These spicy vegan buffalo cauliflower wings are dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried until they’re extra crispy! No eggs or egg-replacement needed! Serve as an appetizer or side with your favorite dipping sauce!
This is one of my favorite recipes on my site because it’s easy, quick, full of flavor and won’t require a special trip to the grocery store. You likely already have everything you need in your pantry already!
Some common questions about Buffalo Cauliflower
Celery and a creamy dipping sauce are a must! You can find vegan versions of bleu cheese or ranch at most organic/healthy supermarkets.
These buffalo cauliflower wings go perfectly with other finger foods like my easy garlic knots, classic deviled eggs and shaved street corn cups.
Buffalo cauliflower is spicy and crispy on the outside with a mild-tasting cauliflower center.
While buffalo cauliflower does mimic the look and flavor of buffalo tenders, I won’t pretend that they taste like actual chicken. The texture is quite different but they are uniquely delicious! No need to compare.
Buffalo cauliflower can become soggy if you toss them in too much sauce, or leave them sitting. For best results, I recommend serving them immediately after frying and coating them in sauce.
If they do happen to get soggy all you need to do is heat them on a baking sheet in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 400°F. This will make them crispy again!
My secret ingredients for the best tempura batter are cornstarch and club soda. I was told to substitute club soda for cold tap water from a Pinterest user who commented on my post. Most solid advice ever!
Here’s a full list of ingredients for this recipe. For exact measurements, refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Head of cauliflower or bagged cauliflower florets (not frozen!)
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Club soda or seltzer – make sure it’s cold and unflavored!
- You favorite brand of buffalo sauce
- Canola oil for frying
- Celery sticks and ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping (your local health-food store should carry vegan versions).
I used to think egg was required for crispy tempura but I promise you won’t even know it’s missing! This recipe is is completely vegan/vegetarian and you don’t even need to use an egg replacement!
Tips for cutting up a head of cauliflower
Pre-cut cauliflower works well for this recipe but a whole head of cauliflower is cheaper and super-easy to cut up. Here are some tips:
- Flip the head of cauliflower over so that the stem is pointing up and remove any green leaves at the stem’s base.
- Cut each floret off of the stem using a sharp pair of kitchen shears.
- For bite-sized pieces, you may want to cut some of the florets in half.
- Once the cauliflower is cut up, place all of the florets in a colander and rinse under cold water.
How to make vegan buffalo cauliflower wings
Step 1: Rinse and cut the cauliflower
Cut the head of cauliflower into florets, rinse well under cold water and set aside.
Step 2: Prepare the batter
Make the batter by whisking together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, baking soda and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cold seltzer and continue to whisk until all ingredients are blended and batter is smooth.
Steps 3 and 4: Heat the oil and batter the cauliflower
While the oil is pre-heating, dip the cauliflower into the batter making sure each floret is evenly coated. I usually work in batches of 8-10 cauliflower florets at a time.
Step 5: Fry the cauliflower
Heat the canola oil to 350°F in cast iron dutch oven or in a pot with deep walls. Once the oil has reached its temperature, drop the battered cauliflower into the oil. The battered florets will start to float and puff up immediately.
Once the cauliflower florets appear golden around the edges, use a metal slotted spoon to turn them. Once they’re golden brown on all sides, use your slotted spoon to transfer them to a cooling rack or a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Batter and fry any remaining batches of cauliflower.
Steps 6 and 7: Toss in sauce and serve
Let the cauliflower cool slightly and use a large bowl to toss it in the buffalo sauce.
Transfer the coated cauliflower to a serving dish or platter and serve immediately with celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce.
- The tempura batter should resemble the consistency of pancake batter. Make sure to use precise measurements. The batter will add a little bit of volume to the cauliflower florets.
- Tempura batter cooks quickly so watch it closely. Once the cauliflower is golden brown on all sides, you can transfer it to a cooling rack.
- For the crispiest buffalo cauliflower, you can fry it until it gets even more brown in color. Also make sure to toss right before serving. The battered cauliflower will get soggy if it sits in sauce for too long!
Reheating and storing leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Do not microwave leftovers! They’ll be soggy if you do. Instead, heat any leftovers on a greased baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes at 400°F. The cauliflower will be nice and crispy again!
Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings in Crispy Tempura Batter
- 1 lb. head of cauliflower
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 and ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ¾ cup club soda or seltzer cold
- ½ cup buffalo sauce store-bought
- 2-3 cups canola oil for frying
- celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce for serving
- Cut the head of cauliflower into florets, rinse them well under cold water and set aside.
- Make the batter by whisking together the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, baking soda and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl. Add the cold seltzer and continue to whisk until all ingredients are blended and batter is smooth.
- Heat the canola oil to 350°F in cast iron dutch oven or in a pot with deep walls.
- While the oil is pre-heating, dip the cauliflower into the batter making sure each floret is evenly coated. I usually work in batches of 8-10 cauliflower florets at a time.
- Once the oil has reached its temperature, drop the battered cauliflower into the oil. The battered florets will start to float and puff up immediately. Once the cauliflower florets appear golden around the edges, use a metal slotted spoon to turn them. Once golden on all sides, use your slotted spoon to transfer them to a cooling rack or a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Batter and fry any remaining batches of cauliflower.
- Let the cauliflower cool slightly and toss the fried cauliflower and buffalo sauce together in a large bowl.
- Transfer to a serving dish or platter and serve with celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce.
- Store-bought/bagged cauliflower florets can be used in place of the head of cauliflower. Bags are usually sold in 10 and 12-ounce sizes. You'll need 1 bag for this recipe.
- Make sure you are using cold seltzer or club soda.
- The tempura batter should resemble pancake batter in terms of thickness/consistency.
- Buffalo cauliflower is best served immediately after frying and tossing in sauce.
- Re-heat leftovers on a greased cookie sheet in the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes.
Here are some everyday food safety tips:
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Never leave food unattended while it’s cooking!
- Use oils with high smoking point (I recommend canola or vegetable oil) to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove