This buffalo cauliflower recipe has been a long time coming. I’m glad to get it to you just before the big game! This recipe is a vegetarian spin on buffalo wings, featuring caramelized roasted cauliflower with an irresistibly spicy coating. It’s the perfect watch party appetizer.
Restaurant-style buffalo cauliflower is typically deep fried (and delicious), but I wanted to make homemade buffalo cauliflower in the oven. I tried it every which way to get here, and many renditions were simply not good. The cauliflower was either soggy, too saucy, too salty, or otherwise not quite right.
I gave up on the idea last year after I landed on buffalo Brussels sprouts instead.
Here’s what I ran into along the way. Many homemade buffalo cauliflower recipes feature cauliflower tossed in a flour and water mixture before baking, with the promise that it produces a deep fried effect. It would be cool if that worked, but it doesn’t. Simply roasting the cauliflower on its own doesn’t yield crispy-enough results, and tossing the cauliflower in sauce after baking negates all crispness anyway.
I finally picked up a new tip from a loosely-written Bon Appetit recipe—cornstarch. Cornstarch helps make my baked sweet potato fries extra crispy, and it does the same for this cauliflower, offering a crispy outside to a high-moisture vegetable without frying. That means that this recipe is gluten free as well. Hooray!
It’s way too easy to eat this buffalo cauliflower straight off the sheet pan before it makes it to the serving platter. You have been warned.
Watch How to Make Buffalo Cauliflower
How to Make the Best Buffalo Cauliflower
You’ll find step-by-step photos and the full recipe below, but here’s why this recipe works so well:
1) Bake at a relatively high temperature on a lower oven rack
Four-hundred twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit is my go-to temperature for tender, caramelized roasted vegetables and it is perfect for buffalo cauliflower. Lining the pan with parchment paper ensures that the cauliflower doesn’t stick to the pan, and that the sauce adheres to the cauliflower rather than the pan. We’ll bake the cauliflower on an oven rack in the lower third of the oven, which promotes extra browning (more flavor!).
2) Slice the cauliflower into large florets
Aim for two to three inches in size. The cauliflower shrinks considerably as it roasts. Don’t throw out the tiny cauliflower florets and crumbs, which turn into delicious little bits in the oven.
3) Toss the cauliflower florets with cornstarch and seasonings
Cornstarch helps crisp up the cauliflower. It makes a huge difference! We’ll lightly coat the cauliflower with cornstarch, garlic powder and black pepper, then toss with olive oil.
4) Roast the cauliflower until golden
Before we add any sauce, we’ll roast the cauliflower to evaporate excess moisture and bring out its best flavor. Bake for 20 minutes, toss, and bake until golden, about 10 more minutes.
5) Toss the roasted cauliflower with buffalo sauce
Homemade buffalo sauce is simply a mixture of melted butter and Frank’s hot sauce (you can substitute another red hot sauce, if you prefer, but Frank’s is classic). Combine the roasted cauliflower and buffalo sauce in a bowl and gently toss so the sauce coats the cauliflower all over.
6) Bake once more
Finally, return the saucy cauliflower to the oven until blistered and drier to the touch. This step brings out even more irresistible flavor and makes the buffalo cauliflower more finger friendly.
7) Serve as desired
This buffalo cauliflower is terrific with blue cheese dip or ranch dressing. Carrot sticks, bell pepper strips and celery are classic accompaniments as well.
Buffalo Cauliflower Serving Suggestions
We discovered that buffalo cauliflower makes a fun salad component. Try massaged chopped kale or romaine, my favorite chickpea salad or crispy baked chickpeas, and a creamy dressing, like ranch, blue cheese or Caesar.
Here are some Super Bowl-worthy recipes to serve with buffalo cauliflower:
- Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Favorite Chickpea Salad
- Homemade Vegetarian Chili
- Monster Cookies
- Ultimate Veggie Pizza
View more game day recipes here.
Please let me know how your buffalo cauliflower turns out in the comments. I love hearing from you.
Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
This buffalo cauliflower recipe is completely irresistible! It strikes the perfect balance of crisp, tender and spicy. Recipe yields 4 generous side servings.
- 1 large head of cauliflower (about 3 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Frank’s red hot sauce, to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Optional, for serving: Ranch dressing or blue cheese dip, carrot and celery sticks and strips of bell pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent the cauliflower from sticking.
- Cut the cauliflower into large florets, about 2 to 3 inches in size. In a medium mixing bowl, toss the cauliflower with the cornstarch, garlic powder and pepper. Then drizzle in the olive oil and toss until lightly and evenly coated.
- Arrange the florets evenly across the prepared baking sheet. Set the used bowl aside, but keep it nearby.
- Roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes on the lower rack, then gently toss. Return the pan to the lower rack and bake until the cauliflower is tender and golden, about 10 more minutes.
- Meanwhile, in your reserved bowl, combine the hot sauce and melted butter. Whisk to combine. Taste, and stir in another tablespoon of hot sauce if desired (it won’t taste as intense once it’s on the cauliflower). Once the cauliflower is golden, transfer it to the bowl and gently toss until the cauliflower is well coated.
- Arrange the cauliflower on the pan in a single layer once again. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the cauliflower is blistered in spots, about 10 more minutes. Serve as desired.
Make it dairy free/vegan: Substitute vegan butter, such as Miyoko’s Creamery brand. Serve with a suitable dip, if desired—this Creamy Avocado Dip might be nice.
Yay! I’m so excited to try this recipe as I’ve tried so many with less than stellar results. I have the utmost confidence in you and your mad kitchen skillz and will report back after I make this for the Big Game. Thank you! Signed, A Buffalo Cauliflower Fan
Thank you so much! You made my day. Enjoy the game!
Yes! yes! yes! Love this recipe. Thank you!
Hooray, thanks Ned!
Thanks for this Kate! Many of your recipes are among my favorites! Can’t wait to make this for my girlfriend who loves loves loves cauliflower wings.
Questions: have you tried making this with arrowroot instead of cornstarch? Also how do you think it’ll do with siracha instead?
Hey Shai! I haven’t tried it with arrowroot, but based on other recipes I’ve tried, I think that would work well! Please let me know if you try it. Sriracha would taste good for sure, it will just have a different flavor profile (not the characteristic buffalo flavor, which is typically associated with Frank’s).
I made it with arrowroot and it worked great, just try to get the “most evenest” coating on the cauliflower that you can.
any substitute for Frank’s red hot sauce?
Hi Anne, any red hot sauce that you enjoy would work, like Cholula or Tabasco.
Wondering how I can take this to a dinner with friends. Would it still taste good after travel (cooling off) and then serving without reheating? I have keto, diabetic and gluten free friends and think this will work great. Not easy to find an all around fit for this group.
Hey Jo! I remember enjoying the cauliflower after it cooled down, so I think that’s a good option.
Any option other than cornstarch?! I have arrowroot powder and tapioca starch in the cupboard. I realize that it is the key ingredient, but just wondering what you think!
I believe arrowroot would work!
Love this! Instead of 2 T cornstarch, I used 1 T almond flour and 1 T nutritional yeast. Great flavor!
Can arrowroot or another type of starch (such as potato starch) be used in lieu of the cornstarch?
Hi Carol! I believe arrowroot would work! You might use just a bit more than called for in the recipe.
I just want to say that we discovered Primal brand vegan buffalo sauce. It contains cashew butter and avocado oil, so no need to add butter. It is a yummy alternative to Franks, which is also great.
Perfect timing for the Superbowl! I always put cornstarch on my tofu to make it crispy. I’m definitely trying this tomorrow. Thank you!
This looks so good! I happen to have a jar of buffalo sauce, so how much should I use vs. using Frank’s Hot Sauce + melted butter.
Amazing, thank you!
You’re welcome, Patty! Thank you for your review.
Very easy, very good. Will make it again.
