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How To Thicken Cauliflower Mash

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Cauliflower mash is a simple but versatile and delicious side dish that you can whip up in minutes. And, it’s really easy to make too! Learn how to thicken cauliflower mash quickly and easily, then serve it with any meat, poultry, or fish dish for a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes.

cauliflower mash in bowl.

Cauliflower mash is low in carbs and calories, but high in fiber and nutrients. It is a great way to sneak in some vegetables for picky eaters. You can use it as a substitute for potatoes or rice, and kids won’t even notice that they’re eating their vegetables!

However, the consistency of mashed cauliflower may be thinner than mashed potatoes. If you are wondering how to thicken mashed cauliflower, there are a number of ways to do so. Follow these simple steps to learn how to make cauliflower mash thicker for deliciously creamy results that you can enjoy.

Why is cauliflower mash watery?

Many people who are limiting their carbohydrate intake turn to mashed cauliflower as an alternative to potatoes. But cauliflower has a very high water content and soaks up water quickly. This results in a watery cauliflower dish when cooked.

Aside from the naturally high water content, there are other reasons why a mash may be watery. Cauliflower can be watery if it’s not allowed to rest after the water is drained off. When you drain off the water after cooking your cauliflower, just let it sit in the pan for 10 minutes before you begin mashing it with a fork. 

How to make cauliflower mash thicker

Thick, creamy cauliflower mash? Heaven. But if you’ve ever attempted to prepare it yourself only to find that it came out too watery, here are a few solutions for how to thicken mashed cauliflower:

Cook for longer

The simplest and easiest trick for how to thicken cauliflower mash is to simply cook it longer. This will release the natural starches in the cauliflower, which will thicken the mixture.

To make cauliflower mash thicker, simply simmer in medium-low heat for a few minutes longer than usual to allow more of the liquid to evaporate.

steamed cauliflower for mashing.

Add more cauliflower

Another simple, easy way to thicken cauliflower mash is by adding more cauliflower! Even better, this method won’t affect the overall taste or texture of the dish.

  1. Grind 2 cups of cauliflower florets.
  2. Add it to the cauliflower mash.
  3. Mix well and season to taste.

Mix in cream cheese

How to thicken mashed cauliflower? One way you can make it thicker (and richer) is by adding a source of fat and moisture. The fat in most cheeses, especially cream cheese, makes this a bit easier. But if you don’t want to use cheese, butter is another option.

After you puree the cauliflower to reduce the moisture, stir in cream cheese and butter over low heat until well combined.

Include potatoes

Potatoes are starchy root vegetables that naturally thicken just about any dish. If you’re wondering how to thicken cauliflower mash and you’re not on a keto diet, try adding a few cooked potatoes to the dish as well.

  1. Boil the potatoes until tender.
  2. Blend the soft potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the mashed potatoes to the cauliflower mash you are cooking.
  4. Season according to taste.

Thicken with a cornstarch slurry

If you want a creamy and velvety cauliflower mash, cornstarch can help you achieve your goal. The fine powder of the starch grains is less sharp than the flour, but you have to be careful when adding it as too much slurry at once will ruin your dish. Avoid the clumps and add gradually until you reach the desired thickness.

  1. Mix together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2–3 tablespoons of water to form a slurry.
  2. Gradually combine the mixture with your mashed cauliflower, stirring well as you add.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 5–10 minutes or until thickened to your liking.

Try a roux

When wondering how to thicken mashed cauliflower, adding a roux is a classic choice that enhances the flavor as well. Add it 20 minutes after cooking the cauliflower mash to make sure that the water content is reduced.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pan on the stove, then stir in 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour until lightly browned and bubbly. Combine with the cauliflower mash to thicken it.

For extra creamy results, whisk about a cup of milk or chicken broth into the roux in the pan. Continue stirring and cooking for about 3 minutes until the liquid has reduced. At this point you will have obtained a thick, creamy, and tasty sauce to add to your mashed cauliflower.

Best way to thicken cauliflower mash

How to thicken mashed cauliflower? You can use a number of methods such as increased cooking time or adding more cauliflower.

You can also try adding cream cheese, potatoes, cornstarch slurry, or roux to get the perfect consistency for your cauliflower mash. Among the choices, adding more cooking time or adding more cauliflower are the best ones because they won’t alter the flavor or texture too much.

making cauliflower mash.

Getting the right thickness for your cauliflower mash

Why is it important to learn how to thicken cauliflower mash the right way? Because the consistency has a massive impact on the food experience.

If your cauliflower mash is too thin and watery, it will feel like you’re eating a bowl of soup. In contrast, if you make it too thick, it will be like chewing on rubber tires.

While the perfect consistency may vary based on personal preference, a cauliflower mash should be easy to spread but not so much that it becomes too runny. 

The key to getting the right consistency is to use the right amount of liquid and to use a food processor or blender. Here are some tips for getting the perfect consistency in mashed cauliflower:

  • Steam it. Try to steam your cauliflower instead of boiling it. Steaming will require less water, resulting in a more solid, less runny product.
  • Drain it well. Make sure you drain your cauliflower thoroughly before mashing. If that doesn’t work, try using cheesecloth to squeeze out all the excess moisture.
  • Get the right ratio. To make a perfect cauliflower mash, you will need to have the correct ratio of cauliflower to liquid. For a thinner mixture, add more water or broth, but for a thicker mash, add more cauliflower.
  • Add milk or broth before blending. You will get a different texture depending on when you add milk or broth to your cauliflower puree. For a creamier texture, add it to your cauliflower puree before blending.
  • Stir often during cooking. Be sure to stir your cauliflower mash often while it cooks so that all parts are evenly and thoroughly cooked. Stirring will also help to break up the lumps.
  • Don’t overcook cauliflower mash. If you cook cauliflower too long, it will lose its texture and become mushy.
thicken cauliflower mash.

Variations of mashed cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower can be one of the healthiest side dishes around, but it can also get a little boring after a while. The good news is cauliflower mash is easy to make in a number of ways, with different ingredients and methods. The basic principles of making cauliflower mash are the same, but each recipe can have its own spin on flavor and texture.

Here are a few ways to change up your mashed cauliflower recipe and keep things interesting.

  • Greens: Add in some shredded kale or other greens for extra vitamins and minerals.
  • Nuts and seeds: Try pistachios, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds for added flavor and nutrient.
  • Cheese: Parmesan, blue cheese, or cheddar cheese add tons of creamy flavor.
  • Herbs and spices: Garlic, rosemary, or thyme are simple and delicious.
  • Roasted vegetables: Carrots, celery, or Brussels sprouts add color and increase nutritional value.

FAQs on how to thicken mashed cauliflower

If you don’t see your question answered below, don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments!

How do you thicken watery mashed cauliflower?

To thicken watery mashed cauliflower, you can cook it longer to reduce the water or add more cauliflower. You can also experiment with adding cream cheese, potatoes, a cornstarch slurry, or a roux to achieve the right consistency for your cauliflower mash.

What can be used to thicken cauliflower mashed potatoes?

You can use cream cheese, potatoes, a cornstarch slurry, a roux, or more cauliflower to thicken your cauliflower dish. Another simple and easy way is to simmer it for a few minutes longer than usual to achieve the desired thickness. 

How do you make cauliflower mash not watery?

To avoid a watery cauliflower mash, steam your cauliflower instead of boiling it. Next, make sure that the cauliflower is drained thoroughly. While cooking, use the correct ratio of liquid to vegetable. Add milk or chicken broth before blending, and stir often to avoid lumps. Finally, don’t overcook it or you’ll be left with mush.

thickened cauliflower mash.

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