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Are you wondering how to make cauliflower rice (a.k.a. riced cauliflower)? The best methods for cooking it? And what the best cauliflower rice recipes are? This guide covers everything you need to know! You’ll turn to this keto cauliflower rice recipe again and again.
Let’s start with the basics, then move on to how to make homemade cauliflower rice (with a food processor and by hand), the best methods for cooking cauliflower rice, and then finally, plenty of keto cauliflower rice recipes that will surely get you into the kitchen and on your way to my favorite low carb, paleo and keto rice alternative!
What Is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice is simply cauliflower that is cut into rice-like shape.
What is cauliflower rice made of?
CAULIFLOWER – that’s it! It’s just one ingredient, but of course, there are many things you can add when cooking cauliflower rice recipes.
Can you buy riced cauliflower?
You can make your own cauliflower rice, but if you’re short on time or looking for a shortcut, you can also buy it from the stores. Most grocery stores in the United States carry riced cauliflower, either fresh or frozen, and both options work well.
TIP: If you’re are buying already riced cauliflower, make sure that it is very fresh and doesn’t have any brown spotting on it. It goes bad fairly quickly.
Is cauliflower rice better than rice?
I certainly think that cauliflower rice is better than rice! It’s perfect for a low carb or keto diet, but even if you’re not following that lifestyle, cauliflower is healthier and much more nutrient dense than rice.
Does cauliflower rice taste like rice?
Yes, riced cauliflower does taste a little like rice! Because rice is a pretty bland and mild food on its own, and cauliflower is as well, this plain cauliflower rice recipe makes a good blank canvas rice substitute. Of course there is a tiny hint of cauliflower flavor in there, but it still makes a fabulous rice replacement, especially if you get the salt and seasonings right.
Why You’ll Love This Cauliflower Rice Recipe
- Neutral flavor makes a great side or addition to anything
- Al dente texture
- Super easy to make
- Ready in less than 15 minutes
- Low carb, gluten-free, and keto friendly
- Healthy way to eat veggies
How To Cut Cauliflower For Cauliflower Rice
Whether you are making cauliflower rice in a food processor or using a box grater, you’ll want to cut it into large florets first.
- Wash and trim your head of cauliflower of any brown spots.
- Cut the cauliflower head into quarters. Just cut it in half, then in half again to make quarters.
- Hold a quarter of the cauliflower head vertically and use a knife to slice of the woody center. The florets will fall right off! Here’s a visual:
- If the florets are still too big, you can cut them a bit smaller as needed. (You can also use the same cutting method when making roasted broccoli and cauliflower!)
TIP: You don’t have to make tiny florets, but cut the cauliflower into pieces that will fit into the feed tube your food processor. If you’ll be using a box grater, you can get away with even larger florets.
How To Rice Cauliflower With A Food Processor
I think the best way to make riced cauliflower is with a food processor, because it’s so fast! You can easily rice an entire head of cauliflower in minutes.
- Prep your food processor with the grater attachment. Attach the grater disc and feed tube and you’re ready to grate.
- Start the food processor and feed cauliflower through the feed tube. If it’s an extra large head of cauliflower, you may need to empty out the food processor a couple of times.
TIP: I highly recommend the grater blade, not the knife S blade. The S blade can make some pieces too fine while others stay too large, plus the grater blade makes longer grains. However, if all you have is an S blade, or you prefer finer pieces, you can place the cauliflower into the food processor and pulse with the S blade instead. You may need to do this in batches.
How To Rice Cauliflower Without A Food Processor
While the food processor may be easiest way to make riced cauliflower, I do want to show you how to rice cauliflower by hand, too.
- Knife method: Yes, it is possible to make cauliflower rice with a knife. You simply chop, chop, chop that cauliflower into rice-sized pieces. A bit of work, but it does get the job done.
- Box grater method: If you’ll be using a box grater (sometimes called a cheese grater), cut the cauliflower into medium pieces and grate against the medium or large sized grater to get pieces about the size of rice.
How To Cook Cauliflower Rice On The Stove
- Heat a generous amount of oil over medium-high heat, in a large skillet or wok.
