Appetizers

January 10, 2022

Vegan Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower makes a tasty appetizer for game day or any day! This buffalo cauliflower is completely vegan & plant-based, gluten-free, and oil-free. Make it in your air fryer or in your oven!

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Close Up

Cauliflower is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. (Behind carrots, of course.)

Cover it in some buffalo sauce and crisp it up in the air fryer, and WOW what a delicious dish.

The cauliflower itself doesn't have a ton of flavor, so you just get a bunch of buffalo sauce goodness. It's crispy and creamy and spicy and so tasty!

This recipe is perfect to make and serve as an appetizer for game day (if you're into that). Or, ya know, just because you love cauliflower. If you have an air fryer, you'll get extra delicious and crispy bites. But if not, you can still make this dish.

Let's make it!

Why I love this Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

  • Dietary needs — vegan buffalo cauliflower is plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and sugar-free
  • Made in the Air Fryer or the Oven — this buffalo cauliflower is super tasty when made in the air fryer! No air fryer? No problem. I've included oven instructions too (and it takes just as good!)
  • Healthy appetizer — I mean, it's cauliflower! And the homemade buffalo sauce is made from whole food ingredients you can feel good about eating
  • Great for non-vegans — everyone loves buffalo sauce! And while this cauliflower doesn't taste like chicken, I promise even non-vegans will love the incredible flavor

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower with celery dipped in ranch

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Cauliflower: this recipe is meant for larger heads of cauliflower. If you can only get your hands on some smaller ones, use a third head.
  • Cashews: cashews create thickness and fat (which = flavor) for the sauce. We'll blend them into a sauce. If you don't have raw cashews or don't have a blender/food processor you can sub 1/3 cup of a neutral-tasting nut butter
  • Sriracha: these buffalo cauliflower wings are spicy! (Which is why they are best paired with ranch dip.) For less spice, reduce the amount of sriracha. Or for no spice, omit the sriracha altogether.
  • Vegan BBQ Sauce: most barbecue sauces are naturally vegan. If you can, try to find one that doesn't have any added sugar.
  • Vegan Yogurt: Most grocery stores have a vegetarian section near the refrigerated dairy products. You should find vegan yogurt in that vegetarian section or on some shelves near the dairy products. Like with the BBQ sauce, look for an unsweetened yogurt with few or no added preservatives.
  • White Vinegar: any light vinegar will do - apple cider vinegar is a good sub
  • Liquid Aminos: you can also use tamari, which is gluten-free, or soy sauce, which is not gluten-free
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt

Vegan Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Ingredients

How do you make Buffalo Cauliflower in an Air Fryer?

Step 1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F

Step 2. Soak the cashews in boiling water. If you are using the nut butter substitution, skip this step. See instructions below for how to make this recipe without a blender.

Step 3. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Step 4. Drain the cashews, then add them to a blender or food processor along with the sriracha, BBQ sauce, yogurt, vinegar, liquid aminos, mustard, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

If the sauce is too spicy, add more yogurt until you reach your desired spice level. You can also plan to serve the dish with a non-spicy dipping sauce like ranch to help reduce the spiciness.

Step 5. Transfer the buffalo sauce to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to coat.

Step 6. Place in the basket of your air fryer and cook for 12-14 minutes. Depending on the exact model of your air fryer, the time may vary. Keep an eye on the cauliflower to avoid burning.

Step 7. Serve with your favorite dip (like vegan ranch) and enjoy!

Buffalo Sauce on Cauliflower

How long to cook Buffalo Cauliflower in your Air Fryer

In this recipe you'll cook your buffalo cauliflower for 12-14 minutes in the air fryer.

Depending on the exact model of your air fryer, the time may vary. It's a good idea to check the cauliflower halfway through, check for burning, and give it a toss to ensure even cooking. Keep an eye on the cauliflower throughout the cook time to avoid burning.

For your reference, I used my Nuwave Brio 14 Quart Air Fryer. I know that this air fryer cooks food on the top slightly faster than the food on the bottom, so I gave the cauliflower a stir halfway through cooking. It came out perfectly after about 12 minutes.

How to cook this Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower in your Oven

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. You could also use parchment paper, but I prefer aluminum foil for a recipe like this, to avoid lots of cleanup.

When you cook without oil, things tend to stick a little more than they otherwise would. Aluminum foil is our best defense! And the cauliflower comes right off of the foil :)

Steps 2-5 are the same as above:

Step 2. Soak the cashews in boiling water. If you are using the nut butter substitution, skip this step. See instructions below for how to make this recipe without a blender.

Step 3. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Step 4. Drain the cashews, then add them to a blender or food processor along with the sriracha, BBQ sauce, yogurt, vinegar, liquid aminos, mustard, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

If the sauce is too spicy, add more yogurt until you reach your desired spice level. You can also plan to serve the dish with a non-spicy dipping sauce like ranch to help reduce the spiciness.

