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How To Boil Cauliflower

10 MINUTES and it’s ready! Delicious, Tasty, Healthy, low calorie, low fat, low carb cauliflower! How To Boil Cauliflower.

This boiled cauliflower is ready to use for mashed cauliflower, cauliflower cheese or just to add butter, salt, pepper and enjoy! 

black bowl holding cauliflower on wooden background

This cauliflower recipe is perfect for eating alone or as a prerequisite for mashed cauliflower!

Why This Recipe Works…

  • EASY!
  • FAST! Ready in under 30 minutes total time.
  • Prepares you for so many other recipes OR ready to eat as is! 

Here’s How To Boil Cauliflower…

STEP 1. 

Cut the florets from the main stalk.

knife on cutting board with cauliflower

STEP 2. 

Place those in a sauce pan and cover with enough water to cover. 

handing adding cauliflower to hot water in sauce pan

STEP 3

Bring to a full boil and boil till fork tender 5-7 minutes. 

saucepan of boiling water with cauliflower

Frequently Asked Questions about How To Boil Cauliflower (FAQ’s)

How To Boil Cauliflower

Place the cauliflower florets into a medium sized saucepan and cover with 1 quart of water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat. Boil at a simmer for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender. Drain cauliflower. Top with butter or flavored oil. Add seasoning. Serve hot.

How Long To Boil Cauliflower? 

Boil Cauliflower 5-10 minutes depending on how big the pieces are and how tender you want your cauliflower. Boil Cauliflower florets 5 minutes and boil large pieces (1/4  – whole head) for 10. When fork tender, it’s done. 

What Can I Use Boiled Cauliflower For? 

Use Boiled Cauliflower for…

  • Mashed Cauliflower (Cauliflower Mash).
  • A delicious way to make a simple cauliflower side dish.
  • Delicious recipes like preparing to Fry Cauliflower.
  • As a preparation for Cauliflower Crust.
  • OR for Cauliflower Chili

What IS Cauliflower Anyway?

Cauliflower is a vegetable that is related to broccoli, brussel sprouts and collard greens. (Thanks Wikipedia!)

How Long To Boil Cauliflower?

This depends on several factors….

Fresh Cauliflower…

  • A WHOLE HEAD of cauliflower will be ready when fork tender 10-15 minutes.
  • Florets of cauliflower will be done in 5-10 minutes

Frozen Cauliflower…

  • Florets will be ready in about 5 minutes. 

Riced Cauliflower..

  • Frozen, only a minute or two.
  • Fresh? It’s already cooked

Can I Boil a WHOLE Head of Cauliflower?

Sure!  

  • Cut the green parts off and the biggest part of the stalk.
  • Place in a large boiling stock pot of water with enough water to cover. 
  • Boil for about 10 minutes until completely fork tender. 

Can I Make Cauliflower Rice with Boiled Cauliflower? 

Sure Can! 

  • Boil the florets (or even the whole head) as described in the recipes here. 
  • Then put sections through a ricer (see photo below)

(this is an affiliate link and I am an affiliate of Amazon, you can click the photo to go through to Amazon for purchase or to compare prices). 

Photo of a hand ricer, silver with black grips. 

How To Boil Cauliflower in the Microwave

  • Cut the cauliflower into florets
  • Place in a large microwave safe bowl of water. 
  • Microwave on high for 2 minutes
  • Stir
  • Repeat at 1 minute intervals until fork tender. 

What About Those Black Spots on My Cauliflower Head? 

  • A few black spots on the surface of the cauliflower head are normal. 
  • Simply use a sharp knife to cut that area off. 

How Can I Tell If My Cauliflower Is Bad?

  • If the black areas go through the cauliflower, then the cauliflower is bad.
  • Do you notice a rotten smell and does the cauliflower feel slimy?  Then, it’s bad. 

How To Use Boiled Cauliflower to Make Mashed Cauliflower.

  • Follow the directions for boiling the cauliflower. 
  • Use a potato masher and mash the cauliflower with
  • 1 stick of butter,
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream,
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • and enough heavy cream to make it the consistency you like. 
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Mash everything together using a potato masher or using a hand mixer. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve Hot. 

What Can I Serve with Boiled Cauliflower? 

Cauliflower is a great side dish to almost any meat! 

