Tips & Hints

How To Make Cauliflower Rice

How To Make Cauliflower

Let’s be clear:ย 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 for two big servings, start with one large cauliflower.

Rinsed Cauliflower FloretsPull 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 if you’re going to sautรฉe, dry it well.

Cauliflower in Food ProcessorAt 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.

Rice Using Box Grater

If you don’t have a food processor or you want to make sure your grains are uniform in size, using a box grater (on the side with the larger grates) works well too.

Cooking Cauliflower RiceNow it’s time to cook your cauliflower rice! (You can eat it raw too.) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and swirl around about a tablespoon of oil to coat the bottom (grapeseed oil and olive oil work well). 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 RiceDepending 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 sautรฉed method is best–the cauliflower flavor mellows a bit and it becomes almost nutty, kind of like brown rice.

Cauliflower 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 itย 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 VeggiesCauliflower 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.

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148 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary
    January 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Looks and sounds delicious… and a great substitute for rice and pasta for diabetics! I will make stir fry this weekend which I believe is Chinese New Year. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 29, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      I hope you enjoy the recipe! It’s perfect with stir fry. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Teri Gonzalez
        March 8, 2014 at 8:16 pm

        OMG!!!!!! This was delicious !!!!! My husband loved it . We shared it with our neighbors who are vegetarian. They also thought it was amazing. I used a orange glaze with the veggies. This absolutely a do again dish.
        Teri Gonzalez

  • Reply
    Suzanne @ hello, veggy
    January 29, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve tried other cauliflower rice recipes with little success; hopefully this one is a winner!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      The first recipe I tried was for raw cauliflower rice in a sauce made with nutritional yeast and I was definitely not a fan. ๐Ÿ™‚ Then I tried it again cooked and loved it!

      • Reply
        Teri Gonzalez
        March 8, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        This was absolutely delicious! I used a orange glaze on the veggies. This is absolutely a do again recipe.

  • Reply
    Gina
    January 29, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Your box grater is so cool! One time I tried grating it with my super-old regular cheese grater and I flung cauliflower sprinkles all over the floor! I need to get one of those new ones, I didn’t even know they existed hahaha

    Also, I love cauliflower rice! It’s true, it’s no match for the taste of rice, but it’ll soak up any saucy dish adequately.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 30, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Do you live near an IKEA? I got mine from there. It is the best! It collects everything in that handy little container. I forgot exactly how much it was, but it was super cheap too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Ruth
    January 30, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Sounds delicious! I also love cauliflower pizza. The only thing I would change is don’t cook with olive oil. Olive oil is not healthy for cooking because it oxidizes. It is better to use olive oil for things like salad dressing, where you are not heating it up.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Just plain olive oil (also called light olive oil) has a smoke point of 468ยบ, so it’s fine to cook with. It’s extra-virgin olive oil that has the lower smoke point and shouldn’t be heated. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Judy P
      February 12, 2014 at 9:49 am

      The only reason Olive oil oxidizes is if it is at too high of a heat. I use it all the time to fry and stir fry.

  • Reply
    Ranelle
    January 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    Loved it! I am trying to eat healthier and loose weight and this recipe is great! I love white rice, but will start making this with my stir fry veggies. Thanks for this recipe. Looking forward to.trying more recipes.

  • Reply
    Aggie
    January 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Oh my, I have got to try this!! It sounds so good – and more bang for your buck calorie wise! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:37 am

      You do! ๐Ÿ˜€ I am totally a volume eater, so I love stuff like this.

  • Reply
    Nichol
    January 31, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Cauliflower is next on my list of things to start liking. The smell when cooking though BIG GAG!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Ha! Have you ever tried roasting it? That might help. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Greg H.
    January 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    As a diabetic, rice is a big “no-no.” This looks like a doable alternative. Thanks to a friend for posting this on Facebook.

  • Reply
    Genevieve
    January 31, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Good tips! I usually think of cauliflower rice as something you would eat raw as a salad base, so I wonder how it would taste sauteed. I agree that it would be best as a substitute for couscous rather than rice too. Beautiful picture of the whole head of cauliflower btw!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Yeah, I always thought cauliflower rice was supposed to be raw too, and I really hated it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I like it much better now that I cook it!

