Need a simple appetizer for a party? These BBQ cauliflower wings are the perfect crowd pleasing recipe that are easy to make, crispy, naturally vegan and full of flavor.
I love chicken wings as much as the next person, but sometimes you just need something a bit lighter! In come these BBQ cauliflower wings.
They’re breaded, saucy, easy to make and have a perfectly crispy shell with a soft interior.
While they’re the perfect game day appetizer, they’re perfect for just about any occasion. They’re made extra crispy with breadcrumbs and are baked, not fried, so there’s no guilt with eating the whole tray!
I like to serve these wings with a ranch dip, chopped celery and carrots. You could even add these into a salad or tacos, but I like to eat them like regular wings.
I also like to cut the cauliflower a bit larger so they’re more like traditional wing size, but if you prefer, you can cut the cauliflower really small and create bbq cauliflower bites. If you love this recipe, try my air fryer cauliflower next!
CAULIFLOWER. You need one large head of cauliflower, or about 5-6 cups chopped into florets.
MILK & FLOUR. We’ll combine all purpose flour and milk to create a batter to coat the cauliflower in. I used gluten free all purpose flour, but regular AP flour works.
SPICES. A bit of garlic powder, onion powder and salt in the batter will help add a lot of flavor to these wings.
BBQ SAUCE. Once baked, these cauliflower wings will be coated in bbq sauce. You can make them as spicy or as mild as you like, just check the label of your sauce for the spice level.
BREADCRUMBS. You can make cauliflower wings without breadcrumbs, but they won’t have as much of a traditional wing texture. You can double up on the batter to give them a crispy coating.
How to make bbq cauliflower wings
First, chop the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, onion, garlic, flour and milk. You want the batter to be thick, but not so thick that the cauliflower won’t get properly coated. If it appears too thick, add in an additional 1-2 tbsp of milk to thin it out.
Add the cauliflower to the batter and carefully mix to coat each piece. Toss the breadcrumbs on top.
Add the cauliflower to a baking tray lined with parchment paper. You don’t want a ton of extra batter around the pieces because it will peel off when it bakes, so just enough batter to coat each piece is ideal.
Bake for 25 minutes, turn the oven off, then let sit for an additional 5 minutes. This will help make the outside crispy and the insides perfectly tender without burning the batter.
The tops should be golden brown when removed from the oven (see the image below for reference).
Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. The cooling process is necessary to ensure the wings don’t turn to mush when the sauce is added, so don’t skip this step!
Once cooled slightly, add the cauliflower to a bowl and coat with the BBQ sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!
You can cut the cauliflower into as small or large pieces as you like. I prefer slightly larger ones so they are more like wings, but you can make them smaller so they’re bbq cauliflower bites instead.
How to store
Because of the nature of baked cauliflower, these wings unfortunately do not store well in the fridge. I suggest making them right before you want to serve.
Once the sauce is added, they slowly loses their crispiness, so they’re best fresh! However, if you do have leftovers, they can be reheated in the oven to get some crisp back!
Are they gluten free?
The batter for the cauliflower calls for flour and breadcrumbs. I used rice flour and gluten free breadcrumbs, but you can use all purpose flour, and panko or regular breadcrumbs as well.
There’s no need for cornstarch in this recipe since the flour will do all the binding!
Are cauliflower wings healthy?
Cauliflower wings are generally considered healthy, but it depends on the exact ingredients used! These ones are either baked or air fried and made with simple ingredients, so I would definitely classify them as healthy!
Can I use frozen cauliflower?
You can, but I don’t recommend it. The cauliflower wings won’t get as crispy, and they may even end up a bit soggy since frozen cauliflower has a lot of water.
If you do give it a try, I’d recommend letting the cauliflower thaw, then pat lightly wiht a towel to absorb some excess moisture.
Air Fryer Instructions
To make these cauliflower wings in the air fryer, follow allow of the same instructions, but you’ll need to air fry at 380 Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, shaking the basket halfway.
If you have a small air fryer, you may need to do this in two batches because you want them in one single layer. Once cooked, coat with the BBQ sauce and serve.
Other recipes to try
- Baked Orange Cauliflower
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower
- Buffalo Cauliflower
- Tofu Wings
- Peanut Cauliflower Wings
Baked BBQ Cauliflower Wings
by: claire cary
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. See the main post for air fryer instructions.
- Chop the cauliflower into medium sized florets.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, onion, garlic, flour and milk. You want the batter to be thick, but not so thick that the cauliflower won’t get properly coated. If it appears too thick, add in an additional 1-2 tbsp of milk to thin it out slightly.
- Add the cauliflower to the batter and carefully mix to coat each piece.
- Toss in the breadcrumbs.
- Add the cauliflower to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 25 minutes, turn the oven off, then let sit for an additional 5 minutes. This will help make it crispy without burning. The wings should be golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower to a bowl and coat with the BBQ sauce. If you don’t want them super saucy, start with half the sauce and add more as desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!