Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings

By Alexandra Caspero on January 13, 2020
Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings! Looking for healthy, vegan buffalo wings? These air fryer buffalo wings made from cauliflower are a MUST try!
Prep time: 15 min / Cook Time: 7 min / Total Time: 22 min

If you love buffalo flavor, then you’ve gotta try these air fryer vegan cauliflower wings. Crispy and saucy– they are the best!

So, I got an Air Fryer for Christmas. More to the point, I grabbed one impulsively on Black Friday at a major discount and it sat in my car for the following three weeks until our kitchen was finished. Well, I finally pulled it out over the holidays and oh my gosh, where has this thing been all my life?

Anyway, my kitchen is brimming with gadgets even though I actively try to whittle down as many necessities as I can. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d ever have an air fryer, but then I’d seen so many rave reviews from friends (and my sister!) that I knew I’d eventually be grabbing one.

I’m so glad I did! Not only have these air fryer buffalo wings been on major repeat, but I’ve also enjoyed making cauliflower tacos, crispy vegan tacos and black bean taquitos in it.

Air Fryer Buffalo Wings With Vegan Ranch Dressing

It’s no secret that my husband loves buffalo wings. He asks for my cauliflower buffalo wings at least a few times a month during Football season and while I’m usually very happy to fulfill his food wishes, those things just take so much time to put together. Baking of the cauliflower, the dredging, the frying, the sauce making. Great as a special occasion side dish, but not something that I’m eager to take on every Sunday afternoon.

Using my Air Fryer means that BL can request cauliflower wings and in roughly 30 minutes, I’m presenting him with a giant basket of crispy air fryer cauliflower wings covered in whatever spicy sauce he’s into at the moment. I’m partial to classic Buffalo sauce, but we’ve also been known to make a honey BBQ sauce, a smokin’ Habanero sauce, and a more mild Asian Chili sauce. All are fantastic on crispy, crunchy cauliflower wings!

Do you need an Air Fryer for this recipe?

No. This recipe is based on my Sriracha Cauliflower Buffalo Wings, though these are made in a 1/4 of the time and without the need for frying. Luckily, the Air Fryer does all of that for you!

Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings

Key Ingredients for these Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Here’s what you’ll need to make these wings:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into wing size pieces
  • Unsweetened non-dairy milk 
  • Cornstarch, this is what makes the wings crispy. If you don’t want to use cornstarch, then you can sub in arrowroot starch instead.
  • All-purpose flour, to keep these wings gluten-free then you can use a gluten-free flour blend instead.
  • Spices, like garlic salt, salt, smoked paprika, onion powder and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce, I prefer Frank’s for this
  • Melted butter, for dairy-free butter I prefer Earth Balance or Miyoko’s butter
  • White vinegar

How long to cook Cauliflower Buffalo Wings in the Air Fryer

Honestly, I tested this recipe close to 15 times, mostly to get the timing right. After all, compared to cauliflower wings made in the oven and then the skillet, these are much easier to overcook. Specifically, six to seven minutes is the optimal time for getting a crunchy outside while still keeping some texture of the actual cauliflower.

Bowl Of Cauliflower To Make Vegan Buffalo Wings

Battering the cauliflower florets for air frying

In testing this recipe, I wanted to see what batter worked best. First, I made a batch without any coating (boring), a batch with a dry coating (fell off as soon as the sauce was added) and a batch that was already coated in flour and buffalo sauce (this version lacked crunch and saucy, lick-your-fingers-goodness.)

As it turns out, my classic way is still the best way. It does add another step but you are saving so much time by using the Air Fryer that I don’t think it matters.

Instructions for Using the Air Fryer

First, start by making a thickened egg-like mixture by heating dairy-free milk and cornstarch together, then letting cool slightly. Once this is made, whisk together the dry flour and spices in a large bowl.

From there, do a triple dip: once in the flour, once in the thickened milk mixture and then back in the flour.

Then, tap off as much excess batter as you can before placing them in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Next, set the fryer for 7 minutes at 400 degrees F and let cook while you whisk together the ingredients for the buffalo sauce: the melted butter and hot sauce.

Cauliflower Wings In The Air Fryer

What hot sauce is best?