- Add the riced cauliflower and stir fry, just until cooked through.
TIP: Don’t overcook it! We’re going for al dente, not mushy. The color will change from bright white to a more muted ivory/cream color.
How Long To Cook Cauliflower Rice
Cooking cauliflower rice will take varying amounts of time, depending on the size of your rice and whether it’s fresh or frozen.
Fresh raw cauliflower rice takes about 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat, until the rice is soft, but not mushy.
If you are using frozen cauliflower rice, it will take an additional few minutes, or until all of the water has evaporated.
Tips For The Best Cauliflower Rice
I have a few tips for this foolproof and easy cauliflower rice recipe! From the right sized grains to the right texture, these are the keys to perfect low carb rice:
- Use the right food processor attachment. If you are using a food processor to make your rice, use the grate attachment, not the S blade. You’ll get more uniform cauli rice and longer “grains”.
- Use more florets and fewer stems. You can still use the stems if you like, but the flavor and texture is better if you use mostly florets. And with stems you sometimes get pieces that are too long, but with florets you won’t. Bags of cauliflower florets will also work well.
- Don’t overcook it. Make sure to watch your riced cauliflower when you are cooking it to avoid mushy cauliflower rice. It can get mushy quickly.
- Don’t cover it. We don’t want to steam our cauliflower, so leave the cover off so that the water can evaporate. When the pan is covered, you’re essentially steaming it. Steaming increases that cauliflower smell and makes it more mushy, sometimes even watery. Stir frying over high-ish heat is best.
- Don’t use water. Do not cook riced cauliflower in water like you would normal rice. It will just get soggy.
- Tip for cauliflower rice in soups: If you are adding riced cauliflower to soup, add it at the end, so that it only cooks for a few minutes.
- Pre-cook riced cauliflower for casseroles. If you are using cauliflower in a casserole, such as cheeseburger casserole, it’s best to cook it first. Otherwise, your casserole can get watery. The only exception is if your casserole has ingredients that can absorb excess moisture, then it can be okay to add raw.
- If using sauce, adjust the amount. Cauliflower rice does not soak up extra moisture as much as regular rice does, so you may need less sauce if you use it as a replacement in a recipe.
Additions & Variations
This riced cauliflower recipe is super basic — just cauliflower, oil, salt, and pepper. But, here are common additions that make cooking it even more delicious:
- Garlic – Saute a few cloves of garlic in the oil first, before adding the cauliflower rice.
- Fresh herbs – Add these at the end. Try parsley, cilantro, basil, or chives, depending on what you are serving with it.
- Dried seasonings – Try Italian or Cajun seasoning.
- Switch up the fat – I used olive oil, but you can also use avocado oil or ghee to fry the riced cauliflower. Butter is not great for high-heat cooking (some cauliflower rice recipes suggest medium heat, but I prefer medium high), but you can add some at the end for flavor.
- Lemons – Some fresh lemon zest or even a spash of lemon juice make delicious additions.
- Coconut aminos – A great addition for Asian flavors. It’s similar to soy sauce, but I avoid soy sauce for these reasons.
- Fried rice – Make cauliflower fried rice for a healthier takeout sub.
- Cilantro lime – Recipe coming soon in my second cookbook! (Sign up for the free keto food list here and then I’ll notify you once the book is ready.)
Cauliflower Rice Nutrition
The full cauliflower rice nutritional facts are below, but here are some of the highlights per 1 cup of this recipe:
- 98 calories
- 7 grams carbohydrates
- 7 grams fat
- 3 grams fiber
How many carbs in cauliflower rice?
Cauliflower rice has 7 grams of total carbs per cup, but only 4 grams net carbs per cup.
Is cauliflower rice good for you?
Yes, riced cauliflower is good for you! Not only are the cauliflower rice carbohydrates low, but it’s a delicious way to eat a serving of vegetables.
Is cauliflower rice keto?
Yes, since riced cauliflower is very low carb and all natural, it’s great for a keto diet.
How Much Cauliflower Rice In A Head Of Cauliflower?
