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Low-Carb Alternative to Mashed Potatoes

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!

easy low carb keto Mashed potato substitute

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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

  • Cauliflower
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Garlic
  • Chives
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

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 to bring to your next Thanksgiving party. 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!

This is one low-carb vegetable side dish that will pair well with anything.

Here are some ides on what to serve with mashed cauliflower 

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low carb alternative to potatoes

Creamy Caulifower Mashed Potatoes

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!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 130kcal


  • 1 large cauliflower 6 cups of florets
  • 2 tablespoon butter or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chives minced, for garnish


  • Chop the cauliflower and remove the stem and any brown parts.
  • Steam in a saucepan or pot 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 with salt and pepper.
  • Garnish with chives and serve warm.


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.

Macros and Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Caulifower Mashed Potatoes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 130 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Fat 9g14%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 427mg19%
Potassium 638mg18%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 338IU7%
Vitamin C 103mg125%
Calcium 56mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Meet Jessica Haggard

Jessica Haggard is the creator of Primal Edge Health, where she shares simple, nourishing low-carb, keto and carnivore diet recipes. With a focus on from scratch, homemade cooking, animal-based nutrition, and easy DIY beauty and personal care recipes, there’s always something new going on in her kitchen! Jessica will teach you exactly how to thrive with all the best ingredients and enjoy the journey along the way.

She has photographed and authored two best selling ketogenic cookbooks, The Ketogenic Edge Cookbook and The Carnivore Cookbook. Learn more about Jessica…

5 Responses

  1. Laura
    | Reply

    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!

    • Jessica Haggard
      | Reply

      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!!

      • Sandy Jump
        | Reply

        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.

        • Jessica Haggard
          | Reply

          I just made this recipe yesterday! Served with slow cooked meat, everyone loved it!

  2. wayne
    | Reply

    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.

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