Baked Buffalo Cauliflower (Air Fryer Option!)

Looking for a healthy and delicious twist on buffalo wings? Make my crunchy and spicy baked buffalo cauliflower in the oven or air fryer! No one at your Super Bowl party will guess that these tasty bites are paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, and gluten-free!

An overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower on a gray rectangular plate with 3 chives on top. The red banner at the bottom says paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free. There is a gold star that says includes Air Fryer Instructions.

I’m not gonna lie—I love game day food way more than watching the big game itself. Although I love chicken wings, I always add some tasty vegetable finger foods to the spread for some balance. These addictive baked buffalo cauliflower are popular with my pals—regardless of whether they’re omnivores or vegetarians.

I’m a huge fan of buffalo wings, so I created these wonderfully spicy-tangy bites made with battered and baked cauliflower for our second cookbook, Ready or Not! (flip to page 100). If you want a kickass Whole30 Buffalo Wings recipe, I’ve got one in there as well—it’s the recipe on the following page.

Whole30-compliant Super Bowl food

Even if you’re doing a Whole30 during the Super Bowl, you can enjoy these buffalo cauliflower “things” because they’re naturally gluten-free and grain-free and sweetened only with apple juice.

Want more Whole30 recipes to add to your game day spread? Here you go!

My tips for crispy baked buffalo cauliflower

In order to get the best results for these nomtastic buffalo cauliflower, keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Make sure you cut the florets into a uniform size—this way, the cauliflower pieces will all cook at the same time.
  • Whip the egg whites until they’re nice and frothy before adding the flour and seasoning.
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter right before you bake them and make sure you shake off any excess coating.
  • Do NOT skip placing the florets on a greased stainless steel wire rack! This simple setup elevates the florets and allows the hot air to circulate around them completely. Also, don’t forget to flip the florets while you’re baking them!
  • Toss with buffalo sauce right before you serve them and eat while hot!

Overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower in a white round platter.

Can you make buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer?

Yes! An air fryer is essentially a countertop convection oven so you can definitely cook these buffalo cauliflower in there—but you might not save time overall. Although you can air-fry the florets in a shorter amount of time, most air fryers have a smaller capacity than a wall oven, so you’ll have to cook in two or more batches. (Air fryer instructions are below and in the printable recipe card!)

What do you serve with buffalo cauliflower?

To balance the spicy and tangy flavors of buffalo cauliflower, you can dip the florets in a creamy and cooling ranch dressing and/or serve them with crunchy carrot and celery sticks. I have a fantastic paleo ranch recipe in my first two cookbooks and you can buy Whole30-compatible ranch dressing online and at the grocery store these days.

Let’s make Baked Buffalo Cauliflower!

Makes 4 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder or tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 large cauliflower head (about 2½ pounds), cut into uniform-sized florets
  • ¼ cup ghee or coconut oil
  • ½ cup cayenne pepper sauce
  • 1½ tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Equipment:

All my favorite kitchen tools are listed here.

Method:

Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode, with the rack in the middle. No convection mode? Heat to 425°F and rotate the tray of cauliflower more frequently during the cooking process.

A finger pressing the convection roast button on an oven display.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.

A whisk is whipping egg whites until frothy and bubbly in a clear glass bowl.

Add the arrowroot powder, garlic powder, and salt. Continue whisking until a smooth, sticky batter forms.

An overhead shot of someone whisking the batter for Nom Nom Paleo's Baked Buffalo Cauliflower

Dump the cauliflower into the batter, toss with your hands to coat well.

Two hands are tossing cauliflower florets in the gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 batter for baked buffalo cauliflower.

Shake off the excess batter. Place the florets in a well-greased wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.

Someone in a gray apron is placing battered cauliflower on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the florets over, and rotate the tray. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy.

A gloved hand is removing a tray of golden brown Baked Buffalo Cauliflower from the oven.

Cooking in an air fryer? Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Add half the battered cauliflower to the basket…

An overhead shot of Buffalo Cauliflower florets in an air fryer basket about to be cooked.

…and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing the florets every 8 minutes, until the florets are crispy and brown. Repeat with the second batch.

An overhead view of Buffalo Cauliflower in an air fryer basket. The florets are golden brown and ready to be sauced.

Time to make the sauce! While the florets are baking or air frying, melt the ghee or coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, apple juice, and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat.

A hand is pouring cayenne pepper sauce from a liquid measuring cup into a small saucepan to make the buffalo cauliflower sauce

When the florets are finished cooking, toss with the sauce.

Tossing crispy cauliflower florets with buffalo sauce in a clear glass bowl.

Serve with celery and carrot sticks and a dairy-free ranch if desired!

An overhead shot of baked buffalo cauliflower on a rectangular gray plate. There are three chives on top.


Baked Buffalo Cauliflower (Air Fryer Option)

Looking for a healthy and delicious twist on buffalo wings? Make my crunchy and spicy baked buffalo cauliflower in the oven or air fryer! No one at your Super Bowl party will guess that these tasty bites are paleo, Whole30, vegetarian, and gluten-free!

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time45 mins

Total Time1 hr

Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Air Fryer, game day food, gluten-free, low carb, nom nom paleo, nomnompaleo, paleo, Whole30

Servings: 4

Calories: 240kcal

Author: Michelle Tam

Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ cup arrowroot powder or tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • 1 large cauliflower (about 2½ pounds), cut into uniform-sized florets
  • ¼ cup ghee or coconut oil
  • ½ cup cayenne pepper sauce
  • tablespoons apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode, with the rack in the middle. No convection mode? Heat to 425°F and rotate the tray of cauliflower more frequently during the cooking process.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy.
  • Add the arrowroot powder, garlic powder, and salt. Continue whisking until a smooth, sticky batter forms.
  • Dump the cauliflower into the batter, toss with your hands to coat well.
  • Shake off the excess batter. Place the florets in a well-greased wire rack placed on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the florets over, and rotate the tray. Continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown and crispy.
  • Cooking in an air fryer? Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Add half the battered cauliflower to the basket and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, tossing the florets every 8 minutes, until the florets are crispy and brown. Repeat with the second batch.
  • Time to make the buffalo sauce! While the florets are baking or air frying, melt the ghee or coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the hot sauce, apple juice, and lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat.
  • When the florets are finished cooking, toss with the sauce.
  • Serve with celery and carrot sticks and a dairy-free ranch if desired!

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g

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