When you’re trying to determine how much cauliflower rice to make, here is a good chart to use:
|Cauliflower Head Size||Total Weight (With Leaves & Stems)||Volume Of Cauliflower Rice||Weight Of Riced Cauliflower|
|Medium||1.5 pounds||4 cups||1 pound|
|Large||2 pounds||6 cups||1.5 pounds|
|Extra Large||3 pounds||8 cups||2 pounds|
Note that cauliflower heads will vary in size, so this is an estimate!
The recipe card below contains ingredients per 1 lb cauliflower rice. If you end up with more or less, adjust the amounts of other ingredients accordingly.
Both cooked and uncooked cauliflower rice should be stored in the refrigerator.
How long does cauliflower rice last?
Freshly riced cauliflower (homemade or from the store) will last about 2-3 days in the refrigerator. If it’s cooked, it will last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Can you freeze cauliflower rice?
Yes, you can freeze fresh cauliflower rice, but you need to blanch it first. (This is what has been done for you with frozen cauli rice from the store.)
Blanching the cauliflower first is important to reduce enzyme activity, which can affect both flavor and texture. It’s the reason why freezing most vegetables completely raw is not recommended, but is perfectly fine after blanching.
Here is how to freeze cauliflower rice with the blanching method:
- Briefly submerge the riced cauliflower in boiling water, for about 30 seconds or so.
- Immediately transfer to an ice bath to stop all cooking.
- Drain, pat dry with a towel, and let cool.
- Freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will last in the freezer for 3-4 months.
How To Cook Frozen Cauliflower Rice
If you’re wondering how to cook cauliflower rice that’s been frozen, you can follow the same instructions as fresh cauliflower, but just know that it may take an additional few minutes to let all of the water evaporate.
TIP: Make sure to leave the pan uncovered to let the water evaporate. We don’t want to steam riced cauliflower.
The Best Cauliflower Rice Recipes
Now that you know how to cook cauliflower rice, here are some ideas for how to use it and what to make with it! It’s a great side dish, but can also be used to make meals. There are so many delicious dishes that incorporate this nutritious vegetable.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice – A natural choice, this classic recipe will show you just how delicious cooking cauliflower rice can be.
- Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice – So tangy and fresh! Perfect for a variety of keto Mexican dishes.
- Keto Cauliflower Tots – These easy and healthy tots need just 4 ingredients.
- Cauliflower Pizza Crust – This version is sturdy, not soggy, and can stand up to holding with your hands!
- Low Carb Cauliflower Risotto – Riced cauliflower makes the perfect swap for creamy risotto.
- Cauliflower Hash Browns – The crispy edges are so good!
Find even more cauliflower recipes here.
What To Eat With Cauliflower Rice
- Coconut Curry Chicken – Scoop up every last drop of this thick and rich sauce with riced cauliflower.
- Korean Ground Beef Bowl – Flavorful ground beef pairs perfectly with cauli rice.
- Keto Beef and Broccoli – Double the veggies in this meal!
- Grilled Ground Lamb Kebabs – Add some fresh mint and parsley to the rice for a Mediterranean meal.
- Easy Carne Asada – Serve sliced carne asada over cauli rice, and top with salsa, sour cream, and sliced avocado.
- Keto Chicken Stir Fry – A simple throw-in-what-you-have 15-minute dinner.
Tools To Make Keto Cauliflower Rice
- Box Grater – Make your cauli rice by hand with a box grater.
- Food Processor – The ideal method for making riced cauliflower, because it’s the FASTEST.
- Nonstick Wok – The best pan for cooking cauliflower rice – no cauliflower lost over the sides!
- Vacuum Sealer – If you’re freezing cauli rice, using a vacuum sealer is the way to go.
How To Make Riced Cauliflower
How To Make Cauliflower Rice (GUIDE)
This guide for how to make cauliflower rice includes methods for making it, plus the best cauliflower rice recipes and what to serve with it.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Make cauliflower rice using a box grater or food processor with grater blade. (Skip if you have pre-made or frozen cauliflower rice.)
