Welcome to the land of max crispy: Air Fryer Cauliflower! It cooks in 12 minutes, the seasoning options are endless, and I dare you not to eat the entire batch right out of the air fryer basket.
If you’ve had Roasted Cauliflower, then you already know: it’s transformative.
Crispy outside and lightly sweet inside, it (along with Roasted Brussels Sprouts) is basically the vegetable version of candy.
Air Fryer Benefits
An air fryer is essentially a compact, very powerful, and quick-heating convection oven.
- It takes roasted vegetables to landslide levels of crispy—as Air Fryer Zucchini knows.
- Foods cook more quickly in an air fryer than they do in a standard oven, because the heat is so powerful.
- The air fryer is a healthy way to cook vegetables that mimic deep-fried favorites (like Air Fryer French Fries). While fried cauliflower isn’t healthy because of the amount of oil required to make it, air fried cauliflower needs very little oil.
Read on for how to make the best roasted cauliflower, plus air fryer cauliflower seasoning ideas.
How to Make the Best Air Fryer Cauliflower
Whether you keep it classic with S&P, spice things up with curry or chili powder, or go all out and top your air fryer cauliflower with cheese, this easy side dish will pair with whatever else you are serving for dinner tonight, like juicy Air Fryer Steak!
- Cauliflower. A seemingly humble vegetable that has the power to transform into a swoon-worthy side dish. It’s absolutely scrumptious when air fried with oil and spices. Cauliflower is also rich in fiber and antioxidants.
- Olive Oil. Helps the cauliflower caramelize and gives it flavor. You can make air fryer cauliflower without oil, but it doesn’t caramelize as nicely. Just 2 teaspoons are all you need and worth it!
- Garlic Powder. Garlic tastes delicious with cauliflower.
- Red Pepper Flakes. Gives the cauliflower a little kick without being overly spicy.
- Lemon Juice. A squeeze of lemon juice adds brightness.
- Add the cauliflower to a bowl.
- Whisk the oil and spices together. Pour the oil mixture over the cauliflower, tossing to coat.
- Lay the cauliflower in a single layer in the basket of an air fryer.
- Air fry cauliflower at 390 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and DIG IN!
Ways to Season Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Buffalo Air Fryer Cauliflower. Toss your air fried cauliflower with 1/2 cup buffalo sauce mixed with a little melted butter (check out these Air Fryer Chicken Wings for tips). Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing for a full buffalo wing experience.
- Mexican Air Fryer Cauliflower. Season your cauliflower with 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. Keep the garlic powder, salt, and pepper listed in this recipe. Finish your cooked cauliflower with lime juice.
- Indian Air Fryer Cauliflower. Season the cauliflower with 2 teaspoons curry powder, plus a pinch of cumin.
- Italian Air Fryer Cauliflower. Season your cauliflower with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.
- Cheesy Air Fryer Cauliflower. For air fryer cauliflower with cheese, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over your air fried cauliflower. To keep the air fryer cauliflower vegan, use nutritional yeast.
- To Store. Refrigerate cooked cauliflower in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F, in the air fryer, or or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze cauliflower in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Cut and refrigerate the cauliflower up to 1 day in advance.
Take inspiration from this Roasted Vegetable Salad and use leftover cauliflower to make a hearty veggie and grains bowl.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Cauliflower
Grilled Pork Chops
Lemon Pepper Salmon
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. This is the air fryer I own and love.
- Liquid Measuring Cup. Perfect for measuring and mixing ingredients.
- Citrus Juicer. The best way to juice lemons and limes.
Crispy veggies like air fryer cauliflower make getting your five servings a day a scrumptious snap!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best foods to air fry are ones that you’d like to make as crispy as possible outside while keeping the inside tender, or foods that are traditionally deep-fried that you’d like to make healthy. Cruciferous vegetables (like cauliflower, Air Fryer Broccoli, and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts), fries (Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries), and simple proteins like Air Fryer Salmon and Air Fryer Chicken Breast are some of the best recipes to use your air fryer.
We love to enjoy our cauliflower as a side dish or snack on it by itself. It also makes a wonderful addition to pastas (like Cauliflower Pasta), Indian dishes (it would be tasty with Chicken Tikka Masala), tacos (see my Cauliflower Tacos for inspiration), casseroles (like Cauliflower Casserole), and even soups (like Broccoli Cauliflower Soup).
Yes, you can swap the olive oil for another oil like avocado oil or canola oil.
Air Fryer Cauliflower
- 1 head cauliflower about 2 pounds, cut into bite-size florets (about 8 cups)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes the spice is subtle; add more for additional kick; or, swap ground black pepper
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice optional
- Place the cauliflower in a large mixing bowl.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
- Pour over the cauliflower, then toss to coat. Take time to make sure each floret has some oil coating it.
- Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees F. Place the cauliflower in the basket in a single layer (some overlap is OK, but don’t overcrowd or the cauliflower will not get as crisp; you’ll likely need to work in batches and can keep cooked cauliflower warm in a 300 degree F oven if you like).
- Air fryer the cauliflower for 12 to 15 minutes, shaking the basket at times throughout, until it is crispy outside and tender when pierced with a fork. Enjoy hot, with a squeeze of lemon juice and light sprinkle of additional salt to taste.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate cauliflower in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze cauliflower in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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This was so easy to prepare and was delicious. Can’t wait to try one of the variations!
Hi Tina! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!
I made the Indian version tonight and my husband declared after 71 years this is the first time cauliflower tasted good. We’ll make this again.
Hi Leanne! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!