Crunchy coated cauliflower pieces are fried, then drizzled in a sweet and spicy sauce to make this life-changing Bang Bang Cauliflower. Easy to fry, bake in the oven, or cook in an air fryer!
Are you ready for a snack or meal that’s exploding with flavor? This vegan Bang Bang Cauliflower is out-of-this-world delicious and packs in some serious savory, crunchy, and bold flavors in every bite!
Crispy breaded cauliflower is tossed in a flour and cornflake crumb coating before being fried to golden brown perfection. You can even bake them in the oven or use your air fryer instead! To finish, drizzle the creamy and spicy bang bang sauce on top and dig in.
This is one of my favorite recipes to stuff into corn or flour tortillas on Taco Tuesday, but it’s equally as delicious on game day or as an appetizer.
If you love cauliflower, make sure to check out my Cauliflower Steaks with Bang Bang Sauce.
What’s in bang bang sauce?
Let’s face it: the signature sauce MAKES this dish. Bang bang sauce is made with a simple mix of vegan mayo, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, and agave. It’s drizzled on top of the crispy fried cauliflower to make each bite creamy, bold, sweet, and savory with just the right amount of spice.
How to make fried bang bang cauliflower
Once your cauliflower florets are cut and the bang bang sauce is mixed together, you’re all set to bread and fry:
- Combine the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl and let it sit for 1 minute. Next, whisk in the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Place the cauliflower in the bowl and stir until each piece is coated.
- Pour the cornflake crumbs over the cauliflower in the bowl and stir to coat once more.
- Heat some oil in a skillet and fry a single layer of the cauliflower until they’re golden brown and crispy.
- Leave the finished florets on a paper towel-lined plate to drain before serving.
To finish, plate the fried cauliflower wings and drizzle the bang bang sauce over top. Serve and enjoy!
Instead of frying the cauliflower, place the breaded florets on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 425ºF oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. Drizzle the sauce on top, then serve and enjoy.
Air fryer instructions
Air frying bang bang cauliflower will take a little longer since air fryer baskets are on the smaller side. Even if you don’t make this recipe in an air fryer, it’s perfect for reheating leftovers and retaining that crispy crunch!
Place the breaded cauliflower in a single layer (work in batches) in the air fryer basket and cook at 400ºF for about 15 to 25 minutes. Flip the wings halfway through. You can drizzle the sauce on top and cook for another 2 minutes or eat the wings right away.
Tips and substitutions
- Gluten free – Replace the all purpose flour with a quality all purpose gluten free flour.
- Instead of cornflakes – Use panko breadcrumbs to make sure the cauliflower wings still have a signature crunch.
- Agave – You can use maple syrup if you don’t have agave syrup at home. Only liquid sweeteners will work for this recipe.
- Soy milk – If you don’t have soy milk at home, you can use almond, cashew, or oat milk instead. Just make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavored.
- Instead of cauliflower – Use cubed tofu, broccoli, or leftover vegan chicken.
One of my favorite ways to eat bang bang cauliflower is in tacos with extra bang bang sauce, lettuce or red cabbage, diced tomatoes, chopped green onions and fresh chopped cilantro. They make for a simple, easy, and super flavorful dinner next to rice and beans and vegan queso dip.
It doesn’t stop there. Serve bang bang cauliflower next to your favorite copycat takeout recipes (like vegan beef and broccoli), with fried rice or noodles, or as an appetizer with extra dipping sauce. When it’s game day, serve this saucy snack on a platter with french fries, pizza, and buffalo wings.
Hungry for more vegan cauliflower recipes?
Bang Bang Cauliflower
Bang Bang Sauce
- 1/2 cup vegan mayo
- 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1 large head cauliflower (about 5 cups florets)
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cornflakes, processed to fine crumbs
- oil, for frying
Make the Bang Bang sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the soy milk and vinegar and let sit for 1 minute to curdle. Now add the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Whisk until well combined.
