Low-Carb Alternative to Mashed Potatoes

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A low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes is better than the real thing. We take a humble cauliflower and transform it into the secret sister of everyone’s favorite potato side dish. The creamy consistency of cauliflower mashed with butter and herbs is too delicious to resist. Everyone can enjoy easy keto recipes without even knowing they are low-carb!

Healthy Potato Alternatives

Potatoes have been a staple crop for many cultures around the world. However, today we have a few unique circumstances that might make this food less desirable.

  • Potatoes are a high-carb, starchy food that will not be found in a keto diet food list.
  • These tubers are a nightshade from the Solanaceae family. Along with tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, these vegetables may cause auto-immune reactions. For this reason, they are omitted in AIP and GAPS style diets. If you suffer from digestive abnormalities or mood swings, it may be worth removing nightshades from the diet to see if you notice a difference.
  • Potatoes also have high-oxalate levels. A medium Idaho potato has around 64 milligrams of oxalate, which is too high for someone interested in minimizing their intake and following a low oxalate diet. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, take a look at my low-oxalate food list to learn which foods are allowed.

You can see why some of us will want to look for a potato substitute.

There are many options to choose from. Yams and sweet potatoes are most similar, however, these still present many of the same original problems so they aren’t much of an improvement.

Carrot can replace potatoes in some cases, but it is too high in carbs to be considered keto-approved.

Celery root and parsnip can work to be good low-carb options but if you have to ask me, cauliflower mash makes the best alternative to mashed potatoes.

Is Cauliflower Keto Friendly?

If you are not already using cauliflower on your keto diet you are missing out!

Not only is this the secret ingredient for a keto mashed potato substitute, but it is also essential for making other low-carb comfort foods.

We use it regularly in

How Many Carbs in Mashed Cauliflower?

Compare regular mashed potatoes with 30 grams net carb to a low-carb cauliflower mash that only has 7 gram net carb and you have a clear winner.

If you are looking for how to make a healthier mashed potatoes replacement, this recipe is for you!

Keto mashed potatoes.

How to Make Keto Mashed Potatoes Recipe

This is the BEST keto mashed potato substitute for a few reasons

  1. It’s delicious. Regardless of what diet you follow, everyone can get behind cauli mash.
  2. Cauliflower is easy to find. Widely available all over the world, cauliflower is an easy to find ingredient you can buy during many months of the year. 
  3. This is a dish that is even easier to make than mashed potatoes. This low carb mashed potato alternative is very easy to make. As long as you have a “knife license” (which any 4 year old is eager to get) you can make this keto mash.

You don’t need any special ingredients, but what is listed is pretty important.

There is some variability which I will note below.

Ingredients for Low Carb Mash

If you want to make this recipe dairy-free or paleo, use coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in place of butter. Omit the cream cheese or use a nut-based cream cheese instead.

Directions for Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Follow along carefully and you’ll get it right the first time!

Step 1

Chop the cauliflower into florets. Remove the stem and any brown parts.

Step 2

Steam in a saucepan or pot for about 10 minutes, until tender.

If you don’t have a steamer basket or insert, I recommend these makeshift DIY steamer solutions. #2 is what I do the most often, basically just put the vegetables in a large strainer and place that over the pot of water. I use a colander for larger amounts of material.

Step 3

Place the cauliflower in a food processor with all the ingredients except the chives. Puree for a few minutes, until smooth. Pause to scrape the sides as need.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this recipe!

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mash by hand with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender.

Adjust with salt and pepper if necessary.

Step 4

Garnish with chives and serve warm.

Flavor Variations

Just like potatoes, this keto faux potato mash is super yummy with rosemary and thyme. Maybe a little onion powder too if you’re feeling wild.

Another flavor variation to try is with roasted garlic, parmesan, and a squeeze of lemon juice. YUM!

Pretty much anything you like on traditional mashed potatoes will be good on this keto alternative.

Brit Co adds a handful of sage, which sounds amazing!

Mashed potatoes get a makeover here and have never looked better. Same great flavor, with a new low-carb macro nutrient profile.

Low-carb alternative to potatoes.

Cooking in Bulk for Easy Meal Prep

This is an excellent recipe to make in bulk and add to your keto meal plan. Meal prepping is easy when the vegetable side dish is already ready in the fridge.

You’ll also want to make a double batch on Thanksgiving and be sure to add it to your list of keto Christmas dinner recipes. This dish is such a bridge that will show off how good keto eating can be and hopefully inspire some other people to consider trying a low-carb diet.

Don’t save this recipe just for the holidays though, because it’s a great staple that can last all week long.

Can You Freeze Mashed Cauliflower?

Make this low-carb alternative to potatoes ahead of time and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge until serving. It stores well for a few days and can even be frozen.

