Are you looking for a super-fast, super easy no hassle and no mess way to make Cauliflower Rice? Do you have an Instant Pot? Well, then this one is for you, an easy one-pot mash in the pan Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice. I’ve always loved cauliflower, so it stands to reason it was no huge hardship to start subbing in cauliflower rice for plain old rice in some of my meals. I like it plain, especially with Indian Food, like my Easy Shrimp in Curry Sauce pictured here and cauliflower rice is fantastic with a little Parmesan tossed in. I can actually eat cauliflower rice just as is, for a meal. Maybe with a touch of butter.
But what I don’t love about Cauliflower Rice? Making it. Seriously, the regular way of making Cauliflower Rice by breaking the cauliflower down and pulsing it in the food processor is a pain. It’s a pain to make and it’s a pain to clean up after (all those tiny pieces of cauliflower, everywhere!) and it’s a pain to stand at the stove sauteeing it. Honestly, if I’m putting in that kind of effort and that kind of babysitting at the stove, I’d rather be making something a lot better than cauliflower rice. Something chocolate maybe!
Making Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice Mash in Pan:
So here’s your answer for Super Simple Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice. It will turn out perfectly every single time. All you have to do is cut your cauliflower into consistent pieces and be careful not to overcook it in the Instant Pot. You do have to really follow the prep instructions carefully for it to turn out just right in the end and if you do, you’ll be rewarded with fabulous cauliflower rice with very little effort!.
I know because I’ve made a lot of pots of cauliflower rice to get this just right. And I’ve tried making this easy mash in the pan cauliflower rice with lots of different variations in this endeavor. I’ve tried leaving the cauliflower whole, cutting it in big chunks & cutting it in slices. None of them gave me cooked cauliflower that was pretty much the same texture throughout, which meant it wouldn’t mash into rice-like pieces. Over and over I was getting cauliflower that was too hard or too soft to mash in the Instant Pot, or sometimes the cauliflower was a mixture of both too hard or too soft.
The issue? The Instant Pot is going to cook based on the density, volume and amount. The short cook time that cauliflower needs doesn’t allow much room for error. And that cauliflower has to be cooked enough to mash into “rice” but not cooked so long it’s going to be too soft, soggy or spongy because it won’t mash well then either. So not only does the cauliflower have to be cooked right to cook all the florets in the Instant Pot the same, each individual floret from end to end has to be the same, too.
Precision Cutting is the Key to Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice Mash in Pan:
In order to get a perfectly cooked cauliflower that can be mashed to rice-like pieces in the pan (without turning to mush), you’ve gotta be pretty precise in the cutting and follow the weight, size, and timing in the directions to the letter. It doesn’t take long to do. It’s not hard to do. It just has to be done “just right” to work out right.
You’ll need to cut the florets as close as you can to an inch and a half across. If you’re unsure of that measurement, check it with a ruler. To easily cut cauliflower with as little waste as possible, start at the stem end and work your way towards the “flower” part. Use the point of your knife to get into each floret from the stem end and it will naturally separate leaving the florets intact without a lot of loose pieces.
For this recipe, you’ll need a pound of cauliflower florets. A kitchen scale is a near must, but a good eye for estimating might get you by, especially if you know about how much your cauliflower weighted in the first place. Oh, and you’re going to have to count! I’ll explain, below.
What you’re going to get for that careful prep and bit of attention is going to be marvelous! And take just minutes. And it’s so simple, I can guarantee you’ll be eating delicious, healthy Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice a LOT more often once you get this recipe down.
Saving Money on Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice Mash in Pan:
You can buy cauliflower rice, all prepped and ready to cook, but you’ll probably find it’s not available everywhere, and if it is, it may not be available consistently. I’ve found when I’ve seen it that it’s kind of pricey.
Speaking of which, cauliflower has become so trendy it is getting pricey, too. Check Aldi if there is one nearby, if not watch the per head vs. the per pound price. If it’s per head, of course you’ll want to buy the largest one you can find!
If your cauliflower ever gets a dusty, dark coating, simply slice it carefully off. It’s harmless and generally stays mostly on the outside surface. If you’re going to cut that coating off and store the cauliflower, clean your knife before each cut. Often you’ll find just a few florets are damaged. Just remove them altogether. If your cauliflower has black or brown areas, areas that are mushy it’s going to be a judgment call, depending on how much of the cauliflower is affected, whether to toss the whole thing or just use the good part. An off-odor is a valid reason to toss the cauliflower out.
Instant Pot Cauliflower Rice
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 2 cups 1x
- 1 pound cauliflower florets, hard stems removed and cut into florets about 1 1/2″ across
- 1 cup of water (for the bottom of the instant pot)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or oil, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Carefully prep cauliflower as directed above, trying to keep the florets intact; try pulling them apart by hand or cutting by using the knife from the bottom of the floret to the top so it separates cleanly.
Add one cup water to the bottom of the Instant Pot, add the rack and evenly arrange florets across the top. Add the lid, seal and set to low pressure for two minutes…BUT…the cauliflower needs to cook for 1 1/2 minutes.
Watch the instant pot carefully after it comes up to pressure (this will take about five minutes) and after the first minute of cooking, count (or use a timer) cook for 30 more seconds. Immediately manually release the pressure.
Remove the rack & the cauliflower as soon as the pot is able to be opened, then remove the liner and any stray florets that have fallen through the rack into the liner. Discard water and put liner back in the instant pot without the rack. Set to saute. Add oil or butter if using. Add the florets back to the pot and using a potato masher, break the cauliflower down to small pieces.
Cook to desired doneness, a minute or two to dry the rice, a little longer if you’d like a bit of color. Add salt to taste.