top view of buffalo cauliflower topped with green onions next to a bowl of sour cream

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower


Author: Lisa Childs

Comments: 0

Air Fryer Recipes

Published Date: October 12, 2021

Updated Date: November 16, 2022

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Buffalo Cauliflower in the Air Fryer is a delicious, savory, and low carb snack or appetizer to satisfy your wing craving, without the meat! Crispy cauliflower florets coated in tangy buffalo sauce pair perfectly with your favorite creamy dip. Enjoy this healthy, guilt-free twist on a game day favorite.

top view of air fryer buffalo cauliflower topped with green onions next to a bowl of sour cream

Cauliflower is a tasty vegetarian alternative to chicken wings. Just check out the health benefits of cauliflower!

The air fryer makes this recipe perfectly crisp and tender, without the added calories from deep-frying. It’s a healthy, vegetarian appetizer everyone will enjoy. If you ask me, you won’t even miss the chicken!

Before I teach you how to make Buffalo Cauliflower in the air fryer, let me answer the question I get most about air fryers.

buffalo cauliflower piece emerging from sour cream bowl with fork

Which Air Fryer is The Best

I love my air fryer and use it daily. If you don’t have one, you should! It’s the perfect companion for the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot cooks with pressurized steam. Therefore, you’ll never create something crispy in an Instant Pot. I often use my air fryer right after pressure-cooking to crisp a recipe, such as Instant Pot Salt Potatoes, Instant Pot Ribs, and Instant Pot Broccoli.

Check out this post for my controversial opinion on the Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid, and my opinion on which air fryer is the best to buy.

I also have several fantastic recipes, like Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower, made just in the air fryer:

How to Make Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Cauliflower, flour, egg, and cheese in separate black containers
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F. 
  • Wash cauliflower and cut into bite size florets. (See my first tip in the next section to simplify this step!) Get out 3 separate bowls, pie plates, or wide tupperware.
  • In a medium bowl or tupperware with a lid, combine flour, salt, paprika, garlic, and cayenne.
  • In a separate container, whisk eggs and water together until no chunks remain.
  • In yet another separate medium bowl or tupperware with a lid, combine breadcrumbs with seasoned salt.
  • Dip each cauliflower piece in the flour mixture. I place 4-5 cauliflower pieces in a tupperware at a time and shake with the lid on. 
  • Shake off any excess flour and dip into the egg mixture.
  • Drip off excess egg mixture. Then dip in the breadcrumb mixture. I like to shake cauliflower bites with the lid on, then press the breadcrumbs into the cauliflower pieces.
  • Repeat these steps until all the cauliflower is coated.
  • Spread the cauliflower evenly in the air fryer basket, without crowding. It might take two batches to cook all the cauliflower. That’s ok.
  • If desired, you can spray your cauliflower bites in the air fryer with oil. You can use cooking spray, or I use an oil mister because I can control the ingredients in it.
  • Air fry the buffalo cauliflower bites at 400˚F for 12-18 minutes, depending on how large your pieces are. Flip the cauliflower bites halfway through cooking. You’ll know they are done when you can easily pierce a fork through the thickest part of the cauliflower.
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, combine butter and hot sauce in a large bowl. Microwave until heated through. I use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but you can use your favorite buffalo wing sauce.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the air fryer and toss in the buffalo sauce mixture.
  • Serve immediately with a side of celery + carrot sticks and your favorite creamy dressing!
cauliflower dipped in flour, egg, and cheese displayed on teal plate

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Tips

  • Use pre-cut cauliflower for ease, uniform pieces, and less waste! Instead of purchasing a large head of cauliflower, look in your grocery store produce department near the prepared salad kits for pre-packaged bags of pre-cut and prepared cauliflower pieces. It saves so much time and makes this recipe that much easier.
  • Use a light coating of breadcrumbs to ensure that it will stick to the cauliflower. If you use too much coating, it might fall off and burn in the air fryer.
  • Use your favorite buffalo style sauce. I highly recommend Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but any buffalo wing sauce will work.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer pan; otherwise the cauliflower will not cook evenly and properly. It’s better to cook in two batches than overcrowd! This recipe needs enough air flow to go around each cauliflower piece.
  • If you want crispier buffalo cauliflower bites, try cooking for 2-3 minutes longer

If you need game day recipe ideas, check out this post!

prepped cauliflower in air fryer

Keto Buffalo Cauliflower and other variations

  • Vegan: If you’d like to make this recipe completely vegan, just substitute the butter with olive oil or vegan butter.
  • Keto: This could easily be a low carb recipe! You can substitute the panko breadcrumbs with almond flour, to make it even more keto-friendly. Omit the flour and just season with the spices, the egg, then the almond flour.
  • Less spicy: I love this recipe with spicy buffalo sauce! But if you need a milder air fryer cauliflower wing, look for a mild hot sauce or add more butter to your hot sauce. Or you can completely replace the hot sauce with honey mustard, barbecue sauce, or ketchup.
  • Buffalo Cauliflower no butter: Look for a pre-made buffalo sauce with no butter in the ingredients, or just serve with straight Frank’s hot sauce. It’ll be spicy with no butter!
air fried cauliflower on top of orange sauce

What to serve with Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

This dish is best served with your favorite creamy dressing! We love ranch dressing at my house. I know many people love to serve cauliflower wings with bleu cheese dressing.