Try this crockpot pot roast or this garlic rosemary pork loin!

You could also eat it as your main dish if you are going lighter and it tastes excellent with Tennessee Onions and Broccoli

close up in a black bowl on cutting board

You can also make a cauliflower rice by starting with this boiled cauliflower!

Tips & Tricks for Boiled Cauliflower.

  • If you plan to eat right away, then you will want your cauliflower more tender (so that the fork easily goes through the entire piece). 
  • Are you using it in a recipe that will be cooked more? Then only boil it until a fork can pierce the cauliflower but doesn’t want to go completely through. 
  • Cauliflower is brittle when raw, it breaks easily and can not be pierced with a fork at all (it will split and crumble).
  • You will notice that it turns a slightly different color when cooked, a greenish pearly translucent color. This is normal. 
  • Save the water you boiled the cauliflower in if you are making a sauce, it can be used to thin and flavor the sauce.

PRO TIP: The smaller the pieces of cauliflower are, the more quickly they will cook, no matter HOW you are cooking them. Be careful so as not to over cook the cauliflower. Drain it well to remove the extra water. 

If You Enjoyed This Recipe for How To Boil Cauliflower, You Might Also Enjoy…

How to Cook Canned Green Beans

How to Cook Canned Pinto Beans

Frozen Carrots

How to Boil Carrots

OR try ANY of our DELICIOUS Side Dishes!

side view of a bowl of cauliflower with herbs sprinkled on top

Hello yummy boiled cauliflower!

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black bowl holding cauliflower on wooden background

How To Boil Cauliflower

READY in LESS THAN 30 MINUTES! Boiling Cauliflower is an essential skill for many recipes.  Learn how right here PLUS, in case you didn't know, it's delicious just eaten this way too! 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Keyword: How to Boil Cauliflower, Cauliflower Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 89kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 quart water or enough water to cover the cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Remove the florets from the cauliflower and set the stalks aside for some other use.
  • Place the cauliflower into a medium sized sauce pan and cover with water.  Add more water if 1 quart doesn't cover all of the pieces. 
  • Add 1 tbsp of salt to the water.  Heat on high for 5-7 minutes until the water is simmering. 
  • Allow to simmer for 5-7 minutes, then check the cauliflower by piercing it with a fork.  If you are using this cauliflower for another cooked recipe, then the fork should barely pierce the exterior of the cauliflower.  If you plan to eat the cauliflower as is, cook it until a fork goes easily through the entire piece (10 minutes or so). 
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, melt butter in a small sauce pan and add the garlic powder and onion powder to the butter, stir well. Turn the heat off when the butter is fully melted. 
  • When cauliflower is cooked the way you want, pour into a colander to drain initially and then place on paper towels to drain on paper towels.  
  • Once drained, place in a bowl and pour the melted butter mixture over the top. Taste and add salt and pepper.  Serve hot. 

Notes

  • If you plan to eat right away, then you will want your cauliflower more tender (so that the fork easily goes through the entire piece).
  • Are you using it in a recipe that will be cooked more?  Then only boil it until a fork can pierce the cauliflower but doesn't want to go completely through.
  • Cauliflower is brittle when raw, it breaks easily and can not be pierced with a fork at all (it will split and crumble).
  • You will notice that it turns a slightly different color when cooked, a greenish pearly translucent color.  This is normal.
  • Save the water you boiled the cauliflower in if you are making a sauce, it can be used to thin and flavor the sauce.
PRO TIP: The smaller the pieces of cauliflower are, the more quickly they will cook, no matter HOW you are cooking them.  Be careful so as not to over cook the cauliflower.  Drain it well to remove the extra water. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How To Boil Cauliflower
Amount Per Serving
Calories 89 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 1850mg77%
Potassium 429mg12%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin C 69.3mg84%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 0.6mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A VERSE TO SHARE

Not everyone LOVES vegetables, I know so well. It always reminds me of this verse from Proverbs…

Proverbs 15:17

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred.

 

 

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Recipe Rating




Eileen Lagan

Saturday 4th of January 2020

Can I freeze cauliflower after boiling it? Fully drained and cool.

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 4th of January 2020

Yes! you absolutely can! Just put in a freezer safe container, get as much air out as possible and put in the freezer.

Wendi Spraker

Monday 20th of May 2019

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