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These vegan buffalo cauliflower wings are the perfect easy and delicious snack for game day — or anytime, really! Cauliflower florets are dipped in a simple vegan-friendly batter, baked till crispy, then tossed in your favorite spicy buffalo sauce. It’s a super fun way to sneak in some extra veggies and a crowd pleaser for both vegans and omnivores alike.
Serve them with a good vegan ranch or blue cheese dressing (recommendations below) and you have yourself an incredible, crowd-pleasing appetizer. When I first adopted a plant-based diet, I made these buffalo cauliflower wings once a week for almost a full year because yes, they’re that good!
Table of Contents
- Ingredients for Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Tips for the Best Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Let’s Make Buffalo Cauliflower!
- What’s the Best Buffalo Sauce?
- Can You Make This Buffalo Cauliflower Gluten-Free?
- How to Make This Recipe Higher-Protein
- Can You Cook Buffalo Cauliflower Wings in the Air Fryer?
- How to Reheat Leftover Buffalo Cauliflower
Ingredients for Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Cauliflower. Go for a medium or large head of cauliflower for roughly 4-5 cups florets.
- Flour. All-purpose flour, or a gluten-free alternative such as Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Baking Flour. You can even make this with chickpea flour for some extra protein.
- Onion + garlic powder + paprika. My default savory seasoning trifecta.
- Salt and pepper.
- Plant milk. Any kind, as long as it’s plain and unsweetened. You can even use plain water if you’re in a pinch.
- Vegan butter. Optional, but recommended to melt with the buffalo sauce for extra flavor.
- Buffalo sauce. Check the next section for my recommendations for vegan-friendly buffalo sauce.
Tips for the Best Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Line your baking tray. Parchment or a reusable silicone baking sheet are highly recommended for this recipe, otherwise the batter will stick to the baking sheet when we go to flip our buffalo cauliflower wings. If you don’t have anything to line your baking tray, I recommended generously greasing the tray prior to arranging your cauliflower on it.
Evenly space the cauliflower before baking. Arrange the battered cauliflower in one layer on the baking tray, leaving a little space between florets. This ensures that they can crisp evenly on all sides.
Get creative with spices and sauces. Want to branch out from classic buffalo cauliflower wings? Toss your wings in any of your favorite sauces:
- Sweet chili sauce.
- Bang bang sauce (equal parts sriracha + vegan mayonnaise).
- Barbecue sauce.
- Teriyaki glaze.
- Any of your favorite hot sauces.
Let’s Make Buffalo Cauliflower!
- Cut the cauliflower. Remove the leaves at the base and cut the cauliflower into florets. Usually I go with medium-sized florets — I think the cauliflower-to-batter ratio is perfect this way. If you prefer more bite-sized buffalo cauliflower bites, feel free to cut them smaller.
- Prepare the batter. Simply add all the batter ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. It should be just slightly thinner than pancake batter. If you’re using an alternative flour (such as chickpea flour), you may need to adjust the liquid a bit to achieve the right consistency. This recipe is very forgiving so don’t worry if you need to add an extra splash of plant milk.
- Batter the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower florets into the mixing bowl and toss to coat with the batter. I like to use my hands so I can get the batter into the crevices of the cauliflower! Otherwise using a flexible rubber spatula helps so you can scrape the sides of the bowl. It’s okay if the cauliflower isn’t 100% coated, as long as the batter is more or less evenly distributed across all the florets.
- Bake. Arrange the cauliflower in one layer on a lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes, then flip. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the batter is dark golden brown.
- Toss in buffalo sauce. Whisk your buffalo sauce of choice with melted vegan butter in a large mixing bowl. When the cauliflower wings are done baking, add them into the bowl to toss with sauce. Add extra sauce as needed to coat your buffalo cauliflower wings.
- Enjoy your buffalo cauliflower wings! Serve with fresh carrot and celery sticks and a side of delicious vegan ranch dressing or vegan blue cheese dressing!
What’s the Best Buffalo Sauce?
The classic Frank’s Redhot Buffalo Wings Sauce is our go-to for our vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings. It’s affordable and easily accessible. Frank’s offers mild, hot, and Nashville hot options to suit any level of spice tolerance. They even have a Garlic Buffalo Sauce. If you check the ingredients you’ll see it contains butter flavoring, but don’t worry — it’s plant-based.
