Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

updated Sep 21, 2022
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

This plant-based bar-style snack is unbelievably crispy, thanks to one smart step.


Prep15 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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Air Fryer buffalo cauliflower
Credit: Photo: Danielle Acken | Food Styling: Aurelia Louvet

This recipe is part of Kitchn 100 — the hundred recipes you need right now. Check out all of the amazing dishes, from Kitchn and beyond, here.

Whether you’re looking for a new plant-based appetizer or simply need a way to spice up that head of cauliflower in the crisper drawer, the answer is to serve it Buffalo-style. Toss bite-sized florets of the versatile vegetable in a spicy sauce, then coat in garlicky seasoned flour before letting the air fryer go to work. The result: crispy cauliflower Buffalo bites that rival even the best restaurant appetizers. Here’s how to do it.

How Do I Make the Crispiest Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower?

The convection heating of the air fryer is bound to brown the edges of cauliflower on its own, but there’s an extra step required for all-over crispy cauliflower. Coat the florets in Buffalo sauce, making sure the spicy sauce gets into every crevice. Then, toss them in a garlicky mix of flour and cornstarch. The flour and cornstarch absorb the spicy sauce, developing a crunchy coating that makes these cauliflower bites irresistible. Don’t forget to include the bits of cauliflower florets that fall off when trimming — those get extra crispy.

Credit: Photo: Danielle Acken | Food Styling: Aurelia Louvet

What’s the Best Buffalo Sauce to Use?

The variety of hot sauces is practically endless, with new options appearing on the grocery store shelves every week. Experiment with your favorite sauces, from Cholula to Valentina, but for classic, bar-style Buffalo flavor, reach for Frank’s RedHot.

What Should I Serve with Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower?

Whether you bounce between air fryer Buffalo cauliflower and traditional wings or opt for strictly plant-based snacks, here are some ideas for serving this spicy game-day snack.

  • Veggies and dips. Spears of celery, carrots, and a dish of blue cheese or ranch dressing are important accompaniments.
  • Veggie-packed bowl. Turn the spicy, crispy cauliflower side into a main dish atop a bowl filled with rice, shredded cabbage, creamy avocado, and a green tahini dressing.
  • Add spice to salads. Tuck into lettuce leaves, or arrange atop strands of zucchini noodles.

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

This plant-based bar-style snack is unbelievably crispy, thanks to one smart step.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1/3 cup

    hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot or Cholula

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 medium head

    cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

  • 1/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup


  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Place 1/3 cup hot sauce and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Remove the leaves from 1 medium head cauliflower, then cut in half and remove the tough core. Cut the florets into 1 1/2- to 2-inch pieces (about 5 cups). Transfer to the bowl and toss until evenly coated.

  3. Place 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt together in a second large bowl and whisk to combine. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to transfer the cauliflower to the bowl, leaving any excess sauce in the bowl. Toss with your hands or the spoon to evenly coat the cauliflower in the flour mixture.

  4. Heat a 5 1/2-quart or larger air fryer to 400°F. Arrange the cauliflower florets in an even layer in the basket or tray (a little overlap is okay). Air fry, tossing every 5 minutes, until the cauliflower is hot, crispy, and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes total.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The cauliflower can be cut into florets up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.