We are going to show you How to Make Cauliflower Rice which is one recipe that you will definitely want to learn about! It’s a healthier substitute to regular rice and you will be able to make it anytime that you want to. We will show you how to take a small or large head of cauliflower and turn it into rice that you can use mixed in a lot of different foods.
Before I became aware of many of the low carb alternatives for some of our favorite foods, I never would have believed how versatile cauliflower could be. It is a great substitute in many recipes such as filling in for potatoes in potato salad, replacing the pasta in macaroni salad, it can create a pizza crust and it’s even a replacement for rice.
In this recipe, we will show you how to make and cook riced cauliflower, and all the ways to do it. It is really easy to make, delicious to eat, and a staple of any low carb diet.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice is cauliflower florets chopped up into small pieces either by hand with a knife or box grater, or put through a food processor to resemble rice.
Riced cauliflower is a great low carb and low-calorie substitute for rice in so many dishes and recipes. We’ll teach you all the ways to cook it and what dishes you can use it in.
What Does Cauliflower Rice Taste Like?
Of course, cauliflower rice does not taste exactly like rice when you eat it by itself, but it does taste a little like rice. Plain rice is pretty bland and mild but when it is mixed with other foods, like meat and veggies, it takes on the flavors of the stir fry, sauce, or whatever else you mix it with.
Cauliflower makes a fabulous flavor and texture as a rice replacement especially when you add some spices and seasonings. When you are on a diet that does not allow you to eat rice, cauliflower rice is a great alternative.
Is Cauliflower Good for You?
Cauliflower is a good vegetable to eat, delicious and nutritious too, so naturally, cauliflower rice is also very healthy for you since it’s made from just cauliflower.
It’s especially a good choice for people who don’t eat a lot of vegetables. It’s a way to eat them without even knowing that you are eating something that nutritious.
For 1 cup of cauliflower rice, it’s only 98 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 3 grams of fiber as compared to white rice which has 242 calories, 0.4 grams of fat, and 0.6 grams of fiber.
It’s a clear choice in which one of the two is healthier, and as a result, riced cauliflower will help you to lose weight as it fits into many good diet plans or ways of eating such as keto, low carb, vegetarian, paleo…etc.
How Many Carbs are in Cauliflower Rice?
In one cup of cauliflower rice, there are only 7 carbs. When you subtract the 3 grams of fiber, it comes out to 4 NET Carbs per cup which is a big difference in comparison with normal rice that comes in at 49 NET Carbs.
So if you are counting carbs, you can see why cauliflower rice is a good choice. You can eat a lot of cauliflower rice for so little carbs.
What Ingredients are in Cauliflower Rice?
Technically, to make cauliflower rice, the only ingredient you need is cauliflower. That’s fine if you are adding it to another recipe where it will take on the other flavors.
However, if you want to eat riced cauliflower by itself, here is a list of basic ingredients which will make it taste better. When you are making cauliflower rice, you can expand the list further by adding other ingredients later according to your taste buds.
Some chopped fresh parsley on the top as a garnish is nice if you are serving it to others.
- Cauliflower – This is obviously the main ingredient in riced cauliflower. Ricing cauliflower is a way to eat your vegetables that’s a little more enjoyable than normal.
- Salt – Salt enhances the flavor of the food that you sprinkle it on. Riced Cauliflower can be pretty bland so salt is a good addition.
- Pepper – This always adds just a touch of spice to foods, which is also a good addition to the cauliflower that is bland tasting.
- Olive Oil or Avocado Oil – Either of these oils is a good choice to mix in with the cauliflower and is a good alternative to butter. They both fit in with many different ways of eating and diet plans and have great flavor.
Fresh Cauliflower vs. Pre-Riced
In this recipe, it’s important to know the difference between cauliflower rice made from fresh cauliflower vs pre-riced cauliflower.
It’s not hard at all to make cauliflower rice out of one head of fresh cauliflower, but if you are in a hurry and short on time don’t worry because you can buy riced cauliflower in bags in the frozen section, or fresh in the refrigerator section with all of the other pre-cut veggies.
