These buffalo cauliflower steaks are battered in a blend of vegan buttermilk, bourbon, flour, spices and hot sauce. Once chilled, they are air-fried to crispy perfection! Call it a vegan chicken sandwich, call it a fried cauliflower sandwich. Either way, it’s damn delicious.
Looking for crispy buffalo goodness without firing up a vat of hot oil? This buffalo cauliflower recipe uses a method that creates that crispy exterior with little ridges and ripples. It’s so good to bite into and holds up well when doused in sauce.
How to make this recipe
First, butcher your cauliflower, give it a quick boil, and allow it to chill. This will soften up your cauliflower just enough to give it a tender yet firm texture.
Next, batter your cauliflower. Make a dry batter in one bowl and a wet batter in another. Dust the cauliflower in your dry mixture, set aside. Next dunk it into the wet mixture. Add a little of the wet mixture into the dry batter, then pack it around the cauliflower. Chill it.
Air fry your cauliflower. Give all sides a generous blast of cooking spray. After 10 minutes in the air fryer, this happens! Crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside.
Next, douse in your favorite prepared buffalo sauce (or prepare your own by melting 1:1 ratio of vegan butter with your favorite hot sauce). Air fry again to get this:
It’s perfect for piling onto a burger, or eating as is with some vegan bleu cheese dressing. Daiya and Follow Your Heart both make good ones. Serve the florets with celery and vegan bleu cheese as an appetizer if you like.
If you can’t cram it all into your face in one sitting, don’t fret. These can be tossed into the air fryer later … they’ll still come out super crispy and delicious as the first time!
More ways to serve these crispy cauliflower steaks!
Throw the florets onto a pizza
Douse the steaks in sriracha-maple syrup instead and serve with waffles
Slather the florets in a butter-sriracha sauce for vegan wings
Use can alternatively use this method with tofu!
If serving on a bun, slathering it with a little vegan butter and toasting it up is 100% essential. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to plain old buns. 🙂Print
Air-Fried Buffalo Cauliflower Steaks
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Diet: Vegan
These buffalo cauliflower steaks are so crispy and perfect on a buttery toasted bun! This method involves battering softened cauliflower steaks, chilling them, and air frying. This process creates that ripply texture that’s so satisfying to bite into and holds up to sauces very well!
for the cauliflower
- one large head of cauliflower
- salt and pepper
for the dry ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 TB garlic powder
- 1 TB onion powder
- 1 TB salt
- 1 TB paprika
- 2 tsp cayenne (optional)
for the wet ingredients
- 1 cup soymilk, with 2 tsp apple cider vinegar whisked in
- 2 TB Follow Your Heart VeganEgg powder, blended with 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 2 TB bourbon
- 1 TB hot sauce
for frying and coating
- Spray oil
- at least one cup of prepared buffalo sauce. (You can also make your own by mixing a 1:1 ratio of melted vegan butter with a vinegar-based hot sauce)
- toasted hamburger buns
- cabbage or lettuce
- red onion
- tomato and/or avocado
- vegan bleu cheese dressing
- extra buffalo sauce
to prep the cauliflower
- To cut your cauliflower steaks, place a head of cauliflower stem side down on a cutting board. Using a large knife, slice it down the very middle. Then cut down again on each half to create 3 or 4, 1-inch thick slabs. Chop up the leftover portion of the cauliflower into little, bite-sized florets.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place the cauliflower into the pot, let the boil return, wait about a minute, then transfer the florets to a cookie sheet with a wire rack over it to cool. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Leave out for 30 minutes, or throw into your refrigerator to cool.
to make the breading
- Combine all of the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Combine all of the wet ingredients into a separate medium-sized bowl.
- Working one piece at a time, coat the steaks and florets evenly in the dry mixture, tapping off any extra and placing it back onto the wire rack.
- Pour 3 tablespoons of the wet mixture into the dry mixture and combine with a rubber spatula.
- Working one piece at a time, dunk the steaks and florets into the wet mixture, then pack the moistened flour mixture firmly around it.
- Return the battered cauliflower back onto the wire rack and place into the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes.
to air fry the cauliflower
- Spray the cauliflower steaks evenly with cooking spray. Place into the air fryer at 400 degrees and cook for 10 minutes, flipping the slabs over halfway through the cooking time. Apply a little more spray over any areas that look dry and cook for an additional minute or two if needed to achieve a deeply golden color all over.
- Place the buffalo sauce into a bowl, then carefully turn the steaks around in the bowl to coat. Place back into the air fryer and fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, or until the edges look crispy.
- Repeat the process with the florets. Air fry time will take less with the florets since they are smaller. Just give them a shake halfway through the cook time, and spray any areas with cooking spray that look dry.
- Serve immediately on toasted hamburger buns or with celery and vegan bleu cheese dressing.