So, Frank’s Red Hot sauce is the best in my opinion but any hot sauce or prepared buffalo sauce will work. By the way, when I make a big batch of these air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites for my husband, I typically do a few different sauces – because, yum.

Overall, traditional buffalo, BBQ and sweet chili are our favorites. Once the wings come out of the air fryer, toss with warmed sauce of choice before enjoying.

What to pair with these buffalo cauliflower wings?

Blue cheese dressing is a traditional pairing for buffalo cauliflower wings, but I’m partial to my homemade ranch dressing. Made with vegan mayo, soy milk, fresh chopped parsley, dried dill and garlic powder it’s the perfect accompaniment for spicy, saucy cauliflower wings.

To serve, pile wings onto a platter along with celery sticks, carrots and ranch dressing.

Air Fryer Buffalo Wings Made With Cauliflower

I know you are going to love these air fryer buffalo wings as much as we do! After you try them, come back to leave a rating and a review. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day. 

Looking for more vegan appetizer recipes?

Copycat Tofu nuggets
Chili queso dip (dairy-free!)
Vegan chorizo queso dip
Roasted tomato guacamole

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

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Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: appetizer, snack
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: vegan, American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings! Looking for healthy, vegan buffalo wings? These air fryer buffalo wings made from cauliflower are a MUST try!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: appetizer, snack
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: vegan, American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: appetizer, snack
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: vegan, American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into drumstick-like pieces
  • 1 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon each: garlic salt, smoked paprika, and onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Buffalo Sauce (like Frank’s Hot)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

Vegan Ranch Dressing 

  • 1/2 cup mayo (or vegan mayo)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  1. First, make the ranch dressing, if using. To do this, whisk together the mayo, soy milk, parsley, dill, garlic powder. Then, add a pinch of salt and season to taste, if needed. Set aside.
  2. Next, heat the milk and cornstarch together in a medium saucepan until cornstarch has dissolved. Then, heat the milk over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes, then set aside to let cool.
  3. Then, whisk together the flour, garlic salt, paprika, onion powder, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. After that, dip the cauliflower into the flour, then into the thickened milk mixture, then back into the flour. Then, tap off as much of the excess flour as you can, then place in a single layer in the bottom of your Air Fryer. Repeat with the rest of the cauliflower; knowing that you may have to work in two batches depending on the size of your Air Fryer.
  5. Then, place the air fryer tray into the Air Fryer and set to 7 minutes at 400 degrees F. Let cook, then flip/shake ~halfway through cooking.
  6. Next, heat the butter, buffalo hot sauce and vinegar over medium heat. Finally, toss with the crispy cauliflower and serve immediately with the ranch dressing.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Jay
      July 25, 2023 AT 6:45 pm

      The ranch is so good!

    2. Andrea
      March 23, 2023 AT 2:30 pm

      Made this for myself and my husband. We’d make these fried usually. But we wanted to make a healthier version. These are the best! I did cook them longer in the airfyer to crisp them up a bit. They were gorgeous! Will be making again.






    3. Pat
      February 7, 2023 AT 9:04 am

      These are very good. I love cauliflower but do not have my own air fryer. We made these at a family gathering. Our air fryer couldn’t keep up with the demand! Everyone ate too much but felt like we were eating healthy so no guilt!

    4. Mark Edwards
      December 28, 2022 AT 7:09 am

      Best recipe I have tried, I have tried a lot!! Thanks.






      1. Alex
        December 28, 2022 AT 1:20 pm

        So glad to hear, thanks Mark!

    5. Lucas Z
      October 30, 2022 AT 6:10 pm

      College football game day staple. Always a crowd pleaser.






    6. Zeke
      October 10, 2022 AT 6:28 pm

      Game changer! Love mixing up the flavors .






    7. Crystal
      September 20, 2022 AT 5:08 pm

      Great and easy recipe! I love Buffalo wings and was a good alternative for my diet.






    8. Tina
      September 18, 2022 AT 5:48 pm

      These are a Husker Saturday staple for my boys. Deliciousness!






    9. Alicia T
      September 18, 2022 AT 5:47 pm

      Love these. I’ve been wanting to try cauliflower wings for a while. I’m glad I found this.






    10. Tom Landers
      September 18, 2022 AT 5:41 pm

      My new favorite air fryer recipe.






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