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Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower

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These Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings” are CRUNCHY & TASTY as HECK! The PERFECT Game Day Snack!

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never really cared for Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower. But I’ll also be the first to admit that I was wrong! I’m not sure if I just had a bad batch in the past, because these homemade wings were FANTASTIC! In fact, I’m a huge fan of fried cauliflower now, and can’t wait to experiment with some more variations on it!

I think the main problem for me was the breading, or lack thereof. Since we are frying these with a proper breading, they will be ridiculously CRUNCHY and perfectly seasoned.

Oh and if anybody gives you grief over calling these “Wings” just remind them that chickens don’t have “Drumsticks” either!

FRYING CAULIFLOWER

To fry the cauliflower, we will be setting up a typical dredging station. We’ll have some seasoned flour, and then our vegan “buttermilk” which we will also thicken up with a few tablespoons of the dry dredge mix. I’ve found that this is a fool-proof way to get a nice thick batter that sticks to the cauliflower. Certain plant milks will simply not thicken enough even after adding apple cider vinegar.

Get a head of cauliflower, cut it in half, and then quarters, and then finally cut into eighths. Then break or cut bite size pieces off. Don’t worry if they aren’t all the same size. They will fry up just fine!

Then we need to dredge them in our flour and buttermilk mixtures. You can do this by going into the dry, then wet, then back to the dry. Or you can do a double dredge and start with the wet, then dry, and then repeat for a double. You may need to adjust the wet batter a bit if you go with the double, but I didn’t have any issues.

Make sure you shake off the excess flour and let the excess wet batter drip off. Use a fork for the flour and a slotted spoon for the wet, this will make dredging a lot easier and less messy.

These “Wings” are great just as nuggets too, feel free to dip them in whatever you want!

Next we just need to fry them in some neutral oil (like peanut, vegetable, canola etc) at for about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Try to keep the oil temperature between 330 F – 360 F (165 C – 182 C) for best results. Lower temperature can result in soggy wings. Too high, and you risk undercooking the cauliflower by the time the breading is golden. Then let them rest on a wire rack.

Now these are great on their own, and in fact I like to just dip them directly in some Buffalo Sauce. However, if you’d like to coat them in the traditional way, then douse them in some Homemade BUFFALO SAUCE, RECIPE HERE! You can always use store bought Buffalo Sauce (make sure it’s vegan) but the homemade stuff is WAY BETTER! It’s super easy to make too!

However the longer these sit in the sauce, the less crunchy the will be. So sauce them right before you eat them (which ideally should be right after you fry them!)

do i need to par-cook cauliflower before frying?

I personally found the texture of the cauliflower perfect after frying. It was soft but not mushy, and wasn’t raw or crunchy at all. It had a little bit of a snap, but nothing unpleasant. You can either steam the florettes until fork tender, or try letting the cauliflower hang out in brine for 1 hour. I saw this on a Brian Lagerstrom video HERE.

Ingredients

  • Cauliflower – I know, Captain Obvious right! You can also use Tofu, Mushrooms, Seitan, or any other kind of Vegan Chick’n you like!
  • Flour & Cornstarch – I call for equal amounts AP Flour and Cornstarch to get some good crunchy action. You can use an all-purpose GF flour too.
  • Baking Powder – The secret ingredient to super crunchy fried anything, thanks to SCIENCE!
  • Cayenne – Feel free to add as much cayenne as your spicy loving heart desires! The amount I use makes these pleasantly spicy, but if you like things HOT I would triple or quadruple it.
  • Seasonings – I call for garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast, but add whatever you like.
  • Vegan Buttermilk – To make our wet dredge we’ll be using some unsweetened plant milk, Frank’s hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, vegan worcestershire and a few tablespoons of the dry dredge to thicken it even more. I’ve found that some plant milks won’t thicken and curdle with just the apple cider vinegar, so this is a failsafe and will guarantee a crispy breading.
  • Buffalo Sauce – I have a super EASY recipe RIGHT HERE!

Can I bake or Air Fry Buffalo Cauliflower?

I tried baking and air frying these, and I gotta be honest, they were not that good. Don’t get me wrong, I ate every single one of them, but compared to the deep fried, they leave a lot to be desired. I think I need to develop a recipe specifically for baking or air frying them. You can try doing something like THIS RECIPE too.

But if you want to bake them, I would suggest dredging them in some panko breadcrumbs after the wet dredge. Then bake at 400 F / 200 C for 20 minutes, baste them with Buffalo Sauce and then bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.

