This buffalo cauliflower can be baked or made in the air fryer. This recipe is easy to make and delivers all of the same flavor of buffalo wings but in a lighter way! This buffalo cauliflower recipe will be the star of all other appetizers.
Inspired by the jar of buffalo sauce sitting in the refrigerator staring at me waiting to be used, I threw together this buffalo cauliflower recipe a few weeks ago and it was gone... QUICK! At first I had zero intention of sharing this website— who would possibly want a cauliflower recipe? It's... cauliflower. Based on feedback, apparently you do!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Just as, if not more, flavorful than buffalo wings
- Baked, not fried!
- Straightforward recipe
- Adds variety to appetizers
- Can easily adjust the spiciness level
Tell Me About This Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe
- Texture: Since we're not frying the cauliflower, don't expect it to be as crispy as it would if you fry it. But, it will be crispy and have texture.
- Flavor: If you're familiar with cauliflower then you know it's very bland. This recipe combinations key spices to really flavor the cauliflower.
- Ease: I tried to make this recipe as straightforward as possible, with as minimal steps as possible. I also have a few tricks so there's less dishes to clean.
- Time: The bake time is only about 25 minutes. Then, add in 10 minute prep, you've got a flavorful appetizer in only 35 minutes!
What's Better — Air Fryer or Baked?
Honestly, either! It really depends on the type of crunch level that you're looking for. Within the recipe below I share how to bake them and finish them under the broiler, but also include in the recipe notes how to make them using the air fryer.
Ingredients You Need
- Cauliflower: You can either buy cauliflower florets or a head of cauliflower— it's really based on preference. I prefer to cut it myself as the head of cauliflower stays fresh longer than florets. You want to make sure that the florets are roughly the same in size for even cooking.
- Milk: Any type of fat % of milk works for this recipe. Though, the more fat, the better the coating sticks.
- Spices: There are 4 key spices, along with salt and pepper, to not just flavor the sauce but the cauliflower itself. We can thank the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and chili powder for providing MAXIMUM flavor.
- Buffalo Sauce: Use your favorite! I absolutely love TRUFF brand— I get it from Whole Foods.
Overview: How To Make It
As I mentioned earlier, I tried to make this recipe as straightforward and easy as possible. This is a high level overview
- Cut the Cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower into like-size florets so they bake evenly. Toss the florets into a large zip-topped bag and set aside. Using a zip-topped bag makes this process not only easier but helps distribute the spices better.
- Combine the Spices: In a small bowl, combine the spices together and stir together. Add the spices to the bag.
- Shake, Shake, Shake: Seal the large bag and shake until the florets are evenly coated. This is a good task for tiny helpers if you have them!
- Dunk: Pour the milk into a bowl. Dunk each of the florets into the milk, shaking off some of the excess and place onto the baking sheet.
- Bake: Bake for 25 minutes.
2 Tips For Extra Crispiness
- Broil: The total baking time is 25 minutes. The last 5 minutes broil the florets until crispy— keep an eye on them so they don't burn!
- Finish in Air Fryer: Once the florets are finished baking, toss them in the air fryer on high (400°F-425°F) for 5 minutes to get even crisper.
This is the BEST buffalo cauliflower. I'm not kidding.
Easy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into like-size florets
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2-2/3 cup milk
- 1 cup buffalo sauce
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Cut the cauliflower into like-size florets so they bake evenly. Toss the florets into a large zip-topped bag and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the spices. Add the spices into the bag and shake until the florets are evenly coated. Pour the milk into a bowl— dunk each of the florets into the milk, shaking off some of the excess and place onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the cauliflower florets, and bake another 10 minutes.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and brunch the buffalo sauce over the cauliflower and bake for an additional 5 minutes. If desired, broil the last 3-5 minutes— keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
- Serve with blue cheese or ranch and celery/carrots. Baked cauliflower stays fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Cauliflower: Make sure the florets are like-size so they bake evenly.
- Milk: You can use any type of milk fat— skim, 1%, 2% or whole. Though, I find the higher the fat %, the better.
- Cayenne Pepper: If you want to add a bit more heat, you can add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the spice mixture.
- Air Fryer Option: If you prefer, you can use the air fryer for the entire baking process. Follow the steps through the final step and place in the air fryer in batches— you don't want to overcrowd it. Cook on 425°F (if your air fryer doesn't go that high, then the highest heat) for 6-7 minutes, then flip and cook for additional 6-7 minutes.