Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

5 stars based on 45 votes


This cauliflower purée is creamy and comforting, and it just happens to taste remarkably like mashed potatoes. I’m not sure if it’s just my eyes playing tricks on me, but it really does! It also has the benefit of being easier to make, healthier and lower in carbs. But don’t make it just for that reason — it’s delicious in its own right. In fact, when my friend Heather tested the recipe for me, she sent me a text that read, “OMG so good, just licked the bowl of my Cuisinart.” Try serving it with my Onion-Braised Beef Brisket, Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic & Rosemary, Roast Chicken or Easy BBQ Boneless Short Ribs.


There are a lot of mashed cauliflower recipes out there; what I  like about this one is that the cauliflower is steamed in, and then puréed with, chicken broth. This adds flavor and eliminates the need to add cream to thin out the purée.


Begin by bringing the chicken broth and salt to a boil and a large pot. Add the cauliflower and steam for about 2o minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender.


Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and add the butter along with a few tablespoons of the chicken broth.


Process until smooth and creamy, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


Add the chopped thyme and process until evenly mixed.


Transfer to a bowl and serve.


Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (don't worry about keeping florets intact)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil. Add the cauliflower; bring back to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and steam for 20 minutes, or until cauliflower is very tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to a food processor. Add 3 tablespoons of chicken broth from the pot, along with the butter. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add thyme and process until just combined.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 151
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated fat: 6g
  • Carbohydrates: 13g
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Sodium: 731mg
  • Cholesterol: 25mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    I. really liked the addition of steaming with broth rather than water. I think this added a lot of flavor . Since I am dieting, I made the following changes . I reduced the butter from 3 tablespoons to 1 and added one wedge of light laughing cow cheese which is only 35 calories
    also puréed some fresh parsley Into the mix. Delicious,

    - janet on April 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a wonderful side dish…and so easy to prepare! Will become a go to for mashed potatoes. I needed to add an additional tablespoon of broth in the processor to get everything smooth. Thank you!

    - Grace on April 11, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn, I make this ALL the time for family and friends and it’s such a winner! However, this time I have a make-ahead question… if I make tonight (Wednesday) to serve on Easter (Sunday), do you think it will stay fresh in the fridge for a few days, or do I have to freeze? What is the best way to reheat? I’ll wait to add the thyme in until I reheat since I’ve learned the herbs turn a black color and can be a bit off-putting when I add them and then freeze/microwave later… Many thanks for your advice!

    - Allison on March 23, 2016 Reply
    • Glad you like it Allison! You can definitely make this a few days ahead and refrigerate. Just reheat it in the microwave before serving.

      - Jenn on March 23, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious and so easy…Thanks

    - Peggy Reynolds on March 4, 2016 Reply
  • Would fish go with this recipe?

    - Heather on March 3, 2016 Reply
    • Sure- the cauliflower is really mild tasting so it could be paired with most anything. I think fish would be a nice choice.

      - Jenn on March 3, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yum! Made it as directed, and it was delicious!

    - Tamara on February 26, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is awesome. Used a stick blender instead of a food processor and with a little added stock, it was a perfect consistency. Will vary the herbs to get different flavors to accompany various proteins.

    - Shelley M on February 21, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I have been learning to eat cleaner and find healthier options to my comfort foods. This cauliflower purée was DELICOUS! Perfect substitute for my beloved mashed potatoes! Totally would recommend this.

    - Lauryn urbanick on January 24, 2016 Reply
  • I am a vegetarian. Will this recipe work as well with vegetable broth rather than the chicken broth? I’m wondering if this will alter the flavor too much. Thanks!

    - Arlene on January 23, 2016 Reply
    • Arlene, Vegetable broth will work just fine here– hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 24, 2016 Reply
  • Can this be done in a nutribullet? I don’t own a food processor. Thanks!

    - Denise on January 9, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Denise, I don’t have a Nutribullet, so I’m not certain, but there may not be enough room in the Nutribullet or enough liquid in the recipe for this to be successful– sorry!