I’m glad you loved it, Veronica! I appreciate your review.
I’ve been waiting for this one!! I make a different version weekly and I’m going to make yours for the super bowl tomorrow. I like that yours is going to be lighter in calories than my current recipe. Now I can eat more and not feel guilty
Buffalo cauliflower is really one of my favorite things.
Thank you for your timely post!!
Thanks, Amy! Please let me know how it turns out.
This is delicious! Much easier and less messy than my buttermilk version! I’ve made this several times and it is my go-to now! Football season is getting ready to start again so we will have this every week on pizza night. Knew this was going to be great! Sorry so late getting back to review it!
I’m glad you enjoyed it, Amy! I appreciate your review.
Fantastic recipe! I have been trying different preparations for cauliflower because my husband and son don’t like it… success for the first time!!! Everyone loved it. Thanks so much!
Amazing buffalo cauliflower! I followed your recipe exactly and my husband and I devoured an entire head of cauliflower between the two of us. I made the cauliflower and me made your ranch dressing recipe. The best!!
Curious how this would work in an air fryer.
Good thought. Air fryers typically cook much quicker, so you could give it a go if you keep an eye on each cooking phase. Let me know if you try it!
Yum. Just pulled out the oven. Good flavor. Too get more crunch around the full surface next time I might cut them in smaller bites or add more oil, similar to what I do with the crispy tofu recipe. Thanks for giving this recipe.
Just made this for our own little Super Bowl party of three and they came out perfect. Followed the instructions completely and they came out crunchy and really yummy. I love that I didn’t have to fry or air fry (we don’t have an air fryer). Perfect and easy. :)
I had to hurry up and post this so that people had time to run out and buy ingredients before the start of the Super Bowl. I became a vegetarian before wings became popular, and had to look on longingly while table-mates inhaled snacks while I had to be content with dipping pizza or popcorn into that yummy sauce. This recipe is a keeper! The sauce is perfect, and roasting the cauliflower lets the nice delicate flavors shine through. The only suggestion I would make is that we cut some pieces up small and left others larger, and the small ones got crispier, so the mix of textures was fantastic. We bought two heads of cauliflower and we now need to make up the second one. The advisory about eating it straight from the sheet pan was SO true!
Kim, thank you so much for your note! Delighted to hear that the “wings” worked well for you. I love those little crispy bits, too!
Your ads or something is making your page freeze, can’t see entire list of ingredients or instructions.
I’m really sorry to hear that, Sue. That shouldn’t be happening. Does hitting refresh on the page fix it for you?
This recipe was delicious. We had it with blue cheese dressing nd sliced carrots and celery. Terrific!
Thank you, Kathie!
Terrific! Wasn’t missing out on anything Game Day Sunday with all this flavor.
Glad to hear it!
I never leave a comment but these were so delicious and easy! Such a perfect addition to a game day! Thank you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know! Have a great day, Liz!
Don’t understand football but I love snacks! My dad gave me a pretty withering look when I suggested a salad to go with his hotdog ambitions so I gave this a go instead.
My cauliflower was quite large so I roasted it on 2 sheet pans to avoid crowding them, but after tossing with the sauce they fit in one nicely. I also doubled the sauce for extra coverage and a little left for drizzling before serving, and finished with some broiling at the very end to brown further. The only other modification I made was adding onion powder, smoked paprika, and kosher salt to the other spices.
Served with celery sticks and a store bought blue cheese dressing (one from the refrigerated section, not the shelf stable ones). Turned out delicious and everyone enjoyed! Will definitely make again.
Haha, I’m with you on the football snacks! Your adjustments sound terrific and I’m so glad you all enjoyed this recipe.
I made this as directed, and for the first time ever with a Cookie and Kate recipe, I was disappointed. Flavor was excellent, it looked just like the photo, but the texture was definitely NOT crispy. At all. That said, and in spite of the recipe being a bit high maintenance, I would love to figure out what went wrong and try again. The flavors were great and the blue cheese dip a perfect accompaniment. Any ideas what I did wrong?
