I can't believe I'm so excited about cauliflower - but these buffalo cauliflower bites are seriously the stuff dreams are made of!Jump to Recipe
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 delicious and perfect as possible for 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! If you're as obsessed with buffalo sauce as I am, don't miss this buffalo mac and cheese recipe before you go!
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 and butter, it's also a vegan recipe!
I've made these breaded buffalo cauliflower bites sooo 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!
Here's what you'll need to make them for yourself:
- Cauliflower (I usually cut the stems off so they mimic "chicken bites")
- Milk (Cow or vegan milk works, use your favorite)
- Paprika (I sometimes us smoked paprika and other times regular)
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Panko bread crumbs
- Buffalo sauce (I go with good ol' fashioned Frank's Buffalo Hot Sauce)
- Melted butter (You can use vegan butter)
- Olive oil
You guys blow me away! Thanks to an insane traffic boost over Super Bowl weekend, this has become the third most popular recipe on my site! The only two recipes ahead of it are my spicy honey garlic tofu and homemade caesar salad dressing recipes.
I've finally updated this recipe with new pictures! Just in time for the cauliflower bites' biggest day of the year: Superbowl Sunday.
Tips for Cooking Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- Cut your cauliflower into small pieces, no bigger than one inch pieces - even a bit smaller if possible. This ensures each piece gets more crispy bits per portion of cauliflower. It also helps it cook evenly!
- This recipe calls for one cup of panko bread crumbs. I have a special trick for making sure the coating gets a bit crispier Toss your cauliflower in ¾ a cup of panko bread crumbs first (once it's been dipped in the milk and flour mix). THEN add the other ¼ 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.
4. 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. I also like to sprinkle them with a bit of salt at this point.
5. Be sure to stir your buffalo cauliflower bites on the pan halfway through each time you cook them (unless you're cooking them on a wire rack). 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.
6. 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 crispier.
What Goes with Buffalo Cauliflower Bites?
My personal favorite way to eat these buffalo cauliflower bites is by dipping them in ranch! A side of celery sticks never hurts either.
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 bites into any dish where you'd use buffalo chicken! Handy right? And it's a way healthier (for you and the environment!) option!
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!
Can you make buffalo cauliflower gluten free?
You'll need to find gluten-free flour and gluten-free panko crumbs to make this recipe gluten-friendly. I haven't tried it with those ingredients yet, but please let me know if you do.
Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites Recipe
Oven Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
- 1 head cauliflower Cut into approx. one inch pieces. I try to remove as much of the stem as possible.
- 2 tablespoon butter melted
- ¾ cup milk I use skim but whatever you have will work.
- ¼ cup water
- ¾ cup flour
- 1 cup panko breading (divided into ¾ cup and ¼ cup)
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1-2 teaspoon paprika
- ¾ to 1 cup buffalo sauce If you want a saucier dish, use a full cup. For a lighter coating, ¾ of a cup will work
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt or more, to taste
- 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)
- Melt the butter in the microwave. Toss the cauliflower pieces with the melted butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, paprika, onion powder, salt, 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 ¾ 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 ¼ cup of panko to the cauliflower. (Doing this in two steps help make it 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 aren't clumped together. Or, you can place a wire rack over your baking sheet (spray it with oil if you use a wire rack instead of placing the cauliflower bites directly on the baking sheet)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 25-30 minutes (stirring halfway through) OR until pieces are crisped to your liking!Serve and enjoy! (Toss with more buffalo sauce before serving if you want them extra saucy)
Let me know what you think!
I can't wait to hear what you think of these baked buffalo cauliflower bites once you give them a try! They've become a beloved classic in my family and it makes me so happy that so many of you love them too.
xo - C