      - Jenn on January 9, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank you so much for such a fab recipe my kids asked for second and they hate all vegetables made with short ribs turned out great

    - Marie Saintjacques on January 6, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Would love to try this recipe but do not have a food processor. Any substitutions? Thank you

    - Melissa V on January 3, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Melissa, While the ingredients would remain the same, I’m not sure there’s enough liquid in the recipe to have this work in the blender- sorry!

      - Jenn on January 4, 2016 Reply
    • 4 stars

      I have used a hand mixer and it worked quite well.

      - Cindy on April 7, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe is great “as is”. Doubled the recipe & served it with turkey dinner for our family & guests. Everyone enjoyed it. Made turkey-vegetable soup out of the leftovers and added the leftover cauliflower mash after the soup had finished cooking. It gave the soup a creamy “turkey pot pie” texture & taste. Yum!

    - Debbie V. on December 25, 2015 Reply
  • Simple recipe but the chicken broth kills the flavour of the cauliflower.

    - Mike on December 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a delicious meal. I served mine with plain yogurt and the fresh cracked pepper… yum!

    - Anne on December 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is my favorite No Carb substitution. I love this recipe. I tried four other mashed cauliflower recipes. Just started cooking this for our Thanksgiving feast!!

    - Debbie on November 26, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Have made this twice now once with fresh cauliflower, once with frozen/steamed cauliflower – both were delicious, and my husband swears he would have thought this was mashed potatoes if I hadn’t told him. Great for low-carb eaters….

    - Jo on November 11, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This recipe was delicious! It’s a great change from potatoes and my guests thought they were potatoes. Another wonderful recipe from Jenn.

    - Melissa Kittay on October 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My 2 1/2 year old I made this a couple of weeks ago and she has been pretend making it in her kitchen and asking for it since. I had never actually eaten cauliflower in my life before I tried this because I couldn’t stand the smell. But we all loved it! Decided to write a review today because I was pulling back up to make it tonight.

    - Stacie on October 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this recipe as written for Rosh Hashanah, and then again this week for break fast, substituting chives for the thyme. It is phenomenal. It is on the permanent rotation at our house. Thanks so much! PS the Autumn Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup rocks…can’t wait to try the Rugelach.

    - Joan on September 25, 2015 Reply
  • What a great way to introduce cauliflower! You’ve really opened my mind as I didn’t know how to prepare it so that my family would accept it without putting a nasty face! I’ll try it soon and let you know how it went!

    - Mariana Sarceda on September 24, 2015 Reply
  • I have not tried your recipe yet. Is there another substitute for the butter? I am Kosher and I would like to serve it with meat.

    - Ilene on September 10, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Ilene, Margarine will work just fine.

      - Jenn on September 10, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Nice change from potatoes. Worked well with my pot roast and pan gravy.

    - Laura on August 28, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I loved this recipe. Next time going to try it with lemon thyme. Also, thought might try with carrots.

    - Diane Eglauf on August 27, 2015 Reply
  • This looks great. Can it be made with non-dairy margarine or some other substitute for butter? I’m looking for a delicious non-dairy side dish.

    - Joanna on July 26, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Joanna, Yes, that will be fine. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on July 29, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Heaven in a bowl! Potatoes just became obsolete for me. Extremely easy to put together … a winner.

    - Mike Shinevar on July 8, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was amazing! I put it in my vitamix and it was super smooth and creamy. I will absolutely be eating this regularly!

    - Liz on May 7, 2015 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Mine came out a bit too runny, but tasted delicious. My husband thought it was great, but my kids couldn’t understand why I didn’t just make my usual mashed potatoes. When they heard it was cauliflower, they were no longer interested.

    - Dana on May 7, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I’ve been searching for a much healthier “mash potatoes” to appease my husband but be more inline with a higher protein lower carb life style.

    This recipe (slightly altered) has become a huge hit in our house. I thought the recipe was a little bland for my taste, so i added a little bit of garlic powder and some sliced parmesan cheese to the mix and it came out totally Delish. My youngest who won’t eat mashed potatoes loves it and the rest of the family does too.


    - Rebecca on May 1, 2015 Reply
  • Would it become smooth enough with a stick blender rather than a food processor?

