This air fryer buffalo cauliflower is made with battered florets drenched in a spicy and buttery sauce! Ready in just 20 minutes, it’s the perfect appetizer or veggie side dish.
The Best Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables to cook with! Some of my favorites include cauliflower mac and cheese, General Tso’s cauliflower, and sticky sesame cauliflower.
Inspired by my baked buffalo cauliflower bites, I wanted to see if there was a quicker and just as delicious way to cook them.
With a few tweaks, you can enjoy crispy and delicious buffalo cauliflower all cooked up in the air fryer!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Extra crispy. One of the perks of using an air fryer is that whatever you cook in it becomes extra crispy. It’s also perfect for this buffalo cauliflower because it keeps the softness in the middle!
- Healthier than deep frying. While a small amount of butter is used for the sauce, there is no actual oil or butter needed for the ‘frying’ part of it! Compare that to deep frying, which requires at least a full cup of oil!
- Low in calories. Similar to the above point, not only is air frying cauliflower healthier, but it is also lower in calories!
- No mess or clean up required. Honestly, this is my biggest perk of using an air fryer- There is ALMOST zero clean up. Once it’s been used, I place it in my dishwasher and Voila- it is clean.
The texture of the air fried cauliflower ticks all the boxes– it’s crispy and crunchy on the inside, but perfectly smooth on the inside! It’s salty, spicy, buttery, and seriously addictive!
Oh, and if you want to try air frying other vegetables, you will enjoy Brussels sprouts and zucchini.
You will love what a simple and easy ingredient list this recipe requires. No fancy or hard to find ones and in fact, you probably have everything in your pantry right now! Here is what you’ll need:
- Cauliflower– Fresh cauliflower chopped into bite sized pieces.
- Flour– I used white whole wheat flour, but white flour or gluten free flour can be used.
- Milk of choice– Unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or any milk of choice (provided it is not flavored!).
- Salt and pepper– To taste.
- Hot sauce– I like Frank’s Buffalo sauce, but for a spicier kick, you can use classic hot sauce.
- Butter– dairy free butter or traditional butter. This will be melted and whisked with the hot sauce to coat the crispy buffalo wings.
How do you make air fryer buffalo cauliflower
For such a delicious looking recipe, you’ll love how deceptively easy it is to make. You follow a simple 3-step process and that is it. The air fryer takes care of all the hard work, so it’s foolproof.
Ready to make life-changing cauliflower wings?
Step 1- Prepare the batter and coat cauliflower
Start by preparing the batter. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, salt, and pepper, until smooth. Next, dip the raw cauliflower in the batter until completely coated.
Step 2- Air fry the cauliflower
Now, lace the battered cauliflower in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook at 200C/400F for 13-15 minutes, or until golden and crispy around the edges.
Step 3- Prepare the sauce
While the battered cauliflower is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a mixing bowl, combine the hot sauce and melted butter and whisk until combined. Once the cauliflower has cooked, remove them from the air fryer basket and dredge them in the sauce and serve immediately.
Can I bake this in the oven?
You can skip the air fryer and bake the buffalo cauliflower in the oven. Simply place the battered cauliflower on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 220C/440F for 25-27 minutes, until the cauliflower is golden brown. Once cooked, pour the buffalo sauce over and serve immediately.
Tips for success
After making this air fryer cauliflower multiple times, here are the top tips for the perfect recipe every single time.
- Chop the cauliflower into equal bite-sized pieces. This ensures the cauliflower all cooks evenly!
- Cook in batches. If your air fryer basket is on the smaller side, do not overcrowd it. Instead, prepare this dish in batches.
- Use a good quality buffalo sauce. Not all buffalo sauce is created equal! Some brands are very thin and watery, which can affect the recipe. I love using Frank’s Buffalo Sauce, as it is thicker than others and has a comfortably spicy flavor!
- Serve with plenty of condiments! While the buffalo cauliflower tastes delicious on its own, it goes up a notch when served with a variety of sauces! I love enjoying it with ranch dressing, cheese sauce, and even guacamole.
Wondering what is the best way to store leftovers? Here are best practices for battered cauliflower storage:
- To store: Leftover cauliflower should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep well for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: Place the cauliflower in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw completely before reheating.
- Reheating: Place a single layer of the thawed/chilled cauliflower in the air fryer and cook at 200C/400F for 5 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
What do you eat with buffalo cauliflower?
As this cauliflower is a standout dish, we love to pair it with some form of protein. What better pairing than with some air fryer favorites? Here is what we recommend:
Frequently Asked Questions
Buffalo sauce isn’t as spicy as hot sauce but it still has a kick to it. If you are worried about the spice tolerance, swap out half the sauce with wing sauce.
When made with gluten free all purpose flour, this dish is suitable for celiacs.
Use vegan butter instead of traditional butter and this cauliflower is vegan friendly.
- 1 large cauliflower chopped into equal sized florets
- 1 cup all purpose flour use gluten free, if needed
- 1 cup milk I used soy milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup hot sauce I used Frank’s Buffalo hot sauce
- 1/4 cup butter melted * See notes
In a mixing bowl, add your flour, milk, salt, and pepper, and whisk until a smooth batter remains.
Moving quickly, dip the cauliflower into the batter until completely covered. Place the battered cauliflower in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 13-15 minutes at 200C/400F, or until crispy and golden brown.
While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the buffalo hot sauce and melted butter until smooth.
Remove the crispy cauliflower from the air fryer and drench them in the buffalo sauce. Place them on a plate and serve immediately.
TO STORE: Leftover cauliflower should be stored in the refrigerator, covered. It will keep well for up to 5 days.
TO FREEZE: Place the cauliflower in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let it thaw completely before reheating.
TO REHEAT: Place a single layer of the thawed/chilled cauliflower in the air fryer and cook at 200C/400F for 5 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 11g | Sodium: 2113mg | Potassium: 755mg | Fiber: 5g | Vitamin A: 638IU | Vitamin C: 146mg | Calcium: 132mg | Iron: 3mg | NET CARBS: 31g