How to Pick Out Cauliflower
Before learning how to make cauliflower rice, you need to pick out good cauliflower. The first step is to figure out how much cauliflower you need to buy for the recipe you are making (See chart below).
Once you have decided the size that you want to buy, small, medium, or large.
The next thing to do is to make sure that the head or heads of cauliflower are white. The last thing that you want is to pick out a cauliflower that has brown spots on it or has discolored from white into beige, which would mean that it is turning bad.
When I buy cauliflower the best is when they sell it by the “per cauliflower” instead of by the pound. Let’s say for instance that they are $4.00 each, I look for the biggest one so that I am getting more vegetables for my dollar. If it ends up too much for your cauliflower rice recipe, then you can always make something else with the rest of it.
How Much Cauliflower Rice in a Head?
How much cauliflower rice does one head of cauliflower make?
Let me share with you a guide on the portions needed. These figures are just an approximated estimate so that I can give you some kind of idea.
- 1 Small head – equals 2 cups of cauliflower and 1/2 lb of cauliflower rice.
- 1 Medium head – equals approx. 4 cups of cauliflower and 1 lb cauliflower rice.
- 1 Large head – equals approx. 8 cups of cauliflower and 2 lbs of cauliflower rice.
Where to Buy Cauliflower Rice?
If you want to buy a cauliflower that’s already riced, it’s an easy find. Just go to the grocery store and you can usually find it in 2 places in the store.
Fresh – In the refrigerated aisle of the produce area where they have other already prepared veggies like cut onions, peppers, zucchini noodles, etc, you will also find cauliflower rice. Sometimes it’s sold out since it’s become so popular for so many recipes besides our cauliflower rice recipe.
Frozen – You can also locate it in the frozen vegetable aisle and it is sold in several sized bags and in several varieties like original/plain, one variety with finely chopped veggies in it, garlic-flavored, etc. That way there are a few choices depending on your cauliflower rice recipe.
How Much Cauliflower Rice Makes 1 Cup of Rice?
If you want to learn how to rice cauliflower and cook it, then you have to know how much cauliflower you will need to use.
- There is about 4 oz of riced cauliflower in one cup. 1 medium head, approximately 1 pound, makes about 4 cups of riced cauliflower.
How to Rice Cauliflower
There are a few ways that you can turn cauliflower into riced cauliflower and we will share with you how to make it come out the best with a brief overview.
There are 3 ways that we will show you:
- Cutting it up with a knife
- Using a hand grater
- Using a food processor
Whichever way that you choose to use to turn the cauliflower into riced cauliflower, you will need to start with these steps first for all 3 ways.
- First, wash your veggie and trim off the large stems and greenery because we are mainly interested in using the florets. Pat it dry with a paper towel.
- Trim off any brown spots that could be on there.
- Next cut the cauliflower in half and then into quarters.
- Hold the quarter of the cauliflower vertically and use a knife to slice off the woody center. You will be surprised how the florets just fall right off.
Depending on the size of the florets as they fall off, you may have to cut them smaller. The smaller they are the easier it will be, especially in the food processor. If you are grating them with a box grater then you can keep them much larger so you don’t scrape your knuckles.
The fastest way to rice cauliflower is by using a food processor. You can rice the entire head of cauliflower in just a few minutes. If you don’t have a food processor then you will have to do it with a knife or a box grater.
After following the initial steps spoken of previously about washing and cutting, attach the grater disc and feed tube and now it’s ready to go.
Start-up the food processor and feed the cauliflower thru the feed tube.
You can also fill the bowl half way and use the chopper blade and pulse the processor until the cauliflower florets turn into rice size pieces. This is the quickest way.
If all of the cauliflower does not fit into one batch, empty it out into a large bowl and start again until it’s all done being riced.
- If you use the feed tube the grater blade is essential. Do not use the knife S blade because the pieces will not be uniform in size and as a result will not give the appearance of rice kernels.
- Make sure to cut the florets to the proper size that will fit into the tube of the food processor.
- You can use the stems if you want to but the texture and flavor are much better when you only use the florets.
Grated by Hand
The best way to grate cauliflower by hand is with a box grater.
