Air Fryer Cauliflower

If you're craving a crunchy, salty, and super fun snack, make this air fryer cauliflower recipe! Smoked paprika and cayenne fill it with bold flavor.

Air fryer cauliflower

This air fryer cauliflower recipe will make any evening at home more fun! As the seasons change, Jack and I are spending more time inside, which also means we’re watching more movies and TV. Lately, this air fryer cauliflower has been our go-to viewing snack. Health-wise, it’s definitely a cut above the average fries or chips (or fried cauliflower, for that matter), and taste-wise, it’s just as good. A simple panko coating infuses it with smoky, spicy flavor and gives it plenty of crunch. Eat one floret, and you’ll have devoured half a head of cauliflower before you know it!

Cauliflower, panko bread crumbs, spices, and an egg

Air Fryer Cauliflower Recipe Ingredients

You only need a few basic ingredients to make this recipe:

  • Cauliflower, of course! Break it into small to medium-sized florets. If they’re too large, the outsides will burn before the middles cook through.
  • Panko bread crumbs – They create the crispy coating.
  • Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt give this air fryer cauliflower an addictive smoky/savory flavor.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – It adds richness to the cauliflower and helps it crisp up in the air fryer.
  • Egg – The binder! It helps the crispy coating stick to the cauliflower.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Hand dredging cauliflower florets

Air Fryer Cauliflower Recipe Tips

  • Have a wet hand and a dry hand. If you’ve made my Eggplant Parmesan or Crispy Cauliflower Po’ Boy Sandwich, you know that things can get messy when you’re dredging veggies. I recommend having a wet hand and a dry hand to control the chaos. Use the wet hand to dunk the cauliflower in the egg wash and transfer it to the panko mixture. Then, use the dry hand to sprinkle it with the crispy coating and place it on the prepared baking sheet. It doesn’t hurt to have kitchen towels or paper towels handy to wipe off your fingers, either.
  • Don’t skip the olive oil. It’s easy to forget to drizzle the breaded cauliflower florets with olive oil before you air fry them (I speak from experience), but if you can help it, don’t skip this step! Even with the oil, the air fried cauliflower is heads and shoulders lighter than regular fried cauliflower. And without it, the veggies won’t get nearly as brown and crispy.
  • Work in batches. Make sure to arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving a little space between each one. If they’re too crowded, they’ll steam as they cook, and they won’t crisp up. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you’ll likely need to work in batches. Note: we have the SkinnyTaste Air Fryer and we really love it.

Breaded air fryer cauliflower on a tray

Air Fryer Cauliflower Serving Suggestions

This air fryer cauliflower is a really fun side dish for veggie burgers or sandwiches. It’d be fantastic with any of these recipes:

You could also enjoy the cauliflower on its own as a snack or appetizer. Whether you’re making it part of a larger meal or not, finish it with a squeeze of lemon juice and serve it with a tasty dipping sauce on the side. I especially love my air fryer cauliflower with tartar sauce, but it’s also yummy with vegan ranch dressing, chipotle sauce, romesco sauce, vegan cheese, or homemade Caesar dressing. Pick just one, or try a few!

Easy air fryer cauliflower with tartar sauce

More Favorite Snacks and Appetizers

If you love this recipe, try one of these tasty snacks or appetizers next:

For more healthy snack ideas, check out this post. Then, click here to find 50 more of my favorite easy appetizers!

Air Fryer Cauliflower

rate this recipe:
4.98 from 39 votes
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves 4
This crispy air fryer cauliflower is a fun, delicious snack or side dish! The time here is based on the SkinnyTaste air fryer. The exact timing will vary based on what air fryer you use.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Tartar Sauce, for serving

Instructions

  • On a rimmed tray, mix the panko, smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, and salt. In a small shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 370°F.
  • Dip each cauliflower floret into the egg, coat with the panko mixture, then place onto a large plate. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil and place into the air fryer basket in a single layer with a little space between each floret. Don’t overcrowd the basket. Work in batches if necessary. Air fry for 9 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp. Repeat with any remaining cauliflower.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.

 

54 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Lorraine Koch
    08.27.2021

    5 stars
    My new go to snack. I just love this dish. Low on calories and healthy

  2. Lynda Cooper
    07.27.2021

    Can you use a actifry to make these?

  3. Jayde
    07.25.2021

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved the spices combination, these were a hit! I was wondering what your recommendations would be for making a batch and freezing for a quick snack (Say when Cauliflower is on sale )Thank you for a yummy recipe either way

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.25.2021

      Hi Jayde, I haven’t tried it, I’m not sure how crispy it’ll be when it thaws.

  4. Jana
    07.20.2021

    Really like this recipe. I learned the lesson of the oil drizzle. Forgot it on my first batch and added it on the second. What a difference! Will make again. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.21.2021

      Hi Jana, I’m glad you enjoyed the cauliflower!

  5. Melissa
    06.22.2021

    5 stars
    Yum!! So easy to make and delicious. I had 1 cup with green beans for dinner.

  6. Kristina
    06.19.2021

    5 stars
    its absolutely delicios! thank you for the recepie

  7. Georgia
    06.02.2021

    5 stars
    Such a delicious recipe!! I turned this into a meal with some rice, carrots and Asian greens and served with a chilli mayo sauce. Will definitely be making this again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2021

      I’m so glad you loved it!

  8. Paula
    06.02.2021

    5 stars
    Very tasty! My husband is a kid about vegetables but he liked them! Used ranch instead of tartar, tasted like a restaurant appetizer. 😍

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2021

      I’m so glad you both loved it!

  9. Robyn
    04.25.2021

    4 stars
    Very tasty, however, I made them with GF Panko Bread Crumbs which just didn’t stick! I am wondering if a smaller bread crumb style would work better? Any thoughts?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.25.2021

      Hi Robyn, I haven’t tried this with GF panko, so I can’t say for sure.

      I wonder if your florets got fully coated with the egg? or the opposite – if your egg was too gloopy it could cause the coating to fall off. I’d try gently shaking some of the egg off before the coating so there’s just a thin layer. Another tip might be to use one hand for wet and one for dry so that your fingers aren’t causing it to fall off as you work.

      Also, make sure your cauliflower is dry before starting. I hope one of these tips helps!

  10. Katrina Smits
    03.13.2021

    5 stars
    It was really good! Did not have cayenne and used chunky blue cheese dressing for dip. Will definitely keep in lineup

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.14.2021

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.