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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings – Air Fryer + Oven Method

$4.36 Recipe/$1.09 Serving

Vegan cauliflower wings made in the air fryer or oven are the perfect snack or yummy side dish!

Made in under 30 minutes in the air fryer, these gluten free buffalo cauliflower wings are so easy to make and so addicting!

White bowl filled with crispy buffalo cauliflower.

Why you will love this recipe

  • The perfect savory snack, These paleo buffalo cauliflower bites are perfect for snacking. A spicy, crunchy exterior with a perfectly tender bite from the cauliflower make these irresistible.
  • Yummy way to get in more veggies, If you love eating wings at parties, on game day or just as a fun weeknight meal, you are going to love making air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings as a way to get in more veggies! The crispy, crunchy exterior takes this veggie dish to the next level!
  • Great for most diets. If you are throwing a party or hosting for game day, make a double batch of these cauliflower wings! They are vegan, gluten free, Whole30, paleo and lower in carbs. If you need them to be nut free, you can use ground sunflower seeds instead of almond flour!
  • Use the air fryer or the oven. I love making these in the oven so I can make a huge batch at once. But during the summer months, I hate heating up the house, so I opt for the air fryer! Typically you have to make these in 2 batches in the air fryer, so they take just as long as the oven to make a full batch, just a heads up!
Ingredients to make vegan buffalo cauliflower.
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Ingredients

  • Cauliflower – cauliflower is the perfect veggie to imitate wings. It will never taste like chicken but it maintains it’s shape well and is the perfect size for dipping!
  • Almond flour – almond flour gives the wings a crispy, crunchy coating (along with the tapioca flour). Since these buffalo cauliflower wings are baked (or air fried) and not fried, it’s important to help them get a crispy coating with the almond flour. See the notes below to make this nut free!
  • Tapioca flour (or arrowroot flour or corn starch) – tapioca flour helps to create a crust on the outside of the cauliflower to help it get crispy and crunchy. When you add the buffalo sauce, the tapioca flour will get soggy again, which is why you have to bake these 2 times.
  • Water – water is used to bind the batter, you could also use almond milk or your favorite plant based milk or even buttermilk. However I like to keep things budget friendly when possible and using water helps reduce the overall cost of this recipe.
  • Spices: Smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt – these spices help to give the cauliflower it’s own flavor so it’s flavorful even without the sauce.

Buffalo sauce ingredients

  • Hot sauce – use your favorite hot sauce here – I love Franks Red Hot sauce, it’s what I typically always use. IF you are using an extremely spicy hot sauce, you may need to add more olive oil to help cut the heat.
  • Extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil – adding oil helps to cut the heat from the hot sauce and helps the cauliflower get crispy as it bakes a second time.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper – these help to enhance the flavor of the buffalo sauce. If you don’t love spicy wings, omit the crushed red pepper flakes.

How to make buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer

Start by combining the almond flour, tapioca flour, spices and water in a large bowl. Stir well to fully incorporate and make sure there are no lumps.

Making the batter for buffalo cauliflower before and after mixing.

Cut the cauliflower into equal size pieces, trying not to cut them too small (or they may burn/dry out during cooking).

Steps to remove the florets from a whole cauliflower.

Add the cauliflower florets directly to the bowl with the batter. Using tongs, stir well 2-3 minutes ensuring that all the cauliflower is coated well with the batter.

Cauliflower being tossed in batter before roasting.

Add ½ of the cauliflower to the air fryer basket (try to make a single layer).

Breaded cauliflower in an air fryer basket.

Cook at 375F for 13-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooking, pause the air fryer and flip the cauliflower florets.

Cauliflower after 10 minutes and 14 minutes of cooking in air fryer.

While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce in a small bowl by combining all the ingredients together and stirring well.

Buffalo sauce before and after mixing.

Once the florets look like they are browning and crispy, stop the air fryer.

Pour half the sauce in bowl and add the cauliflower florets. Toss well to fully coat in the sauce.

Cauliflower being mixed in buffalo sauce.

Add the cauliflower back to the air fryer basket and bake again at 375F for 5-10 minutes, shaking the basket regularly. Depending on your air fryer and how big you cut the cauliflower florets will depend on how long these have to cook for so check the cauliflower often.

Buffalo cauliflower in air fryer after getting tossed in sauce.

Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower and sauce.

Serve immediately. If you have to cook a second batch and want these to be hot, place back in the air fryer for 1-2 minutes after the second batch cooks to reheat/crisp up.

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How to make buffalo cauliflower in the oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, spices and water in a large bowl. Stir well to fully incorporate and make sure there are no lumps.
  3. Cut the cauliflower into equal size pieces, trying not to cut them too small (or they may burn/dry out during cooking).
  4. Add the cauliflower florets directly to the bowl with the batter. Using tongs, stir well 2-3 minutes ensuring that all the cauliflower is coated well with the batter.
  5. Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray (olive oil, avocado oil). Add the cauliflower to the baking sheet.
  6. Cook at 425F for 30 minutes.
  7. While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce in a bowl large enough to toss the cauliflower in. Combine all the buffalo sauce ingredients together and stirring well.
  8. After 30 minutes in the oven, remove the cauliflower and toss it directly in the bowl with the buffalo sauce. Toss well to fully coat in the sauce.
  9. Add the cauliflower back to the baking sheet and bake again at 425F for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, remove from the oven and flip with tongs. Bake 3 more minutes.
  10. Serve immediately.
Steps on how to make buffalo cauliflower in the oven.

Top tips

  • Make larger florets with the cauliflower. This is not the time when you want to make the smallest florets possible. Cauliflower wings are quick to burn/get overly crisp and dry out, especially when cooking in the air fryer.
  • Chop the cauliflower pieces into very similar sizes so they will cook evenly, whether cooking in the air fryer or in the oven.
  • When adding the batter to the cauliflower, I find that the best way to make sure they are fully coated is to toss them with tongs.
  • After adding the buffalo sauce, put the cauliflower back in the air fryer for 3-4 minutes or the oven for 10 minutes to ensure the outside is crispy. The sauce can make the coating soggy at first.
  • Do not over crowd the air fryer basket. The cauliflower will stick together and steam instead of get crispy if the basket is too full. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the cauliflower in batches (I had to with a Ninja).
  • If you plan on making a large batch or doubling this recipe, I would recommend using the oven over the air fryer. Since you have to worry about overcrowding the air fryer basket, the oven is the best route if you are making a larger batch.
Vegan buffalo cauliflower in an air fryer basket.

How to serve

Common questions

How to make this nut free

This recipe uses almond flour to keep it grain free and gluten free and still allow the cauliflower to have a crispy, crunchy exterior. If you want to keep this paleo and Whole30 friendly but need it to be nut free, you can use ground sunflower seeds instead of almond meal.

To make your own ground sunflower seeds:

  1. Add roasted sunflower seeds to a food processor.
  2. Process on high until the sunflower seeds resemble sand (don’t let it go too long or it will start to turn into sunbutter).
  3. Store extra sunflower seed meal in the freezer for later use (the oils in the sunflower seeds can go rancid if stored in the pantry).
Buffalo cauliflower on a white plate in front of the air fryer.

What if you want to use premade buffalo sauce

You can use your favorite premade buffalo sauce in place of the buffalo sauce in this recipe. You will need between 1/3 and ½ cup of buffalo sauce depending on how big your cauliflower is and how sauce you want them. You may also want extra for dipping after the buffalo cauliflower bites are done cooking.

Storage

Fridge: Store leftover cauliflower buffalo wings in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note: they will lose their crunchy exterior as they cool off in the fridge.

Reheat the cauliflower bites in the oven 425F for 7 minutes or in the air fryer 375F for 3-4 minutes to get the coating crispy and crunchy again.

Freezer: I would not recommend freezing these buffalo cauliflower bites because the cauliflower can get watery when defrosting which may ruin the coating.

Substitutions

  • Almond flour:  If you want to keep this recipe Whole30 and paleo friendly, you can use cashew meal or sunflower seed meal in place of the almond flour (see tips above on how to make your own sunflower seed meal – you can do the same with cashews). If you don’t mind the recipe having grains/legumes, you can use chickpea flour or brown rice flour in place of the almond flour.
  • Tapioca flour: Also called tapioca starch this helps to create that crispy layer on the outside of the cauliflower. You can also use arrowroot powder or corn starch in place of the tapioca flour.
  • Spices: If you don’t have any of the spices, you can simply omit them.
Buffalo cauliflower in an air fryer basket after cooking.