I usually serve this appetizer with carrot and celery sticks. This helps cut the heat between spicy cauliflower bites.

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower, carrot, and celery sticks served with your favorite creamy dip will feel just like you’re enjoying appetizers at your favorite game day spot!

close up of buffalo cauliflower sprinkled with green onions

How to store Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Honestly, this recipe is best served hot. I doubt you’ll have any leftovers to store! But if you do, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days.

Reheat for a few minutes in the air fryer or oven. I don’t recommend microwaving, as they’ll be soggy.

If you like this recipe, then you’ll definitely enjoy these other popular recipes!

Graphic of Cauliflower Buffalo Wings made in the air fryer with one picture of buffalo cauliflower with dip.
side view of buffalo cauliflower sprinkled with green onions on teal plate next to bowl of sour cream

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower is a delicious, savory, and low carb snack or appetizer to satisfy your wings craving! Crispy cauliflower florets coated in tangy buffalo sauce pair perfectly with your favorite creamy dip. Enjoy this healthy, guilt-free twist on a game day favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cauliflower florets, washed and cut into large chunks (about the size of a golf ball)

Seasoned Flour

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Egg Wash

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water

Breadcrumb Mixture

  • 1 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

For Serving

  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce*
  • 1-3 tablespoons butter (Add butter to taste- less for spicier and more for milder sauce)
  • Ranch or bleu cheese dressing, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F.  Get out 3 separate bowls, pie plates, or wide tupperware.
  2. In a medium bowl or tupperware with a lid, combine flour, salt, paprika, garlic, and cayenne.
  3. In a separate medium bowl or tupperware with a lid, whisk eggs and water together until no chunks remain.
  4. In a separate medium bowl or tupperware with a lid, combine breadcrumbs with seasoned salt.
  5. Dip each cauliflower piece in the flour mixture. I place 4-5 cauliflower pieces in a tupperware at a time and shake with the lid on. 
  6. Shake off any excess flour and dip each piece into the egg mixture to coat the flour.
  7. Drip off excess egg mixture. Then dip in the breadcrumb mixture. I like to shake cauliflower bites with the lid on, then press the breadcrumbs into the cauliflower pieces.
  8. Repeat these steps until all the cauliflower is coated.
  9. Spread the cauliflower evenly in the air fryer basket, without crowding. It might take two batches to cook all the cauliflower.
  10. Air fry the buffalo cauliflower bites at 400˚F for 12-18 minutes, depending on how large your pieces are. Flip the cauliflower bites halfway through cooking. You’ll know they are done when you can easily pierce a fork through the thickest part of the cauliflower.
  11. While the cauliflower is cooking, combine butter and hot sauce in a large bowl. Microwave until heated through.
  12. Remove the cauliflower from the air fryer and toss in the buffalo sauce mixture.
  13. Serve immediately with a side of celery + carrot sticks and your favorite creamy dressing.

Notes

  • *I use Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but you can use your favorite buffalo wing sauce.
  • **Use pre-cut cauliflower for ease, uniform pieces, and less waste! Instead of purchasing a large head of cauliflower, look in your grocery store produce department near the prepared salad kits for pre-packaged bags of pre-cut and prepared cauliflower pieces. These may not be uniform in size, so try to pick pieces that are all about the same size. Pre-cut cauliflower is usually a little bit smaller than the size I cut mine into for this recipe (see photos for reference), so they will cook faster.
  • Use a light coating of breadcrumbs to ensure that it will stick to the cauliflower. If you use too much coating, it might fall off and burn in the air fryer.
  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer pan; otherwise the cauliflower will not cook evenly and properly. It’s better to cook in two batches than overcrowd! This recipe needs enough air flow to go around each cauliflower piece.
  • After you add the sauce to the crispy cauliflower, the pieces do tend to get soft and soggy if left too long. If you prefer your cauliflower bites to be extra crisp, I recommend serving with the buffalo sauce and any dipping sauces in separate small bowls to dip individual pieces.
  • You can easily reheat and re-crisp these buffalo cauliflower tenders in the air fryer. I reheated mine at 400º for 2-4 minutes or until crispy.
  • I tested these cauliflower bites sprayed with oil and not sprayed before air frying. Spraying will ensure an even crisp around the entire piece if there are any exposed pieces of flour or egg. However, once tossed in the sauce, it was impossible to notice a difference.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 1619mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 11g

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Hi! I'm Lisa!


I founded Tried, Tested, and True in 2019 to help moms like me develop confidence and joy in the kitchen.

Since then, I have taught millions of home cooks around the world through our tried and true recipes and Youtube tutorials.

In 2021, I wrote my first book called, “I Love My Instant Pot: Cooking for One”!