How to Prevent Cauliflower from Turning Yellow

If you’ve ever steamed cauliflower and it turned yellow, you’re not alone. Here’s the key to serving beautifully white cauliflower every time.


All plants (fruits and vegetables) have pigments-it’s what gives them their vibrant colors.

Cauliflower is a flavanoid of the anthoxanthin group, which includes potatoes, onions, cauliflower and pears. In acidic environments, they’re white;  at a neutral pH they’re creamy white; in alkaline environments, yellow.  These foods turn different colors depending upon several factors:

  • the pH of the cooking water
  • the type of knife used
  • the type of cookware used
  • degree of exposure to oxygen

Aluminum, tin, copper, iron and steel (not stainless steel) are reactive metals that interact with the pH of food.

How To

The best way to prevent cauliflower from discoloring is to use a stainless steel knife and prepare it in a pan that is free of copper, iron, aluminum or tin.

Additionally, adding a hint of acidity (lemon or vinegar) to the cooking water will increase the whiteness of the vegetable.