How to Make Cauliflower Rice (4 Ways)

4.95 from 57 votes
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Let’s learn how to make cauliflower rice with four easy preparation techniques. This simple recipe guide creates a low-carb and paleo side dish. The rice can be eaten raw, sautéed, steamed, simmered or frozen for later use. 

How to make cauliflower rice with four easy preparation techniques.

Cauliflower rice has magically worked its cruciferous ways into kitchens as a low-carb, paleo, and vegetable alternative to grains. When broken down by chopping or grating into tiny rice-sized pieces, the appearance may fool you for a moment for the real thing.

Besides being a healthy way to add more vegetables to your diet, there are other culinary reasons for the popularity of its use in dishes. It’s extremely versatile in recipes, the flavor is very neutral, it becomes tender yet holds its shape when cooked, and the bonus is the cooking time is less compared to boiling and simmering grain rice.

Two large florets of cauliflower with the green leaves still attached

Once I learned the simple techniques for how to make cauliflower rice, it’s become a frequent substitution in my recipes. There are four easy ways to make cauliflower rice with tools you already have in your kitchen. If you have a chef’s knife, grater, food processor or blender, cauliflower rice can be made within minutes!

Different Ways to Make Cauliflower Rice

  • Chop
  • Grate
  • Food Processor
  • Blender

Adding some cauliflower to your meals provides additional nutrients, especially fiber, vitamin C and K. With the extra nutritional benefits, here’s how to effortlessly prepare the vegetable for recipes.

1) Chop

Using a large chef’s knife, remove the florets from the stem. Mince into tiny pieces, resembling the size and shape of rice grains. This process is a little longer than the other methods but is the simplest to do with minimal tools.

Knife chopping cauliflower on a cutting board

2) Grate

Use a box grater or a microplane grater with medium-sized holes to push across the florets and make smaller pieces. Keeping the florets larger makes it easier for grating.

Making pieces of cauliflower with a hand held grater

3) Food Processor

Cut the cauliflower into smaller 1 to 2-inch florets. Add about 4 cups of florets or ¾ of the way full in a food processor. The amount will vary depending on the size of the food processor, work in batches if needed. Pulse the cauliflower until small pieces are formed. You may need to stop periodically and scrape the sides of the bowl. If larger florets go unprocessed, take them out, transfer the cauliflower rice to a bowl, and then add back the larger pieces and process again.

Medium-sized pieces of cauliflower inside a food processor

Cauliflower rice formed using a food processor

4) Blender

Cut the cauliflower into smaller 1 to 2-inch florets. Add about 4 cups of florets in a high-speed blender. Blend the cauliflower until small pieces are formed, using the tamper handle on top to push down the florets, about 15 to 60 seconds. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender cup similar to the food processor above.

Medium-sized pieces of cauliflower in a blender

Cauliflower rices is formed after being mixed in a blender

Different Ways to Cook Cauliflower Rice

One head of cauliflower will yield about 4 cups of rice depending on the size. Once the cauliflower rice is broken down into smaller pieces, there are multiple ways to cook it. The cooking methods below are for 4 cups of rice.

  • Sauté: Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, sauté the rice in 1 tablespoon warmed oil or butter until tender, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Stir-fry: Heat a wok and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Add rice in a single layer, allow to cook until lightly browned for about 2 minutes. Stir, cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until cauliflower is tender.
  • Steam: Add cauliflower rice to a steamer insert, cover and cook until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Grits: Add cauliflower to a medium-size sauté pan and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, constantly stirring to release some moisture from the vegetable. Add one tablespoon of butter, ¼ cup of milk, ¼ cup of stock and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and cook until moisture gets absorbed, and cauliflower cooks through about 5 minutes. Use a handheld immersion blender or place half of the mixture in a blender to create a rough pureé.
  • Couscous: Heat a large pot fitted with a lid over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add cauliflower rice and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir and cover, cook 5 to 8 minutes until tender.
  • Risotto: Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the cauliflower and stir, cook 1 to 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring until evaporated, 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high, add ½ cup broth and ½ cup milk, frequently stirring, 6 to 8 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and just a small amount of the liquid is left on the bottom of the pan.

Cauliflower Rice Recipes to Try

Frying pan cooking cauliflower rice

You can make a large batch of raw cauliflower rice for meal prepping, and freeze individual portions in a resealable plastic bag anytime you need it. Just allow the frozen rice to thaw at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before cooking.

If you’re in a hurry, I’ve seen pre-made cauliflower rice fresh and frozen at grocery stores. Although, I would save your money and make it at home for way cheaper!

How to Make Cauliflower Rice

Learn how to make cauliflower rice with four easy preparation techniques. This simple cauliflower rice recipe provides a low-carb and paleo side dish option.
4.95 from 57 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients  

  • 1 head cauliflower, makes 4 cups cauliflower rice
  • 1 tablespoon oil, olive, vegetable or butter
  • kosher salt, as needed
  • black pepper, as needed

Instructions 

  • Use a knife to remove the outer leaves and cut off the cauliflower florets from the stem. Cut florets into 1-inch sized pieces.
  • Knife Method: Use a chef's knife to finely chop the florets into smaller rice-sized pieces.
  • Grater Method: Use a medium-sized grater to grate the florets into smaller pieces.
  • Food Processor Method: Add florets ¾ full into a food processor and pulse until small pieces form, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Blender Method: Add florets to a blender and process on medium-high speed until small pieces form, about 15 to 60 seconds, scraping the container as needed.
  • Work in batches for larger heads of cauliflower in the food processor or blender. If larger pieces of cauliflower do not get processed, remove from the food processor or blender. Cut into smaller florets and process after removing the cut cauliflower rice from the food processor or blender.
  • To cook the cauliflower rice, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add oil, once hot add the cauliflower rice in one layer.
  • Allow to cook for 2 minutes, stir and cook until the rice becomes tender, 3 to 5 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 80kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 7g (11%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 3gSodium 198mg (8%)Potassium 166mg (5%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin C 71.8mg (87%)Calcium 20mg (2%)Iron 0.4mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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37 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would defrost the florets, then drain them well before riceing. The food processor or chopping by hand would work best with your frozen vegetable. Let me know how it goes!

  1. irva neff says

    Jessica, How would I go about making a butternut squash rice….Might need a low calorie sauce…any suggestions?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Perhaps you could break the butternut squash into smaller pieces in a food processor. You could grate it, but it will be more like shreds. Or you can finely dice pieces with a chef’s knife.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’d love to hear how it goes using your kitchen aid attachment to make the cauliflower rice. What is the attachment called?

  2. Getaldine says

    Brilliant article! Love your recipes. I’m a bit confused when you say remove from steam with the Cut or Chop method. Can you elaborate? TIA

  3. Kay says

    hi….i use the processor. I wanted to know how do you make cauliflower rice from frozen cauliflower?

    thank you.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I haven’t tried using frozen cauliflower, however, you could try adding no more than half full of frozen florets and pulse until it breaks down. Let me know how it goes!

    • Sarah says

      I was just coming to the comments to look and see if I could do that too. Did using frozen cauliflower work for you??

  4. lyn says

    Hi Jessica, Love your site and your awesome recipes. Do you have a recipe for a cauliflower pizza base?

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