Instant Pot Cauliflower Potato Mash

Is it just me, or is cauliflower trying to replace every food we love? This Instant Pot cauliflower potato mash doesn’t force you to choose between potatoes and cauliflower — you can have both! With just a handful of simple ingredients and just one pot, this dish comes together in a snap. It’s perfect for potlucks, family dinners, holidays, or busy weeknights.

wooden spoon digging into bowl of mashed potatoes

Why I Love This Recipe

Contrary to what your favorite influencer or health-nut friend says, you don’t have to replace all of the starchy carbs in your diet with lower-carb alternatives (like cauliflower) to be healthy. Instead of going all-or-nothing with healthy recipes, may I suggest some balance??

Mashed potato and cauliflower is a great mix because you get the potato texture you love with a bit of extra nutrition.

You’ve probably seen recipes with cauliflower purée that call for steaming the cauliflower separately, then pureeing it in a food processor or blender before adding it to your dish. SO. Much. Cleanup! This recipe uses just ONE pot. (Can I get an amen??) That means no need for cooking, pureeing, or food processing your cauliflower in a separate pot before you add it to your potatoes. The cauliflower and potatoes cook together and can be easily mashed once they’re soft.

You can customize your cauliflower and potato mash based on the amount of cauliflower/potato you prefer. It can also be a good way to introduce the flavor of cauliflower to your kids (or the picky adults in your life). For example, you could start with mostly potatoes and just a cup of cauliflower florets, then gradually progress to a full head of cauliflower and less potato.

head of cauliflower and bowls with potatoes, sour cream, milk, and butter against marble background

Cauliflower Versus Potatoes

Are Potatoes Healthy?

Potatoes get a bad rap for being starchy and rich, but they can absolutely be nutritious! Aside from being a good source of carbohydrates for energy, they’re also packed with potassium for healthy blood pressure, vitamin C for immunity, and vitamin B6 to support nutrient metabolism. My tip? Keep the skin on to maximize nutrients like potassium and fiber!

What’s So Great About Cauliflower?

People are putting cauliflower in everything nowadays! It can be rice, pizza crust, mashed potatoes, steak, and even a tiny umbrella! (Okay, I may have been lying about that last one, but I dare you to try it. Send pics.)

So, why is cauliflower suddenly being added to so many dishes? In many cases, it’s all about the carbs (or lack thereof). Non-starchy cauliflower can act as a substitute for starchy vegetables or grains to lower the carb count of a dish. With the low-carb mania in full-swing, it makes sense that lower-carb dishes like cauliflower crust pizzas are having a moment. Cauliflower is usually lower in calories as well, which is another reason why people may swap it into recipes.

But is cauliflower really that great? I think so! It’s a great source of fiber for fullness and vitamin K for healthy blood clotting. It also contains antioxidants like vitamin C and sulforaphane (a plant compound with powerful cancer-fighting properties).

I will say, cauliflower is not actually the same thing as rice, classic pizza crust, mashed potatoes, or steak. (Let’s stop fooling ourselves here.) That doesn’t mean that cauliflower swaps are any less cool.

Bottom Line: Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to nutrition! You can enjoy a cauliflower crust pizza if you’re in the mood for something light. You’re allowed to eat half cauliflower rice and half brown rice. You can eat a cauliflower steak with your tuna steak! My point is, cauliflower dishes and their traditional counterparts can both fit into your diet.

How to Make a Potato and Cauliflower Mash

1. Chop potatoes & cauliflower

Start by roughly chopping 3 lbs of potatoes into quarters and 1 head of cauliflower into florets. (Yep – I leave the skin on for texture and extra nutrition! You can peel if you’d prefer though.) Everything will cook thoroughly in the Instant Pot, so we don’t need to be too exact here.

I used Yukon Gold potatoes because I love their smooth texture and bright color. You could also try this with another type of potato (russet or red) if you prefer.

instant pot filled with chopped potatoes and cauliflower

2. Combine & cook

This is one of those recipes that you can set and forget! Put the chopped potatoes and cauliflower in the Instant Pot with 3 cups water and they’ll get all warm and cozy while you’re free to do other things. (Make a salad, cook your protein, play with your cat, whatever!)

Set the Instant Pot to ‘manual’ mode and set the timer for 10 minutes. It’ll take awhile for your pressure cooker to come to pressure, but once it does, it’ll be smooth sailing! After the timer goes off, you can “quick release” the pressure valve and let all of the steam out.

Drain those potatoes (carefully).

Instant Pot filled with mashed potatoes being stirred by a hand mixer

3. Add mix-ins and mash, mash, mash!

In terms of additions, it’s up to you! I use whatever is on hand, but I use the same basic formula to make your perfect cauliflower potato mash:

  • Something creamy — dairy milk, half and half, plain almond milk, sour cream, or plain yogurt
  • A source of fat — butter, olive oil, vegan butter, or cheese
  • Flavor – salt, pepper, garlic, fresh herbs, or onion powder

I add some generous shakes of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, with a splash of milk and a heaping spoonful of sour cream.

For mashing, you can use a basic potato masher or a hand mixer. (If you want an arm workout, mash by hand, but if you like smoother mashed potatoes with less effort, the hand mixer is the way to go!)

Recipe Modifications

  • Make it vegan/vegetarian-friendly — use almond milk instead of milk, and olive oil or vegan butter instead of butter
  • Make it in a crockpot – Cook on high for 4 hours
  • Make it on the stovetop – Boil potatoes until fork tender (instead of cooking in Instant Pot), then proceed with the remaining steps.
  • Make it dairy-free — use almond milk instead of milk and olive oil or vegan butter instead of butter
  • Make it with just cauliflower — omit the potatoes and double the amount of cauliflower
  • Make it with just potato — double the amount of potatoes and omit the cauliflower
  • Make it creamier — add more sour cream or some cream cheese
  • Make it smoother — peel your potatoes and mix longer
wooden spoon digging into bowl of mashed potatoes
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Instant Pot Cauliflower Potato Mash

Don't make yourself choose between cauliflower and potatoes — have both! This super easy veggie side recipe comes together in a snap using a pressure cooker.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: 30-minute, comfort food, fall, hidden vegetable, winter
Servings: 8
Calories: 236kcal
Author: Chelsea Jackle, RDN


  • pressure cooker


  • 3 lbs gold potatoes quartered
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder


  • Add potatoes, cauliflower florets, and water to your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Select 'manual,' 'high pressure' and set the timer for 10 minutes. It will take awhile for your pot to reach pressure (about 10 minutes).
  • Once the 10 minutes of cooking are up, do a "quick release" of the pressure valve to let the steam come out. Once you're able to open the pressure cooker, turn it off. Carefully remove the inner pot and drain excess water. Return the inner pot to the outer pot.
  • Add butter, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes until smooth and mostly free of lumps. (You can also use a potato masher!)
  • Serve topped with more salt and pepper (to taste) and fresh herbs if desired.


  • Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.


Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 28mg | Sugar: 3g

Originally posted on 9/21/19. Updated on 12/19/20.

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