Shutterstock / AS Food studio
I’m a total carboholic, so going low-carb or no-carb is extremely difficult for me. It’s mostly a texture thing—I love biting down into a chewy pizza crust or a bowl filled with brown rice. So, when I read about using cauliflower as a rice replacement, I was intrigued. I could sneak an extra serving of vegetables into my meal while still getting a crunchy rice-like texture. The only problem: Ricing cauliflower sounded like it would take a lot of time…not to mention the mess I imagined it making. I looked into the pre-made bags of cauliflower rice but couldn’t justify spending $3 to $5 a pound when the heads cost just $1.50 a pound.
A quick Google search yielded three easy ways to make cauliflower rice at home, and I was determined to test them all. I bought a few heads and set about finding the quickest, easiest, and cleanest way to rice cauliflower.
I’m clearly not the only person who wants to rice cauliflower at home, because there are a ton of resources out there. Some people do it by hand using a chef’s knife, but I threw that method out. It doesn’t yield uniform, rice-shaped cauliflower, and I was looking for a method that would mimic the pre-bagged stuff. The remaining popular ways—box grater, blender, and food processor—totally qualified, so I bought some cauliflower and went to work. After performing the tests, here’s how each method fared.
Method 1: Box Grater
How to make it: Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower and cut the head into large pieces. Hold the florets by the stem and push them one-by-one across a box grater with medium-sized holes.
My take: This made a mess! It was like cauliflower-pocolypse on my kitchen counters. Small pieces of cauliflower flew everywhere as I grated (even though I was trying really hard to be tidy). It also was pretty hard work, took a long time, and yielded some inconsistently sized rice.
Method 2: Blender
How to make it: Remove the steam and leaves from the cauliflower and chop the florets into small pieces. Place the chopped cauliflower into the blender and cover it with water. Don’t fill past the MAX FILL line—you may have to work in batches. Pulse a few times until the cauliflower breaks down into small granules that resemble rice. Drain the cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer and discard the water.
My take: I almost made soup with the first batch because I tried using the low setting on my high-powered Vitamix blender! I corrected the mistake on the second batch and used short pulses instead. That gave me more control and yielded some nicely riced cauliflower. I had to dirty an additional dish with this method—the mesh strainer—but, luckily, blenders are the easiest appliance to clean in the kitchen. All in all, this method worked out pretty well (although the rice was a bit soggy).
Method 3: Food Processor
How to make it: Remove the stem and leaves from the cauliflower and chop the florets into very small, 1-inch pieces. Working in batches if needed, pulse the florets in the food processor until the cauliflower has broken down into small granules that resemble rice. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to push the larger florets into the blade.
My take: Really, I had nothing to complain about with this method. Within seconds, I had pulsed the cauliflower into very uniform, tiny cubes of “rice.” It’s always a bit of a pain to clean the food processor, but that’s what dishwashers are for!
The food processor was easily the fastest and most consistent method. The blender came in a close second, but the added water created excess moisture which made the rice harder to squeeze out later. While the box grater definitely worked, the pieces were less uniform and it created an absolute mess in the kitchen—this would be my last choice method in the future.
While all of the methods certainly took more time than dumping out a bag of pre-made cauliflower rice, making the rice from scratch really wasn’t as much work or cleanup as I imagined it would be. Using the food processor and blender methods, it only took me about 10 minutes total (including cleanup). Since I’m in a budget shopping mode, that’s certainly worth the grocery store savings for me!
Once you have your rice, you can enjoy it raw, saute it oil or butter on the stove top, or process it for cauliflower crust. Check out our favorite cauliflower rice recipes, including these gluten-free cheesy cauliflower breadsticks or a cheesy, garlicky side of rice.