Cauliflower Rice


Cauliflower rice from Our Best Bites

You know all those people who say that mashed cauliflower tastes exactly like mashed potatoes? I am here to tell you that those people have probably not had a mashed potato in awhile. Much like Sara isn’t going to to pretend that spaghetti squash is just like sitting down to a big ol’ bowl of homemade pasta in your favorite Italian restaurant, I’m not going to pretend like cauliflower rice is just like regular white rice.

That said. I really like cauliflower rice. I’m not anti-carbs or anti-grains or anything, but for me personally, if I’m going to blow 120 calories on carbs, I’d rather blow it on a cookie than on a bowl of rice (and that’s just a 1/2 cup of rice, which is just a tease. At least for a girl who likes to eat.) It’s an easy way to get some extra veggies into my diet, it’s quick, and it transforms one of nature’s more offensive vegetables (sorry…I’m not generally a fan. I’m sure there are people out there who love a big bowl of raw cauliflower, but I’ve never met them) into something mild and easy to make.

Now, you can’t just use finely chopped cauliflower interchangeably with regular rice. Here’s a handy guide to help you know when you should and shouldn’t use cauliflower rice.

To Use:

  • If you’re cutting back on carbs.
  • If you’re trying to find new and exciting ways to implement cruciferous vegetables into your diet.
  • If you want to mix regular rice with something else to make it a little less calorie-dense.
  • If you don’t like/are allergic to/are scared of rice.

Not to Use:

  • In soups, casseroles, and other dishes where regular rice absorbs liquid and helps thicken the final dish.
  • In rice pudding. Do people still eat rice pudding?
  • Anything where you’re expecting the rice to kind of soak up juices/sauces/liquids of something else. I mean, you can still use cauliflower rice and it will taste good, just don’t expect it to operate quite the same way with your beef and broccoli.

To make this super-easy side dish, you’ll need a head of cauliflower.

head of cauliflower for cauliflower rice

You’ll also need a little olive oil (I use our garlic olive oil), a clove or two of garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Using a sharp knife, cut the stem off of the cauliflower, then break the cauliflower into small-ish florets (it will happen pretty naturally–they don’t need to be bite-sized or anything, just wherever they break naturally).

broken cauliflower florets

Place the cauliflower pieces into a food processor fitted with a chopping blade or a heavy-duty blender (my Blendtec does the job).

cauliflower in blender

You’ll probably need to do it in batches. Which is exactly what I didn’t do in this picture–only fill it up about halfway. Do as I say, not as I do.

Using the pulse setting, chop the cauliflower until it reaches a rice-like consistency. If you don’t have a blender or a food processor, you can use a cheese grater, it just requires a little more elbow grease.

cauliflower in blender

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower and minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but not mushy (about 4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. The chopped, uncooked cauliflower can be frozen for quick cooking in the future. Makes about 4 1-cup servings

Cauliflower Rice from Our Best Bites


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Thanks for the recipe. The one thing I’m still unsure of with cauliflower rice is when/ how to rinse it. It needs to be totally dry to make the rice, right?

  2. I love raw cauliflower.
    I use it as biting with sliced carrot, celery sticks when I have people over for drinks.
    use blue cheese, garlic and salsa dressings to dip these veggies in.
    Great on a hot day with ice cold beer.

  3. I envisioned cooked cauliflower being put through a potato ricer. But I guess that would create light and fluffy mashed cauliflower, not rice.

  4. Another raw cauliflower lover here, my kids too! And rice pudding, I love rice pudding and make it occasionally, yum! My husband may think there’s a conspiracy against him. He loves rice and potatoes, a lot. I’ve used cooked, mashed cauliflower in mashed potatoes (he never knew until after dinner) and now his beloved rice?! Hahahhaha…..evil laughing over here! 😉

  5. Yay! I was just thinking about making my favorite chicken korma, I will try this with it to cut some of the calories.

  6. Made this for the first time last night….I loved it! The kids loved it! The husband loved it and the Sister loved it!

    Thanks for talking me into it. I had my doubts.

  7. I’m sad to know that rice pudding is outdated. I’ll be sure to tell my slow-cooker sticky rice pudding with mangos that.
    🙂 LOL

    1. I would love that recipe! I make rice pudding very regularly. My husband loves to take it to work because it is high protein and sticks long enough to keep him satisfied. I use brown rice too.

  8. I’ve seen a recipe for cauliflower fried rice that I might try now that I’ve seen this post. 🙂

  9. Must comment here – rice pudding is awesome! My husband is of Greek/Italian heritage, and rice pudding and Greeks go together like pasta and Italians. I had never thought much of rice pudding until I tried my mother-in-law’s recipe. It is so delicious and comforting – rich, thick, sweet, with just enough texture to keep it interesting. It’s probably my husband’s favorite dessert, though I only make it once in a while because it is a bit calorie and cholesterol dense. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

  10. Ok I admit I love cauliflower… my family NOT so much! Ok not at ALL! I will have to give this a try even if it is only for me. I know my husband tries to like cauliflower but it always tastes bitter to him, just like brussels sprouts. I tried the cauliflower pizza crust and my family thought I had LOST my mind! Its a good thing I have to go to the grocery store as soon as my husband gets home. Can you say cauliflower rice with dinner? And regular rice too because the guys love it! (being 15 and 16 they can eat it without any concerns!)

  11. I would love to hear from fellow readers or anyone that has used this in place of rice. What kind of recipes would it work as a substitution? Because my family would be just as excited to eat that plain as they would a big old bowl of rice, which is not at all. Thanks!!

    1. I use cauliflower rice all the time to make burrito bowls for my family. I take the rice and sauté it as described above. Then I add a few spices like chili powder or cumin–just a sprinkle (you can also just use packaged taco seasoning). Then we eat it with shredded taco chicken on top with lettuce, black beans, sour cream, cheese, guacamole, salsa, etc. You can eat this with a fork or scoop with tortilla chips. It’s one of our favorite meals to eat!

  12. Kate, I’m sorry, I have no comment on the cauliflower rice. I probably will never make it. But I just had to comment on rice pudding – I just made rice pudding for the first time two weeks ago! And my family was like, why are you making that?? It was one of those things on my once-in-my-life-I-must-make-it list. I used leftover eggnog in it and it was delicious!

  13. I love your realism. Healthy substitute are great but people who think you can’t tell when you leave out the butter and oil in brownies are lying to us and themselves. Excited to try this!

  14. Another cauliflower lover here! I prefer it raw. But, I recently tried it roasted and it was amazing 🙂

    I would like to try this with my kids. They may actually like cauliflower if they try it like this.

  15. Funny that you posted this today. I made a stir fry on Saturday night and the whole time we were eating I was thinking that I should try mixing in some cauliflower rice. I’m glad you posted instructions because I would have guessed all wrong.

    And we eat rice pudding, but only on Christmas Eve.

  16. I love cauliflower rice. I have sautéed it with coconut oil and it was super yummy that way.

  17. We made cauliflower rice last week using a grater instead of a food processor and now my husband officially eats cauliflower! I thought the texture was not so much like rice, but rather couscous. Again, no absorption like couscous, but more the texture and feel. Hurray since I’m newly gluten free!

  18. Hi! My name is Heather, and I love to consume a big bowl of raw cauliflower! There, you’ve met one 🙂 Then, put a big bowl of steamed cauliflower in front of me and I’m in heaven. I am excited to try your cauliflower rice! Unfortunately I have neither a food processor nor a high-powered blender, but I’ll figure it out. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You can also use a regular cheese grater! I’ll put that in the instructions! 🙂 And I’m so excited to meet a cauliflower lover! 🙂

  19. I”m totally with you! If I’m going to blow 120 calories, I’d rather consume a candy bar! I know. It’s terrible than white rice, which, while good, I can do a substitution with this cauliflower rice and save me a trip to the gym!

  20. Kate, you must be psychic. I bought cauliflower last night to try out a few things, including cauliflower rice, but I needed to look up a recipe & ran out of time. Our kids are rice fanatics, so I’d like to try mixing this in a little. I’ll definitely be trying yours today!

    Last night I did get a chance to try out this Creamy Cauliflower Sauce, which was *amazing*. I didn’t have high hopes, but the reviews were so good, and it ended up tasting like it was loaded with cream & cheese when there was none. (Just a little skim milk & butter) Husband & kid approved. There were lots of great ideas for subbing this in lasagnas & any dishes with creamy sauce, so I’ll need to experiment with that too. You girls have got to try it!