How many cups of cauliflower rice in 1 head?

Cauliflower rice has become a popular low-carb and gluten-free alternative to regular rice. It is made by grating cauliflower into rice-sized pieces to mimic the texture of rice. Many people are turning to cauliflower rice for its versatility and nutrition benefits. One question that often comes up is how much cauliflower rice you can expect to get from one head of cauliflower. In this article, we will provide a detailed answer to this question.

What is Cauliflower Rice?

Cauliflower rice, also known as cauliflower couscous, is simply cauliflower that has been grated or processed into small, rice-like pieces. It has a mild flavor and grain-like texture when cooked, making it a handy substitute for rice in many dishes.

Some key things to know about cauliflower rice:

  • It is an easy, low-carb, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly alternative to regular rice.
  • It is very low in calories and carbs compared to rice.
  • It provides fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and other nutrients.
  • It can be used in stir-fries, rice bowls, casseroles, and more in place of rice.
  • It can be made fresh at home or purchased pre-riced in the produce section.

Using cauliflower rice is an easy way to reduce calories and increase nutrients in popular rice dishes. The convenience of pre-riced cauliflower has made it a staple for many low-carb and gluten-free diets.

How Much Rice Does 1 Head of Cauliflower Yield?

The amount of cauliflower rice that can be obtained from one head of cauliflower depends on a few factors:

Size of the Cauliflower Head

Cauliflower heads can vary quite a bit in size, ranging from around 6 inches in diameter to over 9 inches for especially large heads. Larger cauliflower heads will produce a greater quantity of rice. A medium head is generally around 6-7 inches wide.

Preparation Method

There are a few different methods for turning cauliflower into rice:

  • Grating: Grating on a box grater or food processor yields slightly coarser rice with more variable sizes.
  • Blending: Blending in a food processor produces a finer, more uniform cauliflower rice.
  • Buying pre-riced: Pre-riced cauliflower often has a very fine, consistent grain.

Finer cauliflower rice tends to be denser and take up less volume than coarser riced cauliflower. So preparation method affects yield.

How Compacted the Florets Are

The density with which the cauliflower florets are packed together also impacts volume. Looser heads may rice to greater volumes.

Taking these factors into account, here is a rough estimate of how many cups of uncooked cauliflower rice you can expect from one medium head:

Grating Method:

  • Small head (6 inches diameter): About 3 cups
  • Medium head (7 inches diameter): 4 to 5 cups
  • Large head (8+ inches diameter): 5 to 6 cups

Blending/Food Processor Method:

  • Small head: About 4 cups
  • Medium head: 5 to 6 cups
  • Large head: 6 to 8 cups

So you can expect to get approximately 4 to 6 cups of uncooked cauliflower rice per average medium head via grating or blending methods.

Cups of Cauliflower Rice Per Pound

Another useful reference point is cups of cauliflower rice yielded per pound. Here are some guidelines:

  • Grating method: 3 to 4 cups per pound
  • Blending/food processor method: 4 to 5 cups per pound

An average cauliflower head weighs around 1.5 to 2 pounds. So for a 1.5 pound cauliflower head, you can expect around 5 to 6 cups finished cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower Rice Nutrition

In addition to being low in calories and carbs, cauliflower rice provides a range of nutrients:

1 cup raw cauliflower rice Calories Carbs Fiber Protein
Nutrition Info 25 5 grams 2 grams 2 grams

It is high in vitamin C, providing 77% of the RDI per cup. It also contains vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium. The fiber content is higher than regular white rice.

So cauliflower rice makes an excellent nutrient-dense, low-calorie substitute for rice that provides a range of health benefits.

Uses for Cauliflower Rice

Here are some of the most popular ways to use cauliflower rice:

As a Base for Rice Bowls

Cauliflower rice can be used as a base for grain bowls and rice bowls in place of regular rice. It provides a lighter base for dishes like burrito bowls, Buddha bowls, and poke bowls.

In Stir-Fries

Cauliflower rice can be stir-fried with meat and veggies as a low-carb and paleo-friendly alternative to fried rice.

In Pilafs

It can be used as a base for cauliflower “pilaf” by sauteeing with seasonings and vegetables.

In Curries

It can also replace rice in curries – curry cauliflower rice provides a fresh, low-carb base for curried dishes.

As a Side Dish

It can be served flavored as a side dish in place of plain white rice or grains.

In Sushi Rolls

Riced cauliflower makes a handy low-carb replacement for rice in vegetarian sushi rolls.

In Rice Paper Rolls

It can also be used to replace vermicelli noodles in fresh Vietnamese summer rolls.

In Breakfast Bake

Cauliflower rice breakfast bake is a gluten-free and paleo breakfast option when combined with eggs, veggies, and seasonings.

