking can cause mushiness and intensify the “cabbage family” flavor.
2. Use a food processor to make the cauliflower puree.
A food processor works fastest and leaves no lumps when mashing cauliflower. I tried a blender and was utterly frustrated. Same with an immersion blender. A stand mixer will work, but it’s hard to eliminate all lumps. It’s the same with a potato masher.
3. Use good butter or other fat you enjoy.
Adding fat helps the flavor and makes the final product creamy. I like Kerrygold butter, but any good butter will work. Bacon grease is fabulous, but my conscience rarely allows it.
4. Try adding cheese instead of butter.
An intensely flavored cheese such as aged Cheddar, Parmesan, or smoked Gouda will help cover the strong-ish cauliflower flavor. I’ve tried adding sour cream, but it thins the cauliflower too much for my taste. I want my cauliflower to be thick!!
This next one is important for people who aren’t crazy about the taste of cauliflower
5. Serve it with gravy.
You won’t taste the cauliflower if the gravy or sauce has enough flavor. If you think gravy would defeat the purpose of eating more healthfully, check out this grain-free gravy and this “instant” gravy.
6. Use mashed cauliflower instead of rice in spicy soups.
When eating spicy soups, especially those with a thick consistency (e.g., gumbo and chili) I will often place a big scoop of mashed cauliflower into the bowl. Then, I pour the soup on top like I used to with rice.
I promise you won’t taste the cauliflower, but you will fill up faster and get your veggies simultaneously.
This last idea is just my opinion.
7. Don’t trick adults or kids into eating mashed cauliflower.
I label the mashed cauliflower on a buffet or tell everybody that what looks like mashed potatoes is mashed cauliflower. Giving a heads-up is appreciated by all.
Can I make this mashed cauliflower ahead of time?
Yes. The mashed cauliflower will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
I don’t recommend putting this dish in the freezer. When I tried it, the texture changed slightly, and the cauliflower flavor intensified, so I’m not a fan.
How to make thick mashed cauliflower in the microwave:
FAQ about Microwaved Mashed Cauliflower:
Microwave it uncovered and with no added water. See the directions in the recipe below.
Yes. If you want your cauliflower to be “steamed,” cover it with plastic wrap when microwaving. For the dryest cauliflower, leave the cauliflower uncovered.
If you cook cauliflower in water, steam it, or cook it covered, it will absorb excess moisture. Uncover it and cook it in a microwave for the best results.
Cook on HIGH power for 15-20 minutes, depending on the cauliflower size and your microwave’s power and age. Check it with a paring knife. The knife should easily pierce the surface and slide in and out of the cauliflower.
If you have questions or suggestions, email me privately for a quick answer: Paula at saladinajar.com. Hope to see you again soon!
Mashed Cauliflower Recipe
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons butter - or strongly-flavored cheese, unflavored Greek yogurt or cream cheese
- ½ to 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Remove cauliflower florets from tough core. Place in microwave-safe glass dish. I always use my two-qt Pyrex glass measuring bowl. Do not add water. Do not cover.
- Microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes. Stir and continue on HIGH for 8-10 more minutes until cauliflower is soft throughout. Microwave ovens and cauliflower size vary hugely and will affect cooking times. If you have an older oven it may take several minutes more. A larger than average cauliflower will also take longer. Check often if you are new to this method. A few scorched spots on the cauliflower is not a big deal.
- Pour steaming cauliflower pieces into a food processor and allow it to sit until the steaming stops. Puree until smooth. Add butter, salt and lots of pepper.