If you're craving a savory side dish or snack, make this air fryer cauliflower recipe! Spices like smoked paprika and cayenne fill it with bold flavor.
This air fryer cauliflower recipe is about to become your new favorite veggie side dish! It’s crispy on the outside, tender in the middle, and seasoned to perfection with a blend of savory spices. I love regular roasted cauliflower, but I have to admit—this air fryer cauliflower recipe is on another level.
What makes it so delicious? Before I cook the cauliflower florets, I dredge them in a quick panko coating. It crisps up beautifully in the air fryer, giving the cauliflower an irresistible crunchy texture.
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 florets will burn on the outside before they’re tender inside.
- Panko bread crumbs – They create the crispy coating.
- Spices – Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, and salt add smoky, savory flavor.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – It supplies richness and helps the cauliflower crisp up in the air fryer.
- Egg – The binder! It helps the crispy coating stick to the florets.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
How to Cut Cauliflower
The first step in this recipe is cutting the cauliflower.
- Start by removing the coarse leaves from the base of the head.
- Next, use a sharp knife to cut the cauliflower in half vertically.
- From there, use your hands to break apart the florets.
Aim for small to medium pieces so that the cauliflower cooks evenly.
How to Air Fry Cauliflower
Once you’ve broken apart the florets, it’s easy to cook cauliflower in the air fryer!
First, make the seasoning blend. Whisk together the panko, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and salt in a shallow dish. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg.
Next, bread the florets. Dip each one in the egg, then roll it in the panko mixture to coat. Repeat until all the florets are breaded.
Then, air fry! Drizzle the cauliflower florets with olive oil, and arrange them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Work in batches if necessary. If the basket is too crowded, the cauliflower won’t get crispy.
Air fry at 370°F for 9 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower, season to taste, and enjoy!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
- Have a wet hand and a dry hand. If you’ve made my eggplant Parmesan or air fryer zucchini chips, 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. It doesn’t hurt to have kitchen towels or paper towels handy to wipe off your fingers, either.
- Don’t skip the olive oil. Without it, the vegetables won’t get nearly as brown and crispy! Keep in mind that even with the oil, this air fried cauliflower is heads and shoulders lighter than regular fried cauliflower.
- 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.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Cauliflower
This crispy air fryer cauliflower is a fun, easy side dish for veggie burgers or sandwiches. It’d be fantastic with any of these recipes:
- Best Veggie Burger
- Easy Black Bean Burger
- Portobello Mushroom Burger
- Quinoa Burger
- BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches
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 or chipotle sauce. Pick just one, or try a few!
More Favorite Air Fryer Recipes
If you love this crispy cauliflower, try one of these easy air fryer recipes next:
- Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Best Air Fryer Broccoli
- Air Fryer Onion Rings
- Crispy Air Fryer Tofu
- Air Fryer Eggplant
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Crispy Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
Air Fryer Cauliflower
- On a rimmed tray, mix the panko, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, 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. The exact timing will depend on your air fryer. Repeat with any remaining cauliflower.
- Season to taste and serve with lemon wedges and tartar sauce.