Hi Lynne, I’m disappointed to hear that you were disappointed by this one! In my testing, I noticed that cauliflower can vary in moisture content. The batch shown in these photos was actually my least crispy batch. I must have gotten a very high moisture cauli that time, because all of my other batches were much more crispy. Unfortunately, it’s tricky to gauge the moisture content at the store or upon slicing into it, so I don’t know of a workaround for this scenario. I think you might be pleasantly surprised by your next batch even if you don’t change a thing about the recipe. My only suggestion would be to make sure your cauliflower isn’t much over three pounds, in which case your pan just might be too crowded to crisp up.
This recipe is incredibly delicious! I made it for Super Bowl Sunday in place of wings. My husband, the wings lover, liked this even more than wings and wished we had doubled the recipe. I followed the recipe exactly and we will be having this often – weekends, during the week, with friends, as an appetizer or a vegetable. And certainly with our vegetarian friends and family! We love all of Cookie & Kate’s recipes and this is another winner. Thank you, Kate!!!
Nancy, thank you! Very happy to hear that this recipe was a winner. Have a great day!
Made it tonight. It was excellent. Thanks
I’m so glad! Thanks Rick.
Wow. Not only did you figure out how to make cauliflower taste like chicken wings, but you made my football-watching spouse very, very, very happy. Thanks for the great–and fun!–recipe.
Awesome! Glad to hear it. Thank you, Malia.
Kate and all,
Excited to try this recipe, as I love cauliflower. Can you use arrowroot instead of cornstarch?
Hi Jann! I haven’t tried, but I think arrowroot is a safe bet. Do let me know if you try it.
Excellent! Very tasty for Super Bowl, or anytime!
Hooray, thanks Vee!
worked perfectly! eager to try on zuchinni fries
Thank you for letting me know you liked it, Roman!
Hello! I enjoy and thank you for all your recipes. I’m questioning did you try tossing in oil first and then season? I’m just afraid the seasoning will just fall off the cauliflower. Again Thank you!!
Hi Katie, I found it coated best this way. I hope you try it and let me know what you think!
Sadly, my batch was not crunchy. I suspect, based on what I’ve read in the other reviews, that I need to cut the pieces smaller and use more oil.
This was excellent; fun and relatively easy to make and so very tasty. We had a hard time stopping from finishing all of it since we were full but the taste is certainly addicting. Will definitely make often and most certainly when entertaining. Thank you.
We loved this simple and delicious recipe so much that I made it 2 weeks in a row – it is now a staple I guess! And for the first time is 42 years, my husband is actually enjoying cauliflower.
We just keep the leftovers in the fridge and snack on them during the day.
Love this recipe! Thank you!
Hooray! That’s great to hear, Elaine.
G des C
This recipe is fabulous! I had a small head of cauli so did 1 Tbsp of butter and 3 Tbsp Frank’s. Will have this on repeat. I LOVE the cornstarch trick. Genius!
Thank you for existing this blog and your cookbook never let me down. :-)
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
Absolutely loved this recipe. The cornstarch is genius! We ate the entire bowl in minutes. I have been reading your blog for years and love it!
Hooray! I love to hear that, Suzanne.
made this with my boyfriend for dinner exactly as directed – it’s delicious! we doubled the recipe , using 2 heads of cauliflower and we finished it all in one sitting, it was our dinner and so satisfying! will def make again
I love to hear that, Elana! I appreciate your review.
These were amazing! Im converted from chicken wings to cauliflower now. Anyone try finishing them in an air fryer? Boy they are so good they are gone!
I’m glad you love this recipe, Tracy!
I made these last night for dinner and followed the recipe exactly. The parts of the florets in contact with the pan were crisp, the rest rather soft. Taste was excellent, just right. I guess I was expecting them to be crispy all round. They weren’t, but thy are still very good. I’d make them again.
Thank you for sharing, Jim!