    - Melanie on April 30, 2015 Reply
    • Hi Melanie, Not sure there is enough liquid to make it work with the stick blender.

      - Jenn on May 1, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh my my…D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S!!!
    This was the first time my family has ever had cauliflower purée and it was a success! Thank you for the wonderful recipe. Consensus…this is family’s new substitute for mashed potato. Turned out beautifully!

    - Marivic on April 9, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is delicious! On occasion when I needed to double the recipe, and didn’t have enough cauliflower, I used the same quantity yukon gold potatoes as I would have cauliflower for half the recipe. No one has known I’ve ‘messed’ with their mashed potatoes. With the mashed potatoes, I did add a little extra chicken broth for the right consistency.

    - Joanne Peterson on April 2, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a new staple at our house!! Dare I say it’s even better than regular mashed potatoes??? Never-the-less I doubled the recipe and took 2 servings for myself for that ultra-comfort food experience!!! I will be serving with flank steak with garlic and rosemary tomorrow. Stay tuned for my review on that. Thank you Jen!!

    - Rachel on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for my significant other because he is on a low carb diet and this is the best alternative to mashed potatoes! The only alteration I made was I used 1 tablespoon less butter than the recipe and it turned out fantastic! I have made this dish 3 times already because he loves it so much!

    - Veronica on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I really liked this. I have made it just like recipe. I have also made it w powdered goats milk. It give it a creamier richer flavor. Just one scoop. Yumm

    - Caroline on March 19, 2015 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this as one of our sides for Christmas dinner. It was delicious! Next time I will double the recipe. Even those at the table who claimed to not like cauliflower enjoyed it!

    - Christina on December 27, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I just made this for dinner and it taste surprisingly good. I didn’t have any fresh thyme so I used a little bit of the dry herb instead. I will be making this again for Christmas.

    - Tiffany Arceo on December 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    This recipe is very popular in our house. I’m thinking of making it for Christmas dinner. Is it ok to make it ahead & freeze it?


    - Lynda McMurtrie on December 13, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Lynda, I’m sorry I’ve never tried freezing it so can’t say for sure, but you can definitely make it several days ahead of time and reheat in the microwave.

      - Jenn on December 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is the best. I made it for Thanksgiving and got the whole family converted…away from mashed potatoes. I tested 4 different mashed cauliflower recipes with my immediate family and this one won hands down. Then I made it for the entire Thanksgiving crowd. Thanks you for another WINNING recipe.

    - Debbie on December 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another great recipe!! I am going to serve this with Christmas dinner, not say what it actually is then make the big reveal after everyone has eaten. I have never heard of any cauilflower allergies so it should be a safe “trick”. Thank you!

    - Paula Jones on December 5, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      Additional info…Mine slightly runny but the flavor and texture was on point. I will use less broth next time during the puree step.

      - Paula Jones on December 5, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Loved this recipe & so did my family, who are not too keen on cauliflower. I added some grated parmesan to give it a different flavor which worked well. Would make again. Also, keeps in the fridge for several days – so either make ahead or as leftovers.

    - Jenna on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My husband loves mashed potatoes but I do not. I tried this as an alternative and he loved it! It was so easy to do and it got me to use a very expensive Cuisinart I bought years ago and never used. The simplicity of making it got me hooked but the high fiber veggie taste was even better. We even made it for a recent dinner party and I gave out the recipe to everyone.

    - Carol on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Excellent. I have searched long and hard for this delicious side. Easy and satisfying.

    - Lisa Mullen on December 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was delicious and easy to make. I just made this in preparation for Thanksgiving and I snuck a spoonful. I’ll never make mashed potatoes again!

    - Jessica on November 25, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this with a purple cauliflower, and although it looked like Play-doh, it was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It is a most guest-worthy dish.

    - Jean on November 20, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    My kids and husband LOVED it. I served it with your braised brisket dish and both were a hit. Thanks Jenn for all your delicious recipes.

    - Sheily on November 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Absolutely out of this world. I have looked long and hard for this recipe. I am addicted!!!

