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Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

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This cauliflower purée is creamy and comforting, and it just happens to taste remarkably like mashed potatoes.

cauliflower puree

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

(Photo by Alexandra Grablewski, Chronicle Books 2018)

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.

What you’ll need to make cauliflower purée


How to make cauliflower purée

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 20 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 puree

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

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Cauliflower Purée with Thyme

This cauliflower purée is creamy and comforting, and it just happens to taste remarkably like mashed potatoes.

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


  • 1 head cauliflower (about 2 lbs.), cut into ½-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

Powered by Edamam

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

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • I’m having a hard time finding a good looking cauliflower in the stores. I absolutely LOVE this recipe! Can I make it with riced cauliflower?

    • — Megan on November 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Megan, glad you like this! Unfortunately, rice cauliflower won’t work here based on the cooking method – sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 9, 2022
      • Reply
  • Just picked up 2 beautiful heads of cauliflower at the farmers market to try this. I saw some nice leeks- so I am planning to sweat them with some butter and broth and then puree them in with the mash. Think it will be a nice addition?

    • — Pam on September 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sounds delicious — I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • So incredibly good, thank you for sharing! My meat-and-potatoes boyfriend enjoyed the cauliflower version just as well. Fantastic

    • — Ty on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • I love this. It tastes so good it’s hard to believe it’s so simple.

    • — Dani on July 7, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made pretty much as directed. Left the cauliflower in fairly large chunks, used chicken Better than Bullion to make the broth, used dried thyme, and put it in the Vitamix and… OMG sooo delicious!!! The texture was thin but this is likely due to my blender, but it did allow me to make fancy swoops on the plate so, still a win! Such a creamy, flavorful, and indulgent tasting purée. I could eat bowls of this alone. Definitely will repeat again and again! Thank you 😊

    • — Juanita on June 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • This is the BEST recipe! Followed directions to a T and it turned out perfectly.

    • — Virginia Blaine on April 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can this recipe be made ahead and frozen?

    • — Ellen on April 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, I can’t say confidently how this would freeze because I haven’t done it – sorry! If it’s helpful though, you can make it several days ahead of time and reheat it in the microwave.

      • — Jenn on April 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • This is a wonderful way to serve cauliflower. The chicken broth adds great flavor. I served this as a side for roasted pork loin, with warm cinnamon apples as another side. That was a really, really good meal, and as delicious as the pork and apples were, I think the cauliflower was the best part.

    • — Anne on February 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Cauliflower Puree with Thyme, is now a staple recipe at my house. Keep mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, make this recipe your go to replacement the rest of the time. Easy to make, love it!

    • — Winter on February 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I make this all the time! It’s so delicious, everyone who’s tried it loves it , even the ones who think they don’t like cauliflower. I have both cookbooks and use the site all the time. Never had one disappointment yet, all delicious and easy to make

    • — Christene MA on February 5, 2022
    • Reply
  • Easy and delicious!!! Even my picky daughter liked it!

    • — CF on January 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Finally used my ninja to get right texture Yummy!

    • — Mary on January 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Great recipe! There are so very many on this website. Every one I have tried is great.

    • — Marcia Ramsey on January 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • My husband actually thougt this was mashed potatoes! He didn’t think he liked cauliflower. I love cauliflower and this recipe is a wonderful variation. Thanks!

    • — Nancy on December 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Had to use my Ninja to get the right texture.Yummy! Will definitely make on a regular bases!

      • — Mary on January 4, 2022
      • Reply
  • Have one family member who does not eat thyme, any suggestions for a substitute herb? I had this dish at a party, delicious.
    Thank you

    • — Carrie on December 15, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Carrie, you could substitute flat leaf parsley or a scant 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme (or you could just omit it). It will still be good!

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • Bomb. We were trying to do a healthier, low-carb Thanksgiving. This was just the trick! Delicious. We will make again and bring to parties when we need a side dish! Thank you! As always, your recipe was a home run 🙂

    • — RISENfitness on November 25, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    If I’d prepare it on Saturday for the next Thursday, will the puree still be good (in refrigerator)?
    Thanks in advance!
    I know it’s good for the next day, there is usually no leftovers 🙂

    • — Natalie Shlevich on November 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Natalie, I think that’s pushing it a little. The longest I’d refrigerate it is for 4 days, so I wouldn’t make it any earlier than Monday. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • The cauliflower was fantastic paired with Jenn’s chicken marsala, especially as both used fresh thyme so flavors meshed very well.

    • — Elaine on October 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can you make this the day ahead?

    • — Jane Lavery on September 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure – it reheats nicely!

      • — Jenn on September 30, 2021
      • Reply
  • YUMMY! I actually liked these better than mashed potatoes for when you’re making an accompanying meat that doesn’t have sauce/gravy. Super easy recipe and delicious! I have a baby food processor so I had to go in 3 batches. It worked out well though, because I could adjust the broth as I processed to get the desired texture.

    • — Deb Kacher on July 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • This cauliflower purée is a straightforward recipe with delicious results. The butter puts it over the top. Thank you!

    • — Kt on May 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • Very tasty!

    • — Lisa Johnston on April 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen! I hope you’re doing well! Is it okay if I make this one day before serving? If so, how would you recommend heating it up? Thank you!!!

    • — Meredith Miller on March 26, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Meredith, Yes, you can definitely make this ahead and reheat it in the microwave. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2021
      • Reply
      • Thank you so much!!!