Season the raw cauliflower rice with sea salt and black pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large wok over medium-high heat, for 1-2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower rice. Stir fry 3-5 minutes, uncovered, until cauliflower rice is soft but not mushy. (Think al dente!) Do not cover. It may take a couple minutes longer if your cauliflower rice was frozen.
Adjust salt and pepper to taste if desired.
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Serving size: 1 cup
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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I was surprised it was satisfying with only like 98 calories. I like the cauliflower rice made fresh. I used the bromelain powder you recommended in another recipe as a meat tenderizer. I love that I am getting 2 full servings of fresh vegetables and it satisfies my craving.
Fast & easy to make. Flavoursome, wholesome, spicy – just delicious!
Amy L Huntley0
I prefer the texture of cauliflower rice over rice. I love the texture and flavor so much better.
I make cauliflower rice all the time. Love the benefits, plus it’s so good!
This is my rice of choice!! It’s so light & fluffy & tastes great with anything!
Such a perfect side dish!! I love how easy this is to make! Thank you!
This was so helpful and our rice turned out great! Such an easy recipe. I’m excited to use this in different recipes, especially for our lunch today! My family is going to love trying some of these recipes today!
I will definitely try this!
I love cauliflower rice so much and it comes out perfectly every time! Thank you!
Thank you for sharing! So many wonderful tips on how to make the perfect cauliflower dish! This was so helpful!
much better than expected. i’m glad i tried it. thanks
Tastier than I thought it’ll be, would definitely make it again
This dish was awesome, very tasty and will be making this a lot.
So good! Quick, easy meal.
Love the cauli rice, great with curry..can’wait to try it with other recipes!
This is such an amazing recipe. Thanks for sharing it!
I am so glad I found your post! I have been buying the frozen cauliflower rice, but do not love the texture. Can’t wait to make my own from fresh cauliflower!
Hi Maya, I bought a large food processor with the grater attachment mostly just to make cauliflower rice! I tried it once with a grater and it just too long. I made this recipe with the food processor tonight and was delighted with how easy it was. However, a fair amount of the cauliflower was literally grated like shredded cheese. Is this normal? Would this maybe mean I did not trim it close enough to the stems? Thanks in advance! Can’t wait to eat it with your coconut chicken curry at work tomorrow 🙂
Wholesome Yum M0
Hi Deanna, Yes, your stems are too large. Chop them up into smaller pieces before sending them through the food processor and it will help to get the right “rice” texture.
I love cauliflower rice! Such a delicious option for those of us who can’t do rice. 🙂 Thanks for the easy how-to.
Wow – what a great all-in-one tutorial!! Thank you for sharing! This will be a post to bookmark!
Wow, this is SO comprehensive! I’m a tried and true brown rice fan, but I may have to try cauliflower rice now!
I LOVE so many of your recipes, thank you! I really don’t understand the instructions regarding blanching the cauliflower rice prior to freezing – you say “blanch in boiling water for 30 seconds then in ice bath”. If you just dump all the tiny “grains” into boiling water you will never be able to scoop them all out at the same time and into an ice bath. Won’t some of them get cooked longer while you’re still scooping them out? and the same thing with trying to scoop them all out of the ice bath? Sounds like they will be awfully soggy after all that – what am I missing? I would love to be able to freeze cauliflower rice! Thanks
Maya | Wholesome Yum0
Hi Terry, You can simply dump the entire pot into a fine mesh strainer and it will catch the cauliflower rice, while the water runs through. Hope this helps!
Someone else asked about dehydrating cauliflower rice and gave me the idea. I riced 2 whole heads and spread them onto 6 trays of my dehydrator for 4 hours at 50 degrees. Then I froze the resulting crumble. No use as a rice side dish at that stage – but it only took a few minutes to defrost and it made the most wonderful pizza crust – I just added a tablespoon of avocado oil to the recipe to get it to stay together. Lovely thin, firm base easy to pick up to eat. Because I am only feeding one on keto, I rolled the dough out to a rectangle and baked it on a pizza stone then cut six servings and froze 5 of them. Made one little pizza with yummy keto friendly toppings.