When you hand grate the cauliflower you don’t need to cut the florets as small as you would if putting them into a food processor. You can leave them in larger pieces so that when you are grating it you won’t grate your hand.
Take your pieces and grate them on the medium or large holes of the grater to get pieces the size of rice kernels.
Grate until all of the cauliflower is done and place it into a pan in preparation for cooking.
- Tip – Be careful of your fingers while grating, it’s easy for the cauliflower to get away from you.
The 3rd way to rice the cauliflower is with a knife. This is by far the slowest way to rice cauliflower, but some people prefer it because they either don’t have one of the other tools to use or they just like a hands-on approach with cooking.
You just have to keep chopping until all of the florets turn into the rice. Try to make the pieces as uniform in size that you can so that it will be easy to make it into rice.
- Tip – Make sure that you use a big cutting board so that the cauliflower doesn’t fly all over the counter.
Do I Need to Wring Out Cauliflower Rice?
If you press the liquid out of the riced cauliflower it will give it more of a drier, rice texture. When you wring out the cauliflower it can also take on a toasted, nutty flavor.
If it has too much moisture it may have a clumpier texture which could be good too if you like sticky rice and are trying to capture that texture.
So for me and the recipes that I have made, I don’t feel that it’s a necessary step to do. It’s kind of a messy job, and I prefer to have it slightly more moist than dry and nutty flavor.
How to Cook Cauliflower Rice
Now that we have shown you the different ways to make riced cauliflower, it’s time to show you step by step how to cook cauliflower rice. It’s so easy to do and there are many ways to do it. Let’s look at a few.
- Sauteed on the Stove
- Pressure Cooker
- Crock Pot
Sauteé on the Stove
Cooking riced cauliflower on the stove in a sauteé pan is our preferred method.
Why Do It: The reason to cook the cauliflower rice on the stove is because it’s easy to do and fast. Everyone has a stove and is used to cooking on it so I think for that reason it is the easiest for most people.
How to Do It:
To cook the best cauliflower rice the best method is to start with a skillet, nonstick type, or a wok and turn the burner to medium-high heat.
Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan so that the rice won’t stick and will saute or fry.
Al dente is the texture that we go for here so don’t overcook it and the best way to achieve this is not to overcrowd the frying pan with too much cauliflower. Watch it carefully while cooking because the goal is to just cook the rice until soft but not mushy.
Add salt and pepper and any other seasonings while cooking or afterwards, it’s up to you.
How Long Do You Cook Cauliflower Rice?
Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pan and the amount of rice that is in the pan. It also depends on whether or not the rice is fresh or frozen.
For fresh cauliflower rice, 3-5 minutes is a good time to cook it for. If it’s frozen it may take an extra couple of minutes to allow the water to evaporate.
Remember, the goal here is to make the cauliflower rice al dente. If you cook it too long it will be mushy and it will also be a stronger cauliflower smell.
When you cook cauliflower rice, you can certainly season it however you want to, depending on if you are going to eat it by itself as a side dish like rice, or if you are going to mix it into a soup or casserole…etc.
When we make it we have found that you can keep it super simple and just use some salt and pepper, and then maybe a garnish of chopped parsley upon completion.
To make the cauliflower more flavorful you can add some onion powder, garlic powder, or cilantro, just to name a few. Feel free to season the cauliflower just as you would with rice.
How to Not Make it Soggy
When you cook the cauliflower rice, do not cover it, or else by putting a lid on it the steam builds up and the rice becomes soggy. If you cook it too long it will also taste more like cauliflower instead of rice.
Other Ways to Cook Cauliflower Rice
Besides cooking it on the stove in a pan, here are 6 more different ways to cook it.
Why Do It: It will make the rice tender which can be good for sticky rice or other similar recipes.
How to Do It:
- Once you rice the cauliflower in the food processor then it’s time to put it in an oven-proof dish with a lid.
- Cover it and bake it at 400 degrees for about 10-15 min, which will depend on how much volume you have in the pan. The goal is to make the rice nice and tender.