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Large bowl filled with crispy buffalo cauliflower.

Vegan Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

$4.36 Recipe/$1.09 Serving
Buffalo Cauliflower cooked in the air fryer or oven – perfect for snacking, appetizers or parties! You can make these in under 30 minutes in the air fryer with simple ingredients! Vegan, gluten free, Whole30, paleo and so tasty!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo cauliflower bites, buffalo cauliflower wings, vegan buffalo wings
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

Buffalo Sauce

Instructions

  • Make the batter for the cauliflower by combining the almond flour, tapioca flour, water, salt and garlic powder in a large bowl. The batter will be thick.
  • Cut the cauliflower from the stalk. Cut the large cauliflower florets into more manageable bite, all about the same size. Don't make them too small or they may burn/dry out.
  • Add the cauliflower florets directly to the batter and toss well 2-3 minutes with tongs ensuring all the florets are well coated.
  • Add 1/2 of the cauliflower to the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  • While the cauliflower is baking, combine the butter flavored coconut oil (or ghee), 2 tbs. of hot sauce,  garlic powder, salt, turmeric and pinch of black pepper. Stir well. 
  • After 20 minutes in the oven, pull the cauliflower out and pour the butter/hot sauce mixture over it. Stir well until all the cauliflower is well coated
  • Put the cauliflower back in the oven and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Take the cauliflower out of the oven and add the last 1 tbs. of hot sauce. Stir and serve hot or room temperature.
  • Cook in the air fryer at 375F for 13-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooking, pause the air fryer and flip the cauliflower florets.
  • Continue to cook for 3-5 more minutes, watching them carefully to ensure they aren't getting too dark or crispy.
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, make the buffalo sauce by combining all the ingredients in small bowl and whisking to fully incorporate.
  • Pour half the buffalo sauce in a bowl. Add cooked cauliflower and toss well.
  • Add coated cauliflower back to the air fryer basket and cook again 375F for 5-10 minutes, shaking the basket regularly. Depending on your air fryer and how big you cut the cauliflower florets will depend on how long these have to cook for so check the cauliflower often.
  • Move the cauliflower to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the cauliflower.
  • Serve hot. If needed, reheat the first batch in the air fryer 2-3 minutes before serving so hot can crispy.

Notes

How to make buffalo cauliflower in the oven
  • Preheat the oven to 425F.
  • Combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, spices and water in a large bowl. Stir well to fully incorporate and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Cut the cauliflower into equal size pieces, trying not to cut them too small (or they may burn/dry out during cooking).
  • Add the cauliflower florets directly to the bowl with the batter.
  • Using tongs, stir well 2-3 minutes ensuring that all the cauliflower is coated well with the batter.
  • Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with non-stick spray (olive oil, avocado oil). Add the cauliflower to the baking sheet.
  • Cook at 425F for 30 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is cooking, make the sauce in a bowl large enough to toss the cauliflower in. Combine all the ingredients together and stirring well.
  • After 30 minutes in the oven, remove the cauliflower and toss it directly in the bowl with the buffalo sauce. Toss well to fully coat in the sauce.
  • Add the cauliflower back to the baking sheet and bake again at 425F for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, remove from the oven and flip with tongs. Bake 3 more minutes.
Storage
  • Fridge: Store leftover cauliflower buffalo wings in the fridge for up to 3 days. Note: they will lose their crunchy exterior as they cool off in the fridge.
  • Reheat the cauliflower bites in the oven 425F for 7 minutes or in the air fryer 375F for 3-4 minutes to get the coating crispy and crunchy again.
  • Freezer: I do not recommend freezing these, as they get too watery when defrosted.
Substitutions:
  • Almond flour:  If you want to keep this recipe Whole30 and paleo friendly, you can use cashew meal or sunflower seed meal in place of the almond flour (see tips above on how to make your own sunflower seed meal – you can do the same with cashews). If you don’t mind the recipe having grains/legumes, you can use chickpea flour or brown rice flour in place of the almond flour.
  • Tapioca flour: Also called tapioca starch this helps to create that crispy layer on the outside of the cauliflower. You can also use arrowroot powder or corn starch in place of the tapioca flour.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
177
Fat
 
11
g
Carbohydrates
 
18
g
Fiber
 
5
g
Sugar
 
3
g
Protein
 
6
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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