Crispy Air-Fried Cauliflower (Quick & Easy)

Roasted cauliflower is one of the most delicious and healthy side dishes. It combines with many meals and enhances the flavor of salads as well. It’s highly nutritious and is a suitable choice for a low-calorie diet.

You can make it quickly and easily with an air fryer.

Today, I’ll share the most convenient recipe for making cauliflower in an air fryer. It uses some basic ingredients and is ready in 12 minutes. You can easily make this fried cauliflower whenever you crave something crispy and salty.

Why wait any longer? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

You’ll need some simple ingredients for this recipe:

  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets: Buy a whole cauliflower head and break it into tiny or medium-sized florets. One can buy florets if in a hurry. If they’re too large, the outsides will burn before the middles cook through.
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs for a crispy coating.
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil. It is used to enrich the recipe and crisp it up.
  • 1 large egg: The egg helps the coating adhere to the cauliflower.
  • Lemon wedges and tartar sauce: Use fresh lemons to make lemon juice. It gives the finest flavor.
  • Spices: 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne & sea salt.
Crispy air-fried cauliflower
Breading adds crispiness to roasted cauliflowers.

How To Cook Air-fried Cauliflower?

  1. Set the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit to preheat it.
  2. Combine the smoked paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, and salt on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Put a small egg in a bowl and beat it well.
  4. Dip each cauliflower floret into the egg mixture, then cover it with the panko mixture and place it on a serving platter. Add lemon juice and olive oil too.
  5. Put the baking sheet in the air fryer. Then, add the seasoned florets to the air fryer basket with a bit of space between each floret. Later, cook for 7 to 10 minutes shaking halfway through or until they turn golden brown.
  6. Repeat the process for another batch. Once ready, serve it with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
Here's a short video describing step-by-step manual instructions.
Roasted cauliflower in the air fryer

Variations To The Recipe

  • Add a couple of minced garlic cloves to enhance the flavor of the cauliflower.
  • Sprinkle-grated parmesan halfway through to make a cheesy meal and shake the basket. This is ideal for cheese lovers.
  • Add 1 tbsp of curry sauce to your florets for a curry-spiced meal.
  • Combine lime juice with chili sauce or 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder to get a chili-lime flavor.

Storage & Reheat

You can store air-fried cauliflower for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator when placed in an airtight container. To reheat these florets, set the air fryer to 380 degrees Fahrenheit and air fry the florets for 5 minutes only. They’ll turn out crispier than they were original.

Tips & Suggestions

  1. Use both hands while preparing the air-fried cauliflower florets. Keep one hand dry and the other moist. It’ll help you avoid any mess caused by vegetables.
  2. Dip the florets into the egg and panko mixture with a damp hand. Then transfer it to the panko mixture. Now use your dry hand to dust it with a crunchy coating and transfer it to the baking sheet with the same hand.
  3. Don’t forget to add oil to the breaded cauliflower florets. Then wipe your fingertips with a paper towel. Olive oil helps to make them crispy and brown. Also, the oil used is much less than conventional frying cauliflower.
  4. Work in batches to prepare a larger meal. Arrange the florets in a single layer in the air fryer’s basket with some room for airflow. Overcrowding leads to steaming, which results in soggy florets.
  5. Cauliflower can burn very easily. Therefore, keep an eye on it while working. Check by jiggling the basket every 3 minutes.
  6. The cooking time may vary depending on the type and size of a cauliflower. Big and old florets take more time to grow than fresh and small florets.
  7. Use any type of seasoning according to your choice. You can use curry powder, cumin, garlic, onion, chili powder, and ranch dressing. Avocado oil can replace olive oil.
  8. This recipe offers you a lot of benefits, such as:
  • The aroma and taste of roasted cauliflower are amazing!
  • It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.
  • It’s made with just 5 ingredients.
  • It is low-carb & gluten-free.