Step 5. Transfer the buffalo sauce to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to coat.

Oven cook time differs slightly from the air fryer:

Step 6. Place the cauliflower on the lined baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes.

Step 7. Serve with your favorite dip (like vegan ranch) and enjoy!

How do I make this buffalo cauliflower without a blender?

No blender? No problem!

I used cashews in this recipe to add some creaminess and flavor, but there's a simple swap you can make if you don't have a blender or food processor.

Instead of using whole cashews, use a nut butter instead. You can use cashew butter, almond butter, or another neutral-tasting nut butter. (Avoid peanut butter unless you want a strong peanut taste.)

When you get to step 4 of blending the sauce, simply place all the sauce ingredients, including the nut butter, in a medium bowl and mix by hand. For a super smooth sauce, use a whisk. But a fork or spoon would be fine too. Just make sure all the ingredients are evenly mixed.

Vegan Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Serving Suggestions

You simply must serve this Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower with my Easy Plant-Based Ranch Dip! It's just a few simple ingredients and you can make it in 5 minutes.

For a party, pair this buffalo cauliflower with other tasty appetizers like vegan crostini, vegan queso and spicy guacamole.

Or, choose from my selection (read: billions) of hummus recipes for a variety of fun dipping sauces:

Recipe Prayer

Thank you God for this delicious and healthy dish. Help us to honor You with our bodies. Amen.

Vegan Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower dipped in ranch

Related Recipes

Want more air fryer friendly recipes? Try these next:

Tried this recipe?

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**This post contains affiliate links. For more information see my disclosure here.

Vegan Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower makes a tasty appetizer for game day or any day! Ready in 30 minutes, this buffalo cauliflower is completely vegan & plant-based, gluten-free, and oil-free. Make it in your air fryer or in your oven!

Author:

Elizabeth

Serves:

8

Prep:

15

min

cook:

15

min

total:

