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.

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

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 
  • Soy, almond milk or other 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 cupBuffalo 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

Print
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

  • 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.

did you make this?

Tag @delishknowledge on Instagram and hashtag it #delishknowledge

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

(28 comments) leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. Sharon
      April 28, 2022 AT 3:39 pm

      Elegant and simple. First time over triedc cauliflower in airfryer.Not a user friendly comment section kept jumping away from me. Used Maggie Masala chilli, not overly hot with hint of sweet.

      1. Alex
        April 28, 2022 AT 4:09 pm

        Glad you liked it, thanks for sharing Sharon!

    2. Carol
      April 22, 2022 AT 3:25 pm

      I like mine crispy so I added 4 extra minutes. Delish will surely make them again.

    3. Matt @ Oldguykitchen
      January 31, 2022 AT 6:38 am

      As someone that loves food, is supposed to limit my animal protein intake, and has a son with Celiacs (so no gluten) this recipe is a sight for sore eyes. Love your approach to meatless doesn’t have to mean tasteless. Thanks for sharing. My retirement plans include opening a vegetarian/gluten free friendly restaurant some day. I can see these wings on the menu!

    4. Stacie S
      January 25, 2022 AT 8:10 pm

      Alex from my Zuda TT ?? Look at this ? I love seeing you here –

      1. Alex
        January 26, 2022 AT 9:27 am

        Ha! It’s me 🙂 Hope you are doing well!

    5. Simone
      January 19, 2022 AT 5:53 pm

      I don’t see a mention of how much Sriracha to add. I also use brown rice flour instead of regular flour for my crispiness as well. Just waiting for it to be done to give it a go

      1. Alex
        January 20, 2022 AT 5:44 am

        Hi Simone, love the idea of brown rice flour for extra crispiness! I don’t use Sriracha for these, just plain Franks Red Hot– but I do have a Sriracha recipe here for wings that you could use for the sauce coating after they come out of the fryer instead: https://www.delishknowledge.com/sriracha-cauliflower-buffalo-wings/

    6. Bonnie Grubb
      December 31, 2021 AT 10:49 pm

      I made this for new years….it was great, thank you for the recipe!!

      1. Alex
        January 3, 2022 AT 7:43 am

        So glad you liked it!

    7. Catherine
      December 18, 2021 AT 1:08 pm

      This is amazing, but is it also possible to use egg and cow milk? Not vegan, but I love buffalo cauliflower wings.

      1. Alex
        December 20, 2021 AT 6:59 am

        Hi Catherine– yes, if you are going to use an egg wash then omit the cornstarch and milk mixture and just use an egg batter instead.

    8. Gini
      November 4, 2021 AT 10:15 am

      Would it work to batter, then freeze, then air fry from frozen?

      1. Alex
        November 4, 2021 AT 6:21 pm

        Hi Gini, I’m not sure– my concern with doing this is that the batter would fall off when frozen. I’ve had readers do this with my nugget recipe and they’ve reported some batter falling off– not a huge amount, but enough to report it. My guess is similar here but I haven’t tried it. I would love to make these in bulk ahead of time!

    9. Kahla
      October 2, 2021 AT 5:04 am

      Tried the recipe and it was AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS and im not even vegan. Easy to prepare and definitely tickles your taste buds. Will definitely use this recipe again. Thank you!!

    10. Bryn
      February 10, 2021 AT 4:10 pm

      OMG. SO SO SO GOOD!! I have been looking for one I can make at home that is as good as the frozen Wholly Veggie one. And this is IT. I halved the Buffalo sauce recipe and that was the perfect amount. But it was honestly perfection. I didn’t make the ranch because it is saucy enough as is. Thank you for this! Love it.