Nutrition Information

A single serving of this recipe contains 49kcal only. These calories are divided into the following nutrients:

NutrientAmount (g/mg)
Nutritional Chart per serving

Serving Suggestions For Air-Fried Cauliflower

It would be wonderful with any of the following:

  • Lemon-garlic aioli pairs well as an appetizer or side snack.
  • The quinoa burger
  • Jackfruit sandwiches
  • Veggie burger
  • Black beans
  • Vegetable meatball subs
  • Portobello Mushrooms
  • BBQ sauce
Cauliflower on a white plate dipped in egg
Cauliflower coated with egg wash tastes yummy.


What’s the right way to cut cauliflower?

Immerse it in salt or vinegar water to help draw any insects stuck inside the florets to the surface. Later on, remove the outer heads of the cauliflower.

Then wash the leaves of the cauliflower and remove any dirt. Pat with the help of a paper towel. Use the largest knife to trim the stalk. After that, cut it in half longitudinally and scoop out the core by angling the knife to cut them apart and then cook.

Use stems to make smoothies or frozen treats. You can add them to stews, stir-fries, or soups too.

Can you use frozen cauliflower for this recipe?

Yes! If you don’t have fresh cauliflower, you can use frozen ones for this recipe.

However, make sure they are fully thawed before roasting. Otherwise, it’ll gather a lot of moisture and make the dish mushy.

What’s an oil-free option for this recipe?

Although the quantity of olive oil used is negligible, you can omit it. It will change the texture of the dish but not the taste. The oil helps enhance the crispiness of the cauliflower florets.

Use parchment paper liners to prevent cauliflower from adhering to the surface of the air fryer’s basket. They are inexpensive and help you clean up easily.

How do you keep cauliflower from getting mushy?

Wash, and clean the cauliflower, chop it into small pieces, and pat it dry. After that, air-fry at the same temperature as when you preheated the air fryer. It takes only 12 to 15 minutes to get delicious air-fried cauliflower.

If you cook cauliflower in a skillet, it might burn or over brown. Air frying is the most effective way to achieve crispy cauliflower.

Is cauliflower good for health?

Cauliflower is high in nutrients. One cup of boiled cauliflower is a healthy source of vitamins C and K, fiber, folate, and vitamin B. It may have the ability to prevent cancer as well.

Raw cauliflower in an air fryer basket
Cauliflower is seasoned with salt, pepper & lemon juice for a tangy flavor.

Which is healthier, broccoli or cauliflower?

Both vegetables offer different nutritional values. Broccoli contains K and C vitamins, which benefit eye health. It contains a much higher amount of fiber, minerals, and vitamin A than cauliflower does.

On the other hand, cauliflower contains folate that broccoli doesn’t have. All in all, broccoli is healthier than cauliflower.

Does cauliflower aid weight loss?

Cauliflower promotes weight loss. It is a clear choice for anyone trying to reduce weight, as one cup contains only 25 calories. The high water and fiber content helps slow digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer.

The Secret to Crispy Cauliflower

Cauliflower will get slightly crispy if fried or baked without any breading, but for it to become crispy, a light breading is essential.

Toss the cauliflower with seasonings, then dip it in an egg mixture before coating it in breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs preserve the spices on the cauliflower while also adding to the crunchy outer layer.

This crispy cauliflower is best eaten as soon as it comes out of the air fryer, while it is still warm and the breading is crispy. It’s fine to leave it for a few minutes while you finish another batch, but if you leave it for too long (more than 30 minutes), it loses some of its crispiness.

How to Serve Crispy Cauliflower?

This veggie goes well with any protein, such as pan-seared chicken or pork chops.

My favorite way to eat fried cauliflower, though, is as a hearty appetizer with a quick spicy blue cheese dip. The flavors complement each other well, and it makes an excellent addition to an appetizer spread.

Final thoughts

  • Air-fried cauliflower is highly nutritious and offers a lot of health benefits. It is much healthier than many air-fried foods such as fries, chips, or desserts.
  • Seasoning enhances the flavor and taste of this delicious appetizer. Panko coating is a very important step as it gives a crunchy texture.
  • Cooking cauliflower in a skillet or an oven won’t give you the same crispiness as an air fryer. You just need to keep an eye on it while cooking by shaking it halfway through the recipe.

More Air Fryer Recipes

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