Same for air frying, except half the time (so 10 minutes flipping halfway through, and then 2 – 5 minutes after basting with sauce).

TIPS FOR VEGAN FRIED CHICK’N

  • Use a heavy bottomed pot (Stainless SteelCast IronCarbon Steel etc)
  • I highly recommend a Deep Fry Thermometer to monitor the oil temp.
  • Use a neutral tasting, high smoke point oil (Canola, Vegetable, Peanut etc.)
  • Make sure to use UNSWEETENED plant milk. I like RIPPLE the best.
  • Add flour as needed to thicken the vegan buttermilk mixture.
  • Shake off the excess flour and batter when you dredge.
  • Fry a test nugget to test the seasoning and adjust as needed.
  • Let the chick’n rest on a Wire Rack after frying to prevent soggy chick’n.

SAFETY TIPS FOR DEEP FRYING

  • Don’t leave the pot unattended.
  • Keep children away from the pot.
  • Don’t fill the pot more than halfway with oil. Don’t overcrowd it as well.
  • Turn the handles of the pot away from you to avoid accidental spills.
  • Keep a lid nearby so you can cover the pot if it catches fire.
  • Never use water to put out an oil fire.
  • Get a Fire Extinguisher just to be extra safe. This isn’t just good for deep frying, but for having in the house in general!

Deep Fry Alternatives

If you want to see about alternatives to deep frying, check out my BEST WAYS TO FRY VEGAN CHICKEN post!

other buffalo recipes!

handy dandy video here!

Recommendations for Kitchen Gear, Spices & Pantry Items, or what I use for my Photos and Videos, are HERE!

Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower

Thee Burger Dude
4.91 from 11 votes
Course Game Day Meals
Servings 6 – 8 Servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium to large head cauliflower
  • 1-2 cups Vegan Buffalo Sauce recipe linked above and below
  • Oil for frying

Dry Dredge

  • 1 cup 120g all purpose flour
  • 1 cup 120g cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne more to taste

Wet Dredge

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce ideally Frank’s
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce vegan
  • 3 Tbsp of the Dry Dredge

Instructions
 

  • Cut the head of cauliflower in half, and then into quarters, and then into eighths. Break or cut off bite size pieces of cauliflower, making sure to trim out the tough core / stems.
  • You can steam the cauliflower until fork tender, or just fry them raw (I personally liked raw but if you want a really soft texture steam them first).
  • To make the Dry Dredge, simply combine everything in a small baking pan or wide rimmed dish. Do the same to prepare the wet dredge.
  • Fill a dutch oven or large pot with enough neutral high smoke point oil to cover the cauliflower, but don't fill up the pot more than halfway. Heat the oil to 350 F / 175 C.
  • Dredge the cauliflower pieces first in the dry dredge, coating thoroughly, shaking off the excess, and then into the wet dredge, coating thoroughly and shaking off the excess. Repeat in the dry dredge. (to Double Dredge, start with the wet, then dry, and then repeat. You may need to increase the wet batter a bit to compensate for the double dredge).
  • Once cauliflower is coated, fry them in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan. The temperature will drop by about 15 degrees, but as long as you keep it between 330 – 360 F, you should be fine.
  • Fry Cauliflower until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and let them rest on a wire rack.
  • In a large bowl, smother them in BUFFALO SAUCE, and toss them around to coat. Serve immediately with some vegan ranch or blue cheese and ENJOY!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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6 Comments

  1. This recipe is AMAZING. It tasted amazing and resulted in great crispy cauliflower with good texture. I decided to steam them bcs i was worried it would be too raw if i skipped steaming but I think i should have just partially steamed them. The cauliflower on their own without buffalo sauce are already super tasty and could be served on their own with a simple dipping sauce, but they are elevated by mixing them with any wing sauce you would usually use! It tastes super good with buffalo sauce tho, and I also made a sweet thai chili sauce to mix with the cauliflower as well. This recipe is super compatible to any sauce you want to add!

    1. Nice, I love to hear it! Yeah, I found that they didn’t need steaming. I think whenever I’ve had these in a restaurant they were too soft, but I find that they get cooked perfectly just from frying and still have a bit of snap, but aren’t super crunchy or raw. Glad you liked them!

  2. Made them both in the oven and fried. Both delicious but you’re right about fried being the way to go! So good!

    1. Awesome! I’d like to try to develop a recipe for the air fryer or baked that’s just as good (or at least almost!)

  3. I just made this recipe and my wings came out soooo good! This recipe greatly satisfied my craving for Buffalo Chicken wings! Thank you.

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