Does Cauliflower Rice taste just like rice? Of course not! Don’t be silly. But I promise it IS delicious, and is a great low carb substitute for any recipe you want to serve “over rice” when you are trying to cut calories. I will show you how to make cauliflower rice, it’s actually super easy. Originally posted January 5, 2019.

cauliflower rice garnished with cilantro in a black bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. What is Cauliflower Rice?
  2. Cauliflower Rice Ingredients 
  3. How to rice Cauliflower
  4. How to make Cauliflower Rice
  5. How to season Cauliflower Rice 
  6. Best Cauliflower Rice FAQs
  7. What to serve with this Cauliflower Rice Recipe
  8. Cauliflower Rice Recipe Recipe

Has anyone found a way to incorporate twinkle lights into their every day, non-holiday decor? I’m struggling over here guys. I run into the putting-away-the-twinkle-lights-blues every January, and have done some serious research in the past on how to decorate with twinkle lights year round. I mean, without making my living room look like a freshman dorm. Last year I almost made this twinkle lights glitter canvas to brighten up my mantle.

What do you do to get past the January blues? Sometimes January feels like all the fun is over and I’m just left with a mountain sized to do list and a feeling like I should be on a diet, when really I don’t want to be and I’m still eating leftover cookies for breakfast dessert. (Come on, I can’t be the only one who has breakfast dessert?)

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cauliflower rice garnished with cilantro in a black bowl.

A few of the bloggers I follow on Instagram have mentioned that getting organized and deep cleaning is the best way to get past the January slump. Are you into that? Maybe I should try it. Eric and I just watched the first episode of the new Netflix series with Marie Kondo, the Magic of Tidying Up lady. It was pretty fun watching her whip people’s houses into shape with her simple methods! But can I just say, so far it’s a lot more fun watching other people get organized on TV than actually getting organized myself. Ha! Marie Kondo, come to my house!

What is Cauliflower Rice?

Have you started any sort of diet now that the holidays are over? I’m not on a diet, per se, but I am back to my usual dinnertime recipes which are usually pretty low-carb; protein and vegetable focused. Cauliflower rice is a STAPLE side dish in our house, and I figured it was time to show you how to make cauliflower rice for yourself!

Cauliflower rice is basically just cauliflower that is chopped up really tiny and then sautéed in some butter or oil.  Don’t get mad at me when you make this and realize it tastes like cauliflower! I’m not going to mislead you. But I promise, cauliflower rice is really quite delicious. My kids are used to it by now and will eat it with the same enthusiasm that they eat rice.

Cauliflower Rice Ingredients 

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Cauliflower
  • Butter or olive oil (butter tastes better)
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Parsley (to garnish, optional)

How to rice Cauliflower

cutting a cauliflower in half on a wooden cutting board.

First you have to chop up the cauliflower really small. You can do this in the food processor or blender, which is absolutely the easiest and fastest way to get the job done. You can also just chop it up really tiny with a knife, which would take a while, or you can use a box grater (a cheese grater) to grate the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces.

cutting the core away from a cauliflower and then cutting it into smaller pieces on a wooden cutting board.
making cauliflower rice in the food processor.

How to make Cauliflower Rice

Once the cauliflower is riced, you just saute it in a fat of your choice (oil or butter) until it’s crisp-tender, seasoning however you please. Today’s recipe uses salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Pretty basic.

cooking cauliflower rice in a pan with a wooden spoon.

How to season Cauliflower Rice 

I season my cauliflower rice with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. You can use any seasonings and any amount that you want. Remember, some cauliflowers are huge and some are tiny, so use your best judgment when seasoning. 

Want to switch up the seasonings? Try one of my internationally inspired variations, like Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Rice or Spanish Cauliflower Rice! Or just consider them a starting point for experimenting with the flavors you like best. 

Best Cauliflower Rice FAQs

Is cauliflower rice good for you?

Yes! If you’re on a low carb diet it’s pretty ideal. It’s lower in calories than regular rice, and it’s full of vitamins (A and C) and minerals (calcium and potassium). It’s also high in fiber which is great for your digestive system. Basically anytime I’m making a weeknight curry or stir fry I make some cauliflower rice, and I genuinely enjoy it. It may not be regular rice but it is delicious!

