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Air Fryer Frozen Cauliflower

$2.41 Recipe/$0.60 Serving

Cooking frozen cauliflower in the air fryer is such a fun and easy way to make perfectly roasted cauliflower in about 20 minutes. Air fryer frozen cauliflower cooks up to be tender in the middle and crunchy and crispy around the edges! With barely any prep, this healthy side dish is simple to make and so versatile.

Air fryer basket filled with roasted cauliflower cooked from frozen.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Frozen cauliflower is so easy to work with! Frozen cauliflower is already blanched (meaning its been partially cooked) so it cooks up perfectly in the air fryer. It’s also already prechopped (yay for less work on busy nights). All this needs is some simple salt and garlic powder for a side dish that goes with almost anything, or you can change the spices to fit your dish.
  • Easy to find ingredients – the ingredient list is simple and you can find frozen cauliflower in most grocery stores. This recipe is vegan, Whole30, paleo, keto and low carb friendly!
  • Quick and easy – all you need to do is dump the cauliflower, check for clumps and turn it on to cook. Ready in just 20 minutes with very little hands on time.
  • Versatile – change the flavors by changing the spice blend you add to the cauliflower while cooking in the air fryer. You can also change the flavors by drizzling the cauliflower in your favorite sauce.
Ingredients to make air fryer frozen cauliflower.
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Ingredients

Frozen cauliflower – frozen cauliflower is available in most grocery stores. You do not need to defrost or thaw the cauliflower in advance, it’s actually best if you cook it from frozen for the best texture.

Olive oil or avocado oil spray – it’s important that your olive oil spray or avocado oil spray only have one ingredient. Propellants in most non-stick sprays like Pam are not great for your air fryer and are not recommended. You want to make sure your non-stick spray is one ingredients and the can indicates no propellants are used to keep your air fryer basket in the best shape.

Spices: Salt and garlic powder – I add these after the cauliflower has been cooking for a bit. The salt and garlic powder help to give the cauliflower a little flavor without overwhelming the dish.

How to make frozen cauliflower in air fryer

Check out the step by step story on how to make air fryer frozen cauliflower.

Open the bag of frozen cauliflower and put it directly in the air fryer basket.

Frozen cauliflower in air fryer basket before cooking

Turn the air fryer on 400F for 20 minutes.

After the air fryer has been cooking for 10-12 minutes, pause the air fryer and open it. Spray the cauliflower with olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Start the air fryer again.

Salt and garlic powder in ramekin being sprinkled over the cauliflower.

After 5 more minutes (there should be 5 minutes remaining), pause it again and shake the basket.

Serve immediately hot, as the air fryer frozen cauliflower is best right out of the air fryer.

Roasted cauliflower in air fryer basket after being cooked from frozen.
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Top tips

  • No need to thaw the frozen cauliflower before cooking in the air fryer. This recipe was written to cook frozen cauliflower in the air fryer without defrosting.
  • Try not to overcrowd the basket. For most air fryers, I would only do one bag of frozen cauliflower at a time.
  • Shake the basket 1-2 times during cooking to ensure the cauliflower florets don’t burn.
  • Be sure to check the ingredients in your olive oil (or avocado oil) spray. You should not use anything with added propellants to the air fryer as it can create a residue. The only ingredients should be olive oil (or avocado oil). If you cannot find this, drizzle olive oil or avocado oil over top of the cauliflower instead of using a spray.
  • Each air fryer is different, so you may need to cook your frozen cauliflower for more or less time. Once you make this one or 2 times successfully, you will know the settings that work best for you.
  • This air fryer frozen cauliflower is best immediately after cooking; they start to get soggy if sitting out too long. If you need to make larger batches, I recommend using the oven (see instructions below).
  • Use different spice blends to change up the flavor, see some ideas below!
Hand holding piece of cauliflower dipped in tahini ranch.

Way to serve air fryer frozen cauliflower

Other spices you could add

  • Cajun – add 1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • Taco – add 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • Moroccan – add 1 teaspoons turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Curry – add 1 teaspoons curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Buffalo – pour ¼ cup of hot sauce over the cauliflower right after cooking.
  • Spicy – add ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or drizzle with sriracha after cooking
  • Smoky – Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or ½ teaspoon ground cumin

Common questions

Do you need to thaw or defrost the cauliflower before cooking?

No, this recipe is written to cook the cauliflower from frozen. As the frozen cauliflower defrosts, it tends to make a lot of excess liquid which you would have to drain off if the cauliflower had been defrosted. Also the cooking time would likely be too long if the cauliflower has been defrosted.

Can you cook frozen cauliflower in the oven?

Yes! I recommend cooking frozen cauliflower in the oven if you are going to have to cook a large batch as the cauliflower is best right after cooking in the air fryer so having to make multiple batches is not ideal. To cook frozen cauliflower in the oven:

  • Preheat the oven to 450F.
  • Add frozen cauliflower to parchment paper lined baking sheet (for easy clean up). Bake 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, take out of the oven, spray with olive oil or avocado oil and sprinkle with salt, cook 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, take out of the oven and move around the cauliflower on the tray one more time. Roast another 10 minutes (40 minutes total).
Air fryer frozen cauliflower in an air fryer basket after cooking.