Why Do It: We have learned how to oven-roast a lot of veggies since we have been eating low carb. When you roast the cauliflower rice in the oven it gives it more flavor and a little bit of a crispy texture. This method is good to use in cauliflower rice salads and side dishes.
How to Do It:
- Once the cauliflower is riced in the food processor then spread it out on a baking sheet and drizzle it with some olive oil, sprinkle on some salt and pepper.
- Bake it at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. When it’s done, the cauliflower is slightly golden brown and a little crisp.
Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot
Why Do It: Using a pressure cooker or an instant pot is a really quick way to cook cauliflower rice.
Before, I never had much experience with using one, but since we bought the instant pot it has become one of our go-to methods for quick and easy recipes. This is especially helpful when you are at work all day and come home and want to throw a nutritious meal together quickly.
How to Do It:
- Place your riced cauliflower in the pressure cooker. Add all of your liquid or spices and stir and secure the lid on tight.
- Once it’s done cooking quick release to let the pressure out and now fluff with a fork. Your rice is done. Enjoy!
Why Do It: The crock pot is a wonderful invention to be able to start food in the morning and by the time dinner rolls around your dinner is already cooked. Do the work ahead of time and reap the results later, it’s a great philosophy!
So while you are doing something else the cauliflower rice is cooking.
How to Do It:
- Place the riced cauliflower in the crockpot along with the spices, and just a couple of tablespoons of water.
- Put the lid on and start it up on high or low, depending on how long from them you want to eat it.
- On High cook for 2 hours.
- On Low cook for 4 hours.
When it’s done cooking then mix in anything that you want to make it into the recipe that you want.
- You can keep it simple and mix in some butter for a nice buttery side dish.
- If you want it to resemble fried rice then you could add some chopped up veggies and meat, also some scrambled eggs.
Why Do It: Cooking the cauliflower rice in the microwave is probably one of the quickest ways to cook it.
Using the microwave for anything is always quick. Also, you may not have a stove for some reason, but most people have a microwave.
How to Do It:
- After you rice it in the food processor, put the riced cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover it and microwave it for 2 minutes.
- Give it a stir, check it for doneness and if it’s not cooked yet then put it back in for 30-6- seconds at a time, always remembering to stir and check it in between.
The time it takes to complete the cooking of the cauliflower rice will depend on the volume of rice in the bowl and the temperature of your microwave.
What Is the Easiest Way to Cook Cauliflower Rice?
I think in my opinion that the easiest way to cook cauliflower rice is on the stove in a frying pan. It seems to be many other peoples’ favorite way too. It’s the best way to make a basic side dish of cauliflower rice. Most people have a stovetop whereas some people may not have a crockpot or a pressure cooker etc.
Stirring the cauliflower rice on the stove is just easy. There’s not much thought to it because we instinctively cook on the stove every day.
Cooking in a crockpot for instance or a pressure cooker is not something we do as often so it may take a little extra thought or preparation in using it to cook the cauliflower rice.
What is the Best Way to Make Cauliflower Rice?
It is really hard to choose which one is the best tasting way to cook cauliflower rice. I find it easy to explain to you how to make riced cauliflower and how to cook cauliflower rice but I think some of it is personal taste.
For my personal choice, sauteing it on the stovetop is not only the easiest way but also the best way. I just think that it comes out with the best texture and flavor which resembles rice.
Cooking Frozen Cauliflower Rice
Now, let’s share with you how to cook the cauliflower rice if you buy it frozen. It’s very simple…
Cooking frozen cauliflower rice is the same as cooking fresh and it doesn’t make a big difference which method you use. From our experience with frozen, we prefer cooking it on the stove in a frying pan or in the microwave.
First, follow the same preparation steps we explained to you before cooking it. Then follow our detailed instructions above or in the recipe card for exactly how to cook it.
If you buy frozen cauliflower you do not have to defrost it at all. All you need to do is empty the bag and start cooking it.
Just pour it right out of the bag into the frying pan and heat it up. The same is true if you are using any of the other methods to cook it. Pour it into the crockpot or on a baking sheet to roast it in the oven…etc.
- If you can cut the florets into uniform pieces before making it into riced cauliflower it will fit better in the food processor and likewise, it will help to make the rice pieces more uniform in size.
