How to Make Cauliflower Rice right at home in less than 10 minutes! Delicious, vegan, and gluten-free, enjoy this low-carb veggie alternative with all your favorite recipes!
By now, most of us have probably heard of cauliflower rice, or simply, “cauli-rice”. Low-carb, vegan, gluten-free, whole 30, keto and paleo-approved, cauliflower rice is basically a culinary unicorn.
Made by chopping or grating raw cauliflower into tiny bits that look like rice, it’s pretty easy to make right in your very own kitchen.
Given its versatility and overall low-calorie content, cauliflower rice has made eating a low-carb diet delicious and tricking kids into eating their vegetables easier than ever.
So today I’m sharing everything I know about this culinary unicorn, including how to make and cook cauliflower rice!
How to make Cauliflower Rice without a Food Processor
So you don’t have a food processor? No worries! Although it may be easiest to turn cauliflower into rice using a food processor, it’s not the only way.
3 other ways to make cauliflower rice:
- Box Grater – Chop the cauliflower into large chunks and use the medium to large-sized holes to grate the cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. Here’s the thing about using a box grater, you guys- it’s messy. Tiny little pieces of cauliflower fall all over the floor and get everywhere. To help contain some of this mess, try to grate your cauliflower inside the bowl of a large mixing bowl.
- Chop – Yep, good old fashioned chopping. Using a large chef’s knife simply mince the cauliflower into tiny pieces. This method takes more time and patience, but it requires the least amount of cooking equipment. A great option if you’re just getting started making your own cauliflower rice.
- Blender – If you plan to use a blender, you’re going to need a blender that comes with a tamper. The reason is that the tamper will push the cauliflower florets down into the blade. So what you’ll do it add cauliflower florets to the blender until it is approximately 1/2 way full. Process on low, pushing the florets down into the blade with the tamper. If necessary, scrape down the sides as needed. Repeat until all the cauliflower has been processed into small pieces.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice Taste Good
The thing with cauliflower rice is that it tastes pretty bland. From frozen cauliflower rice that’s been microwaved (the blandest- blah!) to freshly grated cauliflower that’s been sauteed in a little olive oil, the truth is that unless you add a little aromatics or spices, it’s not going to have a lot of exciting flavors.
Fortunately, this is the FUN part of making cauliflower rice. You can literally make it taste like whatever you want.
For starters, if you’re simply replacing the rice in recipes like curries and stews which already come with deliciously flavored gravies and sauces, I wouldn’t worry about seasoning it much. If, however, your riced cauliflower is acting more as a stand-alone side dish, consider:
- Sauteeing some onion, carrots, and celery in a little butter or olive oil first before adding the cauliflower rice. This flavor base, or mirepoix, will add tons of flavor while still keeping the dish healthy.
- Olive oil, salt, and herbs (cilantro and parsley are my fave). Very similar to chimichurri, mince your favorite herbs and add them, plus a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt to your cooked cauliflower rice.
- Lemon! Fresh lemon juice goes a long way! Go crazy and add a little fresh garlic – go good.
- Pesto sauce! A scoop of pesto goes a long way and keeps this dish keto-approved, gluten-free, and super low carb!
- Stir fry. Yes, you guys, serve this with your favorite stir fry recipe like this Easy Chicken Stir Fry or 10 Minute Garlic Bok Choy.
How to Cook Cauliflower Rice
There are several different (and delicious!) ways to cook cauliflower rice. My favorite ways to prepare this healthy rice substitute, however, are to either saute or roast.
To sauté cauliflower rice on the stovetop:
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter (or a mix- or even coconut oil) in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the cauliflower rice and mix well to combine. Partially cover the skillet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower is tender.
- Here’s the thing about cooking cauliflower rice, you guys – you may cook it as long or as short as you wish. Unlike Zucchini Noodles which quickly turn to mush if they’re overcooked, that doesn’t happen here.
- Season with salt and pepper, as needed.
To roast cauliflower rice:
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the cauliflower rice over the surface of the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasoning (fresh garlic, as always, comes highly recommended).
- Roast for approximately 20-25 minutes or until tender and toasted.
Benefits of eating cauliflower (rice)
Roast it, mash it, rice it, grill it, the uses for cauliflower are endless and so, it seems, are the benefits.
The Nutrition Facts for 1 large head cauliflower (6-7″ diameter):
- Calories: 209 calories
- Fat: 2.4 g (3%)
- Cholesterol: 0 g
- Sodium: 252 mg (10%)
- Potassium: 2512 mg (71%)
- Carbohydrates: 42 g (14%)
- Fiber: 17g (68%)
- Sugars: 16 g
- Protein: 16 g (32%)
It also includes loads of Vitamin C (674 %), Vitamin B-6 (75%), and Magnesium (31%).
Basically, cauliflower is low fat, low-calorie, low-carb veggie filled with protein and fiber. Also known as a real-life unicorn.
But what about cauliflower rice specifically? What makes it so special?
- Neutral taste. In other words, when cooked, it will lose the semi-bitter taste of raw cauliflower and take on all the flavors of the dish you’re preparing.
- It holds its shape. Cauliflower rice will become tender, but it will not turn to mush. I repeat it will not turn to mush. This means that you can add it to soups and casseroles without ending up with a soggy mess.
- Versatile. All the things you can do with glucose filled white rice, you can do with cauliflower rice. Except for maybe sushi? That would be difficult.
- Quick-cooking time. You guys, is it just me or does it feel like regular rice takes forever? Or, am I the only one that always forgets to start the rice until just before the main course is ready to be served? Any time I can make something fast is a win in my book!
- It’s a million times more nutritious. Basically, I get fiber and protein (my two very favorite things) without eating any processed carbohydrates or animal products. Amazing. Imagine all the amazing and healthy recipes that can be made using a single head of cauliflower.
Can Cauliflower Rice be frozen?
If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, you may have noticed that they are selling pre-riced raw cauliflower rice both fresh and frozen. This is awesome and convenient and…going to make me poor. I eat way more rice cauliflower than I do regular rice, so I go through a bag (or 5) pretty quickly.
You guys, make your own fresh cauliflower rice! Now that you know how easy it is, let’s make a big batch and FREEZE IT OURSELVES!
How to freeze cauliflower rice
- Rice your cauliflower using your preferred method- don’t cook.
- Transfer to freezer-friendly bags, removing as much air as possible, and flatten.
- Transfer to the freezer.
Rice cauliflower, when stored properly, lasts in the freezer for at least one month.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice from Frozen?
To thaw, transfer to the refrigerator overnight, place rice in a microwave-safe dish and defrost, or simply add it to your skillet and cook as usual.
More Cauliflower Recipes,
- Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe (reader fav!)
- Cauliflower Leek and Potato Soup (Dairy-Free)
- Healthy Curried Kale and Cauliflower Turmeric Soup
- Salsa Verde Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos with Mango Pomegranate Salsa
- Skinny Baked Bang Bang Cauliflower
If you try making your own riced cauliflower recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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How to make Cauliflower Rice
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- Prepare the cauliflower - Wash and thoroughly dry the cauliflower. Remove all the greens.
- If using a food processor - Chop your cauliflower into small florets. Transfer to a large food processor, filling only 1/2-2/3 of the way full (you may need to process your cauliflower in 2 batches). Pulse the cauliflower in 1-second pulses until cauliflower is approximately the size of rice or couscous.
- If using a box grater - Chop the cauliflower into large chunks and use the medium to large-sized holes to grate the cauliflower into "rice".
- To cook cauliflower rice - Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced shallot (optional) and sauté until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds until stirring in the cauliflower rice. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest, if using, and mix well to combine. Partially cover the skillet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower rice is tender. Season with salt, pepper, or soy sauce, as desired.
- Tip - if you plan to use a box grater to rice your cauliflower, try to do so in a large mixing bowl as the method can be quite messy.
- Nutritional information is for the cooked cauliflower rice.
- Keep leftover cauliflower rice stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in a sealed ziplock bag for up to 1 month.
- Riced cauliflower cooked with olive oil is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, paleo, and supe good for you!
- Originally published on March 7, 2016
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)