What's the best way to cook cauliflower rice?

Save yourself a few hundred calories in your weeknight meals by getting to grips with low-carb, cauliflower rice. Our cookery team test and rate three cooking methods and share their top tips for preparing and storing...

What's the best way to cook cauliflower rice?

Faux carbs are fast becoming this year's hot trend. If you're not quite ready to get down with spiralizing, low-fi cauliflower rice is the perfect introduction to grain alternatives. All you need is a grater or food processor to knock up rice-like pieces, that can then be microwaved in a flash, pan-fried in moments or roasted to create a light, fluffy portion that will have the most ardent carb monsters asking for seconds.

Experimenting with flavours and textures is all part of the fun, but to get you started our cookery team put the most popular cooking methods to the test, rating them on flavour and ease and providing tips for preparing, storing and adding your own flourishes...
 

How to prepare

For best results...Cauliflower
Blitz - a food processer will give the best results. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower, cut it into quarters and remove most of the thick core, then cut each quarter into two or three chunks. You don’t want to overload the blender, or it will struggle to blitz the cauliflower, instead work with about half the cauliflower at a time. Blend for 30 seconds or so, until the cauliflower resembles fine rice, or couscous.  

You can also...
Grate - If you don’t own a food processer, you can grate the raw cauliflower on the coarse side of the grater. You may find you’re left with a few bigger pieces, which will give the ‘rice’ a chunkier texture.

 

How to store

Once the cauliflower is prepared, you can store it until you’re ready to use. If you’re following a calorie-controlled diet, divide the cauliflower rice into 100g portions, which contain just 25 calories each, and stash in the fridge for up to three days, or in the freezer for two months. The ‘rice’ can be microwaved from frozen, or defrosted before stir-frying or microwaving.

 

How to cook

We tested three different ways to cook cauliflower rice, to discover our favourite. Make sure you season with salt after cooking, if you season before the rice can become waterlogged and soggy.

Microwaving Microwave
By far the easiest way to cook your cauliflower rice, and as you don’t need to add any fat, the healthiest too. Microwave fresh cauliflower rice in a heatproof bowl, covered with cling film, for three minutes on High. If using from the freezer, microwave for four minutes on High, mixing the ‘rice’ half way through cooking. This method gives the rice a nice, neutral flavour, perfect for serving with a curry or tagine.

 

Our verdict:
Flavour 5/10
Ease 10/10

Senior food editor, Barney says: ‘'I think this method would enable me to pass the cauliflower rice off as regular rice or couscous to my kids. I’d serve it with their favourite curry, a creamy korma.’' 

 

Stir-fryingStir fry
We stir-fried our cauliflower rice in a little olive oil, for 5 minutes. Although we found this gave it a lovely, nutty flavour and colour, the texture was less pleasing. We were left with soggy cauliflower rice, which clumped together in places.

Our verdict:
Flavour rating 7/10
Ease 6/10

Assistant food editor, Miriam says: ‘'This would be perfect for making cauliflower sushi with, as it clumps together well if you squeeze it in the palm of your hand.’'

 

RoastedRoasting 
This was our favourite method of cooking. We tossed the rice in a drizzle of olive oil in a tray, then spread it out to a thin, even layer. We then roasted the ‘rice’ at 200C for 12 minutes, mixing it in the tray halfway through cooking. This dried the rice out, giving it a light, fluffy texture and intensified the flavour.


 

Our verdict:
Flavour 10/10 
Ease 5/10

Food editor, Cassie says: '‘Next time I’d add some ground cumin, chilli and coriander to the ‘rice’ before cooking, and toss through some chopped mint and parsley once it’s out of the oven. It would be lovely with some lamb chops and a dollop of yogurt.''  

Test out these tasty recipes with our how to make cauliflower rice video. 

Have you tried making cauliflower rice? Let us know how you got on and how you cooked yours in the comments below...

Comments, questions and tips

Sign in or create your My Good Food account to join the discussion.
Garlickgal
19th Jul, 2017
I stir fry with cumin, turmeric and a little curry powder and use this instead of regular rice in a kedgeree. I use smoked mackerel and mushrooms and any other veg I fancy. Delicious and low in carbs.
Sandrita
2nd Feb, 2017
The Cauliflower rice works really well for me simple by stir frying with other ingredients- fabulous idea and very quick and easy!
barleybird
24th Jun, 2016
I have made cauliflower rice several times, always using the microoven. Now having tried your recommended roasting method, I am absolutely delighted. Perfect and appetizing structure, wonderful flavour, easily mixed with veggies (as I did, a lot). I hardly can't wait to make it again. (Are you on 5:2? It makes a phenomenal "2-day"-dish!)
stokeysue
20th May, 2016
I cook it in the microwave, but in a microwave steamer rather than just in a bowl, think it gives a better texture Just me think 100g is rather a mean portion?
garringtonsharon
8th May, 2016
I don't recommend defrosting frozen "rice" before cooking I did a batch and it turned greyish brown and wet - looked so unappetizing I threw it away. The second frozen batch I tipped straight into a wok which had some lightly fried peppers,courgettes and peas in it. I pushed this to one side of the pan and fried off one beaten egg in the other side which was then chopped and mixed into the vegetables to make a lovely egg fried rice, with some soy sauce to season.
TawaDul
28th Apr, 2016
I tried Cauliflower Rice for dinner today. I was totally impressed and determined to make it again. I added matchstick carrots and onions to the food processor with the raw cauliflower. I also added Montreal Steak Seasoning and a touch of Olive Oil. Cooked for 12 minutes - stirring half-way through. Turned out great! This is a keeper.
Kirk_S
21st Feb, 2016
How does roasting get difficulty of 5/10?! Couldn't be any easier!
juliafrancis
13th Nov, 2015
I added authentic Spanish paella seasoning & then stirred in peppers onions & prawns like a paella ! No one realised until I told them! X
isobelmoore
12th Nov, 2015
Please could Good Food drop the "fat is unhealthy" line now? Adding olive oil doesn't make this unhealthy, far from it. Carbs need to be replaced with something!
janetleeke
30th Oct, 2015
I roasted mine with garlic and ginger and it was nice. Even better though was when I stir fried it in butter (plus a bit of olive oil), with cashew nuts, a few basil leaves, chilli, ginger, garlic and some left over salsa. I served it with prawns - delicious!

Pages

Skenton
7th Jul, 2017
Just made this recipe. A whole cauliflower. Processed then divided into 4. Flavoured each differently. Moroccan. Indian. A lightly seasoned one and one with a veg stock cube. Roasted for twelve mins each tray plus a few One Cal sprays. Just need to know what is the calorific value per portion please. Can anyone help? PS it is really good!
SparkyUK
6th Jun, 2017
I appreciate this is an old article, but if someone doesn't really like the taste of cauliflower, is this something to avoid?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
14th Jun, 2017
Thanks for your question. Yes, we think it's probably not going to be a popular choice if you don't like cauliflower at all, although in this form it tends to be more subtle than eating larger florets.
Sandra8514
15th Sep, 2016
For the microwave method, do you add water?
goodfoodteam's picture
goodfoodteam
29th Sep, 2016
Thanks for your question Sandra, no you don't need to add any water. The cling film will keep sufficient moisture in. Enjoy!
squiffyas
6th Jun, 2016
I grate it and DRY fry it in a pan - fabulous!
Pc1
30th Aug, 2016
Don't cook it at all..... Tastes great or you can pimp it with your choice of herbs or spices.