For this Crispy Cauliflower Bites recipe, I do a simple flour, egg, and panko breading then pop them in the air fryer. They never fail to be extra crunchy on the outside, and tender on the inside. You can always deep fry them too if you’re craving something greasy!
These bites are perfect for dipping. I like to serve them with my homemade buttermilk ranch dressing, which is super creamy, flavorful, and filled with fresh herbs. It’s taken to the next level when I drizzle a blend of buffalo sauce and butter over the top (you can also toss them in the sauce, but you’ll lose a lot of the crunch).
This recipe is versatile, so you can use whatever sauce you like! I’ll provide some ideas below. 🤗
This post includes affiliate links. When I find a product that I love and use daily, I like to share it with my readers. Sometimes I use affiliate links so I can earn commission for my recommendations (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for your support! 🖤
Jon and I used to eat buffalo cauliflower at our favorite restaurant in Florida every weekend. Those were double deep fried, so of course they were amazing! Their house made buffalo sauce was the best, too. I should have asked for a bottle before we moved…
Nonetheless, these crispy cauliflower bites are meant to be a bit healthier, so don’t expect a deep-fried consistency (there is no oil used).
Crispy Cauliflower Bites with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
This recipe is perfect for you if you’re looking for:
- Game Day Appetizers
- Game Day Dips
- Small Bites Appetizers
- Bite Size Vegetarian Appetizers
- Vegetarian Appetizers for a Party
- Appetizers for Picky Eaters
- Appetizers for Teens
- Easy Kid Appetizers
The list goes on and on!
The Crispy Cauliflower Bites Ingredients
This recipe has extremely limited, basic ingredients that you may already have in the pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A Head of Cauliflower
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
I wanted to keep the crispy cauliflower bites seasoning simple so the bites can be easily paired with/dipped in any sauce. Feel free to get creative with your seasonings (more on that below)!
Before we get to the recipe, can we please have a moment of silence for my beautiful white plate with blue tie dye pictured above (sorry mom)? You may have seen it on my Instagram, but I was doing the dishes the other night, and the plate slipped right out of my hand, shattered into big and tiny pieces, and cut the other hand.
I’m thankful for my neighbor who was over because I had recruited her as my crispy cauliflower bites taste tester. She ran to her house and grabbed some peroxide. When she got back, she kept telling me how bad it was going to burn. Naturally, as she was trying to pour some on my hand, I screamed and pulled my hand away each time. All while our dogs were spazzing out. It was chaos. 😅
How to Make Cauliflower Bites
This crispy cauliflower bites recipe is ridiculously easy to make and takes such little time to prepare!
First, remove the cauliflower stalk. You’ll then want to dry the cauliflower with a paper towel, as the breading won’t stick if the cauliflower is damp. Cut it into florets, or bite-sized pieces. You can leave some of the stem on each piece if you wish!
Get a few medium sized bowls ready, and add the flour with seasonings, eggs, and panko with seasonings in three separate bowls.
Transfer the bite-sized cauliflower pieces to the flour bowl and toss, ensuring the cauliflower is evenly coated. Dump the mixture onto a sheet baking pan lined with a wire rack, and gently shake the pan to remove any excess flour.
Now, one at a time, dip the flour coated cauliflower bites into the egg (let any excess drip off), then into the panko mixture until it has a nice even coating on it. Set them aside until you’re ready to (air) fry them!
The bites come out perfectly when I cook them at four hundred degrees Fahrenheit (two hundred four degrees Celsius) for eleven minutes; however, everyone’s air fryer is different. Just keep an eye on them and take them out when they’re golden brown on the outside, and tender on the inside.
Taste them for salt and sprinkle a little on them if you’d like!
Cosori Air Fryer
I wanted to include an air fryer suggestion in case you are in the market for one. This is not sponsored by Cosori (but I would gladly accept sponsorship). 😉
You can buy the Cosori Air Fryer via my Amazon link, though!
I recently purchased this air fryer (with a Christmas gift card from my parents 🖤) because the one I had was old. My old one wasn’t even digital. So, this large digital screen on my new favorite small kitchen appliance, is huge for me.
I want to start adding more air fryer recipes to the blog, and my new Cosori air fryer is inspiring me to do so. Get ready to use that air fryer of yours because my ideas are running wild!
This 10 qt air fryer is spacious and comes with a big air frying basket, dehydrator racks, and a roast tray. It has fourteen functions (eight presets for specific foods plus six cooking methods). With the touch of a button, you can toast, roast, bake, keep warm, and dehydrate.
It’s very efficient, and everything comes out perfectly cooked. I haven’t even used all the settings yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying it thus far and I can’t wait to make more recipes in it!
Homemade Herbed Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
UPDATED THIS RANCH RECIPE 7/10/23
This is optional to make (you can use any dipping sauce you want), but highly recommended!
I’ve always been a Hidden Valley kind of girl, but once you make homemade ranch dressing, it’s hard to want anything besides it. The freshness from the herbs and the tangy buttermilk and sour cream just hits different than bottled ranch. A bit of mayonnaise brings it all together.
It couldn’t be easier to prepare!
