Crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower is an easy and fast vegetarian appetizer or side dish! Perfect for busy weeknights and Game Day gatherings.
Cauliflower has definitely been enjoying its moment in the food spotlight. It's one of the foods that has so many health benefits and is also super versatile.
- It's packed with antioxidants and glucosinolates. Glucosinolates can help fight and prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infection. Both are reported to help lower your risk of certain cancers.
- Cauliflower is also high in vitamins B and C, and high in fiber.
- It's thick and "meaty," making it a great substitute for meat in many recipes.
- The flavors of cauliflower change as it cooks, from grassy to nutty.
Some say cauliflower is a super food. I say it's simply a delicious and versatile ingredient that deserves its time in the spotlight!
❤️ Why you'll love this air fried buffalo cauliflower
This recipe is awesome for everyday snacks, but also makes such a delicious Game Day appetizer.
Regardless of the occasion, you'll love this recipe because:
- The recipe calls for frozen cauliflower. So it's easy to keep some in your freezer on hand for when you need it!
- You only need 5 ingredients.
- From start to finish, you can make this in 30 minutes or less.
- It's easy to adjust the sauce and seasoning to your spice preference.
As I mentioned above, cauliflower changes from grassy to nutty in flavor the longer it cooks. The air fryer actually speeds up this process, bringing out those rich, nutty flavors pretty quickly compared to other cooking methods.
🧄 5-ingredient recipe
Cooking spray - to spray the tops of the cauliflower to make them nice and crispy!
Cauliflower - this recipe specifically calls for frozen cauliflower.
Buffalo sauce - Use your favorite buffalo sauce for this recipe, depending on the level of heat you prefer. I use Sweet Baby Ray's Buffalo Sauce because it comes in a mild sauce (our fam isn't big on spicy food). Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce is a popular Buffalo sauce with more heat to it if you like your food with more heat. Bonus for our vegan friends: both Sweet Baby Ray's Buffalo Sauce and Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce are vegan.
Breadcrumbs - Breadcrumbs give the cauliflower a crispy outer coating. You can Use plain or Italian style breadcrumbs, depending on the flavors you want.
Kosher salt - Kosher salt helps add so much flavor to every bite!
Garlic powder - this is really an optional ingredient, but I add it because I love the additional flavor it adds to the crispy air fried cauliflower.
Another optional ingredient: chopped parsley, for serving.
✅ Step-by-step instructions
Exact measurements of ingredients and instructions are in the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this post. Here are some helpful tips to guide you as you make this recipe.
Cut a piece of parchment paper out to fit the bottom of your air fryer basket. This will help keep the smaller pieces of cauliflower from falling through.
Then place the frozen cauliflower into a large bowl. No need to thaw the cauliflower beforehand!
To the bowl with the cauliflower, add the buffalo sauce.
Then add the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and salt.
Toss all of the ingredients together until the cauliflower is well coated. If you have excess sauce, drain some of it out.
Place the cauliflower onto the prepared lined air fryer basket or tray.
Spray the tops of the cauliflower with avocado oil cooking spray or your preferred cooking spray. Be sure to use a non-aerosol spray so as not to harm the nonstick properties of your air fryer.
Air fry at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Check on the cauliflower every 5 to 7 minutes or so, and toss with tongs to ensure even air frying.
Continue air frying until all of the cauliflower is crispy. Mine can sometimes take the full 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley (optional) and serve.
👩🏻🍳 Air frying tips and recipe FAQs
The spice level is totally up to you and the ingredients you choose to use. I use Sweet Baby Ray's MILD Buffalo Sauce, because most of my family do not like their food too spicy. Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce is a popular spicier Buffalo sauce if you want more heat.
You need to cook it for longer. Sometimes cauliflower just takes longer to cook, and before it turns crispy, it does get soft and almost rubbery. You should continue air frying your cauliflower in 5 minute increments until it turns crispy. This may take up to 25 minutes, depending on your cauliflower and sauce.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Remove the cauliflower from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature on the kitchen counter. Then place the cauliflower in your air fryer basket or tray (lined with parchment paper) and air fry at 350°F for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it's nice and crispy again.
If you microwave air fried cauliflower, it won't reheat with the same crispness. It may be mushy or rubbery when reheated in a microwave instead of an air fryer.
Most of the traditional, big name bottled buffalo sauces are vegan, including the two we recommend here: Frank's Red Hot Sauce and Sweet Baby Ray's. However, some bottled buffalo sauces do include butter, which make them not vegan. Be sure to read the packaging if you want to use a vegan buffalo sauce. You can also make your own at home!
🍽 Serving ideas
Serve this flavorful appetizer with either bleu cheese, ranch, or campfire (fry sauce) dipping sauce.
If you're hosting a tailgating Game Day party, try serving it alongside these equally delicious finger foods:
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Air Fryer Pigs in a Blanket
- Tex Mex Vegetarian Sheet Pan Nachos
- Crispy Air Fryer Wings
- Homemade Air Fryer Pizza Rolls
- Air Fryer Popcorn Chicken
- Buffalo Chicken Bites
⏲ Kitchen tools and equipment
For this recipe, you just need a few basic kitchen tools:
Mixing bowl - You'll need a large mixing bowl to mix the cauliflower with the other ingredients.
Air fryer - You can use any air fryer. I use my Ninja Foodi Deluxe XL multicooker in Air Crisp mode for this recipe. Depending on the size of your air fryer basket or trays, you may need to work in batches.
Parchment paper - cut out parchment paper to fit your air fryer basket or tray.
Tongs - Use tongs to toss the cauliflower as it air fries.
Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to leave a 5-Star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card, and if you really loved it, please leave a comment further down on the page. Thank you!
Crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- 2 cups frozen cauliflower
- ½ cup Buffalo sauce(plus more if needed)
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Cut a piece of parchment paper out to fit the bottom of your air fryer basket or tray and line the basket or tray.
- In a large bowl, add the frozen cauliflower, buffalo sauce, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and salt.
- Toss all of the ingredients together until the cauliflower is well coated. If you have excess sauce, drain some of it out.
- Place the coated cauliflower onto the prepared lined air fryer basket or tray. Spray the tops of the cauliflower with avocado oil cooking spray or your preferred cooking spray.
- Air fry at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Check on the cauliflower every 5 to 7 minutes or so, and toss with tongs to ensure even air frying.
- Continue air frying until all of the cauliflower is crispy. Sprinkle with parsley (optional) and serve.
- If you find that the amount of sauce does not fully cover the amount of cauliflower you have, add more sauce. Be careful not to add too much sauce, as that can cause the cauliflower to take longer to crisp up and make the cauliflower soggy instead of crispy.
- If your cauliflower is still soft at the end of the first cooking time check, air fry it for 5 more minutes, and continue until the cauliflower turns crispy.
- You control the heat level of this dish based on the buffalo sauce you choose to use. I use Sweet Baby Ray's Mild Buffalo Sauce, but if you like more heat, try Frank's Red Hot Wings Sauce.
Nutrition information is a general estimate. Actual nutrition details may vary depending on the exact foods & brands you use to make this recipe. It does not take into account any substitutions, toppings, or optional ingredients.