Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower WingsThis post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.
Spicy, crispy, air fryer buffalo cauliflower is paired with creamy ranch dressing and celery sticks. It’s a simple appetizer or snack that’s perfect for game day!
Who doesn’t love munching on wings while watching the big game? The problem is buffalo wings aren’t the healthiest of options, especially when paired with high fat, high-calorie ranch dressing.
But all that’s about to change! These easy air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings are coated in a whole wheat batter, then baked until crispy, and coated in a spicy buffalo sauce. The blend of spices is nicely balanced with herbs and spice for a delicious appetizer option.
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It’s not too spicy, but still has a nice kick! When paired with a low-fat ranch dressing, you’ve got all the flavors of the wings you love with healthy ingredients!
👩🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- Nice and Crispy: These cauliflower wings are coated in a crispy batter without the need to be deep fried.
- Just the Right Amount of Spice: These vegetarian wings have a simple buffalo glaze that is enhanced with fresh chives.
- Healthy Appetizer: Whether it’s game day, a holiday party, or a pot-luck, this air fryer buffalo cauliflower wings recipe is quick, easy, and loved by all! It’s also so much healthier than deep frying wings.
- Super simple recipe and a perfect snack for the whole family
- Great vegetarian alternative to chicken wings!
This recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients, easily found at your local grocery store!
Cauliflower: Wash well, and chop one head of cauliflower into bite-sized florets. I opt for organic cauliflower.
Dry Ingredients For Batter: You will need a combination of dry and wet ingredients to prepare the batter. Whole wheat flour, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, paprika, and black pepper round out the dry ingredients. If you don’t have whole wheat flour you can use all-purpose flour. I haven’t tried this recipe with panko bread crumbs, but I imagine it should also work.
Wet Ingredients For Batter: Unsweetened soy milk or almond milk and buffalo sauce are the wet ingredients.
Buttery Buffalo Sauce: Buffalo sauce, melted butter (or vegan butter), and fresh chopped chives are whisked together and then coated over the battered cauliflower after it’s been cooked.
Spicy Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites: If you like your wings spicy, add hot sauce (we like Frank’s hot sauce) or add crushed chili peppers.
Make It Smoky: If you like a smoky undertone, add 1/2 tsp of liquid smoke, or be sure to use smokey paprika.
Make It Gluten-Free: These cauliflower buffalo wings are breaded, so if you want to keep make them gluten-free I recommend using almond flour or gluten-free flour for your breading mixture. You can sub the flour 1:1.
Change Up Your Buffalo Sauce: This recipe recreates the flavors of buffalo sauce using butter, buffalo sauce, and fresh chives. However, you could change it up by using different fresh or dried herbs.
Low Carb: For a low carb version eliminate the batter, and coat the cauliflower in the buffalo sauce only.
Keto: To make this air fryer buffalo cauliflower recipe keto-friendly, substitute the whole wheat flour with almond flour, or omit the breading (like in the low carb version).
Note – there are so many types of air fryers out there, and any model will work well for this recipe! Two of our favorites include the Philips air fryer and Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven.
Prepare the Cauliflower: Cut cauliflower into small florets. Set aside in a large bowl. Whisk Dry Ingredients for the Batter: In a large mixing bowl combine flour, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Add the Wet Ingredients for the Batter: Add the buffalo sauce and soy or almond milk to the flour mixture. Whisk to form a smooth batter.
Coat Cauliflower in Batter: In a small bowl, add the cauliflower florets one at a time, and mix them through the batter.
Prep The Cauliflower And The Air Fryer Pan: Spray the air fryer basket with olive oil cooking spray. Lift the florets out of the batter and allow them to drain before placing them into the air fryer basket in a single layer.
Cook in the Air Fryer: Add the coated cauliflower pieces to the air fryer basket. Make sure not to overload the basket and don’t let the florets touch. Set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and the cooking time to 15 minutes. Check halfway through the cooking process and shake the basket to ensure even cooking. After each batch has cooked, remove them and keep them warm while cooking the remaining florets are prepared. You’ll likely have to cook at least two batches depending on how many florets you have.
Prepare the Glaze: To make this homemade buffalo sauce recipe, place the glaze ingredients into a heatproof container and microwave in 30-second bursts to melt the butter. Stir to combine.
Toss Cauliflower in Glaze: Use tongs to add cooked cauliflower to a mixing bowl along with the buffalo glaze and chives, toss to coat.
Serve these crispy cauliflower wings immediately with ranch dressing and celery sticks.
Depending on the recipe, healthy buffalo wings are made of cauliflower or other plant sources.
Soy protein or seitan is often used to recreate store-bought buffalo wings. This substitute recreates the meaty texture of a regular wing.
But these homemade crispy air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites are the healthiest version you can find for a few reasons:
Baked Not Fried: These air fryer cauliflower wings are baked, not fried. This eliminates the need for extra oil and cuts back on the fat and calories.
Low Calorie: One serving of traditional buffalo wings will run you about 300 calories and 16 grams of fat for 4 pieces, but you can enjoy these vegan buffalo wings for only about 200 calories and 9 grams of fat for a HUGE serving!
Rich in Vitamins and Nutrients: Cauliflower is rich in vitamins and nutrients including fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
Depending on the brand, buffalo sauce can be vegan. However, not all buffalo sauce brands follow the same recipe. Some versions contain dairy. Be sure to read the ingredient label before buying buffalo sauce in the store. Primal Kitchen makes a vegan version that is also Keto, Paleo, Whole-30, and gluten-free.
There are so many different types of dips you can serve with this cauliflower wings recipe – but here are some of my favorites: ranch dressings, blue cheese dressing, ketchup, a spicy chipotle sauce, BBQ sauce, mustard, hot sauce, sour cream, plain Greek yogurt, or or your favorite dipping sauce!
You can also pair with other appetizers — a fondue-type cheese dip or 7 Layer Dip would also be amazing with these air fryer cauliflower wings.
Yes, you can! Fresh is better since it retains less water, but frozen cauliflower will still work. Just make sure to thaw it completely and pat it with some paper towels to absorb the excess water before coating them in the batter and baking.
If your kids like spicy wings, then they will LOVE these vegan buffalo wings! They aren’t overwhelmingly spicy, which makes them kid-friendly. The creamy ranch dressing is cool and light in flavor. These make a great after-school snack or side dish at dinner!
❄️ How To Store
Allow these air fried cauliflower wings to cool completely, then store leftover wings in an airtight container. Store in the fridge – they will keep for 3-4 days..
When ready to reheat, place the cauliflower on a baking sheet, and warm in the toaster oven, or oven at 350 F until they warm up and become crispy again.
Alternatively, you can warm them in the microwave, but they will lose some of their crispiness.
💭 Expert Tips
- Substitute butter in the glaze for vegan butter and you have a great vegan dish.
- Be sure to serve immediately as the cauliflower won’t remain crispy for long after glaze has been added.
- Cooking times will depend on the size of florets and appliance used.
- Use the same process to make buffalo chicken wings in the air fryer.
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📋 Recipe Card
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower
- ¼ cup buffalo sauce
- 1 tbsp butter or vegan butter
- 2 tbsp chives chopped
- Ranch Dressing
- Celery Sticks
- Cut cauliflower into small florets. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Add the buffalo sauce and (soy or almond) milk. Whisk to form a smooth batter.
- Add the cauliflower florets and mix through the batter.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Lift the florets out of the batter and allow to drain before placing into the airfryer basket. Make sure not to overload the basket and or have the florets touching.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F / 180C, checking halfway through cooking and shaking the basket to ensure even cooking.
- When cooked, remove and keep warm while cooking the remaining florets.
- To make the glaze place the glaze ingredients into a microwave safe container and microwave in 30 second bursts to melt the butter. Stir to combine.
- Add cooked cauliflower to a mixing bowl along with the buffalo glaze, toss to coat and serve immediately with ranch dressing and celery sticks.
- To make this recipe keto-friendly substitute the whole wheat flour with almond flour.
- Gluten-free flour can also be used instead of whole wheat flour.
- Substitute butter in the glaze for vegan butter and you have a great vegan dish.
- Be sure to serve immediately as the cauliflower won’t remain crispy for long after the glaze has been added.
- Cooking times will depend on the size of florets and appliances used.
- Use the same process to make buffalo chicken wings in the air fryer, just replace the cauliflower for chicken wings.
- There are lots of options for buffalo sauce – we like Primal Kitchens since it’s vegan and paleo friendly.