Cauliflower has been having a moment for the past two years and here we are in 2021 and the moment has yet to let up! The versatility of cauliflower is definitely continuing to expand, which couldn’t be more true for these easy Vegan BBQ Cauliflower Wings.
Since you all enjoyed my spicy version so much (now one of the most popular recipes on my blog!), I thought I would share another variation for everyone who enjoys a saucier version.
How to Make Vegan BBQ Cauliflower Wings
If you’re nervous about making these Vegan BBQ Cauliflower Wings, DON’T BE! If you’re new around here, I pride myself on making recipes that everyone can make and enjoy. These cauli wings are no exception. Even if you’ve never fried anything in your life. You got this!
First things first, gather up all of your ingredients. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe only to realize that you’re missing a thing or two.
Cutting the cauliflower: Once you’ve found all of your ingredients, go ahead and begin cutting up your fresh cauliflower into florets. I’ve found that the best way to cut a head of cauliflower into florets is to simply take it one step at a time. It’s really tough to get it wrong!
- Remove the leaves from the bottom area of the cauliflower
- Turn the cauliflower head on its side and cut off the bottom stem
- Cut the cauliflower in half, then in quarters
- Begin cutting florets into the desired size you would like for your cauliflower wings to be (I prefer smedium pieces for a good cauliflower/breading ratio)
Now that your cauliflower is cut, you’re ready to start preparing your marinade. This will help to give the cauliflower wings some flavor so when you bite into them, they won’t taste bland (because ain’t nobody got time for that). Add the florets to a medium sized bowl along with all of the marinade ingredients and set them aside for at least 20 minutes.
While the cauliflower is marinating, you can go ahead and whip up the homemade BBQ sauce. If you’re in a pinch or just don’t feel like making it, you can feel free to sub for your favorite store-bought sauce as well. This part is completely up to you.
To make the BBQ sauce, simply add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and whisk them together. Set it aside for later use.
Next, grab another medium sized bowl and add in all of the ingredients for the flour mixture. Mix these together until everything is well combined. Once this is done, it’s safe to go ahead and start warming up your oil. I find that the best type of oil to use for frying is vegetable oil because of its tolerance for high heat. Alternatively you could use peanut oil.
At this point, 20 minutes should have passed and your cauliflower should be marinated enough. Grab a small bowl and scoop out your florets, but be sure to reserve the liquid from the marinade. We’re gonna add to this to make a liquid dipping batter.
To make the liquid dipping batter, simply add ¾ cups of flour along with an additional cup of unsweetened almond milk and whisk everything together. The mixture will likely still be a little lumpy, but it’s all good.
Okay, so now you should have three bowls: one with the marinated cauliflower florets, another with the liquid batter and one more with the flour mixture. Arrange your three bowls in the following order: cauliflower florets (furthest from the stove), liquid batter, flour mixture (closest to the stove).
Your oil should be plenty hot by now, but if you want to test it, there are a few ways to make that happen:
- Tear off a tiny piece of bread and add it to the oil. If it sizzles, it’s ready.
- Flick a very tiny, tiny piece of water into the oil. If it sizzles and pops, it’s ready.
- Stick a wooden spoon into the oil. If it starts to bubble and they float upwards, it’s ready.
Once you’ve tested the oil to make sure it’s hot, you’re ready to start frying up your BBQ Cauliflower Wings. Take each cauliflower floret, dip it in the wet batter, the dry batter (making sure that all sides are coated), into the wet batter again, then coat a second time in the dry batter, now carefully place them into the hot oil.
Flip the cauliflower piece over once the underside has browned. Once both sides have been cooked, transfer them to either a plate lined with multiple paper towels, or a cooling rack with a baking pan underneath to catch the drippings (as pictured). Repeat until all pieces have been cooked.
Drizzle (or toss) the BBQ sauce over the cauliflower pieces you intend to eat and enjoy immediately (if you wait too late, the crispiness will fade).
How to Reheat BBQ Cauliflower Wings
Don’t plan on eating them all in one sitting? Hold off on adding the BBQ sauce. What’s great about these BBQ Cauliflower Wings is that you can reheat them! They reheat best with no BBQ sauce on them. Simply place them in the air fryer on 400 for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
After they’ve been reheated, add the BBQ sauce and they’re ready to pair with your favorite sides!
Can These BBQ Cauliflower Wings be Made Gluten Free?
Yes! Instead of using all-purpose flour, you can sub for a gluten-free version instead.
Can They Be Made in the Air Fryer?
Yes! I get this question a lot and I’m so glad the answer is yes. The texture will look slightly different but the crunch you’re looking for will still be there.
To air fry these, double-coat them in the wet and dry mixtures as instructed, then thoroughly spray both sides of each cauliflower piece with oil. Cook for 10 minutes at 400°.
What to Pair with BBQ Cauliflower Wings:
Other Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
- Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower
- Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings
- Spicy Cauliflower Wings + Maple Glaze
- Cauliflower Curry
I know you’ll love this BBQ Cauliflower Wings recipe! They’re easy to make, crispy and delicious! Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Tools You Might Need:
Easy Vegan BBQ Cauliflower Wings
- 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into medium florets
- enough oil for frying about ½-1 inch in desired pan
Additional Ingredients to Add to the Marinade to Make Liquid Batter
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- In a large bowl, combine the ingredients for the buttermilk marinade.
- Transfer the cauliflower florets to the marinade and let sit for 20 minutes, stir to cover all pieces.
- While the cauliflower is marinating begin combining all ingredients for the flour mixture in a separate large bowl.
- In a small bowl mix together the BBQ sauce (skip if using store-bought). Set aside.
- Begin heating the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
- Once the cauliflower is done marinating, transfer the florets to a separate medium sized bowl, reserving the leftover liquid.
- In the same bowl that now has the leftover marinade liquid, add in 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk and ¾ cups of all-purpose flour. Whisk to combine.
- By now, your oil should be hot enough to begin frying. To test, flick a tiny bit of water in the pan. If it sizzles and pops, it's ready. If not, wait a few more minutes before beginning. It's important that the oil is hot enough before beginning.
- Arrange your three bowls in the following order: cauliflower florets (furthest from the stove), liquid batter, flour mixture (closest to the stove).
- Use a spoon or tongs to dip the cauliflower pieces into the liquid batter, then into the flour mixture, back into the liquid batter, and into the flour mixture again, then into the hot oil in the frying pan.
- Repeat this process for each piece of cauliflower, for as many as you can fit in the pan at once. Rotate the pieces as necessary, browning on each side. Once the fried pieces feel hardened after touching with tongs, it's okay to flip.
- Transfer the fried cauliflower from the grease to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
- Drizzle or toss the fried cauliflower pieces you intend to eat with the BBQ sauce (store any un-sauced leftovers in the fridge). Serve immediately. Enjoy!
- This dish can be made in the air fryer. To do so, double-coat them in the wet and dry mixtures, then thoroughly spray both sides of each cauliflower piece with oil and cook for 10 minutes at 400°
- This dish can be reheated in an air fryer at 400° for about 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway.
- They reheat best when they have not been topped with BBQ sauce
- If you don’t intend to enjoy them all at once, avoid topping them with BBQ sauce and store BBQ sauce and fried cauliflower wings separately. The following day, reheat them in your air fryer as noted above, then top with BBQ sauce.