Oct 8, 2017

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
These crispy battered and fried cauliflower bites tossed in homemade buffalo sauce are a great vegetarian alternative to buffalo chicken wings.  

jump toRECIPE

These crispy battered and fried cauliflower bites tossed in homemade buffalo sauce are a great vegetarian alternative to buffalo chicken wings. I love just about anything tossed in buffalo sauce, and you don’t have to be vegetarian to love this recipe – the first time I made them I think I ate a whole head of cauliflower!

The cornstarch and rice flour batter in these cauliflower buffalo wings is gluten free without its being forced to compromise on the crunch and flavor. This combination lightly coats the cauliflower and once fried the cauliflower florets are perfectly crisp. Served alongside carrots, celery and ranch or blue cheese these cauliflower bites make for a perfect meatless game day appetizer.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

What’s in buffalo sauce?

Buffalo sauce is extremely easy to make at home – all it takes is a hot sauce of your choice, a bit of melted butter, vinegar, Worcestershire and garlic whisked together. I typically use Frank’s® RedHot® hot sauce when making classic Buffalo sauce. If not using the buffalo sauce right away, store the sauce in an airtight container for up to a week – warming and whisking to combine and before using. This sauce can be swapped with your favorite store-bought brand in a pinch. Just be sure to warm before serving.

All you need is:

  • Butter (lot’s of it!)
  • Hot sauce
  • White vinegar
  • Worcestershire
  • Garlic
Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites cooking with cocktail rings

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

Butter

The rich flavor of Buffalo sauce comes from a base of melted butter. I use unsalted butter so the level of salt can easily be adjusted depending on preference.

Hot sauce

While you can use any hot sauce of your choice I recommend choosing a vinegar-based hot sauce. I use Frank’s® RedHot® hot sauce when making my buffalo cauliflower recipe.

White Vinegar

Vinegar adds the tangy, acidic quality to the buffalo sauce in this recipe.

Worcestershire

This fermented condiment adds a lot of concentrated flavor – a little goes a long way. The flavor of Worcestershire comes from a mix of vinegar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract and chili pepper.

Garlic

The garlic in this recipe is minced so it blends smoothly and evenly into the buffalo sauce.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable – it can be used as a vegetarian fill-in for steak, finely diced and used as rice, or roasted as florets. As it fries it still holds together well making it a great vegetarian option for these chicken wing-alternatives. I buy a head and cut it into florets – it’s usually more cost effective than buying a pre-cut bag of florets!

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is a neutral oil meaning it doesn’t have it’s own flavor. As a result it doesn’t overpower the other flavors in this dish. It also has a higher smoking point than say olive oil. This makes it a better choice to use to stir fry the rice.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch works well as a coating when frying. The naturally gluten-free starchy powder helps absorb any moisture keeping the outside crunchy.

Rice flour

Rice flour crisps up really nicely when frying. I find the rice flour also stays crispy longer when the fried cauliflower is tossed in the buffalo sauce before serving. Many other fried cauliflower recipes can become soggy before they even hit the table. It’s also naturally gluten-free so mixed with cornstarch it makes a great gluten-free batter.

Baking powder

Baking powder creates very tiny air bubbles on the surface of the battered cauliflower when fried, resulting in an even lighter batter.

Seasonings

Since the buffalo sauce adds so much flavor, the batter is simply seasoned with a blend of garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites recipe with vegetables for dipping from cooking with cocktail rings

How to Make Buffalo cCauliflower

  1. Make the buffalo sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the butter, hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire and garlic until completely combined.
  2. Heat the oil. Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach 2-inches up the side of the pan. Heat oil to 350°F.
  3. Make the batter. In a large bowl whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Slowly add ¾ cup cold water, whisking until a thin batter forms.
  4. Fry the cauliflower. Working in batches, dip the cauliflower in the batter, letting the excess batter drip off. Add to the hot oil and deep-fry until the cauliflower is golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  5. Serve. Remove to a large bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the buffalo sauce, adding more as needed. Serve immediately with carrots, celery and ranch or blue cheese dressing.
Crispy battered and fried cauliflower bites tossed in homemade buffalo sauce are a great vegetarian alternative to buffalo chicken wings

Other recipes you may enjoy

If you enjoyed this buffalo cauliflower recipe, give these a try:

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites cooking with cocktail rings side view

Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the buffalo sauce:

  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup hot sauce of choice, I use Frank’s Red Hot®
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

For the cauliflower:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Vegetable oil, as needed, for frying
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For serving:

  • Carrots, for serving
  • Celery, for serving
  • Ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing, for serving

Instructions:

For the buffalo sauce:

  • In a small bowl whisk together the butter, hot sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire and garlic until completely combined.
  • Set aside until ready to use. If not using right away, store the sauce in an airtight container for up to a week – whisking to combine before using.

For the cauliflower:

  • Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach 2-inches up the side of the pan. Heat oil to 350°F (180ºC).
  • In a large bowl whisk together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Slowly add ¾ cup cold water, whisking until a thin batter forms (about the consistency of pancake batter). If needed, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Working in batches, dip the cauliflower in the batter, letting the excess batter drip off. Add to the hot oil and deep-fry until the cauliflower is golden brown, about 4 minutes.

For serving:

  • Remove to a large bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the buffalo sauce. Serve immediately with carrots, celery and ranch or blue cheese dressing.

DID YOU MAKE THIS?

TAG ME ON INSTAGRAM TO BE FEATURED ON MY STORIES! @cookingwithcocktailrings

Rate + Review

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THIS RECIPE?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating