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With this Air Fryer Cauliflower recipe, you get a deliciously caramelized vegetable in less time with less oil! Crispy on the outside and tender within, it cooks in 12 minutes with endless seasoning options.

Crispy air fryer cauliflower

Why You’ll Love This Easy Air Fryer Cauliflower Recipe

  • Faster than Roasted. The air fryer gives you the same crispy edges and tender centers as oven Roasted Cauliflower, in half the time! It’s one of my go-tos for a last-second side dish.
  • It Requires Very Little Oil. One of the best parts of an air fryer is that you can make crispy foods like Air Fryer French Fries and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts with very little oil and still get fantastic results. This cauliflower is no exception.
  • Season It Any Which Way. Whether you keep it classic with salt and pepper, spice things up with curry or chili powder, or go all out and top your air fryer cauliflower with cheese, it’s versatile and will pair with whatever else you are serving for dinner tonight! See below for some of our favorite suggestions.
  • Add It to Anything. In addition to being a good stand-alone side for simple proteins like Air Fryer Salmon, you can add cauliflower to salads, meal bowls, or even dice it up and include it in an omelette.
Air fryer cauliflower in a bowl with lemon slices

How to Make the Best Air Fryer Cauliflower

The Ingredients

  • 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.
  • Olive Oil. Helps the cauliflower caramelize and gives it flavor.
  • 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.

The Directions

Raw vegetables in a bowl
  1. Add the Cauliflower to a Bowl. Make sure it’s large enough to mix in.
Oil and spices in a measuring cup
  1. Prepare the Oil Mixture. Add it to the cauliflower and toss.
Cauliflower in the basket of an air fryer
  1. Fill the Air Fryer Basket. Lay the cauliflower in a single layer.
Air fryer cauliflower in an air fryer
  1. Air Fry. Cook at 390 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and DIG IN!

Recipe Variations

  • Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower. Instead of making Air Fryer Chicken Wings, toss your air fried cauliflower with 1/2 cup buffalo sauce mixed with a little melted butter (check out these Cauliflower Buffalo Wings for another variation). Serve with a dipping sauce like 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 with lime juice.
  • Indian Air Fryer Cauliflower. Season the cauliflower florets 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. Sprinkle the cauliflower with freshly grated Parmesan or a melty cheese like cheddar during the last few minutes of cooking.
Easy air fryer cauliflower in a bowl

What to Serve With Air Fryer Cauliflower

The best air fryer cauliflower in a bowl

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t Overcook the Cauliflower. Yes, you can cook cauliflower too long! If your florets are soggy, mushy, or burnt, you’ll know they’re overcooked. Check your cauliflower several times throughout to monitor its progress.
  • You Need (Some) Oil. I don’t recommend you air fry cauliflower without oil, as it’s more likely to burn. The oil also helps the cauliflower caramelize and taste like it’s “roasted.”
  • Make It Your Own. Not a fan of heat? Swap the red pepper flakes for a small pinch of black pepper. You can offer some at the table for those who do enjoy a little spice.

Air Fryer Cauliflower

4.73 from 11 votes
How to make perfect crispy air fryer cauliflower. Caramelized and tender, air fried cauliflower is fast, healthy, and pairs your favorite dishes.

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  


Instructions
 

  • 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°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°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.

Video

Notes

  • 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°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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 171kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 4gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gPotassium: 605mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 37IUVitamin C: 96mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

4.73 from 11 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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  1. 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.5 stars