These can be made beforehand and recrisped in the air fryer at 400 at 5-7 minutes per side at 400 degrees for steaks and 6-8 minutes for florets, giving them a shake halfway through cooking time.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Chill Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Lunch, Dinner
- Method: Battered, Air-Fried
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: air-fried cauliflower, cauliflower steaks, buffalo cauliflower, how to batter cauliflower, air-fried cauliflower steaks
These look amazing! What type of air fryer do you use?
Iona, thanks. I use GoWise because it was on sale, but I think they are all pretty much the same!
it looks so delicious thank you for the recipe. i should try it.
That cauliflower is seriously on point! Easily one of the best renditions I’ve seen come out of an air fryer.
Thank you, Hannah!
Joy-Marie Snell says
why use an air fryer? this is the first time i heard of the appliance.
Well, I think the result shows you why: you get a crispy “fried” texture without submerging in hot oil!
Mary Anne says
Could you get the same result in the oven as well?
Colleen McAllister says
I can’t wait to try this. I use an air fryer all the time. I have 3 of them!
Now that’s commitment, Colleen! Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Kristina Hjorth Jensen says
AMAZING recipe!! A favorite since I first made it.
Kristina, thanks for your feedback … I’m so happy you enjoyed it!!
Brian Cerda says
Do they get crispy if you bake?
Brian, I have not tried baking them, so I can’t say for sure. But if you try with good results, I’d love to know!
Brian Cerda says
Wow. I went to buy that egg substitute. 8 bucks for bout 4 eggs
Veganism is expensive!
VeganEgg is sold by a variety of sellers, who set prices that are not controlled by Follow Your Heart. I buy this at my Whole Foods for 6 dollars. The standard packaging holds the equivalent of a dozen eggs, so I’m not sure where you are seeing on the package that it’s the equivalent of 4 eggs?
Either way, I think making a broad, generalized statement that “Veganism is expensive” based on the price of one specific vegan product isn’t accurate or fair.
A quick google of “vegan egg substitutes” will give you plenty of choices to find alternatives or make your own egg substitutes for a variety of dishes. For example, Ener-G brand egg replacer will likely work here, but may give slightly different results. I hope you can find one that works for you!
Jennifer Bliss says
This is ALL KINDS OF YUM! It’s been forever and a day since my last comment…like literally YEARS…sorry about that! Mind if I link you and visit and comment more often!? I’m re-working my blogroll so I don’t lose track of my faves!
I saw a long wire basket that sits inside of a copper pan at Bed Bath and Beyond. Do you think that works as well or close to an air fryer? I could buy one but boy, even my kitchen I’m running out of room. Your thoughts please?
Enjoy the snow. California is on fire at the moment so breathe some clean air for me too….ha!
Alas this is a bit late, but in case you’re still interested, no, a basket in a pan isn’t anything like an air fryer. Air fryers are smaller and more focused versions of convection ovens. You can get things that seem to approach meeting in the middle between the ovens and the “fryers,” but nothing less than a convection oven will even approach what you can do with the air fryer.
Ann vanvleck says
That looks so good Abe I can’t wait. I don’t have air fryer but would this work in my small fry baby?
I can’t buy another appliance!
Elizabeth Higgins says
Pardon my slowness but it was only after getting to the ingredient’s list that I realized the “burger steaks” used here were actually cauliflower steaks. Truth be told, I could not tell the difference at all because your cauliflower steaks just looked like the real deal, Erin! I think using sweet onions would also add more flavor to the burgers instead of the red onion ones. Do you suggest serving these cauliflowers as they are with a different kind of dressing on the side? If so, any dressing that you recommend? Thank you so much!
Is it possible to omit the cooking spray and still have this recipe turn out normal/ crispy? I am trying to omit all processed oils, and butters from my diet. It’s all new to me, because cooking with olive oil has been my go to for most of my life. Thank you in advance.
No, you need oil to make this crispy. A few spritzes of spray oil should be enough here. I hope you enjoy!
Kelly Stevens says
This recipe came up when I searched for air fryer cauliflower steaks. So glad it did and that I found your blog. This was delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Looking forward to trying others.
Got a Cuisinart air fryer for Christmas and tried this out. I added a bit of Panko for extra crunch. This is a phenomenal recipe. I made a quick slaw, pickled onions, and sweet and spicy pickles, and a light smear of vegan garlic aioli on the bun. Wowza!!! So good. My reluctantly vegan husband loved this haha
Caitlin, so happy this turned out great with your new air fryer. Gotta love it when someone is reluctant or skeptical about a dish and it changes their mind. Enjoy your air fryer — I use mine daily and cannot imagine my kitchen without one!
What could you use in replace of bourbon? I know it will cook out and leave flavor, but I have a sensitive guest. I love everything else about this and would love to try!
I think it should be fine if you just leave it out … I hope you enjoy!
It was amazing Erin! Truly impressed! We left the Buffalo sauce out and made gravy instead! Wow! Then the next day, we had the left overs on a salad! I didn’t think my husband would be into it but he LOVES it! 🙏🏼
Jessica, thanks so much for your feedback, so happy it was a hit!