Creamy Mashed Cauliflower

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

When I was growing up, my very favorite side dish at Thanksgiving was always my mom’s mashed potatoes.  I would load up a huge portion on my plate, passing over plenty of other sides that my brain didn’t even register because of my utter focus on that creamy dreamy bowl of goodness.  She makes a mean mashed potato I tell you.

While I certainly do still love mashed potatoes, this creamy mashed cauliflower has become the object of my affection in recent years.  I’m not exactly sure when the change happened, but somewhere along the way I started to prefer this dish.  I’ve tinkered with my recipe over time, trying to find the best way to achieve that creamy consistency that reminds me of actual mashed potatoes.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

And bingo, here it is.  The little bit of cream cheese and milk really help to give it that silky smooth texture.  And oh is it good.  While this side dish is a great option for Thanksgiving, it is something that we enjoy all throughout the year as well.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower | Cookie Monster Cooking

Getting a decadent feeling while eating lots of a healthy vegetable?  I’ll take it.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
Yield: about 4 to 6 servings
  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, florets chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 9-10 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about ¼ to ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • fresh chopped rosemary, for garnish
  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add in the cauliflower and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes.*
  2. Drain and then carefully transfer the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor. Add in the garlic, milk, butter, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Process until smooth (start with ¼ cup of the milk and then add more if needed to get it to the right consistency). Taste and add additional salt/pepper if needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped rosemary.
Make sure that the cauliflower is very tender - otherwise it will not blend as smoothly and you won’t have a creamy consistency. If you need to cook it longer than the 10 minutes, go ahead and do so.

*I would recommend doing this in the food processor (or a blender should also work). Whenever I try to do it by hand I just don’t wind up with the creamy consistency that I want.

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  1. This looks amazing, I would neverr have thought to put in cream cheese but I’m sure it is really good. featured your recipe in a cauliflower recipe round-up on my blog, thanks!

  2. I have a weakness for mash potatoes! It’s nice to have something healthy and creamy without feeling super guilty about eating it. Thanks for the recipe Ashley!

  3. I’ve got some cauliflower in the fridge right now! Guess what we’re having for dinner ;)

  4. Your photos and compositions are just so beautiful! Can’t and won’t live without cauliflower mash. So so good :)

  5. I’ve heard of using cauliflower as a “substitute” for mashed potatoes but have never tried it. This looks just like the real deal, and healthy too. The cream cheese sounds like it would add a nice tang to it.

  6. I love to mash cauliflower into all sort of dishes: “mashed potatoes”, “alfredo sauce”, etc. What a versatile and chameleon-like vegetable!

  7. Dead ringers for mashed taters! This is an acceptable main course, right?

  8. Jo @ The Contented Baker says:

    Mmm! I have never been a huge fan of cauliflower but maybe you have converted me. This looks delicious and creamy. Think my kids would love it too :-)

  9. Oh, I love cauliflower! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

    Feel free to visit my blog as well if you wish! <3


  10. This looks wonderful! I love using cauliflower in different ways. My favorite is like alfredo sauce. So yummy!

  11. Great idea to use cream cheese to make the mashed cauliflower extra creamy! Definitely need to try that tip!

  12. Mashed potatoes are my favorite side dish too, but I think I’m going to try the cauliflower version this year. They look just as good!

  13. Hi Ashley! These are brilliant! I love that they’re made with cauliflower (my favorite white veggie) and the addition of cream cheese is brilliant! Will be making these soon!

  14. I love cauliflower but I need to get out of my comfort zone. I always just steam the florets and eat it plain. I’d love to try this…a little bit of cream cheese is a great idea. I have a feeling you are more than ready for your Thanksgiving dinner(s). : )

  15. My mom’s mashed potatoes are my favorite as well, but I do love me some cauliflower! For some reason, I still haven’t tried in mashed, but I really do need to. Your recipe looks amazing, so it’s getting pinned and made soon for sure!

  16. I’m going to echo what everyone else has said because they really, really do look like mashed potatoes! And so pretty in that blue bowl! I’ve only tried mashed cauliflower one time and it was the recipe in the South Beach Diet Cookbook. Thought it was dreadful and I usually like cauliflower. But your recipe looks so much better. I think I just mashed mine with a masher and they were lumpy. I love how smooth yours look from being in the food processor!

    • Whenever I try to do it by hand they just don’t come out that great – too lumpy. The food processor works wonders! lol

  17. This looks like the perfect side dish, Ashley! I have never tried mashed cauliflower, but I love trying new things. And the cream cheese and rosemary sounds perfect!

  18. Maria@TheBrooklynFig says:

    I gotta be honest, cauliflower is one of those hit or miss foods for me. I’ve had it prepared deliciously (is that a word?!) and not-so-great as well. But this consistency I think I’d really enjoy- thanks for the idea!

  19. I love cauliflower and this mashed version could replace mashed potatoes at the table come Christmas! Thanks so much for sharing!

  20. I’m not a big fan of mashed potatoes, I must confess. Though I’ve always wanted to try mashed cauliflower, it looks so sliky and smooth! I love how it looks :)

  21. You know I always thought mashed cauliflower would be lame in comparison to potatoes, but they are AHMAZING! I’ve fallen prey to their amazingness as well, and I love how creamy and decadent yours look, Ashley! :D

  22. I love cauliflower but have never tried it mashed – it sounds incredible and looks so creamy! Pinning, I can’t wait to try this – it sounds wonderful with the cream cheese and garlic:) Thanks for sharing Ashley!

  23. Like others have said, I legitimately thought these were mashed potatoes. I read the title, but saw mashed potatoes, and STILL thought they were mashed potatoes, haha. This could be a good way to trick picky eaters into eating veggies. Like me. :) Definitely making me reconsider cauliflower though! It looks so good!

  24. I’ve never had mashed cauliflower before but I really love this idea. It’s such a great way to sneak in more veggies, but I bet cream cheese tastes awesome with cauliflower!

  25. Considering how much I love cauliflower, it amazes me that I still haven’t tried mashed cauliflower. I am definitely putting this on my “to make” list!

  26. These actually look like real mashed potatoes! That was a genius idea to add cream cheese. I can imagine they taste as good as they look. This would be such a unique side item for Thanksgiving too!

  27. I love cauliflower, and have wanted to try them pureed or mashed for so long. What’s wrong with me that I haven’t tried this yet?? This is inspiring me to get on it — they look delicious!

  28. Mmm I love mashed cauliflower! This sounds great!

  29. How cool I just made this over at Not From Concentrate! Wow yours looks delish – I can’t wait to try it out!

  30. So funny, I just made a slow cooker version of mashed cauliflower the other day! It was my first time trying it, and was so pleasantly surprised how creamy and “mashed potato-y” it was! It’s such a healthy alternative! And instead of a food processor, I actually used my new favorite kitchen gadget… my immersion blender! Love that thing.

    Love your idea of adding cream cheese and rosemary. I’m definitely going to have to try this!

    • They both definitely add a little something to it! I would have never thought to have tried it in the crockpot! That’s so different!

  31. This recipe looks JUST like mashed potatoes! I can’t believe how rich and creamy it looks. And I love that you included cream cheese in it! Cream cheese makes everything decadent. Yum!

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