How to Make Light and Fluffy Cauliflower Rice


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Cauliflower in a blue bowl with chopsticks

I spend a lot of time reading about and making food. But I’m not one to jump on the latest food trend. Which is why I’m late to the party when it comes to the super trendy cauliflower rice.

Late….but now thoroughly hooked.

What makes this dish so great? It’s:

  1. Easy and Fast. It takes less than half the time to make than white rice and a fourth the time of brown rice.
  2. Healthy. As you probably already know, it’s much healthier than its starchy alternative. 65 calories in a cup of cauliflower rice vs. over 200 calories in a cup of white rice. 
  3. Light. The flavor and texture is so light that you can load your cauliflower with even more of all the delicious saucy things.
  4. Versatile. Cooking with this “rice” is super easy. I find that it’s even easier to use in things like fried “rice” because the texture holds up to heat without turning sticky like overcooked rice can. You can freeze it easily and reheat it quickly without loosing that great fluffy texture.

And if you need further proof that this is a trend that is sticking around, ask the folks at your local Trader Joe’s. Frank and I have asked about the company’s frozen version every time we’ve shopped there in the past couple months. They are always sold out. At our Trader Joe’s they tell us that customers will stock up on 10+ bags at a time within hours of them replenishing the stock.

Fortunately, there’s no need to buy it.

Here’s a step-by-step recipe for how you make cauliflower rice it at home: 

1. Chop Cauliflower

Slice the cauliflower into small pieces, discarding the leaves. If you will be using the food processor, the pieces will need to be small enough to fit in the processor.

cauliflower florets on a wooden table

2. Shred Cauliflower in Food Processor (or Grate)

The way to make the lightest, fluffiest “rice” is to use the shredding disk attachment for the food processor.

 shredding disk for a food processor
You can also use the classic blade attachment and just pulse the cauliflower pieces until they form even rice-shaped kernels.

Cauliflower rice in the food processor

And if you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the cauliflower by hand with a box grater, which will take a little longer, but leaves you with far less dishes to clean up. 😉

3. Lightly Cook or Steam Cauliflower (in Skillet or Microwave)

Finally, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter or oil and saute the rice until tender, about 4 minutes. If you’d prefer not to use the extra fat to cook the cauliflower, you can also place it in a microwave-safe bowl with a slightly damp paper towel over top. Microwave until tender, about 3 minutes on high.
head of cauliflower on a wooden table

How to Freeze

If you want to freeze this dish, do it before cooking it. Spread the shredded cauliflower on a baking sheet topped with parchment paper. Place in the freezer until frozen solid (about 30 minutes), and then transfer to plastic freezer bags. Freezing flat will help the cauliflower rice to retain its shape and will make it super easy to re-heat. When you’re ready to cook with it, just cook or steam according to the directions above (no need to defrost), adding an extra 1 to 2 minutes to cook time.


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5 from 3 votes

Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice is super versatile - a low-carb, gluten-free, paleo and vegan-friendly substitute for rice that is also totally delicious. We serve it with stir-frys, turn it into fried rice, and keep it in the freezer as a quick, healthy side dish.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


  • Food Processor
  • Skillet


  • 1 head Cauliflower (about 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 Tbsp Butter or Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  • Slice cauliflower into small pieces, discarding leaves.
  • Chop or grate the cauliflower using the shredding disk attachment or classic blade attachment for the food processor or a box grater until even rice-shaped kernels are formed.
  • Optional: At this point you can freeze the cauliflower rice to use later.
  • Heat butter or oil in a skillet or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Saute until tender, about 4 minutes. (Alternatively, you can steam the cauliflower rice in a microwave-safe bowl, covered with a damp paper towel until tender, about 3 minutes on high.)


Serving: 1g | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 68mg | Potassium: 431mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 87IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Calories: 61
Keyword: easy vegetable side, gluten free, paleo, vegan recipe
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Hope you’re having a great weekend! Molly and Clara are spending their Saturday morning lounging on the outdoor couch at our local Starbucks. Independent ladies, these two.

Molly and Clara_Starbucks

*This post contains affiliate links*

Cauliflower rice is super versatile - a low-carb, gluten-free, paleo and vegan -friendly substitute for rice that is also totally delicious. This is a step by step guide how to make cauliflower rice at home with pictures and instructions on how to freeze. We serve it with stir-frys, turn it into fried rice, and keep it in the freezer as a quick, healthy side dish.
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Haven’t heard about this trend yet but love the idea. Cauliflower is so versatile. An old Weight Watcher favorite is to puree it and voila – mashed potatoes!

    1. I’ve made the mashed cauliflower, Nina – and I love it – though I haven’t quite perfected it. Cauliflower rice is equally as great an invention! Let me know if you try it!