How to Make Cauliflower Rice

How ToQuick and EasyCauliflower

Eating more veggies is easy when you turn cauliflower into rice! It's not some trick—a simple whiz in the food processor and a quick turn in a hot pan, and you've got a "rice" dish in just minutes.

Photography Credit: Jessica Gavin

The unsuspecting cauliflower has found a permanent place on our plates in the last few years. Home cooks have gotten creative with this vegetable by making “steaks,” mashed potatoes, and even pizza crusts!

Learning how to make this cauliflower rice recipe is a good starting point to explore the versatility of this veggie. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can transform florets into grain-like bits. From a time standpoint, cauliflower rice can be cooked and is ready faster than grains, which is a plus for those busy weeknights. 

Whether sautéed, stir-fried, or simply tossed raw into a salad, you’ll find yourself using cauliflower rice to bump up the flavor and nutrition of any meal.

WHAT IS CAULIFLOWER RICE?

Cauliflower rice is a grain-free, low-carb alternative to regular white rice made entirely from cauliflower. Just a quick chop in a food processor turns a massive head of cauliflower into grain-sized bits, creating a faux rice.

The rigid structure of cauliflower makes it easy to chop into tiny pieces and also means that they hold their grain-like shape very well when cooked.

How To Cauliflower Rice

HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER RICE

Grab the largest cauliflower head you can find and then you’re ready to rice! You can find several different colors and varieties of cauliflower available at the market, from the typical ivory hue to purple, orange, and bright green. Cook’s choice!

  1. Start off with removing the tough outer leaves and stems
  2. Next, trim the head into florets—here’s how! Aim for smaller florets 1-inch to 1 1/2-inch in size. If you cut them too big, it becomes difficult to break them down quickly into a uniform size.
  3. Then, add the florets to a food processor in batches, and pulse into grain-sized pieces. You’ll notice that some larger florets might not get chopped down. That’s ok—just remove them and process them with the next batch.

Note that you don’t want the cauliflower to get too small in size. Otherwise, the texture will become mushy and the appearance won’t be as similar to rice.

How to Make Rice from Cauliflower add the cauliflower to the food processor

WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR?

No problem! You can use a blender and follow the same method.

A cheese grater also works magically, by shredding large sections of the head over the holes. Finally, a good old-fashioned chef’s knife can swiftly chop the florets—it just takes a little bit more time but still yields good results.

WHAT DOES CAULIFLOWER RICE TASTE LIKE?

Any slightly bitter and cabbage-like aromas from the cauliflower mellow out when heated, allowing for mild nutty flavors to shine through. The neutral undertones make it versatile, and it’s easy to add different seasonings to transform the taste.

WAYS TO USE CAULIFLOWER RICE

The simplest way to enjoy cauliflower rice is sautéed with some olive oil or butter, and seasoned with salt and pepper. It takes about five minutes to cook, making it a convenient go-to side dish.

I’m also a big fan of substituting cauliflower rice in risottos, grits, and fried rice. It can also be eaten raw, so try tossing it into salads for extra crunch—or use it like you would in a grain salad instead of farro or quinoa.

HOW TO STORE OR FREEZE CAULIFLOWER RICE

Raw cauliflower rice can be stored in an airtight container for up to 10 days. If it starts to look gray or smells overly sulfurous, it’s time to make a new batch.

Cooked cauliflower rice is good for up to 7 days, making it great for meal prep.

Cauliflower rice can also be frozen, just like regular rice! I like to place 1 or 2 cup-size portions in a resealable plastic bag. Lay the bag of rice on the counter and press down to evenly spread out the pieces while removing as much air as possible , seal and lay it flat in the freezer.

Frozen cauliflower rice is good for up to 30 days in the freezer. Just defrost at room temperature for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you want to use it, and drain any excess moisture before cooking.

LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT CAULIFLOWER RECIPES?

How to Make Cauliflower Rice

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Method

1 Prep the cauliflower: Use a knife to remove the outer leaves and cut off the cauliflower florets from the stem. Cut florets into 1 to 1 1/2-inch sized pieces. (See how!)

How to Make Rice from Cauliflower prep the cauliflower

2 Process the cauliflower: Add half of the florets into a food processor. Pulse 10 times in 1-second increments until pieces the size of cooked rice are formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to a large bowl.

Remove any large floret pieces that do not get processed and process them with the next batch. Transfer all the processed cauliflower to the large bowl. When finished with both batches, you should have about 6 cups of cauliflower rice. 

How to Make Rice from Cauliflower add the cauliflower to the food processor Cauliflower Rice Recipe process the cauliflower

3 To store the cauliflower rice: If storing for a later meal, transfer the cauliflower rice to a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 10 days or freeze for up to 30 days.

4 To cook the cauliflower rice: To cook, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice in one layer. Cook for 2 minutes, and then stir and cook until the rice becomes tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season the rice with salt and pepper.

5 Serve: Transfer cauliflower rice to a bowl and garnish with chopped parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Jessica Gavin

Jessica Gavin is both a Certified Culinary Scientist and Certified Food Scientist. Her first cookbook is Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking.

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2 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Elsmarie Norby

    As soon as I saw this idea, I bought a huge, fresh cauliflower, raced home and began the process. But it was midday and I was hungry. I heated a small frying pan, sautéed some chopped lean bacon, added a bit of onion, chopped bell pepper, and a crushed garlic clove. I used a bit of butter and olive oil, then stirred in the first batch of cauliflower rice and sautéed everything. It was a truly delicious complete meal! Next time I’ll add more grated veggies. This has no end of full meal possibilities. Many thanks!

  2. Muriel Duhamel

    I love cauliflower rice!

Cauliflower Rice RecipeHow to Make Cauliflower Rice