What are the benefits of cauliflower

Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable and a great way to get in more fiber, vitamins and minerals into your day.

Roasting cauliflower in the air fryer or in the oven is a simple way to add more veggies to your day, as roasted cauliflower tastes more like popcorn than it does a vegetable. Trust me if all you have ever had was boiled cauliflower, you are in for a treat when you roast it!

Other great cauliflower recipes

Storing leftovers

Fridge: You can store leftover roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezer: I do not recommend freezing the cauliflower after its been cooked as the texture will change when defrosting. You can freeze it if you need to though. Freeze in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Reheat in the air fryer or oven.

Reheating instructions

Reheat leftover air fryer frozen cauliflower in the air fryer, oven or on the stove.  These instructions are for cooking the cauliflower from the fridge:

  • Air fryer: Reheat at 350F for 3-5 minutes to reheat or 375F for 3-5 minutes to make the edges crispy again.
  • Oven: Reheat at 400F for 10 minutes.
  • Stove top: Preheat a large cast iron skillet and cook 3-5 minutes until reheated.
Air fryer frozen cauliflower on a pink plate with dipping sauce in white bowl.

Substitutions

  • Frozen cauliflower – you can also make the best frozen broccoli in the air fryer! It won’t have to cook as long though. Check out all my tips on how to cook frozen broccoli in the air fryer.
  • Olive oil or avocado oil spray – if you can’t find the spray, you can lightly drizzle the cauliflower with oil or omit the oil completely and simply sprinkle the cauliflower with salt and garlic powder (it won’t stick as well).
  • Spices – You can change the spices based on your preference. See the list above for more ideas!

If you love this recipe, you should try

Air Fryer Frozen Brussel Sprouts

Air Fryer Sweet Potato Wedges

Air Fryer Baby Potatoes

Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli

Air Fryer Butternut Squash

Air Fryer Carrots

Air Fryer Parsnips

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Frozen cauliflower in air fryer basket after roasting.

Air Fryer Frozen Cauliflower

$2.41 Recipe/$0.60 Serving
Frozen cauliflower in the air fryer is a quick and easy side dish or snack! Cooking frozen cauliflower in the air fryer is so much faster than the oven and really versatile. Change the spices to change the flavor!
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer frozen cauliflower, frozen cauliflower in air fryer
Prep Time: 1 min
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 21 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen cauliflower (16 oz.) - $2.25
  • olive oil or avocado oil spray - $0.12
  • 1/4 tsp salt (up to 1/2 teaspoon) - $0.01
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (up to 1/2 teaspoon) - $0.03

Instructions

  • Add frozen cauliflower to air fryer basket.
  • Turn on 400F for 20 minutes.
  • After 10-12 minutes, pause the air fryer. Spray the cauliflower with olive oil or avocado oil spray and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Close air fryer and cook 5 more minutes.
  • With 5 minutes remaining on the cook time, pause the air fryer again. Shake the basket to avoid burning. Continue to cook the rest of the time, shaking the basket 1 more time if needed.

Notes

Top tips
  • No need to thaw the frozen cauliflower before cooking in the air fryer.
  • Try not to overcrowd the basket. For most air fryers, I would only do one bag of frozen cauliflower at a time.
  • Shake the basket 1-2 times during cooking to ensure the cauliflower florets don’t burn.
  • Be sure to check the ingredients in your olive oil (or avocado oil) spray. You should not use anything with added propellants to the air fryer as it can create a residue. The only ingredients should be olive oil (or avocado oil). If you cannot find this, drizzle olive oil or avocado oil over top of the cauliflower instead of using a spray.
  • Each air fryer is different, so you may need to cook your frozen cauliflower for more or less time. Once you make this one or 2 times successfully, you will know the settings that work best for you.
  • These are best immediately after cooking; they start to get soggy if sitting out too long. If you need to make larger batches, I recommend using the oven (see instructions below).
  • Use different spice blends to change up the flavor, see some ideas below!
Other spices you could add
  • Cajun – add 1/2 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • Taco – add 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • Moroccan – add 1 teaspoons turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Curry – add 1 teaspoons curry powder and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Buffalo – pour ¼ cup of hot sauce over the cauliflower right after cooking.
  • Spicy: add ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or drizzle with sriracha after cooking
  • Smoky: Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: You can store leftover roasted cauliflower in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer: I do not recommend freezing the cauliflower after its been cooked as the texture will change when defrosting. You can freeze it if you need to though. Freeze in a freezer safe bag for up to 3 months. Reheat in the air fryer or oven.
Reheating leftovers:
Reheat leftover air fryer frozen cauliflower in the air fryer, oven or on the stove.  These instructions are for cooking the cauliflower from the fridge:
  • Air fryer: Reheat at 350F for 3-5 minutes to reheat or 375F for 3-5 minutes to make the edges crispy again.
  • Oven: Reheat at 400F for 10 minutes.
  • Stove top: Preheat a large cast iron skillet and cook 3-5 minutes until reheated.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
19
Fat
 
1
g
Carbohydrates
 
4
g
Fiber
 
3
g
Sugar
 
1
g
Protein
 
1
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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