Buffalo cauliflower wings can be made in the oven instead of an air fryer

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings: Air Fried and Delicious

Looking for a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional buffalo wings? Look no further than air fryer buffalo cauliflower! These tasty bites are a vegetarian twist on classic chicken wings, offering a flavorful and satisfying experience without the meat—and with the crispy convenience of the air fryer.

We'll dive into what buffalo cauliflower wings are, their vegan-friendly nature, their health benefits, and how to make them using an air fryer. We'll also explore what to serve with these cauliflower wings and how to take advantage of the spicy benefits of the cayenne pepper in your buffalo sauce—which contains a compound shown to help your body burn fat!

What are cauliflower buffalo wings?

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower is a vegetarian alternative to traditional chicken wings. In place of meat, florets of cauliflower are coated in buffalo sauce and rolled in a flavorful crumb mixture, then baked in an air fryer in a single layer until crispy. The result is a deliciously tangy and spicy bite-sized dish that mimics the flavors of buffalo wings. If you don't want to air fry your cauliflower wings, you can make them in the oven as well.

Are cauliflower buffalo wings vegan?

Yes, cauliflower is a vegetable, so if the other ingredients you use in your air fryer buffalo cauliflower are plant-based and free from animal products, then your buffalo cauliflower will be vegan. Look for a store-bought buffalo or wing sauce that is labeled as vegan-friendly, or you can make your own hot sauce using vegan ingredients.

Are cauliflower buffalo wings healthy?

Air fryer buffalo cauliflower can be a healthier alternative to traditional wings. Cauliflower is a low-carb vegetable (which, incidentally, makes it keto-friendly if that is your preferred diet). It is also low in calories, fat-free and cholesterol-free. Baking your buffalo cauliflower in an air fryer reduces the need for excessive oil, making this recipe lower in fat compared with deep-fried wings. However, the healthiness of the dish also depends on the amount and brand of wing sauce and other ingredients used.

The starting ingredient, cauliflower, contains many nutrients and plant compounds, such as vitamin C, vitamin K and folate, a nutrient that plays a critical role in brain development. Cauliflower is also high in fiber and antioxidants and low in sodium.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, cabbage and kale, and these vegetables are particularly helpful for women who want to maintain a healthy hormone balance. Cruciferous veggies contain compounds that can help support healthy estrogen metabolism and promote breast tissue health.

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings Air Fryer Recipe

This buffalo cauliflower recipe makes five servings and is easy to prepare in about 10 minutes, then add to an air fryer for a tasty, meat-free dish. The cauliflower provides a satisfying texture and acts as a great canvas for absorbing the hot sauce and spices, and the breadcrumbs provide a satisfying crunch.


For the cauliflower wings:

4 cups cauliflower florets
3/4 cup buffalo sauce

For the crumb mixture:

1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Step-by-step directions:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (190°C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper to make the crumb mixture for the buffalo cauliflower.
  3. Dip each cauliflower floret into the buffalo sauce, ensuring it is fully coated, then roll it in the crumb mixture, pressing lightly to adhere the topping to each floret.
  4. Place the coated florets in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Using a foil-lined air fryer basket (or other non-stick liner) will help cut down the total time of your cleanup.
  5. Air fry for 12-15 minutes, or until the florets are golden and crispy, shaking the basket halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  6. Once done, transfer the cauliflower wings to a serving plate and drizzle with additional wing sauce, if desired. Serve your buffalo cauliflower wings while hot and crispy.

Nutritional Values (per serving*)

Calories 122
Total Fat 2 g
Carbs 22 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 5.8 g
Sodium 984 mg
Fiber 4 g

*All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes.

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Tips for success

Can I bake the cauliflower buffalo wings instead of using an air fryer?

Sure! If you do not own an air fryer, or simply do not want to add air fryer cleanup to your chores, you can bake the wings in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and crispy.

How can I make the cauliflower wings gluten-free?

Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or swap them with crushed gluten-free cereal or almond flour for your crumb mixture.

Can I make the buffalo sauce from scratch?

Absolutely! You can create your own buffalo sauce using a combination of hot sauce, melted butter or vegan butter, vinegar, garlic powder and other desired seasonings. If you use a store-bought buffalo or wing sauce and you don't mind the extra calories, you can add ¼ cup of melted butter to the sauce before coating the cauliflower florets for extra flavor.

How long do buffalo cauliflower bites stay crispy?

Spraying your air fryer buffalo cauliflower with a light sheen of olive oil before putting them in the air fryer helps achieve a crispy texture, and buffalo cauliflower is best enjoyed immediately after cooking. However, if you have leftovers, you can reheat them in the air fryer for a few minutes to regain some crispiness. If you don't want to air fry them, use an oven to reheat them. Just don't use a microwave—it will take all the crispiness from your cauliflower wings.

Can I add other spices to my crumb mixture?

Certainly! Garlic powder adds a savory and aromatic element to the coating, and onion powder and other seasonings can also enhance the flavor. For an extra kick, add some cayenne pepper or taco seasoning to the crumb mix.

How can I lower the sodium content?

Cauliflower is low in sodium, but wing sauce generally is not. Some brands have more sodium than others, so check the labels. Yo Mama's Original Buffalo Sauce has 260 mg of sodium per tablespoon, but most brands have more. Buffalo Wild Wings has 495 mg of sodium per tablespoon (1/2 fl oz) in its Original Buffalo sauce, and 550 mg in its Hot wing sauce. Cutting down the salt and adding extra spices to your crumb mixture is also an option.

What to serve with buffalo cauliflower wings

Buffalo cauliflower wings can be served with various accompaniments. Some popular options include celery sticks, carrot sticks, and a creamy dip, such as a vegan ranch or blue cheese dressing. These complement the flavors and provide a refreshing contrast to the spicy buffalo cauliflower. Or, you can fill a corn or flour tortilla with your cauli wings and shredded lettuce for a yummy vegan taco night!

Incorporate these buffalo cauliflower wings into your next game day or holiday gathering or enjoy them as a flavorful side dish. These crispy and tangy air fryer buffalo cauliflower bites are not only delicious but also offer a healthier twist on a beloved classic.

Do cauliflower buffalo wings add enough cayenne pepper to your diet?

The level of cayenne pepper in cauliflower buffalo wings depends on the buffalo sauce used and personal preference. While buffalo dressing typically contains cayenne pepper, the amount consumed in this buffalo cauliflower recipe isn't significant. However, if you prefer a spicier flavor, you can adjust the buffalo dressing accordingly or add additional cayenne pepper to the crumb mixture.

If you want to encourage thermogenesis—your body's ability to burn fat for energy—without adding a bunch of spicy peppers to your diet, you might want to supplement with a red chili-based formula designed to keep your fat-burning fires lit. A daily supplement may support weight management and encourage fat metabolism, especially when used in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. Other weight management supplements can help you control your appetite and curb feelings of hunger so you can look and feel your best!

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About the Author: Caitlin Fontana is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY with a Bachelor of Science in Communications & Marketing. She is a content and social media expert with experience in social media, digital marketing, blogging, content managing & so much more! Her passion for nutrition, cooking, wellness and fitness is what inspired her to start her health & wellness blog, Caitlin's Table.

Website: www.CaitlinsTable.com