Love the concept but unfortunately these didn’t come out crispy as expected but more soft with a small hint of crisp here and there. I am wondering if the fact that I used organic cauliflower caused there to be extra moisture, creating steam and robbing my cauliflower of crispiness? Also once they got onto the plate they really got mushy. Boo. Anyway not your fault bc I’m sure something was working against me here since you spent a whole year (!!!) developing this concept, but I’d love to know your suggestions.
Hi Andrea, I’m sorry to hear that! It sounds like they may have needed more time. Did you get the florets tossed evenly in the seasoning mix?
This is the best buffalo cauliflower technique I’ve tried. Ive made it twice now and I love the crispy charred bits that form on the florets! I’m general, I really appreciate how reliable the recipes are on this site. This one is no exception.
My one modification is based on something I’ve done for buffalo cauliflower for years now. In addition to garlic powder and pepper, I add dried dill and some ranch seasoning. It really takes this recipe to the next level!
I’m glad you loved it! Thanks for sharing, Brooke.
I’m glad you enjoyed it, James!
Loved it and was a huge it at my dinner party. Thanks
You’re welcome, Noha! Thank you for your review.
Great recipe. I used the idea from a Buffalo tofu recipe from ‘Peas and Crayons’ and stirred in 2/3 of the Buffalo sauce after the first 20 minutes of roasting. Worked great. I haven’t done it as the recipe specifies, so I am not sure which is better.
This was fantastic! I substituted avocado oil for the butter, but otherwise, made as written.
Love this! Works for my carnivores too.
Hooray! Thank you for sharing.
We’re not vegetarian but eat a lot of veggies. Our son’s girlfriend is vegetarian so we have this new threshold…is it Freya worthy (her name). Finally made this yesterday for her. She loved it “this is really good”. Made it again tonight. Love it.
Thank you for sharing, David! I appreciate your review.
I’ve made this twice in the last week. Couldn’t be easier and absolutely delicious. The texture is light and crispy and lovely!
That’s great, Amy!
I visit your website all the time and lover your recipes, but I’m not one to really comment until now. These were exceptional. My husband spent a full year perfecting a skinless rotisserie chicken wing that is somewhat healthy and flavorful. These are so much better than those! I will never eat a chicken wing again. (I am not vegetarian nor vegan.) They are truly that good.
Hooray! I’m glad you loved this recipe and many others. Thank you for your review, Beth!
This Buffalo Cauliflower was a hit at dinner this evening. I used Saracha instead because that’s what I had in my fridge. The cauliflower was tender and meaty on the inside and charred on the outside. It was so delicious that there were no left overs. Great instructions and easy to follow. Thanks!
Hooray! I’m happy to hear that, Mel. I appreciate your review.
I just realized I’ve had this recipe open on my computer for over a month and when I make this today it’ll be my 3rd time making it! It’s so good! I know I was warned but I did pick at them while they were “cooling” on the pan and ended up eating them all before they even made it to the plate!
This was DELICIOUS ‼️‼️
I’m glad you loved it, Liz! I appreciate your review.
Love the taste of this and have made it twice now. How do I get the cauliflower from falling apart after roasting in the oven? I cut them into larger florets the second time around, but I am still left with the majority in crumbles. Delicious crumbles, at least.
Hi Jenn! Does your cauliflower seem airy or dense? That can impact how it holds together.
Was gone before I could get a picture.
I did add a teaspoon of sugar.
Wasn’t as crispy as I had hoped, but I fully attribute that to me being too lazy to dry off my cauliflower after I had washed it. Flavor was delicious anyway! I also added a diced sweet potato and a red onion for the heck of it. I threw the finished product in a warm pita and added spinach and a drizzle of ranch and it truly hit the spot. This will be going on my rotation for sure.
I’m glad you were still able to enjoy it, Abby!
Great recipe! I’ve been making it like once a week since I came across it. I’d love to try it in a salad, but it never lasts that long. Who knew corn starch had so much magic? Kate knew. Thanks again for this one!
You’re welcome, Emily! I’m glad you loved it.
