Cauliflower rice is a nutritious and delicious alternative to traditional rice. It’s packed with nutrients, making this versatile side dish perfect for those on a low-carb or keto diet. Learn everything you need to know here about how to make cauliflower rice and cook it.
What is Cauliflower Rice?
Cauliflower rice is essentially just cauliflower that has been processed into small, rice-like pieces. This alternative to regular rice has gained popularity in recent years due to its low carbohydrate content and its versatility.
It can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and fried rice to cauliflower risotto and even cauliflower pizza crusts. Mastering the simple process of how to make cauliflower rice can open up a whole new world of low-carb meals!
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
Creating cauliflower rice is surprisingly easy, and it doesn’t take much time. Before you start, you’ll need to wash your cauliflower and pat it dry. Then, remove the green leaves and stem, and you’re ready to get ricing!
Food Processor Method
The food processor method is the quickest and easiest way to make cauliflower rice. It’s the one I use and recommend. Cut the cauliflower into small chunks that will fit into your food processor.
Place the chunks into the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice. Be sure not to over-process, or you might end up with mashed cauliflower!
Box Grater Method
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also use a box grater to create cauliflower rice. This method might take a little longer and can be a bit messy, but it works just as well.
Hold the cauliflower by the stem and grate the head against the medium or large holes of the box grater. Just be careful not to grate your fingers as you get closer!
You can also use a knife to chop the cauliflower into rice-like pieces. This method requires a bit more time and effort, but it’s a good alternative if you don’t have a food processor or box grater. Just cut the cauliflower into florets, then into very small pieces until it resembles rice.
How To Cook Cauliflower Rice
Once your cauliflower rice is prepared, it’s time to cook it. The key to cooking cauliflower rice is to sauté it briefly so that it doesn’t become soggy.
Rather than boiling cauliflower rice (like you would traditional rice), you just want to cook it very briefly on the stove.
Heat a bit of oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the cauliflower rice to the skillet. Cook it for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower rice is tender but not mushy. And that’s it! Perfectly cooked cauliflower rice.
Tips for Making Cauliflower Rice
- Dry the cauliflower: Make sure the cauliflower is completely dry before you start to avoid an overly soft, mushy texture.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: Cook in batches if you need to so the cauliflower rice cooks evenly.
- Season well: Cauliflower rice can be a bit bland on its own, so don’t forget to season it well with your favorite spices and herbs.
Choosing the Perfect Cauliflower
Picking the right cauliflower is the first step to making the perfect cauliflower rice. Here’s what you need to know:
- Color: Look for cauliflower with a consistent, creamy white color. Avoid cauliflower with discoloration or spots, which may mean it’s past its prime.
- Firmness: The cauliflower should be firm when you press it. If it feels soft or has dark, mushy spots, move on to the next one.
- Florets: The florets should be tightly packed together. If they are loose or falling apart, keep searching!
Storing Cauliflower Rice
- Fridge: You can store uncooked cauliflower rice in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze uncooked cauliflower rice. Just portion it into freezer-safe bags, press them flat to remove as much air as possible, seal, and freeze. It will keep for up to 3 months.
How to Use Cauliflower Rice
There are countless ways to incorporate cauliflower rice into your meals. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Use it as a base for a low carb stir fry or in cauliflower risotto.
- Serve it in place of rice in dishes like burritos, fried rice, or sushi bowls.
- Use it as a pizza crust or in a casserole.
- Make cauliflower fried rice or Chipotle copycat cauliflower rice.
Cauliflower Rice FAQs
While it’s recommended to cook cauliflower rice to soften it and improve its flavor, it can be eaten raw in salads or as a topping.
Yes, you can use frozen cauliflower. Just be aware that it might be slightly more watery than fresh cauliflower, but it should still work well. You can also sauté it for a little longer to remove some of the extra water.
Cauliflower rice is lower in carbohydrates and calories than regular rice. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. However, rice can just as easily be a part of a healthy diet.
- 1 head cauliflower
- Prep: Before you start, wash your cauliflower and pat it dry. Then, remove the green leaves and stem.
Method (pick one)
- Food Processor: Cut the cauliflower into small chunks that will fit into your food processor. Place the chunks into the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice. Be sure not to over-process, or you might end up with mashed cauliflower!
- Box Grater: Hold the cauliflower by the stem and grate the head against the medium or large holes of the box grater.
- Knife: Cut the cauliflower into florets, then into very small pieces until it resembles rice.
Cook Cauliflower Rice
- Cook: Heat a bit of oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the cauliflower rice to the skillet. Cook it for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cauliflower rice is tender but not mushy.