If you don’t mind spending a little extra for higher-quality ingredients, we are also huge fans of the Noble Made Hot Buffalo Sauce which is also certified gluten-free, paleo, and Whole30 approved. We usually purchase it at Sprouts.
Lastly, we love the Primal Kitchen No Dairy Buffalo Sauce. It’s creamy yet dairy-free, with a medium spice level. It’s a great option if you are avoiding xanthan gum or need something certified keto, paleo, and/or Whole30 approved.
Can You Make This Buffalo Cauliflower Gluten-Free?
This recipe is very forgiving and you can substitute many different types of flour to make them gluten-free. Try it with chickpea flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, oat flour, or a 1:1 gluten-free all purpose flour blend like the one from Bob’s Red Mill.
Just note that each type of flour may absorb a little more or less liquid. You might have to add an extra splash of plant milk to achieve the right consistency. Remember that your batter should resemble a thin pancake batter.
How to Make This Recipe Higher-Protein
I just mentioned chickpea flour as an alternative in order to make these cauliflower wings gluten-free, but it’s also a great substitution if you’re trying to add a bit more protein into your diet.
Chickpea flour has a higher protein content than regular all-purpose flour, so it’s an easy way to get a little extra boost. As written, this recipe provides about 10 grams of protein from the all-purpose flour. If you swap in chickpea flour, it gets boosted to about 16 grams.
Can You Cook Buffalo Cauliflower Wings in the Air Fryer?
Unfortunately it’s usually pretty tricky to air fry anything with a wet batter. It is technically possible if your air fryer basket is large enough that you can lay all the cauliflower out in one layer. Otherwise, if the pieces are stacked on top of each other or touching, they’ll all cook together into one big piece!
You could also maybe use the air fryer if you are making a half batch of the recipe (again, this all depends on the size of your air fryer basket). I haven’t tried this personally, so take it with a grain of salt. If you do try, I recommend spraying the bottom of your air fryer basket with oil so the batter doesn’t stick too much.
If you don’t have an oven available to you or just prefer an air fryer compatible recipe, check out my Crispy Breaded Cauliflower instead. It’s very similar to these Buffalo Cauliflower Wings, but the cauliflower is breaded with panko so the air fryer basket can be shaken to crisp them up evenly. Just toss it in buffalo once it’s done!
How to Reheat Leftover Buffalo Cauliflower
To tell the truth, I’m not sure if we ever have leftover buffalo cauliflower — it’s so addictive we eat it all in one sitting! But I made a point to save some last time so I could test some reheating methods for y’all.
Just pop your leftovers into the oven or air fryer at 350°F for about 10 minutes to heat it back up. It will be a little dryer since the sauce will absorb into the batter. You can always drizzle on a little extra sauce while it’s still hot if you like!
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- baking tray
- parchment or silicone baking sheet
- large mixing bowl
- 1 medium to large head cauliflower (about 4-5 cups florets)
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (see notes for gluten-free)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- black pepper, to preference
- 3/4 cup plain unsweetened plant milk
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
- vegan ranch or blue cheese dressing
- carrot and/or celery sticks
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking tray with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. (If you don't have one, grease the sheet with cooking spray or vegetable oil.)
- Remove the leaves at the base of the cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets.
Batter the cauliflower wings
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, onion and garlic powder, ground paprika, salt, and black pepper).
- Whisk in the plant milk until smooth. The mixture should be slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add in an extra splash of plant milk if needed to achieve the right consistency.
- Add the cauliflower florets into the bowl and toss to coat. It's ok if the cauliflower isn't 100% coated, as long as the batter is evenly distributed across all the florets. (I like to use my hands to really get the batter into the crevices of the cauliflower but this is optional.)
Bake the cauliflower wings
- Arrange the battered cauliflower on your prepared baking tray in one layer. Try to leave space between the florets so that they can evenly crisp on all sides.
- Bake cauliflower wings for 20 minutes in preheated 400°F oven. Flip the cauliflower and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the batter is golden brown.
Sauce your buffalo cauliflower wings
- Combine melted vegan butter and your favorite vegan-friendly buffalo sauce in a large mixing bowl and add the baked cauliflower wings. Toss to coat. Feel free to add more buffalo sauce depending on how spicy you like your wings.
- Enjoy with vegan ranch or vegan blue cheese dressing.