Saucy and crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower make the best game day appetizer, vegetarian snack, or side. Easy to make and perfect for pairing with a creamy dip!

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower on parchment paper lined dish with blue cheese dip.

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower is a savory appetizer that doubles as an anytime snack! They’re a delicious meatless alternative to the ever so popular buffalo wings but way healthier!

Ready in under 30 minutes, they are easy to make, loaded with spicy flavor, and a have a nice outer crisp without any deep frying.

Serve them with a cool creamy dip and this healthy side dish is ready to add to your game day parties, holiday parties, or movie nights!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Healthy: They may look like meat but they’re actually a nutritious low carb vegetable loaded with vitamins and minerals.
  • Easy: Just a handful of ingredients and less than 30 minutes, these come together quickly and easily.
  • Vegetarian: A great vegetarian option among traditional appetizers like air fryer chicken wings on the tray!
  • Tons of flavor: Can’t go wrong with a classic buffalo sauce!

Ingredients Needed

Hot sauce, smoked paprika, butter, flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cauliflower florets.

Only 10 ingredients for the best buffalo cauliflower recipe and that includes the creamy dip!

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need one large head cut into bite sized florets. Look for white cauliflower, with no brown or black spots, the leaves are not wilted, and it should have a bit of weight to it.
  • Butter and Frank’s Red Hot Sauce: On its own Frank’s is a delicious hot sauce, but it’s not until you add butter to it that it becomes a mouthwatering Buffalo sauce.
  • Flour and cornstarch: They both act as a coating to give the florets a crispy exterior and a nice crunch. For gluten free use 1:1 gluten free all purpose flour or almond flour. Arrowroot powder can be used in place of cornstarch.
  • Seasoning: Garlic powder, smoked or regular paprika, and salt. Buffalo sauce has a ton of flavor, so not much extra is needed. These few added seasonings are just perfect.
  • Cooking spray: Needed for non-stick but that’s also how the air fryer manages to get a perfect crisp. Just a little cooking spray to get a nice golden finish. I use Misto!
  • Blue cheese dressing: An easy way to make a healthy blue cheese dip is to mix blue cheese and yogurt. A classic pairing with Buffalo sauce.

How to Make Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Air fryers are the perfect vehicle for fast and easy cooking! Just prep, coat with sauce and your cauliflower is ready to be air fried.

Cauliflower florets in glass bowl.

Prep: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Wash and cut your head of cauliflower, break into florets and add them to a large bowl (pat dry if necessary).

Cauliflower in a bowl with hot sauce drizzled over it.

Make and add the buffalo sauce: In a small bowl, combine Frank’s red hot sauce with the melted butter. Stir and pour the mixture over the cauliflower. Use tongs to toss and coat evenly.

Cornstarch and seasonings sprinkled over buffalo sauce coated cauliflower in a bowl.

Coat the cauliflower: In another small bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and seasonings. Give it a good stir.

Take a quarter of the dry mix and sprinkle it over the cauliflower, again using tongs to toss and coat.

Repeat with the remaining flour mixture, one quarter at a time, until the flour mixture runs out.

Uncooked and prepped cauliflower in air fryer basket.

Air fry cauliflower: Spray the air fryer basket generously with cooking spray. Add florets in a single layer, leaving enough room in between for even cooking. Air fry for 12 minutes.

Prepare dressing while cauliflower is in air fryer.

Don’t overcrowd the basket! Depending on the size of your air fryer you may find you need to work in batches.

Creamy Dips to Pair with Buffalo Cauliflower

The sky is the limit when it comes to dips for these, but I have my three favorites:

  • Blue cheese dressing: It is so easy to make your own by combining yogurt, blue cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Please see recipe card below. My favorite healthier store-bought version is Bolthouse chunky blue cheese yogurt dip.
  • Healthy veggie dip: I usually make my own Greek yogurt veggie dip with yogurt, garlic powder and dill because these ingredients are pantry staples in my kitchen.
  • Ranch dressing: I have healthy ranch recipe and it’s a great option. My favorite store-bought is Litehouse organic ranch. It has clean ingredients.
Air fried buffalo cauliflower in basket of air fryer.

Serving Suggestions

Buffalo cauliflower is a versatile food, here are some fun serving ideas!

