Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

DF GF V VG LC

Looking for a healthy game day snack or appetizer? Try these buffalo cauliflower wings with a creamy homemade ranch dressing. They’re baked instead of fried and perfectly crunchy and crisp on the outside.

Fall is knocking on our door and that means football season is right around the corner. I’m not a big football watcher but I am all about game day parties and snacks galore.

Some of my favorite game day snacks are chips and guac (my healthy guacamole is the best), cheesy cauliflower nachos, sweet potato skins and black bean dip, but everyone else seems to love wings.

I’ve honestly never been a huge fan of chicken wings, but as soon as I saw the idea for buffalo cauliflower “wings” I knew I had to try them. Anything that involves cauliflower? Count me in!

Plate of buffalo cauliflower wings served with vegan cashew ranch and celery sticks.

They’re just as good as I imagined and way more appealing to me than regular chicken wings. I loved them but had to make a batch for Isaac and his brother to taste test too. Rest assured, the guys ate these without hesitation and gave them a solid two thumbs up! 

Are Buffalo Cauliflower Wings Healthy?

Definitely! These cauliflower wings are a healthy vegan alternative to traditional buffalo wings. They’re baked instead of fried, low-carb and there’s no added sugar. To keep them vegan I used a clean buffalo sauce from Tessemae’s, which is dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and Whole30 approved.

I hope you love these clean eating buffalo cauliflower wings as much as we do!

Ingredients measured out to make buffalo cauliflower wings: cauliflower, water, garlic powder, paprika, flour, buffalo sauce, salt and pepper.

Ingredients Needed

  • cauliflower – a large head of cauliflower cut into small-to-medium sized florets. Think of cutting them into pieces that are half the size of regular chicken wings. I like to buy a whole head of cauliflower and chop it into florets, but you can buy pre-chopped if you’re running short on time. 
  • all purpose flour – for the crispy breading. You can also use gluten-free all purpose flour to make these gluten-free.
  • garlic powder, paprika, sea salt and pepper – you’ll combine these seasonings with your flour and water to make a little sauce to coat the cauliflower florets in before baking. This helps to achieve that extra crispy texture!
  • buffalo style wing sauce – I used Tessemae’s Buffalo Sauce, which is vegan, sugar-free and made with super clean ingredients! If you want to try a homemade version, this one is vegan and looks great. If you’re in a pinch, Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce also works and is still vegan, just not as clean.
  • celery – for serving of course! 
  • ranch dressing – I’m sharing a recipe for making your own vegan ranch dressing to use as a dip, but you can use store-bought as well. I like Tessemae’s Creamy Ranch.
tip!
Make sure to cut your cauliflower into small-to-medium sized florets. If the pieces are too small they could turn out mushy and if they're too large they won't crisp up as nicely.
Collage of 6 photos showing the process to make cauliflower buffalo wings: coat cauliflower in spiced batter, bake, and toss with buffalo sauce.

How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

If you think these cauliflower buffalo wings look intimidating to make, think again! They only require a few simple steps and are super easy to whip up.

  1. Chop and rinse: Start by chopping your head of cauliflower into small-to-medium sized florets. Think of them as being about half the size of a regular chicken wing. Once chopped, rinse your cauliflower and pat it dry. You’ll want to make sure you get most of the water off your florets to help ensure that your baked cauliflower doesn’t turn out soggy.
  2. Make batter: The batter is equal parts flour and water mixed with spices. I used garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, but feel free to use whatever spices you prefer. The batter consistency will be pretty thick and almost like a paste.
  3. Coat: Toss your cauliflower florets in the batter until each floret is coated.
  4. Bake: Once all of your cauliflower wings are fully coated, it’s time to bake! Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toss your coated cauliflower onto the sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, tossing at the halfway mark until lightly brown and crispy.
  5. Toss: When the cauliflower comes out of the oven, transfer them to a bowl and toss them in the buffalo sauce. Return to the baking pan and bake again for about 12 more minutes and then broil for 2-3 minutes or until they’re nice and crispy. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn!
Plate of buffalo cauliflower wings served with ranch and celery sticks. A fork has a cauliflower wing and is dipping it in the ranch.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Besides the actual buffalo cauliflower wings, you have to have a dipping sauce, amiright?! The vegan ranch dressing I’m sharing below is crazy delicious and super simple to throw together!

The most important thing is to soak your cashews for at least 3-4 hours or overnight – this ensures a super creamy dressing. Then you just blend with water and dried spices (dill, garlic and onion powder with salt and pepper). Voila! You have the creamiest, most delicious homemade ranch you’ve ever tasted. 

Plate of buffalo cauliflower wings served with vegan cashew ranch and celery sticks.

How to Serve Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

These buffalo cauliflower wings can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways. Here are some ways to serve them:

  • As an appetizer – Serve them the same way you would serve wings – with celery, carrot and ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  • On a salad – Make my buffalo cauliflower salad!
  • In a wrap – Make a wrap by adding lettuce, any extra veggies, buffalo cauliflower and ranch or blue cheese. Lunch on the go!

