Looking for a healthy and delicious twist on buffalo wings? Make my crunchy and spicy baked buffalo cauliflower in the oven or air fryer! No one at your Super Bowl party will guess that these tasty bites are paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, and gluten-free!

An overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower on a gray rectangular plate with 3 chives on top. The red banner at the bottom says paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free. There is a gold star that says includes Air Fryer Instructions.

Buffalo Cauliflower is a crowd pleaser!

I’m not gonna lie—I love game day food way more than watching the big game itself. Although I love chicken wings, I always add some tasty vegetable finger foods to the spread for some balance. These addictive baked buffalo cauliflower bites are popular with my pals—regardless of whether they’re omnivores or vegetarians.

I’m a huge fan of buffalo wings, so I created these wonderfully spicy-tangy bites made with battered and baked cauliflower for our second cookbook, Ready or Not! (flip to page 100). If you want a kickass Whole30 Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe, I’ve got one in there as well—it’s the recipe on the following page.

My tips for crispy baked buffalo cauliflower

In order to get the best results for these nomtastic buffalo cauliflower, keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Make sure you cut the cauliflower florets into a uniform size! This way, the buffalo cauliflower wings will all cook at the same time.
  • Whip the egg whites until they’re nice and frothy before adding the flour and seasoning. This step ensures that the coating is crispy and light.
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter right before you bake them and make sure you shake off any excess coating. No one likes soggy apps!
  • Do NOT skip placing the florets in a single layer on a greased stainless steel wire rack! This simple setup elevates the florets and allows the hot air to circulate around them completely. Also, don’t forget to flip the florets while you’re baking them!
  • Toss with buffalo wing sauce right before you serve them and eat while hot!
Overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower in a white round platter.

Can you make buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer?

Yes! An air fryer is essentially a countertop convection oven so you can definitely cook these buffalo cauliflower in there—but you might not save time overall. Although you can air-fry the florets in a shorter amount of time, most air fryers have a smaller capacity than a wall oven, so you’ll have to cook in two or more batches. (Air fryer instructions are below and in the printable recipe card!)

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower head (about 2½ pounds), cut into uniform-sized florets
  • Egg whites: Whisked frothy egg whites is the secret to the light and crispy coating! No need for bread crumbs or panko!
  • Arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Ghee, avocado oil, or refined coconut oil: I use one of these fats in place of melted butter.
  • Cayenne pepper sauce: Yes, you can use Frank’s red hot sauce!
  • Apple Juice: I like to use Martinelli’s apple juice as a natural, Whole30 sweetener for the sauce.
  • Fresh lemon juice

How to make buffalo cauliflower

Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode, with the rack in the middle. No convection mode? Heat to 425°F and rotate the tray of cauliflower more frequently during the cooking process.

A finger pressing the convection roast button on an oven display.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.

A whisk is whipping egg whites until frothy and bubbly in a clear glass bowl.

Add the arrowroot powder, garlic powder, and salt. Continue whisking the mixture until a smooth, sticky batter forms.

An overhead shot of someone whisking the batter for Nom Nom Paleo's Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

Dump the cauliflower into the batter and toss with your hands to coat well.

Two hands are tossing cauliflower florets in the gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 batter for baked buffalo cauliflower.

Shake off the excess batter. Place the florets in a well-greased wire rack placed on a rimmed sheet pan. (You can line the sheet pan with parchment paper or foil to make clean up easier.)

Someone in a gray apron is placing battered cauliflower on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the florets over, and rotate the tray. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy.

A gloved hand is removing a tray of golden brown Baked Buffalo Cauliflower from the oven.

Cooking in an air fryer?

Spray the basket with cooking spray. Add half the battered cauliflower to the basket, spray the florets with well with avocado oil cooking spray, and air fry at 400°F…

An overhead shot of Buffalo Cauliflower florets in an air fryer basket about to be cooked.

…and cook for 18 to 20 minutes, tossing the florets every 8 minutes, until the florets are crispy and brown. Repeat with the second batch.

An overhead view of Buffalo Cauliflower in an air fryer basket. The florets are golden brown and ready to be sauced.

How to make the sauce

While the florets are baking or air frying, heat the avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, apple juice, and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat.

A hand is pouring cayenne pepper sauce from a liquid measuring cup into a small saucepan to make the buffalo cauliflower sauce

When the florets are finished cooking, toss with the sauce.

Tossing crispy cauliflower florets with buffalo sauce in a clear glass bowl.

Enjoy!

An overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower on a rectangular gray plate. There are three chives on top.

What do you serve with buffalo cauliflower?

To balance the spicy and tangy flavors of buffalo cauliflower, you can dip the florets in a creamy and cooling vegan ranch dressing and/or serve them with crunchy carrot and celery sticks. I have a fantastic paleo ranch recipe in my first two cookbooks and you can buy Whole30-compatible ranch dressing online and at the grocery store these days. (Of course if you tolerate dairy, feel free to serve them with a blue cheese dressing!)

How to store leftovers

If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat the buffalo cauliflower in an air fryer at 400°F for 3 to 5 minutes or until crunchy on the outside and hot in the center.


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower (Air Fryer Option)

4.82 from 27 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings 4
Looking for a healthy and delicious twist on buffalo wings? Make my crunchy and spicy baked buffalo cauliflower in the oven or air fryer! No one at your Super Bowl party will guess that these tasty bites are paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, and gluten-free!

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • 1 large cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cut into uniform-sized florets
  • ¼ cup avocado oil, ghee or refined coconut oil
  • ½ cup cayenne pepper sauce
  • tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode, with the rack in the middle. No convection mode? Heat to 425°F and rotate the tray of cauliflower more frequently during the cooking process.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.
  • Add the arrowroot powder, garlic powder, and salt. Continue whisking until a smooth, sticky batter forms.
  • Dump the cauliflower into the batter, toss with your hands to coat well.
  • Shake off the excess batter. Place the florets in a well-greased wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the florets over, and rotate the tray. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Cooking in an air fryer? Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray. Add half the battered cauliflower to the basket, spray the florets with cooking spray, and air fry at 400°F for 18 to 20 minutes, tossing the florets every 8 minutes, until the florets are crispy and brown. Repeat with the second batch.
  • Time to make the buffalo sauce! While the florets are baking or air frying, heat the avocado oil, ghee, or refined coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, apple juice, and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • When the florets are finished cooking, toss with the sauce.
  • Serve with celery and carrot sticks and a dairy-free ranch if desired!

Video

Notes

If you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can reheat the buffalo cauliflower in an air fryer at 400°F for 3 to 5 minutes or until crunchy on the outside and hot in the center.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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27 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I can’t even express how amazing these are. So I’ll just say this. My 11-year-old son who is very anti-vegetable was popping them in his mouth, going, “Oh my gosh, these are so good – it doesn’t even taste like cauliflower!!” The batter makes them so crunchy – such good texture – and the sauce turned out perfectly. I can’t handle anything too spicy and this was perfect.

  2. I would love to see a cookbook with WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) recipes. I have always loved your cookbooks. I own all of your cookbook except the last one. I have recently switched to WFPB and it has helped my health considerably. Honestly, you do have the best recipes!