30

min

Ingredients

  • 2 Large Heads Cauliflower
  • 2/3 Cup Cashews (sub 1/3 Cup nut butter)
  • 1/4 Cup Sriracha (for less spice, reduce to 2 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4 Cup Vegan BBQ Sauce
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Vegan Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F or oven to 450°F. If using the oven, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Soak the cashews in boiling water. (If using the nut butter substitution, skip this step. See post instructions for making this recipe without a blender.)
  3. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Drain the cashews, then add them to a blender or food processor along with the sriracha, BBQ sauce, yogurt, vinegar, liquid aminos, mustard, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  5. Transfer the buffalo sauce to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to coat.
  6. Place the cauliflower in the basket of your air fryer or on the lined baking sheet. Cook in the air fryer for 12-14 minutes or oven for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Serve with your favorite dip (like vegan ranch) and enjoy!
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October 8, 2022
Noam
Just made a half batch of these and they came out really good! I learned I don’t know how to work with melted chocolate yet haha but I got it done!
Hi Noam - Glad you liked these bars! And I feel ya on the chocolate - somehow it is always a messy process. Thanks so much for sharing!
September 5, 2022
Sara
I get most of my recipes from youtube. I would love to see you on there. I didn't see a link for a youtube channel, just wanted to ask to be sure. God bless hon and thanks for this tasty recipe.
Hi Sara - thanks so much for your kind words. I am starting to post more on YouTube (I currently only have a few videos posted) but here's the link to my channel if you'd like to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl2QgTWxlePeiezIu6l_BUg -Elizabeth
August 17, 2022
Katherine
THIS LOOKS DELICIOUS! DID YOU USE FIRE-ROASTED TOMATOES?
Hi Katherine - yes, I did use fire-roasted tomatoes when I photographed this recipe. I don't call for fire roasted in the recipe because it's intended to be a basic, use-in-anything type recipe. But it does taste delicious with the fire roasted tomatoes! -- Elizabeth
August 15, 2022
Cat Lewis
Hello - Is there a way to PIN this recipe? Thanks.
Hi Cat - yes, I just fixed an error on the site. You should be able to see a button above the very first image on the page that will allow you to pin the recipe. Let me know if you're still having trouble.
August 12, 2022
Allison Macfarlane
As someone who has pretty much never successfully scrambled tofu - this was the best scrambled breakfast dish I've ever had - better than eggs and the seasoning is truly delicious!!
Oh, amazing! So glad to hear it went well :) This is definitely one of my favorites - thanks for sharing your kind words! -- Elizabeth
August 4, 2022
Mary Merkelhess
The pesto is lovely! So happy to avoid the cheese and oil.
Hi Mary - So glad you like the pesto! I'm also happy to avoid the cheese and oil :) Thanks so much for your kind words!
July 21, 2022
Debra
I enjoy reading through your recipes and will be trying a few later in the week. I especially like the prayers at the end of each recipe. It reminds me to be grateful God provides me with so many beautiful and nourishing fruits and veggies.
Hi Debra - thank you so much for your kind words! I can't wait to hear how it goes when you try some of the recipes :)
June 22, 2022
Vickie
I really enjoyed this recipe. Fits PERFECTLY in my allergy to foods world. I used Ripple milk and no sugar added SunButter. Was truly surprised at how quickly the recipe came together! Thank you!
Hi Vickie - I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe and that it works with your allergies. Thanks so much for leaving a comment with your kind words!
June 21, 2022
Linda Casados
It's close to my bedtime, but I've been thinking about making this recipe all day, so I made it just now. After all, it only takes 15 minutes! I used what I had, so I made a few minor substitutions...white beans for cannellini, purple basil from my garden, red onion for more color, and date syrup for maple. I took a bite before putting it in the fridge for tomorrow, and oh my! It's delightfully flavorful, light, and fresh-tasting. Thanks for sharing your recipe!
Hi Linda - I'm so glad you liked the recipe - and your substitutions sound great (wish I was growing purple basil in my garden!) Thanks so much for sharing!
June 18, 2022
Carol
Hi, is this ice cream soft to scoop out? I always find my ice creams are hard.
Hi Carol - yes, this ice cream is soft if you let it thaw a few minutes after you take it out from the freezer. It can become pretty solid if it's in a deep freezer, but still thaws quickly on the counter. Hope this helps!
June 18, 2022
Sonia Hope St Claire
thank you for the recipe.
June 13, 2022
Alexandra
I made this pie for my friend who recently discovered she has severe allergies to egg whites, gluten, and dairy. Her favorite pie is sweet potato pie :) She loved it and so did I!
Hi Alexandra - so great to hear from you!! I'm so happy you tried this pie and I'm glad you enjoyed it! It is seriously one of my favorite recipes :) -- Elizabeth
June 7, 2022
Harriett Whited
Love it!!! Wonderful!
Thanks for your feedback! Glad you love this recipe :)
June 7, 2022
Katherine
Hi Elizabeth! I found you by searching for plant based Catholics! There are very few of us! Thank you for your site and sharing recipes!! I look forward to trying these muffins! Can sugar be reduced safely in most of your recipes? -JMJ-
Hi Katherine, Thanks so much for reaching out! Glad to meet another plant-based Catholic - agree, there are so few of us. As for sugar, I never use white granulated sugar in any of my recipes. Most use maple syrup or date sugar/date syrup. I'm not sure if this is what you mean, or if you're asking about reducing the amount of date sugar that the recipe calls for. If that's the case, it really depends on the recipe. A lot of the baking recipes have specific ratios of flour to sugar and wet to dry, so it may not go well if you change the amount of sugar. I hope this helps, but if I didn't answer your question, please let me know. Also happy to advise on a particular recipe if you're looking to change it. Let me know how I can help :) Elizabeth
June 2, 2022
Sharon
Love this vegan lentil/mushroom stew! For some odd reason, I had never thought to put mushrooms into my lentil stew. Thank you for a wonderful addition to my recipe box!
Hi Sharon - I'm so glad you are enjoying this recipe (mushrooms are so good!!). Thank you for taking the time to share :) Elizabeth
May 23, 2022
Geraldine
Hello, I found you on FB and really enjoy your Catholic Plant Based GF information & recipes. About the Chickpea beet burgers: if the beans are dried and not cooked, do you think it is enough cooking for the beans? If beans are not cooked completely I have read they are toxic with phytic acid & also cause digestive problems. I am just wondering and will leave it to you to decide/research. To be safe I am toasting canned garbanzos and trying that way out. God Bless
Hi Geraldine, Thanks so much for reaching out. In the beet burgers, the beans do get cooked when the burgers are cooked. You soak them first and then incorporate the beans into the burger patty, then cook the patty. I find that this is the best way to achieve the proper burger texture - if you use pre-cooked beans or canned beans the burgers are mushy and don't get crisp. Your solution of toasting the beans sounds like a great idea to completely ensure the beans are cooked fully - I hope that it worked for you and your burgers turned out well! -- Elizabeth
May 18, 2022
viki avgen (i am israel)
hi,thank you for the recepie of the banana.Iam diebetik and i would love any recepies without sugar. thank you
Hi Viki - thanks so much for your kind words! Several of my other dessert recipes are only sweetened with fruit - you can find them on my Desserts page. If you have any specific requests, please let me know! -- Elizabeth
April 28, 2022
Jean Mastin
Elizabeth: Thank you so much for making my meal times wonderful again. I am 86 yrs plus, and was finding eating dull and dreary. Now it is " scrum delicious time to eat". . Blessings de Jean
Hi Jean - Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you are enjoying my recipes. Please let me know if you ever have recipe requests or if there's anything else I can do to keep your meals delicious!
April 9, 2022
Katie
Can you leave nutritional info for your recipes? Serving size/calories would be so helpful! Trying mushroom lentil stew tonight! and looking forward to crispy chickpea stuffed sweet potatoes very soon. Thanks for creating healthy, attractive recipes!
Hi Katie - so excited to hear that you are trying some of my recipes! I'd love to hear how they go. I haven't posted nutritional information for my recipes because I know it can be difficult for some people with disordered eating to see nutrition facts. I've gotten a lot of requests to add them recently, so I'm working on a solution that can provide information for those who want it but not be triggering for others. In the meantime, if you're curious about the nutrient info about a particular recipe, I recommend using Cronometer. It's a website/app to track and understand nutrient info and I think it does a great job of emphasizing all the nutrients (not just macros). I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can help in any other way.
April 9, 2022
Vickey
U mentioned date sugar on this recipe but it’s not in the instructions. I know u add it but just in case u wanna add to instructions. Love ur recipes! Thank u. I’m thinking of going to vegan a little nervous tho lol
Hi Vickey - thanks so much for catching that! I am updating the post now. So happy to hear you enjoy my recipes. And exciting that you are thinking about going vegan!! If there's anything that I can do to help, please let me know.
March 28, 2022
Sr Maureen Egan
I'd love to try this soup. What are the nutritional values, like how much fat does it contain, carbs, etc.
Hi Sr Maureen - I usually don't post macronutrient information because I know each person has their own goals and I don't want to encourage or discourage anyone's specific goals. But I often use Cronometer as a tool to understand the nutritional profile of my recipes. I plugged the ingredient information for this recipe into Cronometer and got the following nutrient information per serving: 521 calories, 44g fat, 23g carbs, 16g protein. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions and if you try the recipe!
March 26, 2022
Margareta Ahle
This curry is absolutely delicious.
Thank you so much! It's one of my favorites :)
March 23, 2022
Martha maloney
Thank you I have been doing the fruit and oatmeal, etc for years and I love it. I will try the pears. I refrigerate my left over oatmeal and with a touch of milk or fruit juice liquid it’s fine the next day. Just a warning about tofu; it interferes with some medicines especially Thyroid medicine. Thank you for the short prayers, there are lovely.
Hi Martha - thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you like the prayers! As someone who doesn't take any medications I have no issues with eating tofu and encouraging others to eat it too (it's a great source of protein!). That said, you should always consult with your doctor about possible interactions with medications. I have plenty of recipes without tofu, so hopefully you can find things that work for you!
March 3, 2022
Susan Cunningham
I made this for Ash Wednesday and it was delicious. It was also simple and not much work time once the mushrooms and onions were cut.
Hi Susan - I'm so glad you liked it!
March 1, 2022
Jade
When you say shape into a rectangular loaf, what dimensions? 1/2 thick by 8 inches long or?
My loaf was about 7" long and 4" wide with about 1" of height. Then I sliced it 1/2" thick along the long end to get 12ish biscotti. I will clarify this in the post! Let me know if this makes sense and if you have any other questions.
January 16, 2022
Tracy Henry
Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious Elizabeth. You got this one just right!
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
January 16, 2022
L Collins
Hi Could you please confirm two things:1. The amount of salt. Seems like too much. 2. The directions say there is lemon juice in the dressing but it’s not listed under ingredients. ThanksL.
Hi there! Confirming that the two teaspoons of salt in the dressing is correct. I didn't salt the cauliflower when roasting it or the salad after it was done, so this amount of salt was perfect. If you're concerned about it you can decrease the amount of salt in the dressing and then add more at the end if you need it. As for the lemon juice, SO sorry about that! It was a typo in my directions and I've removed it now. Hope this helps :)
December 20, 2021
Martha
This looks lovely! Do you have a recipe for the red pepper hummus also? Thank you!
Hi Martha! I don't have a recipe for red pepper hummus on my site. I suggest taking a traditional hummus recipe and blending in roasted red pepper.
November 22, 2021
Amanda J Lehmann
I tried these and they were delicious! A bit dense but flavorful and the "buckeye" blend of peanut and chocolate was on point! Recommend!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked them! -- Elizabeth
December 6, 2021
Grace
Hi, these look amazing. I was wondering, could I used powdered peanut butter in place of creamy for the recipe? thanks
Hi Grace! There is already some powdered peanut butter in this recipe, so adding more might make the texture more gluey. Also, the real peanut butter adds some fat, which helps create flavor. That said, if you want to use powdered peanut butter, I would suggest mixing it with a high-fat liquid like coconut cream and then measuring out 2/3 cup. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes :) -- Elizabeth
November 15, 2021
Becky
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking. -- Elizabeth
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography