These easy Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings are a lightened-up version of your favorite feel-good appetizer. Fresh cauliflower florets are covered in a crispy gluten-free breading flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning. Gluten-free, low carb, keto, paleo with a vegan or Whole30 option.
Crispy Vegan Cauliflower Wings
Whenever you want to cook something crispy with minimal oil involved, the Air Fryer is the way to go. These cauliflower wings are the perfect example! They cook up crispy on the outside and tender on the inside while only requiring a light spritz of olive oil spray.
They’re definitely one of our top favorite Air Fryer dishes – and one that we make frequently. Whether we’re enjoying them as an everyday snack, a Super Bowl party appetizer or anything in between, they always get gobbled up in record time. You won’t find a tastier chicken wing substitute!
These quick-fix cauliflower wings are gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo, low-carb and keto, and they can easily be made vegan and Whole30 as well. We like to use Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika in our breading mixture, but you can flavor yours however you’d like! This simple recipe is guaranteed to guide you toward a flawless batch of wings every time.
Are Cauliflower Wings Better For You Than Chicken Wings?
With this recipe, they sure are. Not only do these cauliflower wings cater to the special diets mentioned above, but they’re also much lower in fat than classic chicken wings.
The cauliflower itself is a heart-healthy veggie loaded with vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, potassium and a fair amount of protein. It’s also completely free of cholesterol! Combine that with the Air Fryer’s limited use of oil and you have yourself one healthy dish.
What You’ll Need
These crispy air-fried wings keep things healthy all around – not just with the cauliflower. Here are the ingredients that make it all possible:
- Cauliflower: Chopped into florets, rinsed and dried
- Almond Meal: For extra crispy breading, use grain-free crackers instead. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are another good option.
- Fine-Grain Sea Salt: Or kosher salt.
- Garlic & Onion Powders: These help provide a chicken-like flavor.
- Italian Seasoning: Added to taste.
- Smoked Paprika: For a hint of heat.
- Egg: To adhere the breading to the cauliflower. If you’re vegan, substitute the egg for aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas.
- Avocado Oil Spray: Or olive oil spray.
- Fresh Chopped Parsley: To garnish the wings.
- Lemon Wedges: For serving.
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings
Once your ingredients are assembled, you’re one step closer to biting into the best meatless wings. Just follow the instructions below to bring them to life!
Heat Air Fryer: If your Air Fryer requires preheating, preheat it to 370°F.
Beat Egg: Add the egg to a small, shallow bowl and beat it lightly.
Make Breading: Combine the almond meal, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and smoked paprika in a medium-sized bowl with a wide rim.
Coat Florets: Dip each cauliflower floret into the beaten egg, then coat them completely in the panko mixture.
Add to Air Fryer: Place the prepared wings into your Air Fryer basket, working in batches if necessary to leave a little bit of space between each floret. Lightly spray each wing with the oil spray.
Cook: Air fry the wings for 9-12 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crisp (the cook time will vary depending on your Air Fryer). Cook them for 2 more minutes if you’d prefer a bit more char. Repeat with any remaining cauliflower wings.
Garnish & Serve: Transfer the cooked wings to a serving bowl and garnish them with fresh chopped parsley. Serve them with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.
Can I Prep These Ahead of Time?
If you’d like, you can chop up the cauliflower and prepare the breading mixture up to 1 day prior to cooking your wings. Store each component in separate airtight containers in the fridge.
Tips for Success
Take a mental note of the tips below so you can get your cauliflower wings just right. Let’s get cooking!
- Cut the Florets Evenly: Be sure to cut your cauliflower into evenly sized pieces. If some wings are larger than others, they won’t all cook at the same rate.
- Don’t Crowd the Air Fryer Basket: Unless you can fit all of the wings into your Air Fryer at once with a little bit of space between each one, work in batches. Overcrowding the basket will result in less crispy wings.
- Flip the Wings Halfway Through the Cook Time: Once your wings have been cooking for about 5 minutes, take out the Air Fryer basket and shake it to flip them over. Alternatively, you can use tongs to flip them one by one. This ensures crispiness all around!
Flavor Variations to Try
Feel free to flavor your cauliflower wings however you want. There are tons of tasty possibilities!
- Buffalo Wings
- BBQ Wings
- Garlic Herb Wings
- Sticky Sesame Wings
- Chipotle Lime Wings
- Sriracha Maple Wings
- Orange Glazed Wings
- Cajun Wings
- Lemon Pepper Wings
We like to dunk our Air Fryer cauliflower wings into either ranch or blue cheese dressing, but you can pair them with any dipping sauce of your choice. It’s always nice to include some crunchy veggies like celery, cucumber or carrots as well.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Cauliflower Wings
These wings are best served fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Allow them to cool completely before storing them. Reheat leftover wings in a 400°F oven or a 375°F Air Fryer until they’re warmed through and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.
Can I Freeze These?
I don’t recommend storing your cauliflower wings in the freezer. They will release too much moisture and become soggy even after they’re reheated. For the best results, enjoy them immediately.
More Healthy Air Fryer Recipes
Trying to get more use out of your Air Fryer? Make it worthwhile with the nutritious dishes below.
These easy Air Fryer Cauliflower Wings are a lightened-up version of your favorite feel-good appetizer. Fresh cauliflower florets are covered in a crispy gluten-free breading flavored with garlic powder, smoked paprika and Italian seasoning.
- 1 small - medium head cauliflower about 3-4 cups florets
- 1 cup almond meal or sub with crushed grain-free crackers to make them extra crispy (gluten-free bread crumbs work as well)
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 large egg or sub with 5 tablespoons of aquafaba (the liquid from a chickpea can) for vegan
- Avocado oil spray or olive oil spray
- Fresh chopped parsley for serving
- Lemon wedges for serving
If your air fryer requires preheating, preheat the air fryer to 370°F. Chop the cauliflower into florets.
In a small shallow bowl, add the egg and beat lightly.
In a medium wide-rimmed bowl, mix together the almond meal with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning and smoked paprika.
Dip each cauliflower floret into the egg, then coat all sides with the panko mixture, then place into the air fryer basket, leaving a little space between each floret without overcrowding the basket and working in batches as needed.
Lightly spray each cauliflower floret with oil spray.
Air fry for 9 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp (time will vary depending on your air fryer). Cook for 2 minutes more if you prefer your cauliflower a little bit more charred. Repeat with any remaining cauliflower.
Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with some fresh chopped parsley, lemon wedges and favorite dipping sauce.
How to store
These wings are best served fresh, but leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Allow them to cool completely before storing them.
Reheat leftover wings in a 400°F oven or a 375°F Air Fryer until they're warmed through and crispy, about 3-4 minutes.