Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

These air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites are the BEST appetizer or game day snack! They're crispy, saucy, and spicy. You won't be able to get enough!

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower

This air fryer buffalo cauliflower is the ULTIMATE game day snack. It’s saucy, spicy, and crispy, the kind of finger food that packs a ton of flavor into a single bite. If you still need snack recs for the Super Bowl next weekend, here’s mine: make this!

I based this recipe on the baked buffalo cauliflower I shared last fall. After I posted it, I heard from so many of you asking for an air fryer version. I am SO GLAD I tried one, because this air fryer buffalo cauliflower might be even better than the oven version (which was already very delicious). The air fryer just makes it that much more crispy! Devour the florets on their own (warning: they’re seriously addictive!) or take them over the top with a creamy dipping sauce. This vegan ranch is fantastic.

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe ingredients

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe Ingredients

To make this air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe, you’ll start by breaking a head of cauliflower into large florets.

Then, you’ll make a batter out of all-purpose flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and water. The cornstarch is the secret to getting the cauliflower nice and crisp!

After you air fry the cauliflower, you’ll brush it with buffalo sauce. I like to make a homemade one using Frank’s red hot sauce, melted butter, garlic powder, paprika, and honey. For a vegan alternative, sub vegan butter for regular butter and use agave instead of honey!

Don’t forget the vegan ranch dressing for serving! For a full “buffalo wings” experience, carrots and celery sticks are fun too.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hand using tongs to dip cauliflower floret in bowl of batter

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Tips

  • Really coat that cauliflower! The batter is what gives the cauliflower its crispy, “fried” effect, so you want to get it into every nook and cranny of each floret. When you add the cauliflower to the thick flour mixture, stir well to make sure the florets are fully coated.
  • Don’t crowd the basket. If it’s too crowded, the cauliflower will steam instead of getting browned and crisp. Arrange the florets in a single layer and leave a little space around each one. Work in batches if necessary. It takes me two batches to make this recipe in my air fryer.
  • Flip it carefully. When you flip the cauliflower after the first few minutes of cooking, it might want to stick to the air fryer basket. That’s ok! If you use a spatula to loosen the cauliflower from the basket, you’ll be able to flip it without tearing off its crispy coating. To minimize sticking, you can also lightly grease the basket with cooking spray before adding the cauliflower.
  • Sauce it twice. For the best buffalo flavor, you’ll need to sauce these cauliflower bites twice: once halfway through the cook time, and once just before serving. Don’t hold back here! Rotate the florets as you brush on the sauce in order to coat them on all sides.
  • Eat it right away. This buffalo cauliflower is best hot from the air fryer, when it’s still nice and crisp. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days, but they’ll lose some of their crispness. If you’re making this recipe for a party or game day, I recommend air frying the cauliflower just before serving.

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe

More Favorite Air Fryer Recipes

If you love these air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings, try making one of these fun snacks in the air fryer next:

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Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

rate this recipe:
4.48 from 23 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
These air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites are a fun veggie alternative to chicken wings! Saucy, spicy, and crispy, they're great for parties and game day. Serve them with classic blue cheese dressing or my vegan ranch for dipping.

Ingredients

  • cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 head cauliflower, about 2 pounds, broken into large florets
  • Buffalo Sauce, for brushing
  • Vegan Ranch, for dipping, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt. Add the water and whisk until smooth. Add the cauliflower and stir to coat.
  • Lift the cauliflower florets out of the batter, allowing any excess batter to drip back into the bowl. Arrange in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving a little space around each floret. Don’t crowd the basket. Work in batches as necessary.
  • Air fry for 9 minutes. Remove from the air fryer and use a spatula to carefully flip the florets. Brush with some of the buffalo sauce. Air fry for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is dark and crisp around the edges.
  • Remove from the air fryer and brush with additional buffalo sauce. If desired, serve with vegan ranch for dipping.

21 comments

4.48 from 23 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Inkh
    07.19.2024

    1 star
    Terrible. Stuck the the air fryer and a total mess to clean up. Not worth it at all.

  2. Andrew
    06.02.2024

    5 stars
    These came out great. Made them for my pregnant wife and at the first bite she was shocked it wasn’t chicken. I substituted for rice flour and used Primal Kitchen Buffalo sauce and it came out fantastic. Perfectly crispy yet soft and flavorful with the sauce. We will definitely be making them again

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2024

      I’m so glad she loved them!

  3. Angela
    04.11.2024

    1 star
    I had the same experience and came to the comments to see if I was the only one. I had to toss the whole batch.

    • Jeff
      04.14.2024

      1 star
      Same experience here. Tossed the batch. That batter is off some how.

  4. Lois Demers
    01.31.2024

    I’m wondering if I can use beer instead of water?

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.02.2024

      Hi Lois, we haven’t tried using beer in this recipe, so I can’t guarantee the results, but it might work. If you try it, let us know how it goes!

    • bill
      02.07.2024

      great for football games

  5. Linda Fountain
    08.21.2023

    5 stars
    This was delicious! I may like them better than when using chicken! Really liked the honey addition to the Frank’s Red Hot – made it less spicy so more people liked it!
    The only change I would make next time is add a little less water to the batter so it’s less drippy.
    Will definitely make again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.22.2023

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  6. Bern
    07.17.2023

    5 stars
    I was a bit skeptical as these was no oil…..sorry for doubting you …..glad to say WAS I WRONG.
    Fantastic recipe!!
    Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.17.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it, ha!

  7. Pam
    03.11.2023

    5 stars
    Great recipe. Cauliflower was nice and crisp.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.12.2023

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Ali
    03.09.2023

    5 stars
    This was so delicious!! Lots of flavor in the batter and I love how crispy these got. 10 out of 10!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      03.10.2023

      Hi Ali, so glad you loved it!

  9. Joanne
    02.13.2023

    I don’t have an air fryer. Could I just bake these?

  10. Tracy M
    02.10.2023

    This sounds so good! I’ve enjoyed the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s a few times, but I can’t wait to try making this recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      02.10.2023

      I hope you love it!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.