Frozen cauliflower in the air fryer has never tasted so good! With an easy buffalo sauce and 15 minutes you’ll have yourself an incredibly flavorful side dish or snack. It’s perfect for busy weeknights yet fancy enough to impress guests and serve for a party or potluck!

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Air fried frozen cauliflower with buffalo sauce in a bowl.
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Why air fry frozen cauliflower

This air fryer cauliflower recipe will quickly become your new favorite! Frozen cauliflower in the air fryer is fast and easy and great when you’re short on time.

Frozen foods are perfect for air frying. We love air frying frozen mixed vegetables, frozen brussels sprouts, frozen broccoli, frozen cauliflower gnocchi and more!

Frozen cauliflower becomes perfectly roasted as if it were roasted in the oven, but in far less time!

Using the air fryer reduces the overall time and more evenly cooks the food. It’s like a countertop convection oven. We have been using this air fryer daily since we got it and love it!

You’re going to love this air fried frozen buffalo cauliflower. It’s:

  • Tender on the inside, crispy on the outside
  • Easy and quick to make
  • No oil needed which makes it healthier yet still gets crispy
  • No thawing or steaming needed
  • Perfect for busy weeknights
  • Easy to customize with different flavor variations

Ingredient notes

Ingredients for frozen buffalo cauliflower in air fryer that have been measured and labelled.

Frozen cauliflower florets—Any brand of frozen cauliflower will work! You can even use fresh cauliflower. Just make sure to wash and chop it into florets as evenly as possible. Fresh cauliflower will cook slightly faster as well.

Hot sauce—I used Frank’s RedHot Original Hot Sauce but feel free to use your favorite hot sauce or buffalo sauce. You can even make your own homemade vegan buffalo sauce.

Nutritional yeast—this gives it a subtle cheesy flavor but you can also use whole wheat bread crumbs or Panko to increase the crispiness.

How to make

This step-by-step walkthrough shows the process of making frozen buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer. A printable recipe card can be found below.

1. Start by preheating your air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 400F.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the frozen cauliflower and choice of hot sauce. Toss to coat evenly.

Frozen cauliflower tossed with buffalo sauce in a mixing bowl.

3. Add the nutritional or breadcrumbs to the bowl and toss to combine. Place the buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer basket or tray (depending on type of air fryer), and cook frozen cauliflower for 10 minutes. Careful not to overfill the air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer you may need to cook in batches.

Coated frozen cauliflower in a single layer in an air fryer basket.

4. Shake or stir the cauliflower to redistribute, then continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until desired crispiness is reached.

Crispy frozen cauliflower in air fryer basket.

Cooking time may vary depending on the model of air fryer and size of cauliflower florets. Smaller florets will cook faster. Mine was perfect after 15 minutes but yours might need more or less time so I recommend checking on it every couple minutes after the initial 10.

Pro Tips

To obtain the best texture, do not allow the cauliflower to thaw before air frying. Work quickly to coat the cauliflower in the buffalo sauce so that it is not sitting outside the freezer for more than a few minutes.

For best results, avoid overcrowding the air fryer. Place the frozen cauliflower in a single layer without overlapping. If your air fryer is too small to fit the entire batch in a single layer, you may need to split it up into two batches.

Frozen cauliflower won’t get as crispy as it would if cooking from fresh due to the moisture content. If yours is not crisping up at all, you’ll need to add more cooking time.

Fork holding a buffalo cauliflower bite.

How to serve

This air fryer buffalo cauliflower makes a great side dish or party food snack. Tossed with hot sauce, it tastes like buffalo cauliflower wings!

Serve with ranch sauce to to balance the heat or dip into a tasty ‘cheesy’ sauce.

This crispy cauliflower can accompany almost any meal. Serve alongside sandwiches, pasta, this meaty vegan steak (or your preferred protein source) or add to a buddha bowl or salad.

Double down on buffalo flavors and serve it alongside this buffalo chickpea Caesar kale wrap!

Storage

Store leftover cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for longer. Reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to retain crispiness or reheat in a microwave.

Flavor variations

Here are some of my favorite ways to flavor frozen cauliflower before air frying.

Savory:

  • Soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt and black pepper

Smoky:

  • soy sauce
  • smoked paprika
  • liquid smoke
  • salt and black pepper

BBQ:

  • BBQ sauce
  • garlic powder
  • salt and black pepper
  • Panko breadcrumbs

Korean-Style BBQ:

Curry:

  • soy sauce
  • curry powder
  • black pepper
  • salt and black pepper

Zesty:

  • tahini
  • lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • salt and black pepper

Follow the same instructions but toss with your favorite seasonings or sauces before air frying! It’s so easy to customize frozen cauliflower to your taste preferences.

Can I use BBQ sauce?

Yes, BBQ sauce would work just as well! If you’re not a fan of spicy, a delicious BBQ sauce can replace the hot sauce in this recipe 1:1.

Can you air fry from frozen?

Absolutely! It is best to air fry from frozen and not allow frozen foods to thaw first before cooking. When air frying from frozen, preheating the air fryer works best. Then transfer the frozen food directly from the freezer to the preheated air fryer.

Do you need oil to air fry?

No, I’ve never needed oil to air fryer. The air fryer basket has a nice non-stick coating and the circulation of hot air allows food to crisp up nicely without oil. If you prefer you can use an olive oil spray to lightly spray food before air frying but it’s not necessary.

Buffalo cauliflower that has been air fried, sitting in a serving bowl.

More frozen air fryer recipes

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Air fried frozen cauliflower with buffalo sauce in a bowl.

Frozen Buffalo Cauliflower in Air Fryer

5 from 1 vote
Author: Rachel
Frozen cauliflower in the air fryer has never tasted so good! With an easy buffalo sauce and a few minutes you'll have yourself an incredibly flavorful side dish or snack. It's perfect for busy weeknights yet fancy enough to impress guests and serve for a party or potluck!
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 18 minutes
Servings 4

Method

  • air fryer

Ingredients 
 

  • 12 oz frozen cauliflower
  • ½ cup hot sauce I used Frank's Hot Sauce
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast or whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder optional
  • salt and black pepper optional, to taste

Instructions 

  • Start by preheating your air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 400°F.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the frozen cauliflower and choice of hot sauce. Toss to coat evenly.
    12 oz frozen cauliflower, 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • Add the nutritional yeast or breadcrumbs to the bowl along with andy additional seasonings if desired; toss to combine. Place the buffalo cauliflower in the air fryer basket or tray (depending on type of air fryer), and cook frozen cauliflower for 10 minutes. Careful not to overfill the air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer you may need to cook in batches.
    1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, salt and black pepper
  • Shake or stir the cauliflower to redistribute, then continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until desired crispiness is reached.
  • Cooking time may vary depending on the model of air fryer and size of cauliflower florets. Smaller florets will cook faster. Mine was perfect after 15 minutes but yours might need more or less time so I recommend checking on it every couple minutes after the initial 10.

Notes

For best texture: Do not allow the cauliflower to thaw before air frying. Work quickly to coat the cauliflower in the buffalo sauce so that it is not sitting outside the freezer for more than a few minutes. Frozen cauliflower won’t get as crispy as it would if cooking from fresh due to the moisture content. If yours is not crisping up at all, you’ll need to add more cooking time.
Serving: Can be served as an appetizer with dipping sauce or as a side dish.
Storage: Store leftover cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for longer. Reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes to retain crispiness or reheat in a microwave.
Flavor Variations: See post above for additional flavoring ideas including savory, smoky, zesty, or curry or feel free to use BBQ sauce in place of hot sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 819mg | Potassium: 414mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 49IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
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