  • As appetizer: Serve them with celery, carrot sticks and blue cheese dip for a healthier version on a fun game day with friends!
  • In tacos: Wrap warm buffalo cauliflower in corn or whole wheat tortilla, top with shredded lettuce, avocado, cilantro and drizzle with blue cheese sauce. Absolutely amazing!
  • On salad: Place leftovers on a bed of arugula, fresh cucumber and drizzle with blue cheese sauce. It’s a spicy, zesty and cool way to jazz up simple lettuce salad recipe.
  • As a side: Serve with turkey chili or even Instant Pot black bean soup.

Healthy Game Day Appetizer Spread

These air fryer buffalo bites are a perfect addition to game day! Thinking about what else to add to your party menu? Here are my recommendations:

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower garnished with parsley and served with blue cheese yogurt dip.

How to Store

This buffalo cauliflower air fryer recipe makes an entire head of cauliflower. Depending on how many people you’re serving you may or may not have leftovers!

To store keep covered in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, pop back in the air fryer at 400 degrees F for 3-4 minutes until warmed through.

FAQs

How to cut cauliflower?

Follow my step by step photo tutorial on how to cut cauliflower to minimize florets flying around the kitchen.

Can I bake them in the oven instead?

Definitely. Lay the florets in a single layer on a parchment or foil-lined sheet and roast for 15 minutes at 450 degrees. Toss halfway.

Why are my buffalo cauliflower bites soggy?

It’s super important to make sure they are dry, to begin with. And not to overcrowd the basket.

Can I use store bought buffalo sauce?

Definitely, you can use your favorite sauce. I like to keep it simple by combining Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with butter.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower on a parchment lined dish with blue cheese dip.
air fryer buffalo cauliflower

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Saucy and crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower make the best game day appetizer, vegetarian snack, or side. Perfect for pairing with a creamy dip.
5 from 10 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 114
Diet Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 lbs 1 large head of cauliflower core removed & cut into florets
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 cup red hot sauce like Frank’s
  • 1/4 cup white or whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika smoked or regular
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cooking spray I use Misto
  • Blue cheese dip mix yogurt with blue cheese

Instructions 

  • Preheat air fryer at 400 F degrees. To a large bowl, add cauliflower florets.
  • In another small bowl combine melted butter and red hot sauce; stir. Pour over cauliflower and using tongs stir very well to coat.
  • In another small bowl, add flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika and salt; stir well to mix. Sprinkle 1/4th of it over the cauliflower and using tongs stir well to coat. Repeat with remaining flour mixture adding it in small increments until it runs out.
  • Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray well and transfer cauliflower into it in a single layer. You will have to cook it in a few batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Air fry for 12 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  • While buffalo cauliflower is roasting, prepare blue cheese dipping sauce by combining plain yogurt and crumbled blue cheese, to taste. Serve immediately with celery and carrot sticks, if you wish.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: Reheat in air fryer at 400 degrees F for 3-4 minutes or until warm.
  • Work in batches. You want an even single layer spread out in the basket, but also leaving enough room for the air to circulate and the heat to evenly distribute throughout. If not, you’ll end up with soggy cauliflower.
  • My air fryer size: I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer. If yours is smaller, fit as many ingredients as you can, as long as they are in a single layer.
  • For an extra bit of crunch: Transfer the cauliflower to a lined baking sheet and place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 887mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! I didn’t use red hot souse as I didn’t have it. Instead I just added dry herbs to my liking and a bit of chipotle sauce (Costco brand). The pieces are crunchy and better then any deep fried vegetables in fritters. I love that you don’t need to dip in eggs, breadcrumbs, etc and the are so good. No mess, quick and delicious. We just devoured it in minutes. Thank you, Olena.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve tried a few buffalo cauliflower recipes and this is definitely my favorite because it is actually crispy! Perfect.

  3. 5 stars
    What is an alternative to Frank’s sauce? I live in Eastern Europe and don’t eat spicy. Is it like bbq sauce? What is similar to Frank’s?

    1. It’s hot sauce and buffalo wings are meant to be a bit more spicy…you might try BBQ sauce for a sweeter version although the recipe has not been tested with that.

  4. 5 stars
    I was going to boil my Coliflower and eat it with olive oil and lemon but instead I thought about air fryer buffalo style. Thats when i stumbled upon this recipe and i can tell you that its a keeper and its Yummylicious !!!😋

  5. 5 stars
    I really like Buffalo chicken wings so didn’t know how this would measure up but it’s really good! Made it for a group and everyone liked them. This is a keeper

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