    - Lisa on November 13, 2014 Reply
  • Love, love, love all your recipes!! Just started making this and realized my fresh thyme has gone bad. Can I use dried or is it worth it to go get fresh?

    - Heather on November 13, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Heather, Dried is absolutely fine; just use half the amount :)

      - Jenn on November 13, 2014 Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious I could have eaten the entire recipe standing in the kitchen! I used chopped parsley as I didn’t have thyme. I can’t wait to make it again. People had told me of this cauliflower thing as a substitute for mashed potatoes, and I must admit I thought it sounded awful but it’s not a substitute, it’s a stand alone and will be on my Christmas menu for sure. Thanks Jen

    - Marjory on November 8, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Hadn’t read the reviews and thought the same thing – could replace mashed potatoes! This dish is fantastic! Can’t wait to pair it with a havarti grilled cheese sammy. Used more of the broth and salted butter and it was fine. Also drizzled some sage & mushroom infused olive oil over it for presentation. Looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

    - Tahnika on November 4, 2014 Reply
  • I tried this last night and absolute loved it, can easily replace mashed potatoes, mu husband even liked it. This will be a regular now on.

    - Gail on October 31, 2014 Reply
  • I am a vegetarian. Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth?

    - Elena T. on October 31, 2014 Reply
    • Absolutely!

      - Jenn on October 31, 2014 Reply
  • I was thinking about pairing the pureed cauliflower with your Broiled Asian-Style Flat Iron Steak instead of the buttered rice you suggest. My kids LOVE cauliflower. Any ideas to give this a more Asian-style profile? Thanks! (P.S. We are working our way through all your recipes, and haven’t met one that didn’t get two enthusiastic thumbs-up from our whole crew. Thanks!)

    - Amy on October 27, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Amy, Glad to read you are enjoying the recipes! You could omit the salt and add a tablespoon of soy sauce to the chicken broth instead. You could also add 1/2 teaspoon of Asian sesame oil along with the butter.

      - Jenn on October 28, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        We used your suggestions last night and the cauliflower was delicious! Next time, I’ll double the recipe for my cauliflower-loving crowd. Thanks!

        - Amy on November 10, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    OMG! Tonight I made these for supper and I don’t think I will ever be able to eat mashed potatoes again. Give it a try, you will not regret it.

    - Michelle on October 26, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Great recipe. Tastes just like mashed potatoes but healthier. The only thing I would add to the recipe is to be careful not to over puree since you don’t want to liquify the cauliflower.

    - Mary on October 26, 2014 Reply
  • Is there a way to reduce the sodium? While it is healthy, I am trying to keep the sodium down for my family. Thanks

    - Kerrie on October 24, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Kerri, Feel free to reduce or omit the salt.

      - Jenn on October 24, 2014 Reply
  • I was wondering why is the carb count so high per serving?

    - Dana on October 24, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Dana, I don’t believe 13g is high; most low carb diets call for between 50-150 grams per day.

      - Jenn on October 27, 2014 Reply
      • Jenn — I think Dana was saying that the carb count is probably wrong. Cauliflower is very low carb. — Deb

        - Debbie on December 19, 2014 Reply
  • How much in advance of a meal can this be made? How long will it keep in the fridge?

    - Paula on October 24, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Paula, It can be made several days ahead of time and reheated in the microwave.

      - Jenn on October 24, 2014 Reply
      • Jenn, you mention steaming the cauliflower, but I see no mention of using a steamer basket. Is the cauliflower actually boiled in water, then drained?

        - Karen on December 1, 2015 Reply
        • Karen, You just steam the cauliflower in the chicken broth for about 2o minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender. No basket necessary!

          - Jenn on December 1, 2015 Reply
          • I don’t understand this answer. Cauliflower is either placed IN boiling/hot water (not what I would think of as steamed) or placed in some kind of a container OVER boiling water, e.g. not in direct contact with the water. Please explain which way you mean.

            - Susan Ridgway on April 7, 2016
          • Hi Susan, Sorry if you found this wasn’t clear. The cauliflower is place directly into the pot with the broth. Hope you enjoy!

            - Jenn on April 8, 2016

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