In Risottos

For a low-carb risotto, cauliflower rice can stand in for Arborio rice as the starchy base.

So as you can see, cauliflower rice is incredibly versatile and can be used in place of regular rice in a wide variety of savory dishes across cuisines. Its neutral flavor allows the other ingredients to shine.

Cooking Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower rice cooks faster than regular rice, so it’s important not to overcook it. Here are some tips for cooking cauliflower rice:

  • Saute it over medium-high heat for about 5 to 7 minutes until tender.
  • Microwave it in a covered dish for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Roast it in the oven at 400°F for about 15 to 20 minutes, tossing halfway.
  • Steam it in a steamer basket for just 1 to 2 minutes to warm through without overcooking.
  • Add any seasonings after cooking as cauliflower rice can become watery if seasoned too early.
  • For a fluffier texture, freeze the raw cauliflower rice briefly before cooking.

Properly cooked cauliflower rice should be tender but not mushy. Be careful not to cook it too long or it can become slimy.

Storage Tips for Cauliflower Rice

To keep cauliflower rice fresh, follow these storage recommendations:

  • Freshly made: Store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 4 to 5 days.
  • Cooked: Lasts 3 to 5 days refrigerated.
  • Freeze: Freeze in serving portions up to 8 to 12 months.
  • Pre-riced: Keep refrigerated in original packaging up to 7 days after opening.

Properly stored, cauliflower rice will stay fresh for around 3 to 5 days either refrigerated or frozen. Freeze it in portion sizes for easy weeknight meals.

Is Cauliflower Rice Affordable?

Cauliflower is one of the more affordable vegetables. Buying a head of cauliflower and ricing it yourself is very economical compared to buying pre-riced cauliflower.

Here are some average cauliflower rice costs:

  • Cauliflower head, 1 lb – $2 to $3
  • 1 bag pre-riced, 12 oz. – $3 to $4
  • 1 head cauliflower makes ~4 bags pre-riced

Making your own cauliflower rice can cost around $1 to $1.50 per pound versus $3 to $4 per bag buying pre-riced. So ricing your own cauliflower at home saves significantly.

Even if buying pre-riced, cauliflower rice costs a fraction of many other gluten-free specialty rice options which can cost $5 to $8 per bag.

So cauliflower rice is one of the most budget-friendly low-carb and gluten-free rice swap options.

Cauliflower Rice vs. Regular Rice

Here is a nutrition comparison between cauliflower rice and white rice:

1 cup (cooked) Calories Carbs Protein
White rice 206 45g 4.2g
Cauliflower rice 27 5.5g 2g

As you can see, cauliflower rice is significantly lower in both calories and carbs compared to white rice. It is also higher in fiber and nutrients.

The main differences are:

  • Cauliflower rice is grain-free and gluten-free.
  • It has just 25% of the carbs of white rice per cup.
  • It provides more fiber and nutrients, especially vitamin C.
  • It has a milder flavor than white rice.
  • The texture is slightly less fluffy than regular rice.

So cauliflower rice makes an excellent lower-carb, lower-calorie substitute for white rice that provides more nutrients.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cauliflower rice:

Is cauliflower rice healthy?

Yes, cauliflower rice is a very healthy alternative to regular white rice. It is low in calories and carbs, while providing fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Is cauliflower rice gluten-free?

Yes, cauliflower is naturally gluten-free. Be sure to check labels if purchasing pre-riced cauliflower.

How do you make cauliflower rice?

Cauliflower rice can be made by grating raw cauliflower on a box grater or pulsing cauliflower florets in a food processor until small rice-sized pieces form. No cooking is required before ricing the cauliflower.

Can you freeze cauliflower rice?

Yes, freezing is a great way to preserve cauliflower rice. Blanch the rice for 1 minute before freezing to help maintain texture and nutrition.

Is cauliflower rice good for weight loss?

Yes, because it is low in calories and carbs while being nutritious and satiating. It can support a low-carb or low-calorie diet.

Does cauliflower rice taste like rice?

It has a mild flavor and grain-like texture when cooked but does not truly mimic the taste and texture of rice. Adding seasonings and sauces can help boost flavor.


Cauliflower rice is a healthy, low-carb, gluten-free alternative to regular rice that is easy to make at home. One medium head of cauliflower yields about 4 to 6 cups of uncooked cauliflower rice.

Cauliflower rice is incredibly versatile and budget-friendly. It can be used anywhere you would use regular rice from stir-fries to rice bowls. With just a quarter of the calories and carbs of white rice, cauliflower rice provides an easy way to lighten up favorite dishes.

Give cauliflower rice a try for a nutrient-packed rice substitute that suits a wide range of diets. Experiment with using it in your usual rice dishes for a healthy upgrade.

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