I can’t believe I’m so excited about cauliflower – but these crispy buffalo cauliflower bites are seriously the stuff dreams are made of!
Not only are they good, but they’re the kind of good where when you’re finished, you’re already thinking about when you’ll make them next. I’ve played around with the recipe a few times to make sure the buffalo cauliflower is as crispy and perfect as possible for you!
I haven’t been able to get great photos of the buffalo cauliflower yet. But I just couldn’t wait to share it with you!
Something about buffalo sauce is just so appealing to me on almost anything. I’ve put hot sauce on eeeeverything lately, and Frank’s Buffalo Hot Sauce has become a favorite!
You’ll bake the cauliflower instead of frying it so you don’t have to use a bunch of oil. I just add a splash to the buffalo sauce, but you could also use butter. AND, if you use plant-based milk, it’s also a vegan recipe!
I’ve made this recipe so many times now. I’ve nailed down some important things that really make a difference in how the final product tastes. Before we dive into the recipe, I want to share with you some tips for cooking cauliflower for the best outcome!
Tips for Cooking Crispy Cauliflower
- Cut your cauliflower into small pieces, no bigger than one inch pieces – even a bit smaller if possible. This ensures each piece gets lots of crispy bits per portion of cauliflower. It also helps it cook evenly!
- This recipe calls for 1 cup of panko bread crumbs. I have a special trick for making sure the coating gets as crispy as possible: Toss your cauliflower in 3/4 a cup of panko bread crumbs first (once it’s been dipped in the milk and flour mix). THEN add the other 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs. When I do this I get a crispier result, because the second time you add the breadcrumbs it helps make sure they don’t all get clumped together.
- This doesn’t really change how crispy it gets, but when it comes to cooking cauliflower bites, I strongly encourage that you cut the stems off. This helps make sure the bites look and taste more like popcorn chicken or wings.
- Make sure you spread your cauliflower evenly on the pan. This will help make sure all the edges get cooked and the pieces don’t stick together.
- Be sure to stir your cauliflower on the pan halfway through each time you cook them. Once when the cauliflower is cooking for the first 20 minutes. Then stir again halfway through the 20 minutes after you add the buffalo sauce.
- If you have a wire rack to place over your baking sheet, you can put the cauliflower on the rack instead to help ensure the whole bite gets crispy.
How to Eat Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
My personal favorite way to eat these crispy buffalo cauliflower bites is by dipping them in ranch! Another way I love eating them is on top of a salad. They also make a great taco filling!
I usually eat these for dinner, but they make a great appetizer or a side dish too.
You can basically substitute the crispy buffalo cauliflower into any dish where you’d use buffalo chicken! Handy right? And it’s a way healthier (for you and the environment!) option!
A Note on Crispy Baked Cauliflower
You’re saving yourself a TON of oil consumption when you bake instead of fry. And that’s kind of a trade off for baked dishes maybe not being quite as crispy as fried dishes.
But don’t get me wrong…
You’ll definitely be able to achieve a crispy cauliflower dish using the tips I’ve provided! But just a quick reminded that baked cauliflower won’t usually have QUITE the same texture as it would if it were fried.
Let’s dive in!
Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites Recipe
Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- 1 head cauliflower Cut into approx. one inch pieces. I try to remove as much of the stem as possible.
- 3/4 cup milk I use skim but whatever you have will work.
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 cup panko breading (divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1-2 tsp paprika
- 3/4 to 1 cup buffalo sauce If you want a saucier dish, use a full cup. For a lighter coating, 3/4 of a cup will work
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Wash your cauliflower and cut into approx. one-inch sized pieces. I like to remove as much of the stem as I can so it really feels like a little piece of "meat" but you can definitely keep the stems longer if you want. (If you're going to be using the buffalo cauliflower bites as taco filling, I recommend chopping the pieces quite small)
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.Add milk and water to the flour mixture and whisk until mostly smooth, without big clumps left over.
- Add the cauliflower into the flour/milk mixture. Toss with your hands or tools to make sure the pieces are evenly coated in the batter!
- In a separate bowl, add 3/4 cup of your panko breading. Pour the coated cauliflower into the panko breading and gently toss with your hands, making sure each piece is evenly coated.Then, add your other 1/4 cup of panko to the cauliflower. (Doing this in two steps help make it crispier and more evenly-coated).
- Place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Place the coated cauliflower on the baking sheet, and spread evenly so the pieces are clumped together. Add to heated oven and bake for 20 minutes, stirring the cauliflower halfway through so the pieces cook evenly.
- While the cauliflower bakes, add your buffalo sauce and olive oil and stir to combine.When the cauliflower has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven (but keep the oven on).Take the cauliflower from the pan and add it to the bowl with the buffalo sauce. Mix well (careful — it will be hot!) until the pieces are evenly coated.
- Return the buffalo cauliflower to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes (stirring halfway through) or until pieces are crisped to your liking!Serve and enjoy!
I can’t wait to hear what you think of these crispy baked buffalo cauliflower bites once you give them a try!
xo – C