Easy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

5 from 3 votes
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How to make baked buffalo cauliflower wings that are crispy and flavorful on the outside, with a tender middle. All you need is just 7 ingredients (plus oil and salt & pepper) and 10 minutes of prep time to make these hot buffalo cauliflower bites. 

A plate with 7 baked breaded cauliflower wings

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or eating low-carb, cauliflower is an amazingly versatile ingredient. From cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza bases to baked cauliflower steak. Now, here are some meat-free buffalo cauliflower wings – using a homemade quick buffalo-style sauce.

These vegan cauliflower wings are spicy, savory, crispy yet tender. They are also baked, not fried, for a light and healthy(-ish) replacement to your regular ‘wings’. You can easily eat double the amount of these hot cauliflower wings for a fraction of the calories. 

A hand holding one baked breaded cauliflower wing

Obviously, if you’re expecting the perfect replacement for chicken, then you’re going to be disappointed. Cauliflower doesn’t have the same texture. However, it is firm yet tender and juicy, and the dish is impressive enough on its own. 

In fact, these vegan cauliflower wings are delicious enough to impress meat-eaters and non-meat eaters alike. Put a large dish out at parties, potlucks, BBQs, and ‘game day’ celebrations, and they’ll all be gone in no time!

These buffalo cauliflower wings are also incredibly ‘diet-friendly’ – with just a couple of ingredient swaps, you can adjust this buffalo cauliflower wings recipe to Paleo, low-carb, vegetarian, etc.

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The Ingredients

Ingredients for baked cauliflower wings
  • Cauliflower head
  • Buffalo sauce: a combination of 1 part hot sauce (I used homemade chili sauce) to 1 part oil or (dairy-free) melted butter.
  • Breadcrumbs: you can use breadcrumbs, panko crumbs, GF breadcrumbs, or even almond meal (low-carb). 
  • Flour: plain flour. Use gluten-free if preferred.
  • Spices: I used garlic powder and smoked paprika mixed into the flour ‘batter’ mixture. Plus salt & pepper.
  • Milk: I used oat milk but any will work.

Optional: You could add a little maple syrup (or honey – if not vegan) to the buffalo sauce if preferred. This isn’t necessary but cuts through the spice slightly and adds extra caramelization/glaze to the baked cauliflower wings.

How To Make Cauliflower Wings (Buffalo Style)

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

First, separate the cauliflower into florets – making sure they’re as even in size as possible. You can save the extra cauliflower leaves in a bag in the freezer to make 1-Pot Vegetable Stock).

Cauliflower florets on a flat surface

Then, prepare the buffalo sauce by combining the chili sauce and oil (or melted butter), and set aside. 

Steps for mixing oil with chili sauce

Finally, prepare the batter by combining the flour, spices (paprika, garlic powder, salt & pepper), and milk. Mix it well and you’ll have a liquid batter.

Steps for mixing flour spices and milk

Step 2: Batter the cauliflower

First, dip the cauliflower florets into the flour batter and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC on a non-stick baking sheet (or one lined with parchment paper).

A bowl with cauliflower florets and a tray with florets having been dipped in breading mixture

OPTIONAL – Dip each floret into the olive oil (or use a spray bottle) before the batter – this makes for extra crispy vegan cauliflower wings. 

Before and after baking a breaded cauliflower

Step 3: Add the buffalo sauce and breadcrumbs

While the cauliflower bakes, set out your kitchen surface so, in front of you, you have the bowls containing the buffalo sauce and breadcrumbs.

Remove the battered cauliflower from the oven and carefully dip each floret into the buffalo sauce, and then into the breadcrumbs and place back on the baking tray. 

Steps for breading cauliflower

I just dipped each floret’s head in the sauce while folding it at the other end; however, you can cover the florets completely. You could also place the sauce in a large ziplock bag, add the cauliflower florets (in batches, if necessary) and shake it up to coat the florets fully.

Step 4: Bake the buffalo cauliflower wings further

Bake in the oven for a further 10-12 minutes. Optionally, broil for a few minutes at the end for even crispier results.

A baking tray with baked breaded cauliflower wings

How To Serve

There are several ways to enjoy these buffalo cauliflower wings. Enjoy as a snack alongside your favorite dips: ranch dip, mint yogurt (minus the cucumber, use dairy-free yogurt if preferred), Spinach Yogurt Dip (Borani), mayonnaise (or vegan mayo), or a blue cheese dip (or dairy-free alternative). 

The buffalo cauliflower bites can also be used within several other dishes: wraps, burritos, and tacos

How To Make Ahead & Store

Make ahead: the cauliflower florets (with no batter) will last up to a week in the fridge, in an airtight container/bag.

The chili sauce can also be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you refrigerate the sauce, it may separate due to the oil/butter. However, you can just lightly warm the sauce (in the microwave or on the stovetop) and mix it until it’s fully combined again. 

Refrigerator: leftover hot cauliflower wings can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for between 3-4 days. 

To reheat: place back in the oven at 180ºC/360ºF until piping hot. 

