This air fryer buffalo cauliflower is the perfect appetizer or snack. These bites are light, crispy and spicy made both vegan and gluten free making it the perfect addition to your next gathering. Serve with a creamy homemade ranch for dipping – you won’t be able to get enough!
Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables lending itself to so many different styles of food, but when you make it crispy in the air fryer and smoother it with a tangy and spicy buffalo sauce I am not sure there is a more delicious way to enjoy your vegetables!
This buffalo cauliflower is vegetarian, vegan and made both dairy free and gluten free making it the perfect appetizer or snack for any occasion. It’s a great alternative to chicken buffalo wings if you or someone you know doesn’t eat meat, while also just being a delicious food in its own right.
The secret to the crispy bites is definitely the air fryer. Cauliflower has a high water content so does tend to get a bit soft so the light batter helps ensure we have tender cauliflower with a crispy outside. You’ll want to enjoy these hot, straight away for the best crispness!
With just a few ingredients you’ll be able to turn the humble cauliflower into something super delicious that people keep coming back for! Add the below items to your next shop.
Note all ingredients and their quantities are laid out in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cauliflower – we’re using a whole cauliflower for this recipe. As they vary in size, look for a medium to small one to ensure there is enough batter to coat it all. I don’t recommend using frozen cauliflower as the extra liquid will prevent the outside from getting crispy.
- Gluten free flour – the basis of the batter. If you don’t want this recipe to be gluten free you can sub with regular plain flour (all purpose flour) but you may need to use less milk to get the batter consistency as gluten free flour tends to absorb more liquid.
- Corn flour – the secret to getting this cauliflower crispy on the outside.
- Spices – we’re using a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and salt for the best flavour in these cauliflower pieces.
- Plant-based milk – you can use any that you like, my preference is oat milk or soy milk.
- Frank’s hot sauce – I like the wings variety but original works well. You can use any brand of hot sauce but the Frank’s brand will give you that classic buffalo sauce flavour and is easily found in most supermarkets.
- Vegan butter – this is melted and added to the Franks hot sauce to create a simple buffalo sauce. You want to use a good quality vegan butter substitute for the best flavour. I like Nuttelex in Australia or Earth Balance in the US.
To make this air fryer cauliflower you’ll of course need an air fryer! You can use the oven instead if you don’t have one, but the key to quick cooking and light and crispy result is definitely through the use of the air fryer. You’ll also need a couple of mixing bowls.
Start by preparing your cauliflower by cutting the florets into wing-sized chunks trying to ensure they are as close to the same size as possible for even cooking.
Make the batter for your cauliflower bites by mixing together the gluten free flour, corn flour, garlic and onion powder, paprika and salt in a large bowl. Add in the plant-based milk and whisk together until a thick batter forms.
Add the cauliflower pieces to the batter and gently mix until each piece is evenly coated.
Lightly spray the basket of your air fryer with cooking spray to prevent sticking and place the cauliflower pieces in, ensuring there is enough space in between each piece. It’s super important that you don’t overcrowd the basket as this will prevent your cauliflower from going crispy. You’ll need to make sure that there is space around each piece to allow the air to flow. My air fryer is quite small so if your air fryer is like mine, you will need to do this step in batches.
Cook for 13-15 minutes, turning towards the end of the cooking time, until the cauliflower is golden and crispy.
While the cauliflower is cooking, make your buffalo sauce by mixing together the hot sauce and the melted vegan butter until well combined.
Once the cauliflower is golden and crispy, add to a bowl and toss gently with about half of the buffalo sauce. Put the cauliflower back into the air fryer to cook again for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavours of the sauce to develop and the cauliflower to brown up again.
Once done, toss the cooked cauliflower with the remaining buffalo sauce to finish.
You can serve your air fryer buffalo wing with any creamy dipping sauce but for those traditional flavour pairings I highly recommend making this dairy free ranch dressing.
Throw some celery sticks on your platter and you have the ultimate appetizer platter perfect for game day.
Yes, you can bake the cauliflower in a preheated oven at 200°C (392°F) for approximately 25-30 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Keep an eye on them to ensure they become golden and crispy.
These are best enjoyed fresh, but reheating will help bring back some of their texture. To store leftovers, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate. Reheat in the air fryer or oven.
More air fryer recipes
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower
- ½ cup gluten free flour
- ¼ cup corn flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup plant-based milk
For the buffalo sauce:
- ⅓ cup Frank’s hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter melted
dairy free ranch dressingto serve
- Preheat the air fyer to 200C and start by preparing the cauliflower by cutting it into chunks – you want these to all be as close to the same size as possible for even cooking. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add in the gluten free flour, corn flour, garlic and onion powder, paprika and salt and mix together. Add in the plant-based milk and whisk together until a thick batter forms.
- Add the cauliflower pieces to the batter and gently mix until each piece is evenly coated.
- Lightly spray the basket of the air fryer with cooking spray to prevent sticking and place the cauliflower pieces in, ensuring there is enough space in between each piece. You don’t want to overcrowd the basket so you may need to do this step in batches depending on how big your air fryer is.
- Cook for 13-15 minutes, turning towards the end of the cooking time, until the cauliflower is golden and crispy.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the buffalo sauce by mixing together the hot sauce and the melted vegan butter until well combined.
- Once the cauliflower is golden and crispy, add to a bowl and toss gently with about half of the buffalo sauce. Place the cauliflower back into the air fryer to cook again for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer and place back into the bowl, tossing with the remaining buffalo sauce.
- Serve the buffalo cauliflower immediately with a side of dairy free ranch dressing for dipping.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.