These buffalo cauliflower wings are an irresistible side dish or game day snack! They have delicious crispy edges and an amazing spicy, tangy flavor.
In the last couple of years, buffalo cauliflower wings, a plant-based spin on buffalo chicken wings, have become a classic game day snack. But after testing and perfecting this recipe, I’m here to tell you that buffalo cauliflower is wayyyy too good to only make on game day. I’ve been whipping it up for fall gatherings and movie nights, for TV binge sessions and even the occasional lunch or dinner. It’s crispy on the edges and tender in the middle, spicy, tangy, and a little bit sweet. Try one
floret erm, wing, and I promise, you’ll be back for more before you know it.
My Buffalo Cauliflower Wing Sauce
Before I break down the steps to this buffalo cauliflower recipe, let’s talk buffalo sauce. Named after Buffalo, New York, its city of origin, this rich, tangy, spicy condiment earned its fame as a sauce for regular chicken wings. It’s traditionally made with a cayenne pepper hot sauce like Frank’s RedHot, melted butter, and vinegar. You can buy prepared buffalo sauce at many grocery stores, but for this buffalo cauliflower recipe, I prefer to make my own.
Like most recipes, I start with Frank’s RedHot and melted butter, but I forego any extra vinegar because I find the hot sauce to be tangy enough on its own. Instead, I stir in honey, which makes the sauce thick and glossy, and I add garlic powder and paprika for savory complexity. It’s super easy to stir together and so delicious! Don’t do butter or honey? Check out my buffalo sauce recipe for a vegan option.
How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Once you prepare your sauce, you can get going on the buffalo wings!
- Start by breaking your cauliflower into large, wing-size florets.
- Then, make a simple batter out of water, flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt. The flour makes the batter thick enough to coat the cauliflower florets, and the cornstarch helps them bake up nice and crispy. Obviously, the spices add great flavor!
- Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter (it’ll give them a fun fried effect without any frying) and arrange them in a single layer on two large, parchment-lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 450°F for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for 10 minutes more.
- Remove from the oven and brush on some of the buffalo sauce. Bake one last time until the cauliflower wings are dark and crisp around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Don’t skimp on this bake time! You want to give the florets plenty of time to caramelize and crisp up around the edges.
- Brush with more buffalo sauce and serve!
The wings are a fantastic appetizer or snack on their own, but we also love them with a side of celery sticks and vegan ranch dressing for dipping. I don’t have a recipe for blue cheese dressing, but it’s a classic pairing with buffalo wings. If you prefer it to ranch as a dip, by all means, go for it!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Tips for Making the BEST Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Don’t skip the parchment paper. For this recipe, it’s essential. Without it, the cauliflower wings will stick to the baking sheet when you try to flip them. Even with the parchment, make sure to use a spatula and flip them carefully. After just 10 minutes of baking, the batter surrounding them is still delicate, and it can easily tear during the flipping process.
- Brush with more sauce before serving. Let’s be honest: as good as buffalo cauliflower wings are, they are mostly a vehicle for buffalo sauce. To really pack in that crave-worthy buffalo flavor, you’ll brush the wings with the sauce twice, once mid-bake and once right before serving. FYI, this is not a napkins-optional snack situation.
- Eat them right away. Well, maybe not right away, because these buffalo cauliflower bites are super hot when they come out of the oven. But they are best within a few minutes of baking, when they’re still warm and their edges are deliciously crisp. If you end up with leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. They won’t be crispy, but they’ll still taste great!
More Favorite Snacks and Appetizers
If you love these baked buffalo cauliflower wings, try one of these tasty snacks or appetizers next:
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Jalapeño Poppers
- Air Fryer Onion Rings
- Best Bean Dip
- Cowboy Caviar
- French Onion Dip
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes
- Or any of these 50 Easy Party Appetizers!
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- ⅔ 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
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- 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 on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip the florets. Bake for another 10 minutes, swapping the pans on the oven racks.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and brush with some of the buffalo sauce. Bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is dark and crisp around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and brush with additional buffalo sauce. If desired, serve with vegan ranch for dipping.
Can you use frozen cauliflowerettes that have been parboiled?
Hi, any tips for making these ahead of time or making them and bringing them to a party? Will they travel well? Thanks!
Hi Megan, these are best right after they’re made–they become less crispy the longer they sit. They’re also pretty saucy, so they might be messy to bring somewhere. My best tip for getting ahead is to make the buffalo sauce and the dry mix for the batter in advance. Then, cook the cauliflower when you’re about to serve it.
I made these yesterday and they are fantastic! Made according to the recipe. Used the Buffalo sauce recipe alone–no Vegan ranch. . Mine were a bit crispy on outside and lovely on the inside. They actually had the texture of buffalo chicken wings! Will definitely make again.
Hi Joan, I’m so glad you loved them!
This recipe turned out great and had just the right amount of heat! I used your Buffalo sauce and dipped the cauliflower wings in your Vegan Ranch Dressing recipe. They didn’t turn out as crispy as I’d thought, but they tasted delicious. I will make these again for company. I’d post a photo on Instagram, but I don’t really use Instagram much.
Air Fry Option?? Direcetions/Temp??
Hi Diane, we haven’t tried these in the air fryer yet, but it’s on our list of things to test. I’d do 370°F for about 9-12 minutes which is what we did in this other air fryer cauliflower recipe: https://www.loveandlemons.com/air-fryer-cauliflower/
Easy recipe and so tasty!
Hi Ashley, I’m so glad you loved it!
I followed this recipe exactly and it turned out amazing! I made this for a pre-party at a friend’s house and will be making this again. It was a huge hit! Needless to say, there wasn’t any leftovers.
I’m so glad the cauliflower was a hit!
Have you tried this with a gluten free blend? Also, I didn’t see a link for the vegan buffalo sauce?
Hi Sara, we haven’t tested this with a gluten-free blend. The vegan buffalo sauce option is listed in the regular buffalo sauce recipe here: https://www.loveandlemons.com/buffalo-sauce/
wonderful way to treat cauliflower! Much better than eating it raw as I have been doing too much of this year! thank you
These looks really delicious! Do you have a successful substitution with a gluten free flour?
We haven’t tried this recipe with gluten-free flour. If you try it, let us know how it goes!
I just made this recipe gluten free and it was really tasty!!!
I used cassava flour instead of all purpose flour. But then added about 1/3 cup more water because the mix was dry, which overcompensated so I then added about 1/8 cup of gluten-free oat flour. Also I halved the salt and added 1/4 tsp more smoked paprika. Coated the cauliflower using tongs and cooked as directed except instead of coating the “wings” in the sauce after baking 2ce, I coated them once and then made the sauce for dipping.
I used primal kitchen buffalo ranch sauce (NOT vegan as it has egg in it) mixed with melted miyoko’s European style cultured vegan butter for the sauce. My mom, dad and I ate it all (with different amounts of sauce based on our varying preferences) and I will definitely make this recipe again with the changes I made. Thank you love and lemons!