Baked Buffalo Cauliflower takes all your favorite things about buffalo chicken wings – the crispy exterior, soft interior, and tangy, spicy buffalo taste – and turns them into a healthier option you don’t have to feel guilty about eating. Super easy and so good!
I was never a buffalo chicken fan until met my husband. I sort of stuck my nose up at the thought, and when he made me try them for the first time I was hooked. The only thing I don’t like about them? The fact that they’re not exactly the healthiest for you. I’ve made various lighter versions of buffalo chicken, but today’s Buffalo Cauliflower really takes the cake!
This has all of my favorite aspects of a buffalo chicken wing – the tangy, spicy buffalo sauce and the ultra-crispy exterior — but transforms it into vegetable form.
Buffalo cauliflower is a great way to get your veggies in while still feeling like you’re indulging. And if you serve buffalo cauliflower with carrots and celery, well now you’ve really upped your veggie game.
Ingredients in Buffalo Cauliflower
- Cauliflower. Of course, buffalo cauliflower starts with cauliflower. You can either buy a whole head of cauliflower and break it up yourself, or buy pre-packaged cauliflower florets. A 12-ounce package should do.
- Flour. To mimic the crispy exterior of buffalo chicken wings, you want to coat the cauliflower in a batter of sorts. You could go about it a few different ways, but I like to dredge the cauliflower in a wet batter that’s flour-based and then coat the cauliflower in breadcrumbs.
- Spices. I used the same spice blend I use with my classic buffalo chicken wings. It’s a combination of paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and onion powder.
- Milk. This is part of the wet base of the batter. Use any kind of milk you have on hand.
- Water. The second part of the wet base. I find using all milk can be a bit heavy, so water is used to thin it out a little.
- Panko breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are essential to achieving a super crispy exterior. They’re light, airy, and irresistibly crispy,
- Hot sauce. Frank’s hot sauce is something I never stray from. It has the perfect balance of tangy, salty, and spicy. It’s perfect.
- Lemon juice. Lemon juice adds a little bit of acid and citrusy flavor I love. Don’t leave it out!
- Butter. A little bit of butter goes a long way in achieving a velvety sauce.
How to make Buffalo Cauliflower
Making buffalo cauliflower takes a few steps, but they’re all very quick and easy. Here’s how it goes:
- Make the batter. Add the flour and spices to a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in milk and water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Dredge the cauliflower. Working in batches use tongs to coat the cauliflower in the batter. Use a slotted spoon to drain any excess batter from the cauliflower. Transfer the cauliflower to a large zip lock bag filled with the panko breadcrumbs.
- Coat the cauliflower in breadcrumbs. After adding the cauliflower to the ziplock bag, close it and shake until the florets are evenly coated. Use the tongs to transfer the cauliflower to a large baking sheet. Repeat the previous steps until all cauliflower are coated.
- Bake. Place in the oven and bake at 425-degrees until the buffalo cauliflower is golden brown and crispy, about 25-30 minutes.
- Toss in sauce. While the buffalo cauliflower bake, make the sauce. Use the same bowl (washed) used to toss the cauliflower in to make the sauce. Add hot sauce, butter, and lemon juice to the bowl. Place in the microwave for 30-second increments until butter is melted. Whisk and set aside.
- Once the cauliflower is crispy, add to the bowl with the sauce. Gently toss the cauliflower in sauce and transfer to a platter. Serve with your favorite crudités and dips.
Can I make Buffalo Cauliflower in advance?
Unfortunately no. Buffalo cauliflower is best served right away.The crispy exterior will lose it’s crunch if you make it too far in advance. You can, however, prep the batter and sauce before to make the process super quick and easy,.
Do I need to use panko breadcrumbs?
Yes! Panko is what make this baked buffalo cauliflower so crispy!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Our favorite hot sauce is Frank’s, but use whatever your favorite is.
- Be sure to line your baking sheet with foil so the buffalo cauliflower gets nice and crispy.
- If the buffalo cauliflower gets too brown, flip halfway through cooking
What to serve with Buffalo Cauliflower
- This Cilantro Ranch would be the perfect dipping sauce!
- These Bacon Ranch Pinwheels would be the perfect finger food to add in to the mix
- Complete the meal with these cheesy mozzarella sticks!
Buffalo Cauliflower takes all your favorite things about buffalo chicken wings - the crispy exterior, soft interior, and tangy, spicy buffalo taste - and turns them into a healthier option you don't have to feel guilty about eating. Super easy and so good!
- 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil.
Whisk flour and spices together in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in water and milk. Add panko breadcrumbs to a large zip lock baggie.
Working in batches, toss the cauliflower with the batter. Don't overcrowd. I did this in about four bathes. Use a slotted spoon to let all the excess batter drip off. Transfer to the baggie with the panko. Seal and shake until cauliflower are coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
Bake in the oven until crispy and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
While the cauliflower cooks, add the hot sauce, lemon juice, and butter to a medium bowl. ( I use the same bowl from earlier, just washed out.) Microwave in 30-second increments until the butter is melted. Whisk to combine.
When the cauliflower is brown and crispy, transfer to the sauce. Toss until coated. Serve immediately.