Flavorful, crispy, and satisfying Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are a must-have when it comes to game day. Add this recipe to your appetizer spread with a side of ranch for an absolute classic made vegan and gluten-free (paleo too)!
Buffalo wings are high, high up on my husband's list of favorite foods, so you can imagine how excited he was when he found out I was developing a recipe for Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites! He was all too happy to be my official taste tester. This final recipe got devoured (he ate almost the entire batch in one sitting!), and they're even more satisfying and filling than I thought they would be.
The flavor is SUPER authentic, with an incredibly crispy outside and tender inside. It's perfect paired with my Homemade Vegan Ranch Dressing! My husband is absolutely thrilled that this recipe is getting added to our game day appetizer spread, and I'm so excited to have a vegan buffalo wings recipe for all of the other fans out there!
This recipe only has 5 ingredients! The breadcrumbs are an easy one to make ahead of time so they're ready to go when you want to make these bites.
- Cauliflower - I used a medium head of cauliflower (1.5 pounds) cut into small, even-sized florets. Cutting the cauliflower evenly is an important step because we want them to cook evenly!
- Arrowroot Powder - This is a thickening agent that works similarly to corn starch. It thickens at a low temperature and adds a bit of stretchiness. When combined with water it turns into a batter that helps the breadcrumbs stick to the cauliflower!
- Panko Breadcrumbs - You can buy gluten-free breadcrumbs, but I prefer my homemade gluten-free vegan version for taste, texture and nutrition (it adds plant-based protein and healthy fats)! These are really simple to make, and for this recipe I pulse them a few extra times in the food processor since I find smaller crumbs stick to the cauliflower better.
- Vegan Butter - I usually reach for Miyokos brand. It has amazing flavor and it melts just like real butter. You could also use an avocado oil spray for a lightened-up version, although I preferred the taste of the vegan butter.
- Buffalo Sauce - This recipe calls for one cup of buffalo sauce, which is exactly one bottle of the Primal Kitchen sauce I love! You can use any buffalo sauce you like; just double check the ingredients.
How to Make Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites
This dish has a few more steps than most of my recipes, but I promise it's super easy to make! A little bit of preparation and ingredient assembly at the beginning goes a long way in making delicious and crispy cauliflower bites.
- Start with some prep. Preheat the oven, line a baking sheet, and pour the breadcrumbs into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the arrowroot powder with the water until it's smooth and thick (it should have a texture like glue). This is your batter!
- It's time to batter the florets! One at a time, dip them into the arrowroot liquid, then into the breadcrumbs. They should be fully coated on all sides before you place them on the baking sheet (or cast iron skillet). Once they're all battered, drizzle the bites with melted butter or spray them generously with avocado oil spray.
- Bake the bites. Put them in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes on the middle rack. Remove them from the oven and toss them in the buffalo sauce; just like before, each piece should be fully coated. This can be done on the baking sheet or in a large bowl. I use tongs and handle the florets very gently so they stay intact! Bake for another 5 minutes.
- Flip and bake for 5 more minutes! Flip each floret 180 degrees, drizzle with the rest of the melted butter (or give them another spray with avocado oil), and bake for a final 5 minutes. Watch closely at the end to make sure they don't burn.
- Serve them hot. Use tongs to move the bites onto a serving platter and serve them alongside carrots, celery sticks, and vegan ranch dressing for dipping.
Tip to make them extra crispy: After baking, broil the bites at 550-degrees for a couple of minutes to finish them off! Again, watch closely to avoid burning all of your hard work!
How to Store
These bites are best served fresh. They can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and enjoyed for up 2-3 days, but they will not be as crispy as when they are fresh out of the oven.
When reheating, broil for a couple minutes for best results to help them get crispy again. You can also reheat in the oven or air fryer. Microwaving will certainly heat them up, but you would be sacrificing the crispiness that way.
The Best Vegan Buffalo Sauce
This recipe calls for one cup of vegan buffalo sauce. I use the Primal Kitchen brand, which you can now find in most major grocery stores. They have a short, clean ingredient list that starts with avocado oil and cashew butter. Primal Kitchen also makes a jalapeño buffalo sauce if you want to really turn up the heat!
All About Cauliflower
I don't think most people realize how versatile and amazing cauliflower is! Cauliflower is full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folic acid. It’s also really low in calories and great for digestion and iron absorption as well. I use it to make Vegan Shawarma, in savory and comforting Mashed Cauliflower with Roasted Garlic, and even as a hidden veggie in some of my favorite smoothies!
Buffalo Bites with Plant-Based Protein
Even though these bites are totally vegan, they still contain a decent amount of plant-based protein thanks to my breadcrumb recipe! Since the breadcrumbs are both vegan and gluten-free, I make them with almonds and cashews for an alternative that's flavorful and gives the perfect structure and crunch to any recipe that uses them.
Almonds have many benefits for vegans. They are low in carbohydrates and high in protein. They also offer a good source of fiber, healthy fats, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Cashews, also important in the vegan diet, have plant-based protein as well in addition to copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, phosphorous and zinc.
Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
What's a good cauliflower buffalo bites recipe without ranch dressing to go with it?! I serve these crispy bites with celery, carrots, and my Homemade Vegan Ranch. This recipe tastes just like the real deal, and when served with these bites, it's a super authentic game day appetizer!
These bites are vegan (no meat, eggs, or dairy!), gluten-free, paleo and Whole30 friendly. They're a really fun and allergen-friendly addition to game day! If you make them, tag me on Instagram and leave a review below so I can cheer you on.
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More Vegan & Gluten-Free Appetizers
- Best Vegan 7-Layer Dip
- Sheet Pan Vegan Nachos
- Easy Vegan Zucchini Pizza Bites
- Best Crispy BBQ Roasted Cauliflower
- Actually Crispy BBQ Roasted Chickpeas
- Mini Peppers with Roasted Sweet Pepper Hummus
- Dijon Chickpea Fritters
- Vegan & Gluten-Free Baked Crispy Cauliflower Poppers
- Sweet & Salty Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Healthy Maple Candied Pecans
- Sweet & Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
Flavorful, crispy, and satisfying buffalo cauliflower bites are a must-have when it comes to game day...and these are vegan and gluten-free!
- 1 medium (1.5 pounds) head of cauliflower, cut into small even-sized florets (see my 1-minute video on how to cut cauliflower into florets)
- 3 tablespoons filtered water
- 5 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (this is my homemade gluten-free vegan version)
- ¼ cup vegan butter and/or avocado oil spray
- 1 cup vegan paleo buffalo sauce (I love Primal Kitchen - 1 bottle is 1 cup)
- serve with my homemade vegan ranch dip alongside carrots and celery sticks
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a half sheet baking sheet with parchment paper OR spray a cast iron skillet very generously with avocado oil.
- Pour the breadcrumbs into a wide bowl and set aside. I find this recipe works best with finer breadcrumbs (the larger chunks won't stick as well to the cauliflower).
- In another bowl, whisk together water and arrowroot powder until smooth. It should be thick and sticky like glue. This is your batter.
- To “batter” the cauliflower florets, dip them one at a time, first into the water/arrowroot powder mixture (fully coating) and second into the panko breadcrumb mixture until fully coated on all sides with breadcrumbs. Place on the baking sheet or in the skillet and repeat until all florets have been fully coated.
- Spray the breaded cauliflower bites very generously with avocado oil spray. Or, drizzle half of the melted butter overtop. Bake for 15 minutes on the middle rack.
- Remove from oven and toss the cauliflower bites well in the buffalo sauce to fully coat each piece. You can do this on the pan directly by drizzling the buffalo sauce overtop each piece or place all cauliflower in a bowl and toss very gently with tongs until fully coated.
- Once fully coated in the buffalo sauce, bake another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and use tongs to flip each floret 180 degrees.
- Drizzle with the rest of the melted butter (or spray with more avocado oil spray). Bake another 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy, watching closely at the end to ensure they do not burn.
- If you want to get them extra crispy, you can broil them at 550 degrees Fahrenheit for a couple minutes at the very end (again watch closely to avoid burning).
- Use tongs to transfer the crispy cauliflower bites to a serving platter. Serve immediately while hot alongside carrots and celery sticks with chilled vegan ranch dressing for dipping.
These are best served fresh. They can be stored in an airtight container in your refrigerator and enjoyed later but they will not be as crispy as when they are fresh out of the oven. If reheating from the refrigerator, broil for a couple minutes to help them get crispy again.
Avocado oil spray works for a lighter version but I prefer the flavor and texture with the melted vegan butter.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Oven Baked
Keywords: vegan cauliflower bites