This easy Air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe delivers all the amazing flavors of chicken wings but in a lighter, healthier, and vegetarian version.
Crispy cauliflower florets are dipped in batter and baked to perfection before being coated in the spicy buffalo sauce. Once out of the air fryer hot and crispy, they are paired nicely with the creamy dressing.
This buffalo cauliflower is perfect for game day, summer barbecue parties, and whenever you find yourself craving a light snack.
Is Buffalo Cauliflower Healthy?
Yes, it is, and we tried to make this recipe healthier by keeping our eyes strictly on the main nutrient contents.
The buffalo sauce is made from hot sauce and melted butter. To make it healthier, we made our version with a lot less butter.
Compared with deep-frying,cooking the buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer tends to cut down the saturated fats and significantly reduce the calorie intake.
Plus, homemade cooking means that you can control the added sugar and salt in the recipe. Specifically, each serving of our air fryer buffalo cauliflower has only 309 milligrams of sodium and 6.5 grams of sugar. This accounts for 13% and 14% of the recommended daily intake from the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines.
How to Cut Cauliflower for This Recipe
If you cut the florets too small, they will end up soft and won’t crisp up as nicely as the bigger ones. Cauliflower florets that are too big can be a bit tough once cooked and require more time in the air fryer.
The cauliflower floret should be cut large — about half to quarter size of the chicken wing — but still bite-size. Also, it’s important to note that the florets should all be the same size so that they can be cooked at the same rate.
Sauce for Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
As the name suggests, the sauce is made from hot buffalo sauce and melted butter. The buffalo sauce is added to the baked cauliflower for an extra layer and improves texture to the overall dish.
You can also adjust the amount of each element in the sauce depending on your taste buds. For example, if you want it a bit spicy, go for more hot sauce. If you crave something lighter, reduce the buffalo sauce portion.
With this sauce, even people who aren’t really fond of cauliflower love this recipe. The hot, crispy exterior and tender, juicy interior taste like heaven!
How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower in an Air Fryer
There are two main parts in making this air fryer buffalo cauliflower. First, prepare the batter to coat the veggies. Second, make the buffalo sauce to flavor and color the fried cauliflower.
Mix the batter.
Dress the cauliflower.
Cook the cauliflower.
Make the coating sauce.
Coat the cauliflower.
Make the dipping sauce.
For the detailed instructions, please go to the recipe card at the bottom of the article.
Can You Use Frozen Cauliflower?
Yes, you can. It’s even easier and more time-efficient than using fresh cauliflower since the frozen cauliflower is already pre-cut and portioned. However, be sure to thaw the frozen cauliflower before coating because once heated through, the veggie drains excess water and dilutes the batter texture.
We suggest thawing the frozen cauliflower in the refrigerator or at room temperature and dabbing any excess liquid with paper towels.
Tips for Making Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Use a colander to drain the excess batter: Though this step is not crucial, it helps to add just enough batter to coat the veggies without smothering cauliflower in the coating mixture.
Bake right before serving: To get the crispy batch of baked cauliflower, we suggest cooking and having it fresh out of the air fryer. The longer the dish stays outside, the more chance it will turn out soft and bland.
Do not overcrowd your air fryer basket: Cauliflower florets need space for air to flow around each piece. You might want to cook cauliflower in two batches so that they won’t end up soggy.
How Long Does Buffalo Cauliflower Last?
Like other bake and fry dishes, this buffalo cauliflower is best eaten fresh out of the air fryer. Staying too long outside could leave it less crunchy and tasty.
Technically, buffalo cauliflower can stay up to 12 hours at room temperature and 3 – 4 days refrigerated. For storage tips, see the next section.
How to Store and Reheat
A great thing about this recipe is that you can prepare elements in advance. Cut up the cauliflower, prepare the buffalo sauce, and keep them in separate containers until you’re ready to use them.
If you want to store buffalo cauliflower leftovers, simply keep them in an airtight container. To re-crisp, heat them in the oven or the air fryer , for about 8 – 10 minutes.
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tbsp plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp homemade buffalo sauce divided
- 20 oz cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 teaspoon olive oil to spray
- 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Mix the batter: In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 4 tbsp breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/8 tsp salt, and 2 tbsp homemade buffalo sauce.
- Dress the cauliflower: Dip 20 oz cauliflower florets into the batter and coat evenly on all sides.
- Cook the cauliflower: Preheat the air fryer to 355°F for 5 minutes. Put the cauliflower into the air fryer. Spray 2 teaspoon olive oil onto the florets and close the air fryer. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Make the coating sauce: Combine the remaining homemade buffalo sauce with 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter. Whisk well and set aside.
- Coat the cauliflower: Brush the coating sauce on all sides of the florets. Cook for another 2 minutes in the air fryer.
- Make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp yogurt and 2 tsp Japanese mayonnaise. Whisk to emulsify and set aside.
- Serve: Place the bowl of dipping sauce on a large plate. Arrange the cauliflower on the plate, sprinkle with freshly cracked 1/2 tsp black pepper, and serve.