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Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites – A spicy, healthy, vegetarian, delicious alternative to chicken wings, these cauliflower buffalo wings have been pinned over 600K times because they’re that good!

overhead shot of platter of buffalo cauliflower bites with cup of ranch.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I expected to like this buffalo cauliflower, but I didn’t fully expect it to be as good as it was.

I didn’t even think I liked cooked cauliflower, but I really liked this. I ate it, with nothing else, for dinner. They were that good.

Before I cut out most meat, I used to like boneless chicken wings and wanted to find a vegetarian alternative.

These cauliflower buffalo wings don’t taste like chicken, but the spicy buffalo flavor and crispy texture were pretty close to boneless wings.

What is Buffalo Cauliflower?

Buffalo cauliflower is a vegetarian alternative to chicken wings, made out of cauliflower. You get the same spicy flavor without the meat.

Why you’ll love this buffalo cauliflower bites recipe

Healthy option – This baked cauliflower is a great way to get the same flavors as hot wings in a healthier option.

Perfect appetizer – The next time you’re craving spicy buffalo sauce on game day or just with dinner, try this alternative to traditional buffalo wings.

Simple ingredients – You only need seven everyday ingredients that you likely have in your cupboard. Just grab a head of cauliflower.

buffalo cauliflower on a wire rack next to celery sticks.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls – You’ll need a large mixing bowl for the batter and a smaller one for the sauce.
  • Baking Sheets – A large rimmed baking sheet so the cauliflower florets don’t roll off the pan.
  • Whisk – For making the batter & the sauce.
  • Pastry Brush – I feel like silicone pastry brushes are so much easier to clean than traditional brushes.

Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Cauliflower – One head of cauliflower. Now, sizes vary, so you may need to alter your batter to make more if you have a giant head.
  • Flour – I’ve only tested this with all purpose white flour, but a reader said it worked well with almond flour too.
  • Hot Sauce – I use Frank’s Wing Sauce or Frank’s Hot Sauce, but use your favorite in the batter. To make the sauce, I recommend Frank’s Wing Sauce.
  • Garlic Salt – Garlic powder can be used if you’re watching salt content.
  • Dried Onion – Onion powder will also work.
  • Butter – I use melted butter for the sauce but if you a vegan option, melted coconut oil will work as well.
  • Salt
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make buffalo cauliflower.

How to make Buffalo Cauliflower

  1. STEP ONE: First, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, spray with non-stick cooking spray, and set aside. Wash the cauliflower and cut it into bite size pieces, somewhat similar in size. Pat it dry, if necessary.
  2. STEP TWO: Next, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water, hot sauce, garlic salt, and dried onion.
  3. STEP THREE: Then, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter (use tongs to keep your fingers clean!) to fully coat it, let the excess drip off, then lay it onto the baking sheet you prepared. Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F until batter hardens.
collage of 4 photos showing the process of making batter for buffalo cauliflower.
  1. STEP FOUR: While it’s baking, make the sauce by whisking together the wing sauce, melted butter, and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Once the 15 minutes are up, brush the cauliflower with the sauce, making sure you evenly coat each piece, then put them back in the oven for 5-7 minutes to crisp up.

Let cool slightly and then enjoy!

collage of 4 photos showing buffalo sauce being brushed onto baked cauliflower.

What to serve with them

Serve the cauliflower buffalo bites with your favorite dipping sauce like homemade ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing and carrot and celery sticks .

I like to serve them alongside other finger foods like baked green bean fries, potato wedges, and loaded zucchini skins.

Tips & Suggestions

  • Heads of cauliflower vary in size. I’ve seen some HUGE cauliflowers. I would say I used a medium size head for this recipe. Easily double the batter, if necessary.
  • I like to use Frank’s WING sauce and not regular hot sauce. Others have reported success with various other barbecue sauces.

How to store leftovers

We never really have leftovers but if you do, store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

How long will buffalo cauliflower last in the fridge?

Up to 5 days when covered in the fridge.

How to reheat it

For best results, I recommend warming leftovers in the air fryer for 5 minutes to crisp it back up.

overhead shot of buffalo cauliflower with ranch dip.

FAQs

Can you use frozen cauliflower to make buffalo cauliflower?

I have not tried to use frozen cauliflower in this recipe. I have a feeling it might end up mushy. I recommend sticking with fresh cauliflower.

How to make buffalo cauliflower crispy

If you follow the recipe, you’ll see that you bake the cauliflower with the batter on it, then add the sauce and put it back in the oven for 5-7 minutes to crisp it up. I’ve had very good results with this method every time.

Several readers have put them in the broiler for 2-3 minutes for extra crispiness.

Air Fryer Instructions

Prepare the cauliflower and batter as directed.

Spray your air fryer basket with non-stick spray and lay the battered cauliflower florets into a single layer (work in batches, if necessary).

Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes, brush on the sauce, and then bake another 2-5 minutes or until crisp.

Need more cauliflower recipes? Try these:

Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Cauliflower Gnocchi

Loaded Potato & Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Need more spicy buffalo recipes? Try these:

Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wrap

Buffalo Chicken Bread

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Wings

Click here for my entire collection of appetizer recipes.

hand dipping buffalo cauliflower in ranch.

Did You Make This?

If you made this recipe, I’d love to know how it went in the comments section below.

