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These 6-ingredient vegan cauliflower buffalo wings (baked OR air fried) are tender in the middle, crispy outside, and loaded with tangy, spicy, rich buffalo flavor—perfect for game days, parties, potlucks, and an appetizer even meat eaters will enjoy!

completed Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings [Baked + Air Fried] scattered on a white surface

Why You’ll Love This Cauliflower Buffalo Wings Recipe

  • They’re an irresistible, crowd-pleasing appetizer, snack, or side! I mean, who doesn’t love buffalo wings?! Even meat eaters will enjoy them! You’ll have empty plates all around.
  • They’re diet-friendly! Now everyone can enjoy them as they’re 100% vegan and optionally gluten-free, paleo, keto, etc.
  • These crispy buffalo cauliflower wings are far healthier than traditional wings — Cauliflower is low carb, low calorie, and low fat. Plus, this recipe ditches the deep-fat fryer for the oven or air fryer instead! The resulting vegan hot wings are comforting and filling but won’t weigh you down.
  • Super simple to prepare — Minimal prep work, just 6 ingredients, simple steps, it’s hard to go wrong.
  • They’re super versatile — You can enjoy cauliflower hot wings alone or as part of a larger meal. I.e., over pasta, pizza, in wraps, and more. There’s no lack of ways to enjoy these vegan buffalo wings.

The Ingredients and Substitutes

Just 5 inexpensive, pantry-friendly ingredients (plus salt) make up this flavor-packed vegan buffalo cauliflower wings recipe.

ingredients for Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings [Baked + Air Fried] measured out against a white surface
  • Cauliflower: Use one medium head of cauliflower (or pre-chopped cauliflower florets to save time).
  • Hot sauce: We particularly like Franks or Crystal hot sauce (not buffalo sauce), but use your favorite vinegar-based hot sauce based on your desired flavor and heat preference.
  • Vegan butter: We love to use Earth Balance or Miyoko’s. Refined coconut oil may also work as it has a similar mouthfeel, though you’ll miss out on the ‘buttery’ flavor.
  • Flour: You can use either regular all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or even an all-purpose gluten-free flour (like King Arthurs) if you want to make gluten-free buffalo cauliflower. Almond flour (which is gluten-free, paleo, and keto) may also work.
  • Water: To combine with the flour for the batter. Plant-based milk also works.
  • Seasonings: We kept things very simple for this easy buffalo cauliflower, with a combination of:
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder (optional)
    • Salt

The Add-ins and Variations:

Here are some of our favorite options if you want to add more flavor to the buffalo sauce or the overall vegan cauliflower wings.

  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce: (Like ‘Annie’s’ brand) Add a splash or two to the vegan buffalo sauce for a subtle but delicious tangy depth.
  • Maple syrup: To add subtle sweetness to the buffalo glaze, add a drizzle of maple syrup or agave, to taste. This caramelizes for extra browning.
  • Smoked paprika: To add smokiness to the buffalo sauce or batter.
  • Cayenne pepper: For even hotter hot sauce, add cayenne pepper to taste.
  • Scallions/chives/parsley: To garnish the buffalo roasted cauliflower wings. 

How To Make Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

Keep scrolling to the recipe card for the complete list of ingredients and recipe instructions.

  • 1) First, preheat the oven to 450F/230C, line a baking tray with parchment paper, and separate the cauliflower into even-sized cauliflower wings or bite-sized cauliflower ‘bites.’
  • 2) In a wide bowl, combine the flour, water, and seasonings and mix well to create a batter, then toss the cauliflower pieces into it, ensuring they’re well coated on all sides.

Depending on the size of your head of cauliflower, you may need to make extra batter.

  • 3) Transfer the battered cauliflower to the prepared baking tray and bake for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the vegan buffalo sauce by mixing the hot sauce and melted vegan butter.
  • 4) Toss the par-baked vegan wings into the hot sauce and then continue to bake them on the pan for 8 minutes.
  • 5) Then repeat the step of tossing them in the buffalo sauce, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated before transferring them back to the oven for 25-30 minutes (or between 15-20 minutes for spicy cauliflower bites) or until they’re tender in the middle and crispy on the outside.

If there isn’t enough buffalo sauce, make a little more. Don’t worry if you accidentally make too much; you can pour it over the baked crispy cauliflower wings or use it for other recipes, like buffalo tofu.

  • 6) Finally, remove the cauliflower buffalo wings from the oven and allow them to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Follow steps one and two above, then lightly spray your air fryer basket and transfer the battered cauliflower florets to the basket in a single layer, not touching (cook in batches if necessary).

Air fry the cauliflower wings for between 11-12 minutes at 375F/190C until lightly crisp outside. Then toss the wings into the hot sauce and place them back in the air fryer for 4-6 minutes until crisp.   