Does riced cauliflower need to be cooked?

Nope, you can eat riced cauliflower raw, just like you can eat cauliflower florets raw on a veggie tray. But I prefer it cooked. Sautéing it with butter or oil and some seasonings takes it from a heap o’ raw cauliflower to a legitimately tasty side. 

How do you make cauliflower rice without being mushy?

Mushy cauliflower rice is edible, but not really fun to eat. Here’s how to get perfect texture cauliflower rice every time:
1. Don’t cook it too long. Note that I say 5-10 minutes in my recipe. Since cauliflower rice is perfectly safe to eat even before you cook it, I recommend tasting it when you think you’re almost done.
2. Don’t boil or simmer it. Regular rice gets cooked in water; cauliflower rice does NOT. You’ll see in this recipe that we’re just cooking it in a little butter or oil. Isn’t that just sautéing a vegetable? Yes, yes it is. See? So easy!
3. Don’t make it ahead of time. I really don’t recommend using cauliflower rice for meal prep, at least not more than a day or two in advance. Cauliflower rice will get mushier in the fridge. Again, still edible, but we’re going for tender and tasty here. 

Which is healthier: cauliflower rice or brown rice?

This is a tricky question, because it depends on your goals. The short answer? They’re both good for you. Brown rice is higher in carbohydrates and calories than cauliflower, and cauliflower is higher in protein. Right there, you’re going to see that many people (including me) would often rather choose the cauliflower rice. However, whole grains, like brown rice, are really good for you and have been shown to prevent disease. Cauliflower and brown rice both have fiber and important vitamins and minerals. My family and I eat both!

Recipes with Riced Cauliflower

I have several cauliflower rice recipes on my blog that go beyond the basics of butter, salt, and pepper.

This Asian Cauliflower Rice Recipe uses sweet chili sauce and pairs perfectly with any kind of Asian protein or curry. I’m partial to serving it with this Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice is bright yellow from the turmeric. I love all the spices in this one. It goes great with Chicken Tikka Masala!

Cauliflower Rice Skillet with Zucchini and Kielbasa is a stand alone dish that has kielbasa sausage and zucchini. It’s so delicious!

Spanish Cauliflower Rice (To Eat with Mexican Food) is a perfect side for Aunt Shirley’s Creamy Enchiladas, these Traditional Tejano Pinto Beans, or my favorite, my brother-in-law’s grandmother’s recipe for Traditional Tejano Carne Guisada.

cauliflower rice garnished with cilantro in a black bowl.

What to serve with this Cauliflower Rice Recipe

My favorite things to eat with cauliflower rice include any type of curry or main dish meat: beef, pork, chicken, whatever. You can basically substitute cauliflower rice for any recipe that says “serve over rice,” or any entree that you would traditionally pair with mashed potatoes.

cauliflower rice garnished with cilantro in a black bowl.

It’s even better when there is some sort of sauce or glaze that will end up soaking into your cauliflower rice, mmm. Here are some of my favorite recipes to make with cauliflower rice:

Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Easy Fall-Apart Pot Roast with Carrots (Slow Cooker)

Honey Balsamic Slow Cooker Pork Ribs

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker)

Slow Cooker Beef Curry

Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Pan Seared Chicken and Broccolini in Creamy Mustard Sauce

cauliflower rice garnished with cilantro in a black bowl.

If you have never tried making cauliflower rice before, I encourage you to give it a try! It’s a much healthier option than rice on a random weeknight. Like I said, my kids eat it, so we probably have it at least once a week. I rarely do a grocery store strip these days without grabbing a cauliflower. It’s a staple! Let me know what you think when you try it!

(I just hit publish on this post and re-read it for typos. I’m leaving the “grocery store strip” because I mean come on, how exciting would THAT be??)

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Cauliflower Rice Recipe

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Does Cauliflower Rice taste just like rice? Of course not! Don’t be silly. But I promise it IS delicious, and is a great low carb substitute for any recipe you want to serve “over rice” when you are trying to cut calories. I will show you how to make cauliflower rice, it’s actually super easy.


