Cauliflower Mashed "Potatoes" With Brown Butter

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

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
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.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Elise Bauer

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

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 4 servings

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 565g), core removed, cut into large florets (see How to Cut and Core Cauliflower)

  • 1 cup (235ml) water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 4 tablespoons (60ml) 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.

    Elise Bauer

    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.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    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.

    Elise Bauer
  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!)

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    Elise Bauer

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

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
126 Calories
9g Fat
9g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 23mg 8%
Sodium 422mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 94mg 468%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 320mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.