Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower is cooked to crispy perfection and tossed in a lightly sweet and spicy sauce. It makes the perfect appetizer or game-day snack!
Inspired by my oven-baked Buffalo Cauliflower, this air fryer version cooks faster thanks to the air circulation in this small appliance. Serve it with vegan ranch dressing for a dairy-free dip, healthy blue cheese dressing (made with a sneaky ingredient!), or cottage cheese dip for a higher-protein option.
You’ll enjoy all the flavor of buffalo wings that you love, only in veggie form.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This recipe is relatively flexible in terms of which flour you can use. For a gluten-free option, use buckwheat or chickpea flour, which acts quite similarly to all-purpose flour.
Which Flours Won’t Work? I tested this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 Gluten-Free flour, and that was NOT a success. Almond flour or coconut flour also won’t work as well, so save yourself some wasted ingredients and avoid those for this cauliflower batter.
To make the buffalo sauce, add a touch of honey to balance out the spicy bite of the hot sauce. (I tested this recipe with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and Whole Food’s 365 brand Jalapeño Hot Sauce, and both are good!)
The lightly sweet & spicy combination makes it hard to resist, but if you need a vegan recipe use maple syrup, instead.
How to Make Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt, and water. Whisk well to create a smooth batter.
Cut a small head of cauliflower into florets, making the pieces roughly the same size to promote even cooking.
Add the cauliflower florets to the mixture and stir to coat them evenly in the batter. (It’s okay if you don’t coat all of the nooks & crannies of each cauliflower floret.)
Transfer the battered cauliflower to the air fryer basket and arrange them in a single layer. Spread the pieces out as much as possible so they aren’t touching.
Note: You will most likely need to cook these air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites in two separate batches unless you have a large oven-style air fryer with two shelves. If you need to make a larger recipe to serve a crowd, try my oven version so you can use a larger baking sheet and multiple oven shelves to bake them all at once.
Cook the cauliflower in your air fryer at 375ºF for 10 minutes, or until the batter feels dry to the touch and looks golden around the edges. (There’s no need to preheat the machine.)
While the cauliflower is cooking, mix together the olive oil, hot sauce, and honey in a small bowl.
Remove the cooked cauliflower from the air fryer basket and cook the remaining batch, if you need to. Once all of the cauliflower has been cooked, pour the hot sauce mixture over the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl, and toss well until it’s evenly coated.
Return the cauliflower to the air fryer to air fry for an additional 5 minutes at 375ºF. Again, this is best done in batches for the crispiest results. You don’t want the cauliflower to touch for maximum air circulation.
Once the air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings are done cooking, serve them right away with your favorite dip, along with some sliced carrots and celery sticks.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
I like to toss them in the air fryer at 350ºF for 5 minutes (no need to preheat) or until the centers are heated through again. We like to use the reheated cauliflower in wraps with shredded lettuce and ranch dressing, and they also make a delicious filling in tacos.
You can use melted butter for a more traditional sauce, or omit it for a lower-fat option. The added fat helps the sauce “stick” to the wings a little bit better.
Read my full air fryer review which covers 9 popular brands that I tested in my kitchen.
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- ½ cup flour (all-purpose, buckwheat or chickpea)
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 pound cauliflower florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, water, garlic powder and salt. Stir well, until the batter looks smooth. Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl and stir until the veggies are evenly coated.
- Arrange the coated cauliflower in a single layer on the bottom of your air fryer basket. (You may need to cook in two batches to avoid overlapping.) The pieces should touch as little as possible for the crispiest results.
- Cook at 375ºF for 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower breading looks dry and lightly golden around the edges. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower, if working with two batches. (You can use two baking sheets at once if using an oven-style air fryer to save time.)
- While the cauliflower finishes cooking, combine the olive oil, hot sauce, and honey in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine, then add the cooked cauliflower and toss well. Return the cauliflower to the air fryer (in batches, if needed) and cook at 375ºF for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cauliflower no longer looks wet and has a tender texture.
- Serve warm right away with your favorite dip and sliced veggies. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and work well as a filling for wraps or tacos.
If you try this air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe, please leave a comment and star rating below letting me know how you like it!