        • — Meredith Miller on March 27, 2021
        • Reply
  • I double upped on the recipe and it was awesome. Made with grilled chicken and mixed veggies. My wife was very impressed. Nice option instead of rice or potatoes. Thanks

    • — Phil Burg on March 24, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I used vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth?

    • — Nina Miller Glickman on March 18, 2021
    • Reply
    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2021
      • Reply
  • This Cauliflower Puree is one of my absolute go-to favorites. I’ve made it several times and it’s super easy to make, wonderfully creamy and delicious and works with just about everything. The fresh thyme really makes it special. Another fabulous dish to add to my collection. Thanks Jen!

    • — Celia on February 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this today – it was DELICIOUS!

    • — Linda Angelus on January 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • I really liked this recipe, but I made it a couple of different times with varying results. The first time it came out perfect! The second time I tried to double the recipe and had more difficulty because it overfilled the food processor so I ended up having to separate the puree and process it in two portions which I then added together and the texture just didn’t come out right. I’m going to give it a third go but I wish I could make more of it at once!

    Still highly recommend, but stick with the normal recipe amounts listed (:

    • — Maggie Whitley on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Really? 4 stars because “ your” change to this recipe didn’t work.

      • — Mary on July 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • My son had a dental procedure done and could only have soft foods. I made this in 25 minutes, easiest thing in the world. And it was gone within 10 minutes! Really incredibly delicious. Will be making this all the time!

    • — JLee on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is such a wonderful alternative to mashed potatoes. The broth and herbs make it so flavorful and no guilt going for seconds. I never have leftovers when I make this dish!

    • — R Ryan on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this for thanksgiving for vegan family members and by the end of the night it was all gone. Both healthy and delicious. Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m so glad my vegan family members can enjoy this yummy alternative to mashed potatoes.

    • — Janet on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Jenn! I have dried thyme on hand and prefer to use that and save myself from buying the fresh one. How much should I substitute?

      • — Emily H. on May 1, 2021
      • Reply
      • Hi Emily I’d use 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon. Enjoy!

        • — Jenn on May 2, 2021
        • Reply
    • Neither butter nor chicken broth are vegan, so I hope you substituted accordingly!

      • — ST on June 17, 2021
      • Reply
  • This cauliflower purée goes above and beyond and is the perfect side dish for steak, pork or roast chicken. Full of flavor and a favorite at our house! I’ll never make mashed potatoes again. The perfect replacement and much healthier!

    • — Wynn Heyen on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • 5 stars!

      • — Wynn Heyen on January 28, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe has become a family favorite! My husband often requests it instead of mashed potatoes, which is amazing, because he LOVES mash potatoes!!

    • — L. Foster on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This recipe is an absolute keeper! So smooth and delicious, yet also feels very decadent. For a touch more flavor, I would consider adding a little bit of onion (or onion powder) and some roasted garlic (or garlic powder). Because transferring to a blender is sometimes tricky, I instead drained the cauliflower while reserving the liquid, then put the 3 T. of broth back into the pot with the cauliflower and the butter and used my immersion blender. Plus, it made for an easier clean-up, because I find the immersion blender easier to clean than the food processor. It takes a little longer to get it smooth, but I’d rather spend the time doing it that way and have an easier clean-up.

    • — Amy on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This wonderful recipe has become a weekly staple to my vegetable adverse family. We serve it with all kinds of protein. Perfect side, low calorie and simple. As one of 10 children I e shared with my 9 siblings and many have included this in their rotations. Thanks Jenn. Great way to add another vegetable to any meal.

    • — Joe Hanlon on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have one daughter that loves cauliflower and one that dislikes it. Well, they both very much like this recipe. I did microwave my cauliflower vs. steaming, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly as written. The addition of the thyme gives it some depth that plain mashed cauliflower does not have. Also, this is much healthier than those that use cream to make mashed cauliflower. Thanks for this recipe!

    • — Sharon S. on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a wonderful recipe for both those who our going easy on carbs and those who are not. The chicken broth and thyme takes this to another level. It’s also very easy to make. I added a little more butter when I make this. I started adding a smash garlic clove to the chicken broth and then puréed it in with the cauliflower. Yum!

    • — MB on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Perfect, delicious! Added 1 glove of mashed garlic to the cauliflower while steaming.

    • — Fix Me A Dish on January 9, 2021
    • Reply
  • how can i adjust this recipe for an instant pot? ( i just bought one so am a novice)

    • — leslie on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Leslie, I don’t have enough experience with an Instant Pot to tell you confidently whether or not/how to convert a recipe, so you may want to take a peek at these tips. It looks like they could be useful. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can you freeze this after it is made?

    • — Linda Shear on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda,, I can’t say for sure how this would freeze because I haven’t done it – sorry! If it’s helpful, you can make it several days ahead of time and reheat in the microwave.

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • What everybody else already said! Thanks for this simple, yummy veggie side.

  • Thank you for the recipe. I’m on the Keto diet and was sick of cauliflower until now. I was shocked how good this was. I added a little bit of garlic and Parmesan cheese.

  • These were easy to make and delicious! Honestly even if you’re not a cauliflower fan….you’ll love these!

    • — Cynthia Corcoran
    • Reply
  • Super easy, super delicious. Great change of pace sidedish

  • This is delicious! My husband was not excited to eat this and…he loved it. Another keeper from your blog. Thank you.

  • Wow! I just made this for dinner tonight (with the BBQ turkey meatloaf) and it is SO good! Best cauliflower I’ve ever had.

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