Sticky Sesame Cauliflower are first battered and baked until crispy, then mixed with a sticky, spicy and sweet sesame sauce. They make an amazing appetizer, snack or meal when served on a bed of rice!

close up of a bowl with white rice and sticky cauliflower

I’m lucky enough to live within 30 minutes of a Veggie Grill (an all vegan fast food type place if you aren’t familiar, though you can also get amazing salads). My family eats there way too often, and one of my favorite things on the menu is the crispy cauliflower appetizer. You can get it with buffalo sauce or a sesame sauce. I always choose the sesame sauce.

This recipe reminds me so much of that dish, except it’s not deep fried. Instead, I batter the cauliflower and bake it until crispy, then mix it with a delicious sticky sesame sauce. If you prefer, you can also keep the sauce separate for dipping. This will keep the cauliflower crispier.

I was also inspired by the popular Chinese dish, Sesame Chicken. Cauliflower is a great stand in for chicken if you ask me! Serve over a bed of rice for a wonderful meal.

cast iron pan with what looks like cauliflower with a sticky sauce

How to make Sesame Cauliflower

First, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and spray a large sheet pan or two with oil. Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets.

In a bowl, mix the batter: flour, cornstarch, salt and water. (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW TO PRINT AND FOR FULL AMOUNTS)

Dip the cauliflower in, shake off any excess batter and place on the baking sheet, not touching each other.

battered cauliflower ready to roast on pan

Spray the cauliflower with oil (this makes them extra crispy) and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

pan full of roasted cauliflower

While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the sauce on the stovetop. In a large pan or pot, add the sauce ingredients – low sodium soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, Sriracha and powdered ginger. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Add cornstarch + water slurry and stir until thickened.

sticky sauce in a cast iron pan being stirred

Once the cauliflower is done baking, add it to the pan and stir to coat. OR serve sauce and cauliflower separately to keep it crispier. That’s it! Serve with rice, sesame seeds and chopped green onions, if desired.

Tips for success

  • It’s best to use two large sheet pans for baking the cauliflower. If you try to crowd them all on one pan, they won’t get as crispy. I love these big pans.
  • Gluten free: To make it gluten free, replace the regular flour with a gluten free mix and use tamari instead of soy sauce.
  • Mixing the baked cauliflower with the sauce does immediately make it a bit less crispy, which I don’t mind, but you might want to keep it separate and serve as a dip. Either way is fine!
  • If you want a lot of extra sauce, double the sauce part. There really is just enough to coat the cauliflower.

close up of cauliflower in pan with green onions on top

I think you are going to LOVE these Sticky Sesame Cauliflower. They are:

  • Sticky and sweet
  • Spicy
  • Crispy
  • Kid approved
  • & SO flavorful!

Want more delicious cauliflower recipes?

a bowl of white rice and crispy cauliflower, grey towel
square image of a bowl of white rice and cauliflower
4.81 stars (21 ratings)

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower are first battered and baked until crispy, then mixed with a sticky, spicy and sweet sesame sauce. They make an amazing appetizer, snack or meal when served on a bed of rice!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


For the Baked Cauliflower

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water

For the Sticky Sesame Sauce

For serving

  • sesame seeds
  • chopped green onions
  • cooked white or brown rice


Bake the Cauliflower

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and spray one large or two smaller baking sheets with oil (may also use parchment paper). Prepare the cauliflower by chopping it into florets.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and water until a smooth batter is formed. 
  • Drop the cauliflower into the batter, in batches if necessary. Then one by one lift the cauliflower florets, shake off excess batter and place on prepared baking sheet. Leave a little space in between the florets on the baking sheet so they can get crispy; they shouldn't be touching.
  • Spray the cauliflower lightly with oil and bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Make the Sauce

  • While the cauliflower is baking, prepare the sauce. In a large pot or saucepan (you will add the cauliflower when it's finished, so make sure you have a big pan), add the soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, Sriracha and ginger.
  • Bring to a boil and stir to combine. Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl, and then add to the pan. Stir over medium heat constantly for 1-3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat.
  • When the cauliflower is done baking, add it to the sauce in the pan and stir to coat. Serve over a bed of rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or chopped green onions. Enjoy! TIP: If you want the cauliflower to remain crispy, simple serve the sauce on the side for dipping.


  1. Gluten free: Replace the flour with a gluten free flour mix, and use tamari instead of soy sauce.
  2. May also use arrowroot instead of cornstarch if needed.
  3. Nutritional information is for Sticky Sesame Cauliflower only and does not include rice.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 195kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 713mg | Potassium: 503mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Chinese
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

*This recipe was originally posted June 2018 and has been updated with an easier recipe and new photos.

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  1. Was skeptical about baking vs deep frying but it turned out better than expected. Thanks for the recipe!!! Just the right amount of crispy, sweet and tangy

    1. I haven’t tried it so I’m not sure, I’m a little afraid it will turn out mushy but I don’t know. Thanks for loving my recipes!

  2. My husband laims to not be a fan of Chinese food, but he loved this meal. I served on basmati rice which is obviously not Chinese, but it was fab that way. Great recipe.

  3. This recipe is so tasty and satisfying! I did not have light soy sauce, so it was a bit too salty, will reduce the amount of regular soy sauce next time. Also, I added a teaspoon of rice flour in the cauliflower batter to make them extra crispy and it worked! Would definitely make this again.

  4. The most tastiest recipe! My taste buds are so satisfied. Thank you! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

    1. I love that your taste buds are satisfied! Thank you for sharing your review, and let me know how you like my other recipes! Happy cooking!

    1. Hope you love it! You can cook the cauliflower in the air fryer, you just may need to do it in batches so they don’t all stick together. I’d try 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy but not burnt. Hope that helps!

  5. Tasty recipe!
    I used wheat flour instead of white and swapped out the sesame oil for olive oil. 
    My husband thought it was from Trader Joe’s! 

  6. This recipe is so simple and delicious. I make it almost weekly and everyone loves it—including my 3.5 year old. Absolutely love it. 

    1. Hi Whitney. I’m so glad you and your family love the cauliflower! That’s exciting when you find something your kids love! Thank you very much for sharing!

  7. I somehow overbought cauliflower and needed a recipe stat. Tried this tonight and am in love! So easy and amazingly delicious. ?

  8. I’ve made this more than 20 times. It is a weekly go to and a family favorite. Super easy and so delicious! 

  9. I’ve made this recipe many times in the past but the new update seems very different. Too thick and salty. Do you have a copy of the old recipe?

    1. Actually the only thing that is different is that I used almond flour instead of regular flour. So you could try that, but I actually prefer it using regular flour. You can always decrease the soy sauce and increase water to make it less salty and thinner. Hope that helps!

  10. Awesome! Way better than take out. Only thing I changed was quinoa instead of rice. But oh so good. Thank you.

  11. I’ve been cooking through your desserts but my boyfriend keeps complaining that I’m making him gain weight, so I decided to try something savory instead. ? This dish was so good. Here are a few things I did differently:
    -I used liquid aminos instead of soy sauce
    -I poured the cauliflower in the batter and mixed it around because I’m lazy!
    -I cooked the cauliflower in my air fryer on 375 until crispy

    Amazing! A tad too salty but I think maybe it’s because I used aminos? Regardless, I was so proud of the way it turned out that I took a picture and tagged you on my Instagram story. Can’t wait to make more of your recipes. 

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