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.
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.
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’!
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.
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:
- Easy Vegan Dirty Rice
- Southern Black Eyed Peas
- Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins
- Instant Pot Garlic + Herb Potatoes
- Easy Baked Vegan Mac + Cheese
- Easy Vegan Collard Greens
Other Cauliflower Recipes You’ll Enjoy:
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!
Easy Vegan Spicy Chicken Fried Cauliflower [+VIDEO]
- 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into medium florets
- enough oil for frying about ½-1 inch in desired pan
- 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.