There is one important note about freezing cauliflower mash.

Since it has cream cheese in it, you may want to freeze it without the cream cheese. In general, dairy doesn’t freeze that well and can make a weird texture in the fauxtatoes.

Follow the directions as usual and puree all the ingredients in a food processor, but reserve the cream cheese. Then let it cool before storing in a freezer bag or container. Reheat the mash before serving and stir in the cream cheese until evenly incorporated and mixed in.

You can also live on the wild side and sacrifice a touch of texture for the practical convenience of have a complete dish ready-made and frozen. Feel free to disregard my previous statement and freeze the mashed cauliflower. There might be a slight difference in texture but overall, it isn’t that noticeable. If needed, puree it all again briefly once it is hot, before serving.

Keto mashed potato substitute.

What to Serve with Mashed Cauliflower

Thinking about all your favorite mashed potato meals again while also staying low-carb is quite a delightful treat!

Here are some ideas on what to serve with mashed cauliflower 

Browse through Low-Carb Vegetable Recipes for more easy side dishes.

Low-carb alternative to potatoes in a bowl.

Creamy Caulifower Mashed Potatoes

Jessica Haggard
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are better than the real thing. Add this to your weekly meal prep or serve at a big holiday party. The creamy consistency of mashed cauliflower with butter and flavourful herbs is too delicious to resist!
4.99 from 70 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sides and Salads
Cuisine American
Servings 6
Calories 87 kcal



  • Chop the cauliflower and remove the stem and any brown parts.
    1 large cauliflower
  • Steam in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  • Place the cauliflower in a food processor with all the ingredients except the chives. Puree for a few minutes, until smooth. Pause to scrape the sides as need. Adjust salt and pepper, if needed
    2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons cream cheese, 2 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Garnish with chives and serve warm.
    2 tablespoons chives


If you don’t have a food processor, you can still make this recipe!
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mash by hand with a potato masher or puree with an immersion blender.

Nutrition & Macros

Serving: 1cupCalories: 87kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 285mgFiber: 3gNet Carbohydrates: 5g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall the this website and the author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information.

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18 thoughts on “Low-Carb Alternative to Mashed Potatoes”

  1. 5 stars
    This is a really clever idea to substitute potato with cauliflower and it actually turned out good. The texture is almost the same with that of a potato. Adding this to my list of keto recipes and will definitely make more of it this holiday season and pair up with my protein of choice! thank you~!

  2. Steamed until tender, and blended it with butter, cream cheese, and garlic. Topped with chives—Very Delicious and Creamy plus very healthy!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve been trying to incorporate more cauliflower into my dinner rotation to replace potatoes and this was a very good alternative! I served it under homemade beef stew (no potatoes in that either). I’ll be trying this again with meatloaf soon!

  4. 5 stars
    After steaming the cauliflower, I remove it from the pan and spread it out on some paper towels to remove as much water as I can. I found that the dryer the cauliflower is, the fluffier they are after being mashed.

  5. I have not tried this before. but as i am diabetic I plan to give it a try . Thank you for the comments. There are so many foods I am not supposeto eat I hope this will work. I dont like eating and still feel so hungry.

    • Hi Judy, I’m glad you’re considering trying out the recipe. It’s great that you’re taking steps to find foods that work well for your health needs. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the recipe or need any assistance. I hope you find the recipe satisfying.

  6. I’ve made a mock mash potatoes with a similar recipe using cauliflower. The main difference is instead of steaming the cauliflower in water I microwave the cauliflower dry for about 10 minutes. I find there is less moisture. After that I put the cauliflower in my vitamix using the tamper to push down all the bits as I pulse the cauliflower several times then blend for about a minute or 2 on medium speed still using the tamper to keep everything down. When I’m done, the cauliflower mash is so dense and has so much body that when I turn the blender upside down the cauliflower remains in the blender. I find this method creates and outrageously similar “body” to traditional mash potatoes.

  7. Hi,
    I’m new to your website and YouTube channel, so if you’ve answered this previously, I missed it. I notice on some of your recipes you list “ cream” as an ingredient. Like in this recipe above you list both cream and sour cream. It doesn’t look like heavy whipping cream in the YT videos where you mention cream. What is it? I’ve only seen at the stores here in SoCal: sour cream, heavy whipping cream, creme fraiche (not sure of spelling). My family is not keen on coconut cream for things other than Asian dishes, so I’m interested in the dairy cream you use. Thank you. Anxious to start cooking your recipes!

    • Great question – when I mention cream I mean heavy whipping cream. I’ll go and update my recipes here to be clear on this! Enjoy!!

      • I have had mashed cauliflower before and it was good. I want to eat better, since it’s just me now. Both my parents have passed. I’m gonna go to the store and get a cauliflower and make it.

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