Stuff like this is why Cookie and Kate is my favorite recipe blog. Easy to make, but still tasty enough that my non-veg friends don’t feel like they’re going without if I make it for a dinner!
Thank you, Rachel! I appreciate your review.
Omg, this is so good!! I did turn oven to 400 because I didn’t have parchment paper and didn’t want it to burn and used sweet baby Rays buffalo sauce. So sorry I didn’t do the entire head of cauliflower. Thank you, thank you, wonderful for my card party.
OMG! It was amazing, perfect crunch and tasted . Thank you
You’re welcome, Renuka!
This was a hit for dinner. Saved for next time!
Great to hear, James!
I just made this and it was amazing! Great recipe, Thank you
You’re welcome, Sarah! I appreciate your review.
This was amazing! Your trying and trying again was worth it. So delicious. Thanks
You’re welcome, Reanna! I appreciate your review.
Could you use frozen cauliflower?
Hi! It may not get the same texture, but the taste may still work. Let me know if you try it.
I’ve made this a few times. Delicious! It beats ordering them at a restaurant for sure! My favorite thing about this recipe is my husband uses the exact same sauce ratio for his wings making it an easy meal in this vegetarian vs meat household!! Last night, we made Buffalo cauliflower/chicken wraps.
That sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing, Audra.
This was excellent! Turned it into tacos.
I love that idea! Thank you for sharing, Aviva.
Can you make this recipe one day ahead?
I prefer it best served right away for the best results.
By far the best
This is a really good recipe. Better than the deep fried options available at take out places.
Thanks for Sharing this Awesome recipe. great and good recipe you have shared.
You’re welcome! I’m delighted you enjoyed it.
Oh my, this was great, (my bad – using my guy’s hot sauce so it was a bit HOT, but that’s on me.) Your recipe is easy, well laid out, and fabulous. thank you, thank you
btw: I also added carrot sticks and brussel sprouts to the cauliflower, and they were wonderful as well.
I’m excited you enjoyed it, Cate! Thank you for your review.
This was super delicious! The next day, I reheated the leftovers in the air fryer. Mmm.
Great to hear, Tracy! Thank you for sharing.
This recipe is delicious and healthy!! The crispy bits are everything! Since I’m single, I halved the recipe and found it to be a perfect snack during football. Also, I might’ve missed it but I did not see what temperature they should be baked at. I used 375 Fahrenheit.
I’ve only ever had deep-fried Buffalo cauliflower, which is great but not healthy. What a delicious alternative! We made 1/2 a recipe for 2, and served it with roasted potato fries and a high-protein greens mix with a simple creamy dressing. The perfect dinner! We will definitely make this again.
Great to hear, Cindy! I appreciate your review.
I’m so excited to try this! Do you think it could still work with frozen cauliflower?
It may be a little softer, but may work. Be sure to thaw first. Let me know how it turns out, Bayley!
So good! I could eat the whole thing by myself!
Love to hear that, Magdaline!
Overall it was pretty good. However, the cornstarch gave the cauliflower a grainy taste. Any solutions on how to fix that?
Did you use starch or cornmeal?
Hi Kate! I made these last night for the Oscars, and they tasted great! I did everything you said to do, but my florets were kind of limp. What could I do to crisp them up when I make them next time? Just not cook as long? (or that’s the way they’re supposed to be.) Thanks!
Great to hear, Amy! I’m glad you loved it.
Was having trouble making them crisp up before adding sauce. Was using tin foil since I didn’t have parchment, cooked for 50mins. Thanks
After reading multiple recipes online, I decided to come here to check yours…. It’s amazing and so simple. Thank you for doing what you do!
I’m glad you love it!
Made this tonight with some rib eye steaks and a tossed tomato, beet greens, cucumber salad. It was fabulous!! The blue cheese dressing went with the steak, salad and the awesome cauliflower. Will make again again for sure! Thank you Kathryne.
You’re welcome, Heidi!
Hi this looks delicious. Would it be possible to prepare any of this in advance for a dinner party. Thanks