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How To Make Cauliflower Rice

How To Make Cauliflower

Let’s 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 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 sautée, 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 sautéed 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 it 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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  • Reply
    April 22, 2014 at 8:04 am

    looks great thank you!
    Can you tell me how much stem you leave on the cauliflower please?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      April 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      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.

      • Reply
        April 23, 2014 at 10:06 pm

        I did end up making it that night anyway. Left a little stem on. It was lovely! So much out of one head. I used it for fried rice yesterday – also yum. Thanks again for the post

  • Reply
    caroline Russell
    April 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Can you freeze it?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      April 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

      I don’t think it would freeze very well, but I haven’t tried it myself.

    • Reply
      October 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      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!

      • Reply
        March 14, 2016 at 7:41 pm

        how did it work freezing it? How long does it keep in the fridge after ricing the cauliflower?

    • Reply
      July 3, 2016 at 2:27 am

      Yes, I freeze the cauliflower rice after “ricing” but before cooking. I spread the “rice” evenly across a lined tray and freeze (so it doesn’t freeze in one big clump). Once frozen, I put it in a re-sealable bag/container in the freezer. I scoop out as much as I need for a meal and pan fry. I use a non-stick pan, and find that the moisture from the defrosting cauliflower rice can be enough to cook the cauliflower without oil in the pan.

  • Reply
    Lara @ This Charming Mum
    May 4, 2014 at 2:45 am

    This is one of most straightforward posts I’ve come across to do with making cauliflower rice. Thanks! I’ll be sharing this one around 🙂

  • Reply
    May 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

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

  • Reply
    May 21, 2014 at 6:24 am

    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!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Since it’s cooked, it loses the smell and taste of cauliflower. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 24, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 27, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I haven’t tried making fried rice with cauliflower yet, but I need to do that!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      May 30, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you for your comment – I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Can you do the same with broccoli

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      I don’t think broccoli would work quite the same, since its texture is different.

      • Reply
        June 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm

        Thanks for reply. I actually tried and it wasn’t too bad. I left some of the stock on and also blended carrots for more crunch

  • Reply
    June 13, 2014 at 6:12 am

    just?? make more???? rice??????? eat it no rice no life

    • Reply
      July 26, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Just??? Stop being??? An asshole??? Get on a rice-only site, if you prefer rice to vegetables. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 13, 2014 at 6:13 am

    but really check out HCLF veganism 🙂

  • Reply
    June 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

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

    • Reply
      barbara ulvestad
      December 19, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Rice is NOT good for for people who don’t want their blood sugar to spike.

  • Reply
    June 29, 2014 at 2:59 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      June 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      I love the cauliflower potato salad idea – thanks for sharing that!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Wow! Very straight forward! Looking forward to more!!

  • Reply
    August 2, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Will never have rice again! Used coconut oil as paleo atm, lovely meal, thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    August 10, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I made this tonight with the garlic & onions, it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    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 🙂

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    How long do you think it will last in the fridge if i make a bunch?

  • Reply
    January 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 6, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Mrs. Leal @ The Cooking Hat
    January 15, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I NEED to try this! I might have been living in a cave, but I never heard of cauliflower rice.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2015 at 9:55 am

    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!!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2015 at 8:37 pm

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

  • Reply
    Sarah Sorlien
    June 27, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for publishing such a simple and useful recipe. I made this tonight and topped with chickpeas and salsa verde for a tasty and easy vegan lo cal meal. I had made that combo with rice before, and, frankly, I liked this version better and so will my waistline!

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