- Add the cauliflower to the bowl with the wet batter and toss to combine and coat each piece of cauliflower. Add the cornflake crumbs to the bowl and mix to coat the cauliflower.
To pan fry
- Add about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Make sure to use an oil safe for high temperatures, such as vegetable or peanut oil.
- Fry a single layer of cauliflower at a time for about 3 minutes on each side until golden and crispy. Place cooked florets on a paper towel lined plate while you cook the rest in batches.
- Once they're all fried, drizzle with the bang bang sauce and serve immediately.
- Place the cauliflower on a large greased baking sheet and spray with oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees F, flipping halfway through.
- Drizzle with sauce and serve immediately.
To air fry
- Add the coated cauliflower in a single layer (work in batches) to the air fryer and cook for 15-25 minutes at 400 degrees F until crispy. Drizzle with sauce and serve.
- I used my Vitamix to process cornflakes into crumbs. A food processor will also work.
For tacos: Serve in corn or flour tortillas with extra bang bang sauce, lettuce or red cabbage, diced tomatoes and fresh chopped cilantro.
- Leftover bang bang cauliflower will keep in the refrigerator for about 4 days. Reheat in the oven or air fryer until crispy again.
- Gluten free? Substitute a gluten free flour mix.
- Cornflakes are quite amazing here, but you could substitute 2 cups of panko breadcrumbs for the cornflake crumbs.
I love making tacos with this recipe! We love every recipe I try from Nora, but this is probably my partner’s favorite. Good with panko breadcrumbs or corn flakes, fried or baked in the oven without oil.
Yum, I like the sound of buffalo cauliflower tacos! Thank you for your wonderful review, Tess!
Really stupendous… delicious!!!!!
I substituted frosted cornflakes instead of cornflakes because that’s what I had and almond milk instead of soy milk, it turned out amazing.. 5 stars
Best way to serve cauliflower as a side! Thank you for sharing this inspiration, Nora.
Thank you for your wonderful feedback! This really does make a great side dish! I’m glad you love it!
I need to try these ASAP! I never manage to make cauliflower exciting. Thank you so much for this recipe.
You are welcome! Enjoy!
Hi Nora! I’ve made these with the panko breadcrumbs and were fantastic! My husband and I really loved this recipe!! I wanted to try with the cornflakes but I’m having a hard time finding vegan cornflakes, do you mind sharing what brand you used? Thank you so much!
I didn’t have corn flakes, so I put stuffing mix in a blender and used that. It works great as breading. I also cooked for longer than the recipe stated. Great recipe. I think this would taste great with any sauce, even marinara.
Nora, this was so good! My whole family agrees. I think I have loved every recipe I’ve tried from your site. My family, who wouldn’t choose vegan meals on their own, loves them, too. Thank you for making it so much easier and more enjoyable to choose vegan food.
I’m so happy to hear that Sarah! Thank you!
made these and they were absolutely delicious. I cant wait to make some more. This will be one of my go to recipes for a quick bite to eat.
Could you air fry them instead of frying them in the oil?
Yes you can! The instructions for air frying are included in the cooking instructions!
Can you sub other milks on this? Thank you for the excellent recipes!
Hi Angela. Yes, you can sub other plant based milk.
I made these a few weeks ago as a main dish and they were absolutely delicious!
I’m about to make them again and, on reading the ingredients list, I realize that I forgot the cornflakes!
However, as they turned out so awesome even without them, I will leave them out again, lol!
Thanks for a great recipe!!
Hi Maria! I’m so glad you loved the cauliflower, and that it turned out awesome for you! Thanks for taking time to share your wonderful review and comments!
Holy crap!!!! This is amazing!!! Love this technique of all in one bowl instead of 3 of them!!!! Making this for the game Sunday!!!! Can’t stop eating these 🙂
OMG!! These are incredibly delicious. I couldn’t stop eating them. Thank you for the recipe….every one of your recipes that i’ve tried was wonderful!!
Hi Connie! I’m thrilled that you are loving my recipes! Thank you for taking time to share your comments!