Easy Vegan Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower [+VIDEO]

Y’ALL! I done hit the jackpot! When I tell you this Spicy Chicken Chicken Fried Cauliflower is LIKE THAT, I mean it! I am officially a cauliflower fan. This recipe definitely rivals my fried oyster mushrooms!

Apparently I just hadn’t had it cooked right in the past. If you’re skeptical of fried cauliflower, try this recipe. I’m a true believer now! This dish is deep fried and coated in the most delicious coating and seasoned to perfection. You can use it as a snack, a main dish or even an appetizer.

These deep fried cauliflower pieces are perfect for dipping in your favorite dipping sauces (like vegan ranch!) or even enjoying them as is! This is seriously the best fried cauliflower recipe on the internet!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • fresh cauliflower – the star of the show! You can purchase a head of cauliflower or save time by purchasing some that’s already been precut.
  • oil – we’ll use this to fry each of the battered cauliflower pieces. I typically use vegetable oil, but you could also use grapeseed, peanut, or another high heat cooking oil variety.
  • unsweetened almond milk – not a fan of almond milk? You could also use another dairy-free alternative like soy or oat.
  • apple cider vinegar – when combined with diary free milk, they make for the perfect vegan buttermilk mixture! You can also substitute with regular vinegar if necessary.
  • cayenne pepper sauce – this is gonna help add to the flavor and keep things spicy!
  • cornstarch – this will help ensure that your cauliflower pieces are extra crunchy!
  • all-purpose flour – when combined with the spices below, you’ll create the perfect crunchy outer layer for your fried cauliflower pieces. Though I haven’t tried it, you could probably also try subbing the all-purpose flour with a 1:1 gluten free variety.
  • brown sugar, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt – beyond just creating the perfect spicy chicken fried cauliflower, you want it to actually have flavor. These spices are going to help you achieve just that. The brown sugar will help to balance out the flavors.

How to Make this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower Recipe

Making this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower was super easy! First, you’ll want to chop up your cauliflower into florets. I prefer smedium (small/medium-ish) sized pieces for a good cauli-crunch ratio.

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower in Buttermilk

Once that’s done, round up your ingredients for the buttermilk marinade. This will help to give the cauliflower a little flavor so you don’t bite into bland cauliflower.

Toss them around in the cauliflower so that all pieces have been covered and appear pinkish/redish like the mixture. Set them aside and let them marinate for 20 minutes or so.

While the cauliflower is marinating, you can go ahead and start putting together the flour mixture in a large bowl to create the vegan batter for frying. Next, whisk everything together then set aside until you need it.

Now would be a good time to heat your oil on the stove. Once the cauliflower is done marinating, spoon each piece out and transfer them to a clean bowl.

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower

There will still be some marinade leftover which is exactly what we want.

We’ll now use this mixture to create the liquid vegan batter by adding additional almond milk and whisking in the all-purpose flour.

At this point you should have three bowls: one with the cauliflower florets, another with the flour mixture, and the liquid vegan batter. Now you’re ready to start cookin’!

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower

The Dipping Process:

Take each piece of cauliflower and dip it in the liquid batter, then in the flour, back again in the liquid, in the flour once more and finally into the hot oil.

You’ll do this for each piece of cauliflower until all of them have been fried for about 3 minutes on each side. Be sure to flip them over to ensure both sides are cooked.

If you’re not sure if the underside has been cooked, grasp the piece with a pair of tongs, leaving them in the oil.

Just by gripping them with the tongs you’ll be able to feel if the breading has hardened. If it has, continue to flip it over. If not, continue to let it cook a bit longer.

Whatever you do, don’t leave the kitchen! It’s important to keep an eye on these while they cook to avoid any accidents.

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower


Can Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower 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 this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower recipe, 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 – 13 minutes at 400°.

How Can I Make This Recipe More Mild?

To reduce the heat on this recipe you can omit the cayenne pepper sauce and cayenne pepper.

How Can I Store the Leftovers?

Though this recipe will always be best served fresh, you can store the leftovers once completely cooled in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.

Is Chicken Fried Cauliflower Healthy?

Because this recipe is deep fried, I wouldn’t exactly call this recipe is healthy. It’s certainly more indulgent than anything. If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a little lighter, try my Air Fried Spicy Chicken Fried Jackfruit recipe!

How to Reheat this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower

The best way that I’ve found to reheat this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower (or fried foods in general) is to use an air fryer! Simply spray with oil and place your Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower in the air fryer at 400° for 15 minutes.