For the homemade ranch dressing, you’ll need:
- Sour Cream
- Mayonnaise (I use avocado oil mayo)
- Fresh Dill, Parsley, and Chives
- Garlic and Onion Powder
- Salt and Pepper
- Dried Minced Onion (KEY!)
First, gather your ingredients. Mince the dill and parsley and slice the chives thinly. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor (you can also whisk, but blending is best), and blend for about 10 seconds, or until smooth.
Store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in a mason jar with a tightly fitting lid (I’m more of a five-to-seven-day maximum kind of person).
Alternative/Additional Sauces and Seasonings (Optional)
For extra flavor, you may want to jazz up the crispy cauliflower bites with some sauce, or maybe a different seasoning that pairs well with your chosen sauce.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Buffalo Sauce – I like to heat the buffalo sauce (Franks Garlic Buffalo is good) with a little butter then drizzle some on the cauliflower bites. These pair perfectly with my homemade ranch, or blue cheese if that’s what you prefer! Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley and/or thinly sliced scallions.
- BBQ Sauce – For the sauce toss or drizzle, you can use the same butter method as above. If your BBQ sauce is already thin, drizzle it! Pair with homemade ranch. Sprinkle with thinly sliced scallions or parsley. Meat Church Seasoning (or another one of your favorite BBQ seasonings) sprinkled in the breading would be amazing! My favorite store-bought BBQ sauce is Lillie’s Q brand – so good!
- Marinara Sauce – Try adding some Italian seasoning and grated parmesan cheese to panko breadcrumbs. I love Mezzetta marinara, and it would be great for dipping! Either by itself or with ranch too. Sprinkle with fresh minced parsley and more parm.
To keep the crispy cauliflower bites…crispy; I prefer to drizzle the sauce on top or dip it, rather than completely coating the bites in sauce. It’s up to you, though! Enjoy. 🙂
As always, I’d love to hear from you all! About your experience with this dish, any alterations you may have made and loved (or didn’t love), or just life and cooking in general. Please leave a review/comment/question below, reach out via email, and/or stay connected with me on social media, which I have linked below. Take care! – Jenna 🖤
MORE APPETIZER INSPIRATION:
These crispy cauliflower bites dipped in homemade buttermilk ranch dressing are the perfect small-bites vegetarian appetizer for game day or a tasty way to get your kids to eat their veggies! They are crisped up in the air fryer until golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
CRISPY CAULIFLOWER BITES:
- 1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
HOMEMADE HERBED BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I used avocado oil mayo)
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- PREPARE THE CRISPY CAULIFLOWER BITES INGREDIENTS. First, remove the cauliflower stalk. Dry the cauliflower with a paper towel, then cut it into florets, or bite-sized pieces. Get a few medium-sized bowls ready and add flour with 1/4 teaspoons each salt and pepper into one bowl, panko breadcrumbs with the remaining salt and pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in the second bowl, and beat the eggs in the third bowl.
- BREAD THE CAULIFLOWER. Transfer the bite-sized cauliflower pieces to the flour bowl and toss, ensuring the cauliflower is evenly coated. Dump the mixture onto a sheet baking pan lined with a wire rack, and gently shake the pan to remove any excess flour. Now, one at a time, dip the flour-coated cauliflower bites into the egg (let any excess drip off), then into the panko mixture until it has a nice even coating on it. I set them on a sheet baking pan until I’m ready to transfer them to the air fryer.
- COOK THE CAULIFLOWER BITES. The bites come out perfectly when I cook them at 400 degrees F (204 degrees C) for eleven minutes; however, everyone’s air fryer is different. Just keep an eye on them and take them out when they’re golden brown on the outside, and tender on the inside. Taste them for salt and sprinkle a little on them when they come out of the air fryer if you’d like!
- MAKE THE HERBED BUTTERMILK RANCH DRESSING (optional). First, gather your ingredients. Mince the dill and parsley and slice the chives thinly. Add all the ingredients to a blender or food processor (you can also whisk, but blending is best), and blend for about 10 seconds, or until smooth. Place it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
- OPTIONAL SAUCE DRIZZLE/TOSS. See the post above for options. Enjoy!!!
- Customize the Recipe: Please read the post above for alternative/additional sauce and seasoning options!
- The homemade buttermilk ranch dressing would also be great as a vegetable dip/salad dressing. 🥦🥕🫑
- Prep Time: 19 minutes
- Cook Time: 11 minutes
- Category: 30 Minutes or Less, Appetizers, Side Dishes, Vegetarian
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Crispy Cauliflower Bites, Crispy Cauliflower Wings, Crunchy Cauliflower Bites, Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Extra Crispy Cauliflower Wings, Small Bites Appetizers, Game Day Appetizers, Game Day Dips, Appetizers for Picky Eaters, Appetizers for Teens, Easy Kid Appetizers, What are Some Good Appetizers, Appetizers for Kids Party, Vegetarian Recipes, Vegetarian Diet, Game Day Snacks Easy, Low Calorie Game Day Snacks, Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing, How Long does Homemade Ranch Dressing Last, Easy Ranch Dressing Recipe,