Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. Whether roasted, made into pizza crust, or tossed in a vegetable curry, I love how versatile it is. And this Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower is my new favorite way to eat it!
An air fryer is a great way to get extra crispy cauliflower, of course, but you can also bake the cauliflower instead. Either way, this cauliflower works great as a hearty vegetable side or served with spicy blue cheese dip as an appetizer. Yum!
The Trick to Extra-Crispy Cauliflower
Cauliflower will get a little crispy if you just fry or bake it without any breading, but to get it super crispy, a light breading is key. Toss the cauliflower with spices, add it to an egg mix, and then coat it with breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs help keep the spices on the cauliflower and amp up the crispy outer coating.
Also, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer if you want super crispy cauliflower. It quickly sears the cauliflower and creates a beautiful crust. It also cooks quickly and is pretty easy to clean up.
This crispy cauliflower is best to eat as soon as possible out of the air fryer, so it’s warm, and the breading is crispy. It’s okay to let it sit for a few minutes while you finish another batch, but if it sits for too long (over 30 minutes) it starts to lose some of its crispiness.
No Air-Fryer? No Problem! Make Crispy Cauliflower in the Oven
To make crispy cauliflower in the oven, spread the cauliflower in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 ̊F oven. Rotate the cauliflower once while it’s baking to ensure it cooks evenly.
I don’t think the oven version gets quite as crispy as the air fryer version, because you are missing that intense direct heat, but it’s still darn good.
What to Serve With Crispy Cauliflower
You can serve this vegetable as a side dish to any protein, like pan-seared chicken or pork chops. But my favorite way to eat crispy cauliflower is as a hearty appetizer with a quick spicy blue cheese dip. The flavors go great together, and it’s a nice addition to an appetizer spread.
Suggestions and Substitutions
- If you don’t want to do the breading, just toss the cauliflower in olive oil and add the spices. It’ll still okay to roast or air fry and get some crispy edges.
- If you’re gluten-sensitive, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or cornmeal to coat the cauliflower.
More Air Fryer Appetizers
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Crispy Air Fryer Chickpeas
- Air Fryer Bacon-Wrapped Figs
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- Air Fryer Chinese Egg Rolls
Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower
- For the blue cheese dip:
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- Dash of hot sauce
- For the crispy cauliflower:
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 large eggs + 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- Nonstick spray, for air fryer
Make the blue cheese dip:
Stir together ingredients in a medium bowl. Keep in fridge until needed.
Prepare the cauliflower:
Cut the cauliflower into florets. It’s okay to have a few different sizes, but try to make sure there are no florets bigger than about 1 1/2 inches.
Bread the cauliflower:
In a medium bowl toss florets with salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. In a separate small bowl, add eggs and water and whisk together. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to coat. Once the cauliflower is coated with the egg mixture, toss with breadcrumbs and coat well.
Air-fry the cauliflower:
Spray the basket of an air fryer with nonstick spray and place as many cauliflower florets in the basket as will fit in a single layer. Return the basket to the fryer and cook at 350 ̊F for 7 minutes. Then flip the florets and fry for another 7 minutes.
Repeat until all cauliflower is done.
Serve cauliflower immediately once all batches are done, or serve on a rolling basis as the batches come out of the fryer. Cauliflower is best right out of the fryer! Serve with the blue cheese dip as an appetizer or side dish.