There’s nothing more satisfying than turning some sad, soggy fried cauliflower into crispy goodness!

What Can I Pair With This Recipe?

This Vegan Chicken Fried Cauliflower is the perfect main dish for your Soulfood Sunday spread. Pair them with any of the following recipes for a complete meal:

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower

Other Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Enjoy:

Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower

To sum it up, I know you’ll love this Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower recipe! It’s crispy (soooooo crispy), delicious and did I mention they were crispy?!

If you’re wondering if this recipe will also work for fried cauliflower steaks, I’m sure it would! Just be sure not to slice them too thick or too thin. I think about 1/2 inch pieces would work.

Looking for a healthy fried cauliflower recipe? Try these vegan spicy cauliflower wings with a maple glaze. They are AMAZING!

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!

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4.98 from 34 votes

Easy Vegan Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower [+VIDEO]

Fresh cauliflower battered in the perfect breading and deep fried to perfection, creating the most perfect crispy, well seasoned cauliflower bites!
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Cauliflower, Spicy
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Marinating Time 20 minutes
Total Time 51 minutes
Servings 4


  • 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into medium florets
  • enough oil for frying about ½-1 inch in desired pan

Buttermilk Marinade

Flour Mixture

Additional Ingredients to Add to the Marinade to Make Liquid Batter


  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Let cool for about 5 minutes. Pair with your favorite hot sauce (like Texas Pete). 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 15 minutes, flipping over halfway.


  1. Christina

    4 stars
    Absolutely delicious! Crunch factor was A+, was not difficult to make at all. I made a few of my own modifications like using cayenne pepper instead of hot sauce to marinate and adding extra brown sugar to both the flour and batter mixtures because I love sweet things. Would absolutely recommend for anyone looking for a lighter version of fried chicken 🙂

    • Taylor Juniper

      5 stars
      Delicious! It was easy to make and turned out so crunchy and yummy. Even my meat eating husband loved it. I would definitely make it again!

  2. 5 stars
    If I closed my eyes, I would have sworn it was chicken! These cauliflower wings were so good served with a simple green salad. I’ve struggled previously with obtaining the right batter texture and crisp, but not with these cauliflower wings–they fried up perfectly. The recipe was easy to follow, with simple ingredients. The only thing I altered was using whole wheat flour. I will be making these again!!

  3. 5 stars
    These were excellent! I am not a fan of Cauliflower so I am glad @icanyoucanvegan came up with this. I need different ways to eat veggies and she has hit the nail on the head! Pretty much was a cut up and fry! Kudos to you Ms. Desiree!!

  4. Brittany R.

    5 stars
    I LOVED these! Turned out just like the pictures. Just spicy enough (not too spicy) and super crunchy. New favorite recipe for sure!

  5. 5 stars
    This is the first cauliflower wings recipe I’ve actually loved. I used peri peri sauce and powder instead of cayenne and hot sauce just for personal preference and it was a hit. The crunch!!

  6. 5 stars
    These were so good! I followed the recipe exactly and they came out perfect! Best cauliflower wings ever!

  7. 5 stars
    I tried the recipe this weekend and it was phenomenal! So crispy and the perfect amount of spicy 😬 One of my favourite home made appetizers 😋 Thank you so much Desirée! 🙌🏽

  8. 5 stars
    Trying all kinds of cauliflower substitutes and wings, and this is definitely one of my favorites. Super easy, ingredients all on hand.
    I even got a meat-loving roommate to try, and he said it was just as good as the real thing and went back for seconds!

    Thanks for this comfort food staple.

  9. 5 stars
    Easy to make, crunchy, flavorful, satisfying and versatile! We added BBQ sauce and homemade slaw and stuffed tacos. Just amazing 😋

    • 5 stars
      Delicious!! Have tried several fried cauliflower recipes and this one takes the cake. So crunchy!! And so happy with the flavor! Will be making it again.

  10. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I’ve been craving that breaded fried chicken crunch and this hit the spot. Was amazed at how crunchy and tasty they were! Honestly could barely tell I was eating cauliflower. Can’t wait to make this recipe again!

  11. 5 stars
    Oh. My. Goodness. This was honestly one of the best things I’ve eaten. Ever. Period. I cannot express how delicious these little things are. I’m honestly shocked I had leftovers the next day, but I made a lot of sides. Still, the following day, the remainders did not make it to the air-fryer. I shamelessly ate them cold, because they were that good. Definitely try the recipe and send me some if you’re in the Bay Area! Thank you D! These were a game changer.

    • Wow Eric! Thank you so much! I’m dying at the fact that you didn’t even put them in the air fryer the next day! 😂

  12. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! Best cauliflower wings that I’ve had, my wife loved them.

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  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is AMAZING! I’ve now made three of your recipes in the past four days and have yet to be even remotely disappointed. Can’t wait to try more!

  15. Oh my goodness—looks fantastically crunchy & delicious!

  16. 5 stars
    The batter was amazing and the breading turned out perfectly! I got scared it would be too spicy and used less cayenne, DON’T. Plan to repeat it with the exact amount of spice it says.

    Even my dad who is an absolute carnivore liked it. Off to the next recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    It was amazing!! The crunch is awesome!!

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  19. 5 stars
    This is literally the BEST fried cauliflower I’ve had in my life. I’ve tried my fair share of fried cauliflower/cauliflower wing recipes and this one is the winner winner “chicken” dinner! I could not stop eating them! I honestly think the breading is the best combination of spices and double breading it is the key. I will be making these for every time I’m craving something fried. 🙂 Thank you so much, Desiree!

  20. 5 stars
    This recipe was so yummy, quick and fun to make in the kitchen! I didn’t have paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, or brown sugar on hand so I used a premade seasoning mix, jamaican curry powder, and some vegan bouillon, and white sugar instead. Will definitely make again! Thanks Desiree!! (P.S. I appreciated the afrobeats during the video! 😉

  21. Samanta Morrison

    5 stars
    Such a simple recipe the crunch factor was 10 out ten and the flavor was on point

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  24. 5 stars
    Sometimes you just want something deep fried in oil. Lol. These definitely hit the spot. I used a bag of florets. I liked the little pies especially the best. Tasted like popcorn chicken. My meat eating son loved them.

  25. 5 stars
    This was such an awesome recipe and I will be making it again!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. 5 stars
    So good and perfectly crispy!

  27. Question, can you make these in the air fryer (not just for reheating)?

    • They can! The texture will be slightly different, but still crunchy. Coat them as noted in the recipe, add them to your air fryer basket, then spray them generously with oil. 400 degrees for 10 minutes should do it 👌🏾

  28. 5 stars
    Such a hit we made them two nights in a row! Perfect crunch, they were so perfect I had them the next morning with some grits and they were still crunchy without even having to reheat!! Thank you so much for these wonderful recipes. I’m the only Vegan in the family and trying to get them off meat has been a challenge but this helped so much. #pickynonveganfamilyapproved.

  29. 5 stars
    This was the bomb! Who needs KFC!? A great Friday eve feast for my housemates and I. Thank you!

  30. 5 stars
    First of all, when Desiree says spicy, she means it. I love spicy food, and there are a lot of recipes that say spicy, and it’s nothing. So crispy, crunchy and flavorful. Thanks, Desiree! These were amazing!

  31. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfection! I’ve made it twice in the last week and it does not disappoint!! SO good!

  32. 5 stars
    This is my first recipe I’ve tried for yours and I love it! The breading had a wonderful spice and I love the secret brown sugar in there balancing everything out. I was craving fried chicken so badly and happened to have a head of cauliflower laying around, I am so grateful I stubbled across this gem!! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  33. 5 stars
    Absolutely incredible! I didn’t have any cayenne or hot sauce so subbed this with chilli powder and extra paprika and black pepper, I also fried them in a deep fat fryer rather than a pan. Super delicious recipe 🙂

  34. 5 stars
    This recipe is perfect. It is written in very easy to follow steps which allows for success the first time. Crunchy and light and looks like fried chicken! Absolutely delicious. The only thing I would add the next time is salt to the marinade and the flour.
    I am so glad this recipe was posted and I came across it!

  35. Victoria Robertson

    5 stars
    I made these for my company that are vegan, I myself am vegetarian but I’m always looking for new ideas.
    This was the best deep fried cauliflower Buffalo wings I’ve had and my company loved them and asked if they could take home a doggy bag. That is a good review of this recipe.

  36. 5 stars
    Great recipe!!

  37. 5 stars
    The perfect recipe!

  38. 5 stars

  39. 5 stars
    Family favorite New veggie Dish to our list

  40. 5 stars
    I made these today and I am in looove. Absolutely delicious, they cook up perfectly and the taste is off the charts! So happy to find you and look forward to trying more of your wonderful recipes.

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