- The pieces of cauliflower also have to be small enough to put through the chute of the food processor. Do not overfill it or else it will get jammed.
- When you sauteé the cauliflower rice, just sauteé it for about 5 minutes, which will make it come out al dente.
- If you are using a food processor to make your riced cauliflower, if it’s a large head it may not all fit into the bowl at once so you may have to empty it into another bowl and do the rest. If you overfill the food processor it can cause the pieces to get stuck and your pieces will not rice properly.
- Use more florets instead of stems to get a more uniform batch of cauliflower rice.
- When you fry the cauliflower rice do not put a lid on it or else it will steam and become soggy. It will also taste more like cauliflower instead of rice.
- If you plan to add some of the cauliflower rice to soup, put it in the pot at the last minute or else it will overcook.
- Cauliflower rice does not soak up moisture as much as rice does, so when you use it in a casserole, you may want to use less sauce then you would with regular rice.
- If you plan to put the cauliflower rice into a casserole or stuffed peppers, it would be better to cook it first in order to get the water out so that the casserole does not get soggy.
If you don’t want to eat plain cauliflower rice here are a few suggestions of some great recipes that you can try to make in which cauliflower rice turns into some delicious foods!
A wide variety of things can be added to the cauliflower rice to make it into a side dish or a complete one-dish meal. All these ingredients change the taste and take on different flavors depending on what you add to it.
Some ingredients are: onions, garlic, veggies, sesame seeds, etc.
- Coconut Cauliflower Rice – Made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and salt.
- Turmeric Cauliflower Rice – This one is made with spices such as garlic, onion, ground ginger, salt, and turmeric.
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice – Cumin, chili powder, and salsa are the keys to this one.
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice – Lime, garlic, and cilantro are the keys to this rice.
- Parmesan Cauliflower Rice – Garlic and parmesan cheese take over the flavors in this recipe.
- Lemon Garlic Cauliflower Rice – Garlic and Lemon are good choices with cauliflower.
- Sesame Ginger Cauliflower Rice – Sesame oil and sesame seeds along with garlic make this a winner.
- Garlic Butter Cauliflower Rice – Instead of oil you can certainly use butter and garlic to saute the cauliflower in.
- Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Rice – Chicken and buffalo sauce mixed in with your riced cauliflower.
What Recipes to Use Cauliflower Rice In?
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes – This is an all-time favorite with my family and friends. Make it the same as you would mash potatoes with some milk, and butter. Garlic mashed with butter is good too.
- Risotto – Making cauliflower into rice resembles risotto. Stephanie’s favorite is with garlic and mushrooms and chicken broth. A real winner.
- Couscous – This is another grain that resembles rice. Very simple to make on the stove with some olive oil.
- Fried Rice – Who doesn’t love that Chinese favorite….cook the cauliflower in your wok with some pork, chicken, beef or shrimp and add some bean sprouts, onions…etc
- Stuffed Peppers – This is one of my favorite recipes to make! Some ingredients include hamburger meat, ground sausage, onions, garlic, and tomato sauce topped with some Italian cheeses.
- Soup – Chicken, turkey, beef, and sausage make some of the best bases for soup. Add some veggies and riced cauliflower and you have a wonderful lunch or dinner.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Rice
Now that we have shown you how to rice cauliflower, see how cauliflower rice mixed with some great ingredients like etc makes the cauliflower rice a great side dish alongside your favorite meat or fish that you would normally have with rice.
These are all good options, just to name a few!
Diets This Recipe is Good For
- Vegan – By keeping the cauliflower rice simple it fits into the vegan way of eating.
- Paleo – A way of eating things from the earth, a lot of fruits and vegetables. Olive oil and avocado oil are acceptable choices too.
- Low Carb – Cauliflower rice is only 4 NET Carbs per cup so it’s a good choice for a low carb way of eating.
- Gluten-free – There is no gluten in the basic recipe for riced cauliflower.
- Vegetarian – Once again a good recipe for vegetarians who do basically do not eat meat and animal products.
- Nut-free – No nuts in easy cauliflower rice.
- Dairy-free – When you make the best cauliflower rice it is dairy-free because it has olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter.
Make Ahead/Meal Prep Options
Once you know how to make cauliflower rice you are going to want to make a big batch of it so that you can make a few recipes with it.
Making cauliflower rice ahead of time is good for meal prep because you can add it to some veggies, and meat, which makes a complete meal. Then by making a large portion you will appreciate the leftovers the next day so that you will not have to cook. I love leftovers!
How to Store
The best way to store the cauliflower rice in the refrigerator is in a tight-fitting plastic container.
Once you cook your cauliflower rice, it will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator. If you try to keep it any longer it will start to become mushy and start to have a strong cauliflower smell.
How to Reheat
If you have leftover cauliflower rice then it’s really easy to heat it up the next day. The best way is to heat it up on the stove again in a nonstick frying pan. Or it can even be reheated in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Rice?
One thing that is good to do is to buy 2 or 3 heads of cauliflower when they are large and on sale, it saves money, and then you can use the food processor to turn them into riced cauliflower and then freeze them.
The best way to do that is to throw the riced cauliflower into boiling water for only 30 seconds and drain thoroughly in a colander. When it is completely dry, separate the portions into freezer bags or plastic containers and freeze.
Then when you want to make some stuffed peppers or some soup you can take a bag out and it will only take a short time to make a good, healthy meal.
More Cauliflower Recipes
If you’re in the mood for some other Low Carb Cauliflower Side Dishes to go with your meal, then try our:
They all are Keto-friendly and low carb, and will be a hit at your next party, especially for a big meal!Print
This is an easy recipe showing how to make and cook cauliflower rice. This versatile veggie is a great low carb substitute for rice, and can be added to many delicious foods and recipes.
- 1 large head of Cauliflower which yields about 8 cups of rice
- ½ cup Olive oil or Avocado oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- There are several ways to cut the cauliflower into rice, in a food processor, with a box grater, and with a knife. The best and easiest way is with a food processor.
- After washing your head of cauliflower Cut it in half, then in quarters. By doing this, it will make it easier to separate it into small florets.
- Use the grater blade and the feed tube on the processor and you are now ready to rice the cauliflower.
- Feed the cauliflower thru the feed tube.
- Another way to rice the cauliflower in a food processor is to fill the bowl half way and use the chopper blade and pulse the processor until the cauliflower florets turn into rice size pieces.
- Once you’ve riced the cauliflower, let’s look at how to cook the rice.
Cooking Cauliflower Rice
- Cooking cauliflower rice on the stove is my preferred way.
- Pour your olive oil into the nonstick frying pan and heat on medium-high.
- Put the riced cauliflower in the frying pan.
- As it starts to cook, stir it several times to allow the rice to cook evenly. Your goal is to make it al dente so do not overcook it.
- When it is done then garnish with some fresh parsley. Also, salt and pepper if you so choose to.
1.6 NET Carbs
If you cut the florets into uniform pieces before making it into riced cauliflower it will help to make it easier to make it resemble rice.
If you are using a food processor then you will have to make the pieces small enough to fit in the shute. If you overfill it your processor will get jammed easily.
If you are using a large head of cauliflower in your food processor it may not all fit into the bowl at once so you may have to empty it into another bowl in order to rice the rest. If you overfill the food processor it can cause the pieces to get stuck and likewise you will not get the proper size rice.
Use more florets instead of stems in order to get more uniform size pieces of rice.
You can use the stems but it will change the flavor of the rice just a little.
When you fry the cauliflower do not put a lid on it or else it will get soggy. If it gets soggy then it tastes more like cauliflower instead of rice.
Your goal is to make the cauliflower rice al dente so do not overcook. Keep stirring.
If you plan on putting the rice into a casserole such as fried rice or stuffed peppers, cook the rice first in order to get the water out because you don’t want the peppers to come out soggy.
If you put the riced cauliflower into the soup then also cook it ahead and add it once the soup is done so that it does not get overcooked, just like you would do if you were adding real rice.
- Category: Side Dishes
- Cuisine: American
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