Get your snack on with these spicy buffalo cauliflower wings - coated, breaded and baked, these cauliflower wings are then dipped in spicy homemade buffalo sauce. Served with vegan ranch dressing for an incredible plant-based snack.
Last year I started experimenting with cauliflower as a chicken substitute.
I first made this Sticky Sesame Cauliflower, which quickly became a fan favorite, so I followed it up with my Chinese-Style Orange Cauliflower recipe.
Well, friends, it's been nearly nine months since my last crispy cauliflower recipe, and with the super bowl just around the corner, I thought I'd give you something to get excited about.
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings!
These crispy buffalo cauliflower wings are coated in cumin and paprika-spiced breading, baked nice and crispy, and slathered with homemade spicy Buffalo Sauce. I serve them with my homemade ranch dressing for the most incredible appetizer.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
I think you’re going to like this one as much as the other cauliflower wings recipes. Sweet, tangy, super saucy, melt-in-your-mouth cauliflower wings with a crispy battered outside for a healthier take on the classic Chinese dish, Sticky Sesame Chicken.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cauliflower – Crispy cauliflower has now been buzzing around for a handful of years as a popular vegan alternative to chicken. Not only does the cauliflower provide a healthy, whole food option, it also absorbs any flavor you give it. Beyond that, the texture is out of this world. With crispy battered skin and a melt-in-your-mouth buttery inside, crispy cauliflower is a game-changer.
- Chickpea Flour – This is used as an egg replacer, binding the breading to the cauliflower. While I do recommend trying this recipe with chickpea flour, I have had some readers have luck with using regular all-purpose flour.
- All-Purpose Flour – Use 1:1 gluten-free flour blend for a gluten-free alternative.
- Spices – You will need garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and ground pepper
- Oil – Any high heat oil will do. I recommend either coconut oil or avocado oil.
- Buffalo Sauce - You will need a combination of hot sauce, I recommend Frank’s Red Hot, vegan butter, white vinegar, and vegan Worcestershire sauce (<<affiliate links). If you can't find vegan Worcestershire, you. can omit it.
- Maple Syrup – This is the sweetener of the recipe. Brown sugar or coconut sugar would also do.
- Rice Vinegar – You could also use mirin or white wine vinegar.
- Soy Sauce – Use Tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Rice – White or brown will do. Just note brown takes 2x as long to cook as white rice.
- Toppings (Optional) – Green onions and sesame seeds
You don’t need much for this recipe. A high-quality saucepot, a shallow mixing bowl, a good chef’s knife, cutting board, and basic kitchen utensils are all you need.
You will also need a baking dish or large cast-iron skillet. (<<affiliate links)
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to make Cauliflower Wings
Step One - Make the Batter
The batter for these cauliflower wings is broken down into two parts.
Firstly, we need an egg-like custard to coat the cauliflower in a thick gooey layer. Secondly, we need our spiced flour coating. The first step allows the flour coating to better adhere to the cauliflower which creates the crispy skin.
Submerge the florets first into the custard, making sure they are completely coated. Next, place your flour mixture in a large ziplock bag and fill it with 4-5 florets a time. Zip it closed and shake it up until the cauliflower wings are completely coated in that deliciously spiced flour.
Now we have our skin!
Step Two - Bake the Wings
To get a crispy outside, cauliflower wings are best baked in a heavy bottoms pan or cast-iron skillet.
Fill the bottom of the pan with a thin layer (2-3 tablespoons) of high-heat oil, such as avocado oil. Place the skillet in the oven while it preheats so that the oil gets hot and sizzling. This is an important step. If you put the florets into cold oil, the oil will absorb into the cauliflower making them soggy rather than crispy.
Once the florets are breaded they can be added to the skillet and baked for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they are golden brown and crispy.
Step Three - Make the Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo Sauce is super easy to make!
It starts with a base of hot sauce; Frank's Red Hot is most people's go-to hot sauce of choice. Gently heat the hot sauce with the other sauce ingredients over low heat until the butter has melted. Once it's melted, you should have a silky smooth, vibrantly red, spicy hot Buffalo sauce.
Pro Tip: Worcestershire Sauce is commonly added to Buffalo Sauce more complex flavor. However, vegan Worcestershire sauce can be hard to find and is optional in this recipe.
Step Four - Toss it Together
Remove the sauce from the heat and let it cool about 5 minutes while the cauliflower florets continue to bake. Once the cauliflower is done, toss it all together. Return it to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until the cauliflower is nice and crispy.
Serving and Storing
Serving - Let the cauliflower wings cool about 10 minutes and then serve immediately. They will eventually lose their crispiness if you let them sit too long. Cauliflower wings are traditionally served with blue cheese or ranch dressing as well as celery and carrots. You can enjoy cauliflower wings on there own, as part of a spread for the big game, in a sandwich, or tossed with Romaine lettuce for a delicious salad.
Storing - Unfortunately, these cauliflower wings do not store well. They should be eaten the same day
More Vegan Appetizers
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Bacon-Flavored Roasted Chickpeas
- Fully Loaded Vegan Nachos
Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- ½ head cauliflower
- 2-3 tbsp. avocado oil
- ⅓ cup chickpea flour
- ⅓ cup warm water
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. ground pepper
- ½ cup Frank's Red Hot
- 3 tbsp. vegan butter
- 2 tsp. white vinegar
- ¼ tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of avocado oil into a heavy bottom baking dish or large cast-iron skillet and place it in the oven while it preheats.
- In a shallow mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour and water, whisking together until thick and gooey. This will act as your binder between the cauliflower and flour mixture. In a large ziplock bag mix together flour, spices, salt, and pepper.
- Dip each floret into the chickpea flour mixture until completely submerged. Once coated, place 4-5 florets at a time in the flour mixture. Seal the ziplock bag and shake until florets are completely coated. Place the battered cauliflower in the baking dish and repeat until all the cauliflower is covered.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Pull out of the oven, flip cauliflower over and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- While cauliflower is baking, make your sauce. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and set aside to let cool.
- Once cauliflower is ready, remove from the oven. Coat cauliflower with Buffalo Sauce completely and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes until cauliflower is crispy on the outside.
- Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving with homemade ranch dressing, carrots, and celery.
Mary Nowak says
I have been looking for chickpea flour with no success. however I did get Chana flour, which I am told may not be a good substitute. can I use chana flour in this recipe?
Is it possible to bake these without all of the oil?
You can use an air fryer.
Amy Potter says
These were a huge hit with my husband! I'll be making them again tonight for his mountain biking buddies, some of these guys are vegetarian, some are not., but we know they will all love the crispness and spicy flavors of these "wings". I've never actually had the "real thing", but these met all my criteria for tasty vegan snacks! Thanks, Sarah.
Stacie Hurrle says
Can I use regular flour or does it have to be chickpea? Thanks!
Chickpea flour is best because, when combined with flour, it has an egg-like consistency and make up which makes it a good binder between the cauliflower and flour. Regular flour would end up fairly gummy giving you a thicker coating than is preferable.
I used regular flour mixed with a couple tablespoons ground flax seed instead of chick pea flour, which provided the consistency required to make a good binder.