Recipe Notes

  • For more heat: adjust the hot sauce (if using homemade, then adjust which peppers you use). You can also add extra heat by adding chili flakes to the breadcrumb mixture. 
  • For less heat: you could use a combination of BBQ sauce and buffalo sauce or add maple to the sauce. Serving the hot cauliflower wings with a cooling dip can also help. 
  • Refrigerating the sauce for a short while (while the florets bake the first time) can help it adhere better to the vegan cauliflower wings (enough to slightly thicken the sauce without solidifying the oil/butter within).

If you try this vegan buffalo cauliflower wings recipe, then let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d also really appreciate a recipe rating and would love to see your recreations – just tag @AlphaFoodie.

Easy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

5 from 3 votes
By: Samira
How to make baked buffalo cauliflower wings that are crispy and flavorful on the outside, with a tender middle. All you need is just 7 ingredients (plus oil and salt & pepper) and 10 minutes of prep time to make these hot buffalo cauliflower bites. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 cauliflower head
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs or panko, GF crumbs, almond meal (low-carb)
  • 3/4 cup plain flour use gluten-free if preferred
  • 1/2 cup milk I used oat
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or melted dairy-free butter
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce or hot sauce of your choosing
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions 

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

  • Separate the cauliflower into florets – making sure they're as even in size as possible. You can save the extra cauliflower leaves in a bag in the freezer to make 1-Pot Vegetable Stock).
  • Prepare the buffalo sauce by combining the chili sauce and oil (or melted butter), and set aside.
  • Prepare the batter by combining the flour, spices (paprika, garlic, salt & pepper) and the milk. Mix it well and you'll have a liquid batter.

Step 2: Batter the cauliflower

  • Dip the cauliflower florets into the flour batter and bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 400ºF/200ºC on a non-stick baking sheet (or one lined with parchment paper).
    Optional – Dip each floret into the olive oil (or use a spray bottle) before the batter – this makes for extra crispy vegan cauliflower wings.

Step 3: Add the buffalo sauce and breadcrumbs

  • While the cauliflower is baking, set out your kitchen surface so you have the bowls in front of you containing the buffalo sauce and breadcrumbs.
    Remove the battered cauliflower from the oven and carefully dip each floret into the buffalo sauce, and the breadcrumbs, and then place back on the baking tray.
    I just dipped each floret's head in the sauce while folding it at the other end; however, you can cover the florets completely. You could also place the sauce in a large ziplock bag, add the cauliflower florets (in batches, if necessary) and shake it up to coat the florets fully.

Step 4: Bake the buffalo cauliflower wings further

  • Bake in the oven for a further 10-12 minutes. Optionally, broil for a few minutes in the end for even crispier results.
    Once ready, enjoy as a snack alongside your favorite dips: ranch dip, mint yogurt (with dairy-free yogurt if preferred), mayonnaise (or vegan mayo), etc.

How To Make Ahead & Store

  • Make ahead: the cauliflower florets (with no batter) will last up to a week in the fridge, in an airtight container/bag.
    The chili sauce can also be pre-prepared and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you refrigerate the sauce, it may separate due to the oil/butter. However, you can just lightly warm the sauce (in micro oven or on the stovetop) and mix it until it's fully combined again.
    Refrigerator: leftover baked cauliflower wings can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for between 3-4 days.
    To reheat: place back in the oven at 180ºC/360ºF until piping hot.

Notes

  • For more heat: adjust the hot sauce (if using homemade, then adjust which peppers you use). You can also add extra heat by adding chili flakes to the breadcrumb mixture. 
  • For less heat: you could use a combination of BBQ sauce and buffalo sauce or add maple to the sauce. Serving the hot cauliflower wings with a cooling dip can also help. 
  • Refrigerating the sauce for a short while (while the florets bake the first time) can help it adhere better to the vegan cauliflower wings (enough to slightly thicken the sauce without solidifying the oil/butter within).
Course: Appetizer, Side, Snack
Cuisine: American
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 385kcal, Carbohydrates: 50g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 774mg, Potassium: 620mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 228IU, Vitamin C: 72mg, Calcium: 124mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. Deval Patel says:

    What kind of flour do we use here? All purpose flour and can we substitute it with healthier option like wheat or any other flour? I love your dedication for creating such amazing content. Keep up the great work!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Deval,
      Thank you for your comment.
      All-purpose plain white flour was used in this recipe but you can substitute it with gluten-free or other if preferred.

  2. Janani says:

    You are brilliant in creating vegetarian recipes and I cannot stress more how much thankful I am to Netflix for the show in which I saw you won. Since then I have been following your recipes on Instagram and every time I want to make something tasty with veggies, I look up to you. I love vegetables and I am a vegetarian, so your website is my go-to. Thank you for these crispy wings 🙂 I am on cloud 9 🙂

    1. Samira @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Janani. ❤️❤️❤️

  3. David says:

    If on a keto diet can the flour be substituted for fine almond flour and the panko for course almond flour? Any advice if they can’t? Me and the wife are doing keto and my wife is also vegan. Trying to satisfy both of us. Thanks

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi David,
      Yes, I think you can substitute them. Let me know how it goes.