Cauliflower rice has become a popular low-carb and low-calorie alternative to regular white rice. By pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor or grinder, you can create rice-sized pieces that can be used similarly to rice in recipes. But exactly how many calories and carbs are in 1 cup of cauliflower rice?
Calories in 1 Cup of Cauliflower Rice
One cup of raw cauliflower rice contains approximately:
- 25 calories
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
Since cauliflower is low in calories and carbs to begin with, cauliflower rice retains those same nutritional attributes. The precise calorie count may vary slightly depending on the size and variety of cauliflower used.
By comparison, 1 cup of cooked white rice contains about:
- 205 calories
- 45 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of protein
- 0 grams of fat
As you can see, switching from regular rice to cauliflower rice can significantly reduce the calories and carbs in a meal. Just 1 cup of cauliflower rice contains 80% fewer calories than white rice.
Carbohydrates in 1 Cup of Cauliflower Rice
In addition to being lower in calories, cauliflower rice is also much lower in carbohydrates than regular rice.
One cup of raw cauliflower rice has about 5 grams of total carbohydrates, including:
- 2 grams of sugar
- 2 grams of fiber
- 1 gram of starch
After accounting for fiber, the net carbs come out to just 3 grams per cup.
By comparison, a cup of white rice has about 45 grams of total carbs, including:
- 0 grams of sugar
- 1 gram of fiber
- 44 grams of starch
So the net carbs in rice are 44 grams after fiber is subtracted. That’s 15 times more carbs than cauliflower rice!
This makes cauliflower rice an excellent low-carb substitute for regular grains like rice, couscous, and quinoa in many dishes.
Nutritional Benefits of Cauliflower Rice
In addition to being low in calories and carbs, cauliflower rice provides a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Some of the key nutrients found in 1 cup of cauliflower rice include:
- Vitamin C: 77% DV
- Vitamin K: 20% DV
- Folate: 14% DV
- Vitamin B6: 11% DV
- Potassium: 9% DV
- Magnesium: 7% DV
- Phosphorus: 7% DV
Cauliflower rice is especially high in vitamin C, providing over 3/4 of the Daily Value in just one cup. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps support a healthy immune system.
It also contains a wide array of antioxidants like beta-carotene, kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid and ferulic acid. These compounds give cauliflower its unique nutritional profile.
Additionally, cauliflower rice is a good source of important minerals like potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
How to Make Cauliflower Rice
Making cauliflower rice at home is simple and requires just one ingredient – fresh cauliflower!
Here is a basic step-by-step guide:
- Trim off outer leaves and stem from a head of cauliflower. Cut into florets.
- Working in batches, pulsed florets in a food processor until they reach a rice-like texture.
- Alternatively, you can finely grate the cauliflower using a box grater or mandoline.
- Transfer cauliflower rice to a pan and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until tender.
- Season with salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings.
One medium head of cauliflower will make around 3-4 cups of uncooked cauliflower rice. This shrinks down to around 2 cups cooked.
When cooking cauliflower rice, it’s best to not overcrowd the pan so that it cooks evenly. Cook it in batches if needed.
Stir frequently while cooking to prevent sticking and burning. Add 1-2 tbsp of water to create steam if it starts to stick.
Cauliflower rice can be made in advance and refrigerated for 4-5 days or frozen for 2-3 months.
Tips for Using Cauliflower Rice
Here are some tips for using cauliflower rice:
- Squeeze out excess moisture before cooking to prevent mushiness.
- Season it well with herbs, spices, garlic, etc. It soak ups flavors.
- Toast it briefly in oil before adding other ingredients for more flavor.
- Add egg, cheese or sauce to add moisture and prevent dryness.
- Combine it with regular grains like rice or quinoa for more texture.
- Roast it in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes to create “cauliflower rice pilaf.”
Cauliflower rice works well in stir fries, rice bowls, underneath saucy dishes, in fried rice recipes, in sushi rolls and burrito bowls, or simply seasoned and served as a side dish.
It can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, taking on the flavors of any ingredients it’s cooked with. The possibilities are endless!