How to Store

Leftover buffalo cauliflower stores really well! After cooling completely, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, pop the cauliflower in the oven or toaster oven for a few minutes so they crisp back up!

More Healthy Appetizers to Try

Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

4 from 18 votes
Looking for a healthy game day snack or appetizer? Try these buffalo cauliflower wings with a creamy homemade ranch dressing. They're baked instead of fried and perfectly crunchy and crisp on the outside.
Plate of buffalo cauliflower wings served with vegan cashew ranch and celery sticks.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into small-to-medium sized florets
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour (gluten free 1:1 flour will work too)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup buffalo-style wing sauce, (I used Tessemae’s Buffalo sauce)
  • celery, chopped for serving

Cashew Ranch Dressing:

  • ½ cup raw cashews, soaked 3-4 hours or overnight
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Cut cauliflower into small-to-medium florets and rinse if you haven't already. Pat to dry.
  • Add flour, water, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper into a large bowl. Stir to combine. Add cauliflower florets and toss to coat.
    Flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with a cooking spray. Don't skip this step or the cauliflower will stick.
  • Spread coated cauliflower onto a baking sheet in a single layer with space in between each floret.
    Cauliflower wings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, tossing once at the 15 minute mark.
  • Remove pan from oven, add cauliflower florets back into same large mixing bowl and pour wing sauce over the cauliflower and toss to coat.
    Cauliflower florets in a bowl of spiced batter before being coated in the batter.
  • Spread cauliflower on baking pan again and bake for 12 more minutes, until the cauliflower starts to brown.
  • Set oven to broil and broil the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes or until they're looking crispy. Make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn!
  • While cauliflower is roasting, add soaked and drained cashews into a high powered blender or food processor with ½ cup water, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
    Blender with dill, spices, water and cashews.
  • Serve cauliflower wings with cashew dressing and celery.

Video

Notes

  • Old recipe: This recipe has been updated, if you want to make the old recipe, you’ll replace the all-purpose flour with almond flour and add 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil to the mixture. The old recipe didn’t have the paprika, salt and pepper but I feel like it’s nice to have those seasonings. 
  • For the wing sauce: I used Steve’s Paleogoods Paleo Chef Wing Sauce, which is gluten-free and refined sugar free and definitely my first choice if you can find it. Tessemae’s Buffalo Sauce is another brand I would recommend. If you want to try a homemade version, this one is vegan and looks great. If you’re in a pinch, Frank’s Red Hot Wing Sauce also works and is still vegan, just isn’t as clean.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup cauliflower (without ranch) Calories: 136kcal Carbohydrates: 19g Protein: 4g Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 740mg Potassium: 460mg Fiber: 4g Sugar: 3g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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Recipe Rating




    37 comments
    1. Bailey K
      September 12, 2021 AT 5:07 pm

      5 stars
      Made these with oat flower and my own homemade Buffalo sauce and they were soooo good 🙂

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 13, 2021 AT 10:19 am

        Woo!! Pumped these cauliflower wings were a hit. Thanks for the review, Bailey. I really appreciate it!

    2. Sharon
      September 11, 2021 AT 11:55 am

      These are soooo good. They were gone in minutes. Even my non-cauliflower loving husband ate some. Yum!!!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 13, 2021 AT 10:36 am

        Woo! So happy to hear you loved these cauliflower wings, Sharon! Thanks so much for the review :).

    3. Shirley
      September 3, 2021 AT 11:09 am

      While looking at this recipe there was a snippet showing making a whipped coffee in a mixer….can I get that recipe?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 3, 2021 AT 11:19 am

        Hey Shirley – I’m assuming you’re talking about this recipe?

    4. Caroline Morrell
      September 3, 2021 AT 5:29 am

      Thoughts about airfreight these?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 3, 2021 AT 1:26 pm

        Hey Caroline – Assuming you mean air frying? I haven’t tried it, but I’d toss them in the batter, air fry them at 375°F for about 10 minutes. Then add the sauce and return for 5ish more minutes. You’ll have to let me know how these turn out for you if you try them!

        1. Caroline Morrell
          September 12, 2021 AT 1:25 pm

          5 stars
          These came out great airfried with your directions. Born, raised and still in Buffalo, NY, this Buffalo girl whole-heartedly approves. GO BILLS!

          1. Brittany Mullins
            September 13, 2021 AT 10:25 am

            Ah yay!! So happy to hear you loved this buffalo cauliflower wings, Caroline. Thanks so much for the review. It means so much to me!

    5. Eva Mitchell
      August 17, 2021 AT 8:47 pm

      Did this recipe recently change? I have it bookmarked and have made it many times, but it seems like there are new ingredients.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 18, 2021 AT 11:32 am

        Hi Eva! It did recently change. We revamped the recipe by using all-purpose flour instead of almond flour (it makes them crispier). We also omitted the avocado oil and added the paprika, sea salt and pepper. I added a note in the recipe card about how to make the original recipe if you’d like to continue making that version.

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.

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