This Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower is a healthy vegetarian twist on a classic game day appetizer! It’s spicy, tender, yet crunchy, and great served with ranch or blue cheese!
These air fryer buffalo cauliflower “wings” are seriously addicting. Even our cauliflower hating friend went nuts for these. Tender cauliflower is slathered in a perfectly spicy buffalo sauce and tossed in a ridiculously crunchy coating — try to stop at just a few. I dare you! 😉
These air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings are packed with all of that signature buffalo flavor but without the meat!
- Seasoned Panko and Whole Wheat Flour – flour is the base for the breading while Panko gets nice and crispy in the air fryer providing the cauliflower with a much needed crunch.
- Ranch Seasoning Mix, Paprika, and Salt – a slightly sweet and buttery seasoning blend that balances out the heat from the hot sauce.
- Melted Butter – helps the breading stick to the outside of the cauliflower florets, adds a rich, buttery flavor, and allows the panko to get crispy without burning.
- Frank’s Red Hot Sauce – gives the cauliflower that classic “buffalo” flavor. I don’t recommend using another brand.
- Cauliflower Florets – washed and dried! Cut your own or use pre-cut for easy prep. Either way, you’ll need about 4 heaping cups!
- Ranch Dressing and Blue Cheese Dressing – optional, for dipping!
How to make
This crispy and spicy appetizer is ready in 30 minutes!
- Whisk together panko, flour, and seasonings in a medium sized bowl.
- Pour melted butter and hot sauce into a gallon sized ziplock baggie. Add in cauliflower florets, seal, then shake until the cauliflower is fully coated in the sauce.
- Pour in panko mixture, seal again, and shake until the cauliflower is fully coated in the breading.
- Working in batches (1/3 at a time), place the cauliflower in a greased air fryer set to 350ºF and air fry for 15 minutes.
Why is my air fryer buffalo cauliflower soggy?
If your air fried cauliflower came out slightly soggy, there may be a couple reasons why:
- You overcrowded the air fryer. The amount of cauliflower that this recipe makes can not all be air fried at once. The air fryer will be way too full. I recommend working in three batches so that the air has space to circulate and reach all of the cauliflower in each batch.
- You didn’t keep the cooked cauliflower warm. After you air fry the first and second batches, I recommend placing them on a greased cooling rack on a baking sheet and keeping them warm in the oven at 300ºF until the rest of the cauliflower is done. As they cool, they will start to get soggy.
Is air fryer buffalo cauliflower vegan?
No, but it easily can be! To make vegan buffalo cauliflower, simply swap the dairy butter for vegan butter and use a dairy free variety of ranch seasoning mix.
Can you bake air fryer buffalo cauliflower?
Yes! To bake your buffalo cauliflower, assemble as directed then spread it evenly on a greased oven safe wire cooling rack that’s been placed onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 450ºF for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until the cauliflower is tender and the breading is crispy.
What to serve with buffalo cauliflower
If you’re looking to bulk up your meal or appetizer spread even more, here some other recipes to serve alongside your buffalo cauliflower!
- One Pot Mac and Cheese
- Pear, Blue Cheese, Candied Pecan Salad
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Black Bean Burgers
How to store
Air fried buffalo cauliflower is best right away but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To reheat, pop them back in the air fryer fro 3-4 minutes or bake them until heated.
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
Equipment for this recipe
- 1/2 cup seasoned panko
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 (1 oz) packet ranch seasoning mix use a dairy free variety to make vegan, if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons melted butter use a dairy free variety to make vegan, if desired
- 3/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- 1 pound cauliflower florets about 4 heaping cups
- Ranch dressing optional for dipping
- Blue cheese dressing optional for dipping
- Whisk together panko, flour, ranch mix, paprika, and salt into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
- Pour melted butter and hot sauce into a gallon sized baggie.
- Add in cauliflower florets, seal, and shake until the cauliflower is fully coated in the sauce.
- Pour in panko mixture, seal, and shake until the cauliflower is fully coated.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Working in batches (a third at a time), spray the basket with olive oil cooking spray, and air fry cauliflower for 15 minutes.
- Remove and keep warm in an oven* while you air fry the remaining 2 batches.
- Serve with ranch, blue cheese dressing, or sauce of choice for dipping!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.