You can also tag me on Instagram – @melissa_ppplates or share a pic in the Persnickety Plates Community Facebook group. I love seeing what you’ve tried!

overhead shot of platter of buffalo cauliflower bites with cup of ranch.
4.67 from 27 votes

Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites – A spicy, healthy, vegetarian, delicious alternative to chicken wings, these cauliflower buffalo wings have been pinned over 600K times because they're that good!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower

For the batter

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 dash Frank's Wing Sauce or Frank’s Original Hot Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt or garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon dried onion or onion powder

For the buffalo sauce

  • ¼ cup Frank’s Wing Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter melted
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and spray with non-stick spray (olive oil spray) and set aside.
  • Wash the head of cauliflower and cut into similar sized pieces. Pat dry, if necessary
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, water, wing sauce, garlic salt, and dried onion. It will be fairly thick.
  • Use tongs to dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter until fully and evenly coated. Let excess batter drip off. Place onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the batter just hardens.
  • While it's baking, In a small bowl, mix together the buffalo sauce ingredients.
  • Once the cauliflower is done baking, remove from the oven and brush with the buffalo sauce. Again, fully and evenly coat each piece.
  • Put back into the oven and bake for a 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has hardened and the cauliflower is crisp.
  • Remove from the oven, let cool, then enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • Heads of cauliflower vary in size. I’ve seen some HUGE cauliflowers. I would say I used a medium size head for this recipe. Make more batter, if necessary.
  • I like to use Frank’s WING sauce and not regular hot sauce. Others have reported success with various other barbecue sauces.
  • Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in oven or air fryer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 298mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published April 11, 2013

buffalo cauliflower on a white plate
cauliflower buffalo wings on white plate with ranch cup
pile of buffalo cauliflower bites on a white plate


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116 Comments

  1. I like the sound of this but I’ve no idea what buffalo sauce is supposed to taste like so it will be touch and go…You mention Frank’s Hot Sauce which of course I can’t get here in Italy. Could I substitute with Tabasco or Worcester?

    1. Hi Josephine! I wouldn’t use Worcestershire. Frank’s has more flavor while Tabasco mostly just adds heat (to me) so I’m really not sure how it would work. I’m sorry I’m not more help but let me know if you try!

  2. Amazing. I mean–utterly amazing. The batter is perfect. The bake time, the ingredients. Nothing needed to be altered. Dipping in blue cheese right now and hoping my husband makes it home in time to try one. Before I eat them all.

  3. Can you make these and reheat them? Would it be worth it? I want to bring them to a work function, but not sure if they will still be good? Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. I’ve never had them last long enough to need reheating 😉 I’ve had others ask but no one has reported back to say how it went. I think they’d still be good room temp or even cold but I haven’t tried it. Sorry I’m not more help.

  4. Are these good reheated in the microwave? I want to bring these into work for a cook off and I am not sure what the best way is to go about it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      This is a common question lately but unfortunately, I don’t have an answer. I’ve never had them last long enough to need reheating =) I think they’d be best fresh out of the oven, but I’ve had them room temp & they were fine. Sorry I’m not more help! If you do try, please let me know.

  5. 4 stars
    I tweeted the recipe slightly. I used an 1/8 cup rice vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. Substituted almond flour for the reg flour. Let the batter mixture sit for 10 mins to thicken. Used original Louisiana Supreme Chicken Wing Sauce from the Dollar Store. (My favorite). One batter recipe was not enough for the one head of cauliflower. I had to make two. Baked for 30 mins at 450. This was not crispy enough for us. Next time we will turn the broil on for a few mins to crisp. Otherwise very good and tasty! Ummm. Will make again.Thanks for the recipe!

  6. My son and I just made these, we both love cauliflower and just about anything buffalo. I a, not sure what we did wrong, but they never got crispy. I tried cooking them longer but they just never crisped up.

  7. I just made these and they are so good! I made a couple of minor changes–used Red’s original sauce, no dried onion, subbed in garlic powder instead of salt, and used 1 tbsp of butter instead of 3 to cut back calories. I only got about half of my large head of cauliflower to fit on the baking sheet with a tiny bit of batter left over. I didn’t use foil or parchment paper so I definitely recommend it as the bottoms got very brown–almost burnt but not quite. My boyfriend can’t wait for me to make it again.

  8. Hi Melissa, I just started following you and love your recipes. Have a question for you about Baked Green Bean Fries. I grow A LOT of green beans and can them, so I was wondering if these could be baked, frozen and then reheated? Ever tried that? I always second guess myself so thought I’d check with you. Thanks

    1. (I’ll put this here, too =) )

      Hi Joann – welcome =) I have never tried it, unfortunately. It’s possible, I’m sure (I think I’ve seen Baked Green Bean Fries in the freezer section), I’m just not sure of technique. I’d love to hear how it works out if you try!

  9. Needed to use a head of cauliflower and immediately thought of this! I didn’t have flour so I used 1/4 cup of corn starch and 1/4 cup of bisquick. We loved this!! Cannot wait to make it again when I pick up some flour. Great recipe too. Quick and easy to follow. Thanks!

  10. My family gave a resounding ‘meh’ to these…were ok, not great. The “breading” tends to stay a bit…not crisp…you can sort of taste the flour. If I were to do this again, I might attempt to bake for the 15 minutes, then somehow turn the cauliflower and bake another 5 or so before putting the sauce on.

  11. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe! Tasted great! For whatever reason, my batter was way too thick so I added extra water. I doubled the amount of time cooking and broiled for extra crisp at the end. After trying another buffalo cauliflower recipe on Pinterest, I was very hesitant to try this out but it was great! Good meatless option too.

  12. 5 stars
    My 14 year old daughter made this last night for dinner. Quite tangy and spicy.. in a good way. Made for a nice side dish along with mild fettuccine Alfredo.

  13. 5 stars
    We have made this recipe a LOT–easy and delicious! I wear disposable gloves when coating the cauliflower. We have eaten them at room temp (not cold) and they still disappear. Thanks for sharing this!

  14. 5 stars
    Best buffalo cauli bites EVER!!! My bites actually look like your photo and taste ahmaaaazing. Looking forward to trying nutritional yeast in the batter next time, for some cheesy flavour. Thanks for this recipe!!!