For small air-fried buffalo cauliflower bites, the air-frying time will reduce to around 12 minutes in total.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • Tweak the spice level: For milder buffalo sauce, add more vegan butter. For a hotter sauce, reduce the vegan butter and/or add cayenne pepper.
  • To make small buffalo cauliflower bites vs. wings: Change the size of the cauliflower florets and decrease the cooking time (as written in the recipe).
  • Batter and sauce amounts vary: Based on the exact size of the cauliflower head, you may need to make a little more.
  • Don’t crowd the baking tray/air fryer: The hot air needs to circulate the vegan buffalo cauliflower wings to make them crispy.
  • Save the cauliflower ‘scraps’: You can use them to make homemade vegetable stock.
  • For extra crispy cauliflower buffalo wings: Turn on the broiler at the end of the baking process.

FAQs

Can you freeze battered cauliflower?

Rather than freezing the raw batter cauliflower wings, we recommend par-cooking them up to the point you would add buffalo sauce. Instead, leave them to cool and flash-freeze them on a baking tray. You can then store them in the freezer for 3-4 months and cook them from frozen (they may not be as crispy).

How to make keto buffalo cauliflower?

Use almond flour instead of regular flour and a keto-friendly vegan butter, like Miyoko’s, or coconut oil.

Why are my cauliflower wings not crispy?

If you overcrowd them on the tray or in the air fryer basket, the ingredients will steam rather than crisp up, leaving them soggy. Undercooking them could also be the cause.

Can I omit the batter?

You can make buffalo cauliflower bites without the batter, though they won’t be as crispy. The cooking times should be pretty similar, though. Just toss the cauliflower in the buffalo sauce (add the extra seasonings to the sauce) and bake/air fry until tender in the middle and slightly browned, flipping over halfway.

What To Serve With Buffalo Cauliflower?

Whether you’re enjoying these baked or air-fried buffalo cauliflower wings as a delicious game day snack, appetizer, or even part of a main, here are some of our favorite dish pairings:

However, you can also use the buffalo cauliflower bites/wings within other dishes, for example:

Storage Instructions

You can prepare some aspects of this buffalo cauliflower recipe ahead, cutting the cauliflower into florets and preparing the batter and hot sauce up to 2 days in advance and storing them separately in the fridge. Bring everything back to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.

While the vegan buffalo cauliflower wings taste best fresh from the oven/air fryer, you can store any cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

To reheat them, either place them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes or in the air fryer for just a few minutes until they are warm and slightly crispy again (it won’t be as crispy as initially, but still okay).

More Vegan Cauliflower Recipes

Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings [Baked + Air Fried]

5 from 51 votes
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 55 mins
Servings: 3 servings
These 6-ingredient vegan cauliflower buffalo wings (baked OR air fried) are tender in the middle, crispy outside, and loaded with tangy, spicy, rich buffalo flavor—perfect for game days, parties, potlucks, and an appetizer even meat eaters will enjoy!

Ingredients 

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour (can sub whole wheat or gluten-free flour)
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder (optional)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vegan butter
  • ½ cup of hot sauce (or more for extra spice)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Meanwhile chop the cauliflower into 'wing' sizes, or bite-sized pieces. Mix together the flour, water, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in a bowl. Toss the cauliflower pieces with this flour mixture, making sure to coat the pieces well. Add extra flour or water if necessary.
  • Place the cauliflower on a prepared pan and cook for 8 minutes. Prepare the hot sauce coating by mixing the vegan butter/oil and hot sauce in a bowl. Toss the cauliflower and continue cooking on the pan for 8 more minutes.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and place into the hot sauce bowl. Coat each piece throughout (adding more hot sauce if desired) and cook again for 25 to 30 minutes in the oven, or until crispy.
  • Remove the cauliflower from the oven and let it cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Tweak the spice level: For milder buffalo sauce, add more vegan butter. For a hotter sauce, reduce the vegan butter and/or add cayenne pepper.
  • To make small buffalo cauliflower bites vs. wings: Change the size of the cauliflower florets and decrease the cooking time (as written in the recipe).
  • Batter and sauce amounts vary: Based on the exact size of the cauliflower head, you may need to make a little more.
  • Don’t crowd the baking tray/air fryer: The hot air needs to circulate the vegan buffalo cauliflower wings to make them crispy.

Nutrition

Calories: 145kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gSodium: 1258mgPotassium: 669mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 122mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 2mg

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

Additional Info

Author: Shannon
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Method: Stovetop
Diet: Vegan
Keywords: appetizer, buffalo cauliflower wings, cauli wings, cauliflwoer wings, game day, hot recipes, hot sauce, hot wings, plant based wings, spicy cauliflower, vegan appetizer, Vegan Buffalo Wings, vegan ranch dip, vegan wings, Vegetarian Buffalo Wings
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedOnABudget! 🙂

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Even though I usually stay clear of cauliflower, this recipe is a must-make and I even forget that I’m eating cauliflower. SOO good!

  2. 5 stars
    I love how easy and delicious this recipe is.
    I made this, and my husband loves it so much.
    Now, he is asking me to make this for dinner.