How to Microwave Cauliflower Rice

There have been many reinventions of much-loved food in recent years, from pasta to cereal. However, not every reinvention has been as popular a hit as cauliflower rice – the ultimate, healthy, nutrient-packed rice alternative made from (you guessed it) cauliflower

You can buy instant cauliflower rice from most supermarkets, but there is no guarantee that they are as healthy as they say they are. So, is it possible to microwave your own homemade cauliflower rice instead? 

To microwave cauliflower rice, pop the rice into a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash of water, then microwave for 4 minutes covered then 1 minute uncovered.

How to Microwave Cauliflower Rice

Most instant cauliflower rice varieties require using your microwave to steam the cauliflower rice. This is the best method for cooking your homemade cauliflower rice in the microwave, too. Here is how:

  1. Prep The Cauliflower
    Before you make the cauliflower rice, rinse the vegetable thoroughly and pat dry. Then chop the cauliflower into florets. 
Preparing Cauliflower to make Rice 1
  1. Make The Rice
    Throw the cauliflower into a food processor and pulse for around 30 seconds until your cauliflower develops the consistency of rice. 
  2. Bowl It Up 
    Transfer as much of the cauliflower as you want to cook to a large microwave-safe bowl. 
  3. Add Water
    Sprinkle at most 1 tablespoon of water over the cauliflower rice. 
  4. Cover It
    Take a damp tea towel or some plastic wrap and fully cover the top of the bowl. Secure the cover tightly over the bowl as much as possible. 
  5. Microwave
    Place the cauliflower rice in the microwave and set your microwave to its highest setting. Then cook the cauliflower rice for 4 minutes. 
  6. Uncover
    Remove the tea towel or plastic wrap from the top of the bowl, being cautious of the hot steam from the cauliflower rice. 
  7. Stir
    Use a fork to fluff and stir the cauliflower rice, getting all the way to the bottom to stop the cauliflower rice from sticking. 
  8. Microwave Again 
    Microwave it for a further 1 minute leaving the rice uncovered. 
  9. Serve
    After that final 1 minute, your cauliflower rice is ready to enjoy! 

How to Microwave Cauliflower Rice Successfully

Microwaving cauliflower rice is simple enough, but here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want the best tasting, most successful microwaved cauliflower rice possible: 

  • Thoroughly Wash – Fresh cauliflower is likely to have bits of dirt stuck between its florets. Make sure to give your cauliflower more than a quick rinse to prevent dirt from affecting the buttery texture of the cauliflower rice.  
  • Frozen Takes Longer – Cauliflower rice is the perfect food to prepare in advance and freeze, seeing as you throw the frozen rice into the microwave and follow the method above to defrost and cook. That being said, microwaving cauliflower rice straight from the freezer will need 5 minutes longer in the microwave. 
  • Save On Washing – If you are feeling particularly lazy, you can microwave the cauliflower rice in the same dish you plan to serve the rice in as long as the dish is made of glass or porcelain and is microwavable.
  • Season As You Wish – Steamed cauliflower rice can be pretty boring by itself. Season the rice as much as you want before serving it for the best-tasting results. 

Why You Should Microwave Cauliflower Rice

It may seem a little odd at first to be microwaving what is essentially a raw batch of cauliflower. However, there are plenty of convincing reasons that you should microwave it:

Just As Quick As Instant Packs

Even raw cauliflower does not take anywhere near as long to cook in the microwave as regular rice.

Instant cauliflower rice packs tend to be raw cauliflower rather than partly cooked cauliflower rice. So, once you start microwaving your own cauliflower rice, it will be ready just as quickly as if you were to use an instant pack. 

Locks In Nutrients

The main reason cauliflower rice is so popular is because of how many nutrients it contains compared to other rice varieties. Some methods for cooking cauliflower rice dilutes those nutrients.

But steaming the rice in your microwave and using a cover to contain that steam ensures that as few of the cauliflower’s nutrients as possible are lost.  

Perfect For One 

It is not often worth pulling out all of the cooking stops when you are only cooking for yourself.

That is why microwaving your cauliflower rice is ideal for when you want a quick, nutritious meal for 1 person. It takes next to no time, and there will be plenty of space in your microwave of the perfect portion size. 

Why You Shouldn’t Microwave Cauliflower Rice

Despite these advantages to microwaving cauliflower rice, there are some issues you may face that could convince you otherwise: 

Inconsistent Results 

How long your cauliflower needs to cook depends entirely on how small you have made the fake rice grains.

There is no way to guarantee that you will have the same-sized cauliflower rice every time you make the rice, meaning that there will often be times when your microwave will overcook or undercook it and you won’t be able to tell until you uncover the rice. 

Limited Servings

Cauliflower rice may be full of healthy goodness, but most people find it not as filling as regular rice, often needing more than the typical serving size to feel full.

This is fine if you are cooking cauliflower rice on the stove and have room to make larger portions, but in the microwave, your space is limited.

You would only be able to cook 2 regular-sized portions of cauliflower rice at one time, making it pointless using your microwave to feed your whole family. 

Odd Texture 

Unlike regular rice, cauliflower rice is supposed to have an initial crunch followed by the smooth, buttery texture that you would expect of cauliflower.

However, because of how a microwave’s heating systems work, you will not be able to get that same crunch from the cauliflower rice, which can lead to quite an odd final texture. 

Microwaving Cauliflower Rice FAQs

Do you have more questions about using your microwave for cooking cauliflower rice? Then check these out:

Can You Microwave Cauliflower Rice in a Bag?

We recommend microwaving cauliflower rice in a bowl. This is far easier to cover and uncover during the microwaving process which helps you to achieve fluffy rice every time.

Can Frozen Cauliflower Rice Be Microwaved?

Yes, frozen cauliflower rice can be microwaved. In fact, thawing it is not a good idea you’ll often end up with soggy cauliflower rice that clumps together.


Where we obtain our information and verify the facts in this article:

Simply Recipes

How to make cauliflower rice in general.

Izzy Cooking

How to make cauliflower rice in a microwave.

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