  • Reply
    Paula โ€“ bellโ€™alimento
    January 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Great tips for making cauliflower rice! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Cassy
    January 31, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I have been waiting to try this but our cauliflowers have been a ridiculous price for such a tiny head, have you perhaps tried it with frozen cauliflower?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:27 am

      I think it would be difficult to achieve the right texture with frozen cauliflower. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Kira - HealthAble Old Soul
    January 31, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    It is nice to have the opportunity for some many choices these days! I have made cauliflower potatoes but can’t wait for the rice! I hear my food processor calling my name!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:23 am

      I love cauliflower mashed potatoes too! I’m making them for dinner tonight, in fact. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    AC
    February 1, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I. Love. This. I am making it tonight! If it comes out looking a-okay should I take a picture of it and send it to you?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:15 am

      Sure, you’re definitely welcome to send a pic! You can post it to my Facebook wall or tweet it to me @ohmyveggies! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    courtney
    February 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I have been tempted to make this! Hubby is so darn picky and hates quinoa so I make quinoa rice.. I may try doing cauliflower quinoa ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:13 am

      When you sautรฉ it, it takes away some of that strong cauliflower flavor, so maybe he’ll like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Julie
    February 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Saw this post on FB on a friends wall, just happened that I had a cauliflower in the fridge. Cooked it for lunch, super surprise how good it tasted. Will be making it again soon:)

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 5, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      It’s much better than you’d expect, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you liked it!

  • Reply
    jan
    February 5, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    that really sounds good can you suggest i what i could use in place of salt i am trying to learn the no salt way bad heart
    thank you jan

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 6, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Any salt-free seasoning would work. Mrs. Dash has a wide variety of blends that could be used with this, depending on what you’re serving the cauliflower rice with (use a blend with Mexican flavors for Mexican food, Italian flavors for Italian food, etc.).

  • Reply
    Mama Owl
    February 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Funny! I like cauliflower raw! Not cooked! I have tried… mashed fauxtatoes – loaded and plain, roasted cauliflower, etc. I think it just gets a strong, funky taste when cooked. I have NEVER thought to eat the cauliflower rice raw!!!!! I am not sure why… other than all the recipes say to cook it. Hey! I’m compliant! What can I say? I think I might give it a whirl. Thanks for the idea!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 6, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Really?! I think it has a strong, funky taste when it’s uncooked. And I never thought to cook cauliflower rice! Well, I’ll enjoy my cooked rice, and you can enjoy yours raw. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Mary
    February 9, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Hi. First, I just want to say how much I like your blog. Second, could you use a potato ricer in place of a grater or food processor. I know this sounds crazy but I have a potato ricer that I have used maybe twice and it kills me that I paid for something that’s slowly gathering dust ๐Ÿ™‚ I need more work for my potato ricer!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 9, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      Well, thank you! And I’m not sure about the potato ricer. I think you’d have to steam the cauliflower florets first, or they’d be too hard to push through. (Although, full disclosure, I have pretty weak hands, so it could just be me.) And if you steam them first, I’d worry that they might come out kind of mushy. So I think I’d steam them for as little time as possible–as soon as they’re the least bit tender, take the florets out of the steamer and rinse them with cold water. Let them dry well, then put them through the ricer. After that, you can sautรฉ them in a skillet. If you give it a try, let me know how it works!

  • Reply
    Judy P
    February 12, 2014 at 9:45 am

    These recipes sound great, but a head of cauliflower never lasts long enough around me to use in a recipe. I usually steam it and eat the whole thing!!! Love it!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      I love cauliflower too! People don’t appreciate it nearly enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jen
    February 14, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Wow! You make eating more veggies fun! I am cooking this now as a base for gado gado:)

  • Reply
    Monica
    February 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I am thrilled to have found you! I just recently started a mostly vegan diet. I just made this and the roasted chickpeas in prep for the burritos this week. Wow! I hope the chickpeas last, I can’t stop snacking on them. This rice is delicious! I ended up adding a little tomato paste, paprika and lime juice at the end for a bit of Mexican flare. Thank your Facebook updates, I have come to eagerly await them. I look forward to making many more of your recipes!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Thank you for your comment and kind words about Oh My Veggies! ๐Ÿ˜€ And you will love the burritos–we test each other’s recipes before they’re published, so I tried the burritos and they were definitely the best I’ve ever had.

  • Reply
    Mona Albano
    February 26, 2014 at 11:50 am

    A serving of rice is 1/2 cup but you would expect to have 3 servings of carbohydrates in your evening meal, so you can have 1.5 cups, which is probably enough for eating with curry. Cauliflower, as a watery vegetable, is in a different category but it has so few calories you might be having a snack an hour later.

  • Reply
    r madhu kiran
    March 11, 2014 at 6:14 am

    OMG IT IS DELICIOUS FOOD I LOVED IT

  • Reply
    Natalie
    April 13, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Hi! Going to try this out tonight as I’ve just started a grain-free diet and need something to bulk out a veggie red thai curry… Just wondering if you’ve posted the recipe anywhere for the curry photographed with the cauliflower in this post? It looks really nice!

    Also I feel like I should apologise because I’ve been loving your blog and making your recipes for a long time but don’t think I’ve ever commented before – so sorry for that!

  • Reply
    Natalie
    April 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Update – wow! So good and filling! Would say it definitely resembles cous cous the most but will be using this A LOT! Thanks for sharing your method ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      April 13, 2014 at 8:03 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! And to answer your previous question–nope, I don’t have a recipe for that curry. I made it with a store-bought curry sauce. ๐Ÿ™‚

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