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.

Blue bowl of cauliflower puree.

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

Ingredients including chicken broth, sea salt, and thyme.

Step-by-Step Instructions

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.

Pot of cauliflower florets.

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.

Pot of steamed cauliflower.

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

Cauliflower and butter in a food processor.

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

Food processor of pureed cauliflower.

Add the chopped thyme and process until evenly mixed.

Pureed cauliflower topped with thyme.

Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Blue bowl of 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, 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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  • Can this be frozen?

    • — Vanessa Cox on June 13, 2024
    • Reply
    • 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 June 14, 2024
      • Reply
  • This is a lovely recipe. I reduced the ingredients for two adults. I added a few small garlic cloves to the cauliflower and stock. Puréed it and it was delicious. I served it with tempura seafood.

    • — Leonie on May 4, 2024
    • Reply
  • Really delicious. I added a little heavy cream and it made it thicker and more white. Amazing. Will make again

    • — Connie on April 20, 2024
    • Reply
  • My family loves this recipe…so creamy and delicious! If I want to try and make slightly healthier, can I leave out the butter (or cut down or substitute) without compromising the flavor too much? Any suggestions. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Ilse on April 9, 2024
    • Reply
    • So glad your family enjoys this! I think butter is best here from a taste standpoint, so I’d just reduce it a bit.

      • — Jenn on April 9, 2024
      • Reply
    • Hi Ilse, I think you can cut it back – it will still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on April 9, 2024
      • Reply
      • I cut back to 1 1/2 Tbs of butter and it was still delicious! Thanks for the quick response!!

        • — Ilse on April 10, 2024
        • Reply
  • I have made this a couple of times and it’s great! This time I added a 1/4 cup fresh grated parm and it added a real earthy flavour.

    • — Roman on March 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • This is the very best smashed cauliflower my family has ever had. Boiling is the chicken broth or bone broth is a game changer! 5 Stars! I love your recipes.

    • — Margaret Savage on February 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Loved this!!! Easy and delicious. I could make a meal of it.

    • — Janet on January 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • The instructions are a bit confusing. Steaming usually means above the boiling liquid in a colander.

    • — Donald Waring on January 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • These were outstanding! I even took the food processor bowl downstairs to my husband to try them and he said “this is cauliflower!?” SO GOOD Jen.

    • — Becky on January 8, 2024
    • Reply
  • Had some frozen cauliflower rice to use up and this was delicious. Told my picky son it was potatoes when he saw me using the food processor. He asked why I was being lazy and not mashing like usually do 🤣 He really enjoyed the “mashed potatoes” tonight.

    • — Heather on January 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious and satisfying. So easy to make. Reheats perfectly.

    • — Joanna on January 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi, Jenn. I’d like to make this for a 6-person dinner party. Would I double the recipe (2 heads of cauliflower, etc.)? Thank you.

    • — francis on December 26, 2023
    • Reply
    • You’ll likely have leftovers if you double it (which reheat nicely). You could also just make 1.5 times the recipe. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 27, 2023
      • Reply
      • I did double the recipe and it was FANTASTIC! A wonderful recipe. Thank you, Jenn.

        • — francis on January 1, 2024
        • Reply
        • So glad you enjoyed it! 😊

          • — Jenn on January 2, 2024
          • Reply
  • Wow, I was making turkey meatloaf and stumbled across this recipe. I had the ingredients on hand, and made this super easy recipe. The taste imitates mashed potatoes 100%. Outstanding.

    • — Liz Coughlin on December 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Are you steaming or just adding it to the liquid and boil for 20 minutes?

    • — roy on November 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Roy, You’ll bring the broth back to a boil when you add the cauliflower, but then reduce the heat to low to steam. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on November 5, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love this recipe! My picky husband and kids all love it too. To make it a tad easier (and less dishes to wash), once the cauliflower is soft, I pour the excess liquid into a bowl and leave the cauliflower in the pot. Then I measure out the 3T of liquid and add that back into the pot. I use an immersion blender to smooth out the cauliflower, right in the pot, rather than transferring it into a food processor. One less bowl to wash, and still tastes excellent!

    • — Melissa B on October 5, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Can I make this ahead of time and reheat in a pot without the texture being affected (we don’t have a microwave)? Thanks.

    • — Andrea on September 15, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yep that’s fine. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 16, 2023
      • Reply
  • Is it ok to use frozen cauliflower instead of fresh? If yes, how much, by weight is needed to replace a 2# head of cauliflower? THANKS!!

    • — Marcia Kate on August 22, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Marcia, I haven’t made this with frozen cauliflower, but a few people commented that they have successfully. You’ll need 2 lbs of frozen as well.

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • I’m trying to get my fussy 7 y.o. grandson to eat more veggies, so I tried this, since he likes mashed potatoes (I even put in a couple with the cauliflower). But, I think my mistake was using the food processor too much – the consistency turned out like Cream of Wheat (which I loved as a kid), so it wasn’t a success. I’m thinking of using the leftovers (a lot of it) into soup or maybe perogy’s with the cauliflower/potato mixed with bacon and cheese. Not sure what to rate; the taste was fine and it probably would have been more successful if I’d mashed it. So the 3 is more for me than you. I love your recipes and am in the process of going through all the recipes on my computer, keeping yours when I have multiple ones for the same type.

    • — Sandra Dowkes on February 25, 2023
    • Reply
    • So happy to see my comments show up.

      The soup and perogy’s turned out GREAT! The soup has been eaten, even with the addition of what I added from making the perogy’s (after all, what’s wrong with putting more cheese and some bacon into it?) – we’ll be having the other 11 perogy’s for breakfast tomorrow (had 10 of them for breakfast today). YUM.

      I’ve never made perogy dough before, but it was quite easy; I’ve saved the website, if anybody would like it. I did look on Jen’s blog first, but there wasn’t a perogy dough recipe 🙂

      • — Sandra D on March 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • The texture threw me off. I liked the flavors, however it was a little too creamy and goopy for me. It tasted like a soupy chowder to me. I’m not sure if I did something wrong, I followed the recipe exactly as written.

    • — Linda on February 22, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely amazing. I LOVE mashed potatoes — all potatoes really — but this cauliflower is fantastic! I’m a convert. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Mary Flannery on February 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • loved this, followed suggestion of previous cook and added two cloves of smashed garlic to the cooking liquid… when I went to puree, could not find them, so they were pureed as well…
    did not add the broth as it looked thin…next time will use a little more cauliflower…so easy and so good

    • — Carol on February 19, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can this be made with frozen cauliflower from a package?

    • — Judy on February 16, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, I haven’t made this with frozen cauliflower, but a few readers have commented that they have successfully. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 16, 2023
      • Reply

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