How To Make Cauliflower Rice

How To Make Cauliflower Rice
I am not a rice hater! So please know that this post is not written out of rice haterism. Rice is delicious, healthy, and many cultures around the world have thrived on it for centuries. So you see, I have nothing but love for rice. But do you know what a serving of rice is supposed to be? A pitiful half cup. Who eats a half cup of rice?! I am not a 2-year-old! I demand satisfaction! And that is why you should know how to make cauliflower rice–because sometimes you need a big bowl of rice to serve with a curry or stir fry and you can’t always spare the calories.

Cauliflower For Rice Now, let me be clear. Cauliflower does not magically turn into rice when you grate it, so don’t expect this to taste like rice. It’s more about function. So if you’re not a big fan of cauliflower to begin with, you probably won’t be a fan of cauliflower rice. To make enough cauliflower rice for two big servings, start with one large cauliflower.

Rinsed Cauliflower Florets Pull off the leaves and break the cauliflower into large florets, then rinse them well. Leave them in a colander to let all the moisture drain off or pat them dry with a paper towel. If you plan on steaming your cauliflower rice, it’s not super important that the florets are dry, but I think cauliflower rice is best sautéed, so I dry mine well.

Cauliflower Rice in Food Processor At this point, you have two options: you can grate your cauliflower florets or you can process them in a food processor. Obviously, the food processor is the easier choice. Break the florets into smaller pieces, then put half of them in the large bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, then dump the rice out and pulse the remaining florets.

Cauliflower Rice Using Box Grater If you don’t have a food processor or you want to make sure your cauliflower rice grains are uniform in size, using a box grater works well too. I use the side with the larger grates.

Cooking Cauliflower Rice Now it’s time to cook your cauliflower rice! (You can eat it raw too–raw cauliflower is probably one of my least favorite raw veggies, so I prefer cooking it.) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and swirl around about a tablespoon of oil to coat the bottom (I like grapeseed or olive oil). Once the oil has heated, add the rice and cook it for about 5 minutes, or until it’s softened and just beginning to turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower Rice Depending on the plans you have for your cauliflower rice, you can add some chopped onion or minced garlic to the oil before adding the cauliflower, or stir in chopped herbs or fresh lime juice after the rice is done cooking. If you prefer to steam your cauliflower rice, you can heat about 2 tablespoons of water or veggie broth in your skillet, add the cauliflower, then cover until tender, about 2 minutes. If there’s still liquid in the pan, take off the lid and let it cook off before serving. This saves you a few calories because you’re not using oil, but I think the sautéed method is best–the cauliflower flavor mellows a bit and it becomes almost nutty, kind of like brown rice.

Cauliflower rice doesn’t work as a substitute for rice in every recipe, but it will work as a substitution in any recipe that calls for serving over a bed of rice. It’s also a perfect replacement for couscous. Half a batch of cauliflower rice cooked in grapeseed oil (pictured above, with red curry vegetables) is only about 40 calories more than a paltry half-cup serving of cooked white rice. That’s a giant plate of rice for 165 calories!

More Creative Ideas for Cauliflower

Lemon Gremolata Pizza with Cauliflower Crust by Oh My Veggies Cauliflower isn’t just for rice! You can make cauliflower into a pizza crust, use it instead of chicken in Buffalo wings, and even make it into a creamy alfredo sauce. We’ve got a round-up of 20 secret-ingredient cauliflower recipes with lots of additional ideas.


About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.   Read more from Kiersten →

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    • Kiersten says

      I don’t leave much stem–only what’s left when breaking the cauliflower into florets. You can see in the photo of the florets in the colander. Although really, you could probably just trim the base of the stem and use the whole thing if you wanted.

    • Deuce says

      I don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to freeze it. I buy frozen cauliflower all the time. I’m sure that it’ll probably be a process of blanching it (like all fresh veggies that get frozen) and probably freezing the cauliflower after “ricing” it and not after cooking it. I’m going to make some this weekend and see what happens to a set that I’ll freeze and use later this week. If it works out right, I’ll update with the process!

  1. Monique says

    I can’t wait to try this for dinner this week! Thanks for sharing such a simple, straight forward recipe!

  2. says

    I have wanted to try this for a long time. I wonder if salting it and then removing the water will soften it? But it won’t take the raw smell out I guess…on my To Do list..thanks for sharing, Kiersten!

  3. Ruby says

    I’ve just used your recipe to make a chicken fried rice with cauliflower rice. It is delicious! I fried some onion, garlic and mushroom in chilli oil. Then once that had softened I added the cauliflower and cooked through. For a no veggie option just add cooked shredded chicken, heat through and enjoy!

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I agree with comment above; there are some very over complicated methods for cauliflower rice on the internet, but this was super easy to follow. Thanks again!

  4. Joanie says

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I am diabetic, so I do not eat rice at all but I sure do miss it. Then I was searching the web & found your website. That night I went to the store & found the biggest cauliflower. I came home & made chicken stir fry. I cannot thank you enough. It was so good & had the texture of rice. My husband & son loved it. Again, thank you for sharing!

  5. cj says

    This is kind of random but What kind of pan do you use? I have been looking for a healthier alternative to a teflon nonstick but don’t like the heavy cast iron sets.

  6. May says

    I second what Ana said ! Calories don’t count, eat rice, it’s good for you ! But your recipe looks good anyways !

  7. Alan says

    I use only the florets hording all of the stem pieces. After grating it goes directly in the frying pan or wok to make fried rice. I like it Thai style with just onion, scallions and scrambled eggs. seasoned with Fish sauce for saltiness which masks the cauliflower pretty well. The stems go into boiling water and are afterward pulsed in the processor to the size of diced potatoes, then some raw onion diced and a couple of boiled eggs some relish and Voila cauliflower potato salad.. TWO sides from one head.

  8. Becca says

    I’m not a vegetarian but made this as I’m on a fast day for the 5:2 diet, I love rice but just too many calories. I sauteed it with fry light and it was delicious! Had it with a low calorie homemade chicken curry :) Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

  9. Robyn says

    Using the food processor to make cauliflower rice? Brilliant, works like a charm, speeds the process WAY up, and the only mess is left soaking in the sink. Me + box grater+ cauliflower= my poor floor. This is my new favorite! Thank you!

    • Kiersten says

      I’m pretty sure the last time I used a box grater for cauliflower, I was finding little bits of it in odd places for about a week afterwards. :) It works, but it’s definitely a pain!

  10. Lynn says

    I am looking forward to trying this!! I need 4 cups of cauliflower rice; that’s before coming it. How much cauliflower should I buy? Thank you!!

  11. MsJDK says

    This is a wonderful and simple idea…thanks so much! I’ll be making it this weekend. I also love the idea of the cauliflower potato salad.

  12. Tammy says

    Being diagnosed with diabetes 4 months ago has really changed my lifestyle. one of my favorite dishes was just a bowl of rice, real better, salt and pepper. This made me happy but I felt horrible physically. I know now what that feeling was. High blood sugar. Thank you for this recipe along with the cauliflower potatoe salad. You have made this gal tickled pink.

  13. janell says

    has anyone tried this with frozen cauliflower? thats all I have on hand right now and I really want to make this for dinner!!

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