Buffalo Cauliflower – I Heart Naptime

This buffalo cauliflower recipe is an irresistible game day appetizer! Bite sized cauliflower pieces are tossed with a spicy, flavorful sauce then baked until caramelized with crisp edges.

If you love appetizers doused in buffalo sauce, try these other favorites including buffalo chicken wings, baked buffalo chicken dip and buffalo chicken sliders.

Easy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo cauliflower is not meant to taste like oven baked chicken wings, but if crispy edges, crunchy coating and the amazing flavor of tangy, spicy buffalo sauce is what you’re after for a lighter, vegetarian Super Bowl appetizer they have that and more.

The caramelized edges made from baking not frying get a little help from cornstarch, then once tossed with sauce, the Buffalo cauliflower bites became an addicting Super Bowl game day snack that is a welcome addition alongside buffalo chicken dip!

Table of Contents

Why This Recipe Works

  • A healthier option. Crispy baked buffalo cauliflower is a lighter, meatless game day snack without the mess or calories of deep frying. Plus, it’s a low-carb vegetable!
  • All the flavor! Everyone loves that tangy, spicy, slightly buttery sauce. These addicting Buffalo cauliflower wings are going to be the first things to go!
  • Easy peasy. Oven baked or use the air fryer, either way they are tasty and done quickly.

Recipe Ingredients

Buffalo cauliflower ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • All-purpose flour & cornstarch: The flour is used to thicken the batter to coat the veg and the cornstarch is used to absorb excess moisture ensuring crispy results.
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, salt, and black pepper are all the staples of a simple seasoning. You can play around with whatever seasonings you like.
  • Water: The liquid used to turn the flour into a batter. It’s light and won’t weigh it down.
  • Fresh cauliflower: Fresh not frozen is best. I suggest chopping a head of cauliflower yourself so you can get them uniform size for even baking. I like to cut them down lengthwise so they lay flat on the baking sheet.
  • Buffalo sauce: A combination of Frank’s RedHot original with butter or Frank’s RedHot Buffalo wing sauce. It’s tangy and so good!

Substitutions and Variations

  • Buffalo sauce vs. hot sauce: The two are different! Buffalo wing sauce is hot sauce plus butter combined together for irresistible taste. You can also use your favorite bottled buffalo sauce.
  • Lemon juice or honey: Add up to a Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the buffalo sauce mixture for another layer of tangy flavor or alternately add some honey to make it less tangy.
  • Additional seasonings: Add onion powder, paprika, smoked paprika or lemon pepper if you would like.
  • Gluten-free: Toss the cauliflower with 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and pepper. Drizzle with 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil. Bake as directed.
  • Salt and pepper only: If any of your family is sensitive to spice, set aside a few pieces for a roasted cauliflower with some extra salt and pepper.

How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower

Showing how to make buffalo cauliflower in a 4 step collage.
  • Make the batter. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then, stir in the water until it becomes a smooth batter. Toss in the florets and make sure they’re all evenly coated, then drizzle with olive oil.
  • Bake the florets. Transfer the cauliflower to an unlined, nonstick baking sheet (also why we drizzle with olive oil) and arrange them in a single layer leaving enough room in between each one. Cook in a preheated 425ºF oven for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for another 10 minutes.
  • Make the Buffalo sauce. Melt butter then whisk it together with the hot sauce. Remove the cauliflower from the oven once the 25 minutes of bake time is up and pour the hot sauce mixture overtop each floret.
  • Finish baking. Toss carefully until they are all coated and place the baking sheet back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until they have delicious crispy edges.

Expert Tips

  • Get rid of excess batter. Once you’ve tossed the veggies in the batter, allow any excess to drip off before placing them on the baking sheet.
  • It’s easy to make vegan. Just use a vegan or dairy free butter for the wing sauce and serve with vegan ranch dressing.
  • Easier cleanup. I like to bake mine directly on the baking sheet, but you can also use foil or parchment paper lining for easy cleanup.
  • Similar size. It’s important to cut the pieces evenly. Not too small or they’ll burn, and not too big or they’ll be underdone.
  • Extra crispy buffalo cauliflower wings: Broil for 2-3 minutes during final cooking time or sprinkle with bread crumbs before baking.
Buffalo cauliflower on a plate with vegetables and dip.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make these in the air fryer instead?

You can. The only thing is you’ll probably need to work in batches as you’ve got a smaller area to work with and you don’t want to overcrowd the basket.

After the first coating, roast them at 400ºF for 10 minutes, flipping halfway. Then, after saucing them, cook them for another 5-7 minutes.

How do I sauce the florets without making a huge mess on the pan?

Rather than pouring the sauce overtop the florets, use a basting brush to coat each one individually. You could also use a small spoon to drizzle the sauce overtop.

Either way, you want to make sure you’re using the desired amount to achieve maximum Buffalo sauce flavor.

Why is my buffalo cauliflower soggy?

There could be several reasons starting with how well you dried your florets after washing them. Any moisture will only create steam. If you did not allow any excess batter to drip off or if you did not space the cauliflower on the baking sheet, if could also hinder your final results.

Last, it could be that you’ve overcooked them. Bake until tender-crisp, it’s totally fine to check on them along the way!

How to store leftovers?

While these are best served fresh, you can keep leftover buffalo cauliflower stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Reheat in the oven or the air fryer to get a little crispy back or in the microwave for a quick reheat without the crispiness.

Dipping buffalo cauliflower into dip.

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Buffalo cauliflower on a plate with vegetables and a dip.

Buffalo Cauliflower

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This buffalo cauliflower recipe is an irresistible game day appetizer! Bite sized cauliflower pieces are tossed with a spicy, flavorful sauce then baked until caramelized with crisp edges.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Set aside a baking sheet.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in the water until a smooth batter forms. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until coated. Drizzle with olive oil.

  • Pour onto the baking sheet. Cook 15 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 10 minutes.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and butter.

  • Remove cauliflower from the oven and add to the hot sauce mixture. Toss carefully until well coated. Return to the baking sheet. Cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is crispy around the edges.

  • Enjoy warm with ranch dressing, celery, and carrots, if desired.

Variation: For a more roasted cauliflower flavor, toss the cauliflower with 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, and pepper. Drizzle with 2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil. Bake as directed.  Storage: Store leftovers in a covered container up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer or in the oven until warm.  *Please note nutrition label does not include dressing, celery, or carrot sticks. 

Calories: 133kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

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