Cauliflower Rice Recipes
Here are some delicious recipes using cauliflower rice:
Savory Cauliflower Rice Recipes
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Coconut Curry Cauliflower Rice
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Rice Risotto
- Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice Salad
- Cauliflower Rice Sushi Bowls
Sweet Cauliflower Rice Recipes
- Cauliflower Rice Pudding
- Cauliflower Rice Coconut Pancakes
- Orange Cauliflower Rice Pudding
- Cinnamon Cauliflower Rice Pudding
- Cauliflower Rice Bread Pudding
Cauliflower rice can be served warm or chilled, so it works for both hot dishes and cold salads. It’s incredibly versatile!
Buying Pre-Made Cauliflower Rice
In addition to making your own, pre-riced cauliflower can be found in the fresh vegetable section at many grocery stores for convenience.
When buying pre-made cauliflower rice, look for the following:
- Made only from cauliflower (no additives or preservatives)
- No signs of moisture or mushiness
- Stored in the refrigerated produce section
- Bright white color (no yellowing or browning)
- Packaged in breathable container (not vacuum sealed)
The shelf life is short, so try to use refrigerated cauliflower rice within 3-5 days of purchase. Frozen cauliflower rice will keep for 2-3 months.
Check the ingredient label to confirm no unnecessary salt, preservatives or additives have been added.
Be aware that pre-riced cauliflower costs more than doing it yourself. But it can be a quicker and more convenient option when time is limited.
Is Cauliflower Rice Keto-Friendly?
Cauliflower rice is an excellent low-carb substitute for rice on a ketogenic diet.
With only 3 net carbs per cup, it’s easy to fit into a keto meal plan.
It can be used to make keto fried rice, cauliflower rice paella, cilantro lime cauliflower rice or any other favorite recipes!
Cauliflower rice is also naturally gluten-free, which is an added benefit for those avoiding gluten.
Is Cauliflower Rice Paleo?
Yes, cauliflower rice fits perfectly into the Paleo diet which emphasizes meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts and healthy fats.
It can be used as a grain-free, gluten-free and nutritious substitute for starchy grains and carbs.
Try making cauliflower fried “rice” or cauliflower tabbouleh salad using cauliflower rice on Paleo.
Does Cauliflower Rice Go Bad?
Fresh cauliflower rice will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator before quality starts to decline. To extend its shelf life, store it in an airtight container.
Signs that cauliflower rice has gone bad include:
- Slimy or mushy texture
- Grey, yellow or brown discoloration
- Foul, sulfurous odor
- Mold growth
Discard cauliflower rice if it shows any signs of spoilage. Freezing can extend the shelf life to 2-3 months.
For pre-riced cauliflower, follow the use-by date on the package and use within 3-5 days of opening.
Should You Rinse Cauliflower Rice?
It’s generally recommended to rinse cauliflower rice before cooking to remove any dirt or debris. Place it in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool water.
Rinsing can also prevent the development of excess sulfur compounds during cooking which can lead to unpleasant odors.
Be sure to drain off any excess moisture after rinsing by pressing down with paper towels or a clean dish cloth.
However, pre-riced cauliflower purchased from the store doesn’t necessarily need to be rinsed since it’s already been cleaned and processed.
Can You Freeze Cauliflower Rice?
Yes, cauliflower rice freezes very well for long-term storage.
- Spread cooked cauliflower rice on a baking sheet in a single layer.
- Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about 1-2 hours.
- Transfer to Ziploc bags or airtight containers.
- Remove air and seal.
- Label package with date.
- Store in freezer up to 2-3 months.
To use frozen cauliflower rice, simply heat up from frozen in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven until warmed through.
Freezing prevents it from getting soggy so it retains the light, fluffy texture.
Cauliflower rice is an incredibly versatile, naturally gluten-free and low-carb alternative to regular rice and grains. With 25 calories and 3 net carbs per cup, it makes an ideal base for all kinds of savory dishes and sweet desserts.
It provides nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K and antioxidants and can be used on low-carb, keto and paleo diets.
Cauliflower rice can be easily made at home with fresh cauliflower or purchased pre-riced at the grocery store. It can be cooked, seasoned, and frozen for convenient use all week long!
Use cauliflower rice as the foundation for healthy meals that cut calories, carbs, and fat without sacrificing taste or nutrition.