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square image of a piece of buffalo cauliflower being dipped into ranch
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4.97 from 51 votes

Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower are the perfect vegan game day appetizer - even meat eaters will love them! They are tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, and super spicy. They’re so tasty, it’s almost too good to be true!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 150kcal
Author: Nora Taylor

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs (may skip this step if desired)
  • 1 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave

Easy Vegan Ranch

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • tiny pinch of paprika
  • tiny pinch of black pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk, or even water, to thin as needed

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray generously with oil.
  • Wash and cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces.
  • In a large bowl, add water, flour, garlic and onion powder, and salt. Whisk until well combined. Place the panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl, if using.
  • Add the cauliflower to the batter in the bowl, and toss to combine and really coat the cauliflower. Remove the pieces of cauliflower, one by one, and tap off the excess batter a few times on the side of the bowl.
  • Roll each floret in the breadcrumbs to coat, then place on the prepared baking sheet and make sure they are not touching each other, or they will all get stuck together as they bake. Spray the tops with oil, this will help them get super crispy.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Flip them over and bake for 15 more minutes, until golden and crispy.
  • While the cauliflower are baking, prepare the hot sauce/butter mixture. Melt the butter in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. Once melted, add the hot sauce, maple syrup or agave and stir. Set aside.
  • Once the cauliflower have cooked and are crispy, toss the florets with the sauce in a large bowl, then return to the pan. You can serve them immediately, or to make them crispier, put them back in the oven for 15-20 minutes. If you want them super crispy, leave the buffalo sauce on the side for dipping as you go.
  • Serve with easy vegan ranch (recipe included), my cashew based vegan ranch or vegan blue cheese.

For the Easy Vegan Ranch

  • Add all the ranch ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Taste and add salt, if desired, or more herbs. That's it! Enjoy.

Notes

  1. I find all purpose flour yields the best flavor and texture here, but it also works with almond flour, white whole wheat flour or a gluten free all purpose flour. 
  2. Gluten free: Use a gluten free flour or almond flour, and skip the breadcrumbs.
  3. Oil free: Skip the vegan butter and don't spray with oil.
  4. I love coating them in breadcrumbs, but you can skip this part if desired. They will still be crispy and delicious.
  5. Frozen cauliflower: Fresh is better, but frozen will work. Make sure to thaw and then pat dry before using.
  6. If you are serving a large crowd, double or even triple the recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1670mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 61mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg