Cauliflower Mashed “Potatoes” with Brown Butter

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.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 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.

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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!)

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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.