  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons butter OR olive oil, butter tastes better
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • parsley, to garnish


  • Wash your head of cauliflower well.
  • Slice the cauliflower in half down the center, so that you are splitting the stem in half too (see photos). Split each half in half again, right down through the stem. Use your knife to slice at an angle to remove the stem entirely from each quarter.
  • Food processor instructions: Chop the cauliflower into 1 to 2 inch pieces. You don’t need to bother keeping the florets intact, you’re just going to pulverize them anyway.
  • Add about 1/3 of the chopped cauliflower to a food processor OR a blender  (but use a food processor if you have it, it will chop more evenly). Pulse in 1 second intervals, until the cauliflower is chopped into pieces about the size of grains of rice. Don’t go too crazy. You don’t want to accidentally puree your cauliflower! If you are using a blender, you may need to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and pulse again. If the cauliflower gets pretty evenly riced, but there are still a couple big chunks, take the chunks out, chop them a bit smaller, and add it to the next batch.
  • Remove the cauliflower rice to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining batches of chopped cauliflower. (If you add too much cauliflower to the machine at once, it will not rice evenly.)
  • How to rice cauliflower with a box grater: After removing the stem, grate the cauliflower using the biggest holes on your box grater. It will make a mess and you will get cauliflower bits on the floor. Embrace it! Grab the broom! If you don’t have a box grater, you could also just use a knife to chop up the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces.
  • Once all of your cauliflower has been riced, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of butter. You can use oil if you like; I prefer the taste of butter. If you are watching your calories, you could definitely get away with adding less oil or butter, even down to 1-2 tablespoons. But, um, butter is delicious and I like to be able to taste it.
  • Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add the cauliflower rice.
  • Season with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. You can use any seasonings and any amount that you want. Remember, some cauliflowers are huge and some are tiny, so use your best judgment when seasoning. 
  • Sauté for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon. How long you cook it really depends on how much cauliflower you have. Taste it; the “grains” should be crisp-tender, just like any sautéed vegetable. If you cook it too long, it will get mushy.
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately! See above the recipe for lots of ideas for what to serve this with. 


Calories: 156kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 777mg | Potassium: 646mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 501IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Calories: 156
Keyword: cauliflower rice, how to make
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 5 stars
    This was actually delicious. I had very low expectations but honestly? It was very very tasty and absolutely something I would serve with a stir fry, curry, or similar. It had great flavor and texture and even held up well for multiple days (not mushy). I did use fresh cauliflower that I did in the blender. Easy, fast, healthy, even my kids ate it.

  2. People are always wondering why I am laughing, BY MYSELF, up in my office. It’s because I’m reading your blog. A grocery store strip would be interesting, to say the least.

    I’m glad to hear you are still eating leftover cookies from Christmas. Our cookies are basically gone except for a few broken pieces in the bottoms of the containers. These are good for when you are craving some sugar and you have scrounged around and can’t find anything. Yes, one bite of stale cookie! Better than nothing.

    We still have a LOT of candy around here. I’m not sure how that happened with just three of us for the holiday’s. It’s all downstairs by the TV so anytime I pull up Netflix (Marie Kondo, here I come!) we are eating candy.

    And yes, I do believe your friends who say decluttering does help you get over the post-holiday depression blues. I have taken (NO KIDDING HERE) two entire loads of stuff to the second hand store and my Explorer is now totally packed with my first load of books I am sharing. This sounds better than “books I am getting rid of.”

    This blog post is making me drool up in my office. All the options to serve cauliflower rice with is making me super hungry. I’m still cleaning out all the leftovers in the fridge re-imagined into various new incarnations. One or two more days and they will be gone. . .

    1. Say no to stale dry cookies Kris!!!! Not worth the calories!! I’ve become such a cookie snob over the years. If it’s not fresh, it’s not goin in this mouth :) I’m so impressed with all your decluttering! Eric and I are still in the studying and planning phase. That’s where we watch Marie Kondo clean and declutter and make PLANS to do it soon. Ha!! And lastly, have you made cauliflower rice yet Kris? You’ve got to try it! I bet even Chip will like it. Though no doubt he will pour butter all over it just like he does with mashed potatoes, and all your healthy efforts will be for naught ;)

      1. Hi Karen. Thank you for adding me to your mailing list! Can I ask what blender you use that pulses the cauliflower into rice sized pieces? My food processor’s pulse option doesn’t work and I want to purchase a new one. TIA

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