Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower is simple to make in under 20 minutes. This delicious side dish takes just a handful of ingredients and makes the yummiest cauliflower that everyone will love.
You can also serve this roasted cauliflower as an appetizer, with some Buffalo sauce for dipping, so it’s an easy version of those Cauliflower Buffalo Wings.
Crispy healthy cauliflower made in the air fryer is nicely browned and caramelized. The roasting brings out the natural nutty flavor of the veggie.
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Please let me know if you have any questions about this recipe. I read all the comments myself and I try to help as soon as I can. I have readers from all levels of comfort and experience in the kitchen on my site, and I’ve tried to answer some of your questions already in the post. But if I’ve missed anything, please feel free to leave a comment and ask. The comments can be easily found using the orange circle on the lower left, then Join the discussion!
How to choose a cauliflower
I’m giving instructions for white cauliflower, though there are many colors that I see in the stores and the farmer’s markets now. Feel free to use those pretty colored ones as well.
Cauliflower heads should be firm and tightly closed, with no soft spots. Those soft are signs of an older spoiling cauliflower.
You’ll want it to be pale white, and uniform in color, with no spots on it.
To keep it as fresh as possible, store the cauliflower tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator once you bring it home.
How to prep Cauliflower
For this recipe, you’ll want a medium to small head of cauliflower. If you have a large one, you may need to roast it in batches so you don’t overcrowd the air fryer.
Remove the leaves at the bottom of the head of cauliflower. Give it a good rinse under cold running tap water, and pat it dry using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
I like to break off the florets with my hands; you can usually see where they will break easily making a nice bite sized piece.
Some of the pieces will need to be cut with a sharp chef’s knife to make them into smaller bite sized pieces.
You’ll want the pieces to be all uniform in size. If there are some that are much smaller, they will burn while you wait for the others to cook, and if some are too large, the outsides will burn before the middles cook through. Remember, you’re aiming for bite sized pieces.
Also, keep an eye out for those pre-cut bagged cauliflower florets. Though they will cost a bit more, they will save you some time.
Pro tips for the best air fryer roasted cauliflower
The cauliflower tastes better and crisps up better when some oil is used. I call for olive oil in the recipe, but you can use the oil of your preference, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or any other light flavored oil.
Toss the florets with the oil and spices. Once the air fryer is preheated, pop the florets in the basket.
Give the florets some space in there. Don’t overcrowd the air fryer as you need space to let the air move around the cauliflower in order for them to crisp up and get all toasty. If they’re too crowded, they’ll just steam rather than roast.
If you need to, make more than one batch. Keep an eye on your second batch, as it’s likely to cook faster since the air fryer is much hotter at this point. Cauliflower can turn from nicely browned to burned very quickly, so keep an eye on it as it cooks.
Different heads of cauliflower may cook faster or slower as well, depending on the freshness of the cauliflower and the density of the florets.
Remove roasted cauliflower to a bowl, and toss with grated Parmesan. Return the Parmesan coated cauliflower to the air fryer and continue to cook until the cheese has melted.
By the way, want more cheese, feel free to increase the amount. Want it to be vegan? Feel free to leave the cheese off.
Why is my cauliflower not crispy?
The main culprit here is that the air fryer was crowded and it steamed rather than roasted. Space the florets out farther apart.
Can you air fry frozen cauliflower?
Yes, frozen cauliflower can be cooked in the air fryer. Follow along with the recipe as it is, tossing the frozen cauliflower (no need to defrost it), with the oil and spices. Again, keep an eye on it as it cooks, but it may need a little longer to cook than its fresh counterpart so that it’s not soggy.
What kind of air fryer do I need?
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This can be made in a drawer type air fryer. I have a Cosori 5.8 quart that I love and use all the time!
This can also be made in a multi-function counter top toaster oven style air fryer. Just use the basket tray and the super convection setting.
How do I serve roasted cauliflower?
You can serve it plain as a lovely side dish.
Pour your favorite sauce over the top of the cauliflower. I recommend trying my cheese sauce poured over the top for a comfort food classic. Or try it with Garlic Parmesan Cream Sauce or Red pepper garlic sauce.
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Air Fryer Cauliflower Recipe
Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Preheat the air fryer to 370° F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss cauliflower florets with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until evenly coated.
- Place florets in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer. And air fry 10-15 minutes at 370° F, shaking halfway through, until crispy and browned. Keep an eye on it at the end of cooking, as it can burn easily.
- Remove roasted cauliflower to a bowl, and toss with grated Parmesan. Return the Parmesan coated cauliflower to the air fryer and continue to cook at 370° F for a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted.
- Serve immediately, topped with freshly chopped basil or parsley if desired.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.