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This air fryer buffalo cauliflower is a delicious and flavorful alternative to buffalo chicken wings. This tasty appetizer or side dish is ready in just 25 minutes from start to finish.
This recipe for air fryer buffalo cauliflower was inspired by my juicy air fryer chicken wings. I wanted to create a healthy alternative that could be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
These air fryer cauliflower wings are flavorful, spicy, and perfect for serving as an appetizer or even as a side dish. Made with fresh cauliflower and buffalo sauce, they are surprisingly easy to make and perfect when paired with your favorite dipping sauce!
While buffalo cauliflower is most popular during the Super Bowl season, you will find this tasty recipe works year-round. If you are craving a spicy fix, I urge you to try this tasty airfryer buffalo cauliflower recipe. You won’t regret it!
Reasons to love this recipe
- These air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites contain NO breading, and NO egg.
- They are keto-friendly, gluten free, low carb, and vegetarian.
- They are ready in just 25 minutes, including the time it takes to prepare the cauliflower florets.
- A flavorful and spicy snack that is also low in calories, while high in fiber.
Here’s what you need to make the recipe
- Cauliflower – Pick tight and round heads, without signs of blemishing or excessive green coloring around the edges.
- Oil – I recommend avocado or olive oil for the best results.
- Hot sauce – I recommend using Frank’s hot sauce for the best flavor.
- Butter – to make the florets crispy and delicious. To make it vegan, use olive oil instead of butter.
- Cornstarch – to make it crispy. Instead of the corn starch, you can use almond flour.
You’ll need an air fryer to make this recipe. Here are the two that I recommend
- Basket style (Phillips 7 QT, 1725W) – easier to flip food but cooks a smaller amount (2-3 servings).
- Convection oven-style (Instant Pot 20 QT, 1800W) – This one takes more space but can bake, broil, toast, warm, dehydrate and even has a rotisserie feature. Holds more food – perfect for families of 4 or more.
Don’t have any air fryer? Make it in your oven!
Preheat your oven at 375°F and roast the cauliflower for 30-40 minutes until it turns crispy and the florets start to brown.
- Chop the cauliflower the same size for even cooking.
- No overcrowding – Always arrange food in a single layer and cook in batches if needed.
- Toss or flip the food halfway during cooking to make sure the food is cooked evenly.
- Make sure to pat the rinsed cauliflower florets dry otherwise they won’t crisp.
- When you are mixing butter with the hot sauce, make sure the sauce is either at room temperature or slightly warm otherwise the butter can solidify when combined with the cold sauce leaving behind a chunky mixture. To fix it, microwave it for about 8-10 seconds till the butter melts.
- All air fryers don’t work the same – you may need to increase/decrease the cooking time depending on your model.
How to prep ahead
You can chop the cauliflower and keep the marinade ready a day in advance. Don’t cook it as this dish tastes best when served immediately after cooking. Note: You’ll have to heat the marinade before mixing it with the cauliflower.
Save the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 2 days.
To reheat, cook the cauliflower wings in the air fryer at 375°F for about 2-3 minutes to reheat. Serve immediately.
Hot sauce is often a blend of just peppers, vinegar, salt, and maybe a few other seasonings. Buffalo sauce is most often used to dress wings, and it is a hot sauce that has been seasoned and blended with butter for a smooth, silky sauce that sticks perfectly to your favorite foods.
Cauliflower wings are lower in calories and fat, while higher in fiber and many vitamins and minerals. They are a great swap for when you are craving something flavorful but would prefer fewer calories and fat.
No, they do not. While they are coated in the same delicious buffalo sauce, they do not have the same texture or flavorful profile that meat does. They are delicious and have a wonderful texture and flavor all their own.
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Frank's hot sauce room temperature
- Remove the leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Cut around the stem to remove it. Discard both the leaves and the stem.
- Cut the cauliflower in half. Use your fingers to break the cauliflower into florets. Make sure to cut off any large stems – they won't crisp.
- You'll need only half a head of cauliflower for this recipe. Save the remaining half of the florets for another recipe or double up this recipe.
- Rinse the cauliflower florets in water and pat them dry completely.
- To a large bowl, add oil, salt, garlic powder, ground black pepper, hot sauce, and melted butter till well combined. Toss in the cauliflower florets and coat them completely.
- Sprinkle cornstarch over the cauliflower. Mix it gently to coat it evenly.
- Place parchment paper in the air frying basket. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer – don't overcrowd. Depending on the capacity of your air-fryer, you may need two or more batches. [Note: If you are using a basket-style air fryer, you can coat the basket with a cooking spray instead of using parchment paper]
- Air fry for about 10 minutes at 375°F. Pause the air frying at around 5 minutes and rotate the tray to ensure even cooking. If using a basket-style air fryer, shake the basket to toss the cauliflower.
- Mix melted butter with hot sauce (at room temperature). Use a brush to slather the hot sauce-butter mixtture till the florets are completely coated.
- Put them back in the air fryer and air fry them for 3 minutes at 375°F.
- Serve hot with ranch or dressing of your choice.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.