Easy Air Fryer Cauliflower tastes roasted but is ready in less than 20 minutes! With a crispy seasoned outer texture this is the perfect cauliflower side dish to any meal.

Air fryer cauliflower in the basket garnished with fresh herbs.

Cauliflower versatility never ceases to amaze me! I’ve taught you how to make cauliflower rice and how to make cauliflower pizza crust, and now this air fryer cauliflower recipe.

If you are one of those people who buys a head of cauliflower and doesn’t know what to do with it, this air fryer cauliflower recipe is for you!

It’s simply made with a bit of oil, some garlic powder, paprika, a squirt of lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese.

There is so much flavor in this crispy tender air fryer side and it pairs well with all kinds of other ingredients!

Don’t have an air fryer yet? No problem! Make this roasted cauliflower with parmesan cheese in the oven instead!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Cauliflower, lemon, parmesan cheese,  smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper, olive oil.

Cauliflower is a nutritional powerhouse! It provides plenty of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, plus this recipe is gluten free and keto friendly.

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need 2 lbs of cauliflower, which is the size of a medium head.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil helps with nonstick action and also helps keep the seasoning sticking to the florets.
  • Lemon juice: A lovely tart, vibrant flavor that wakes up everything!
  • Cauliflower seasoning mix: Garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper are a simple combination of seasonings that gives flavor and colour. For a hint of smokiness, use smoked paprika.
  • Parmesan: Freshly grated parmesan cheese from a block! Gives it that extra crispy exterior with a lovely sharp cheese flavor.

How to Cut Cauliflower

This is a recap of my step by step photo tutorial on how to cut cauliflower.

Head of cauliflower with removed leaves on a cutting board with a knife.

First, wash your cauliflower head by running it under water. Remove the leaves from around the stem.

Place cauliflower head on a cutting board, stem side down. Using a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower down the middle. Now you should have two identical halves.

Cut cauliflower into four quarters on a cutting board with a knife.

Lay one half of the cauliflower down on the board, exposing the inside of the stem and core. Cut it right out of the middle, loosening the little florets. Repeat with the other half. Cut any larger florets into smaller pieces.

How to Air Fry Cauliflower

This super easy air fryer cauliflower recipe is perfect for a weeknight side dish ideas plus it takes up no space in the oven or stovetop.

Cauliflower florets in bowl with a spoon.

Prep: Preheat the air fryer to 400F degrees, grab a large bowl, and make sure your florets are all ready to go.

Coat the florets: Add the cauliflower to the bowl and drizzle it with oil and lemon juice. Give it a toss to coat evenly.

Cauliflower florets in a bowl with spices.

Season cauliflower: Sprinkle with garlic powder, smoked paprika (or regular), salt, and pepper. Toss once more to make sure everything is coated evenly.

Raw seasoned cauliflower florets in air fryer basket.

To the air fryer they go: Place cauliflower from the bowl into the air fryer basket. Make sure they’re in a single layer without overcrowding.

Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top of browned cauliflower florets in air fryer.

Cook: Air fry for 14 minutes, pausing to shake once or twice. At the 12 minute time mark, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Continue air frying until nice and crispy!


This is one of the easiest cauliflower recipes to make. All that is required are heads of cauliflower cooked in batches for larger crowds, or just one for you and your family. Other than that, you can use whatever seasoning you like.

  • Italian seasoning: Pairs so well with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Chili lime: Swap the lemon for lime and the paprika for chili powder.
  • Curry: Use up to a teaspoon of curry powder to season your florets.
  • Southwest: I love to use my homemade taco seasoning and swap Parmesan for cheddar.
  • Buffalo: A popular flavor, you’ll want to follow my air fryer buffalo cauliflower directions.

Recipe Tips

  • For crispy results, you need the oil, so don’t try and skip it! Some people prefer to go without or even give it a little spray beforehand, which you can also do, but resulting in a less crispy bite.
  • 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 air fryer cauliflower. I use a large 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer for reference.
  • Batches 2 and 3. Keep in mind the remaining batches will cook faster because the air fryer will be hotter. Check on them every so often.
  • Uniform sizes. When cutting your cauliflower, try and make the florets even sizes. This is so that they cook evenly and the smaller ones don’t burn while they wait for the larger ones to catch up.
Cooked cauliflower in basket of air fryer.

Serving Suggestions

This air fryer cauliflower is one of our favorite healthy sides! It’s versatile and can be paired with just about anything.

Storage Instructions

Storing: Keep any leftover cooked cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Reheating: Pop them back in the air fryer at 300F degrees for 3-4 minutes until warm and crispy again.

Make them ahead. Season the florets as directed and keep them covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Toss them in the air fry when you’re ready!


Can I make oil free air fryer cauliflower?

You can make this recipe using no oil. The oil is what gives it the crispy texture, but if you’re fine without it, feel free to omit the oil. You may need to use parchment paper or give the bottom of the basket a little spray.

Can I use frozen cauliflower florets?

Yes. You will want to make sure they’re completely thawed first, though. If not, you’ll just end up with soggy cauliflower. And might have to cook a few minutes longer, just keep an eye on it.

Why is my cauliflower soggy vs. crispy?

This is usually due to overcrowding, not using any oil, or not completely thawing frozen cauliflower florets.

Are cauliflower leaves and stems edible?

Yes, this is a great no waste option! Feel free to air fry the leaves and save the stems for stir fry or soups.

More Air Fryer Recipes

Air fryer cauliflower in basket of air fryer on top of gray linen.
air fryer cauliflower in air fryer basket with garnish

Air Fryer Cauliflower

Easy Air Fryer Cauliflower tastes roasted but is ready in less than 20 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 165
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes



  • Preheat air fryer at 400 F degrees. To a large bowl, add cauliflower and drizzle with oil and lemon juice, toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Transfer cauliflower into the basket of air fryer leveling into a single layer. Air fry for 14 minutes at 400 degrees F, shaking once or twice.
  • At 12 minute mark, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and keep cooking.
  • Serve hot with a side of quinoa or rice and healthy orange chicken.


  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: Refrigerate seasoned cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 24 hours and then cook as per recipe.
  • Reheat: Reheat air fryer cauliflower in air fryer at 300 degrees F for 3-4 minutes or until warm.
  • For crispy results, you need the oil, so don’t try and skip it!
  • 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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 400mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g
Course: Side Dish
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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