Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Homemade Ranch Dip

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These Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are the perfect appetizer for your next party or gathering! The spicy cauliflower florets are a delicious vegetarian alternative to Buffalo Chicken Wings and are served with a creamy homemade ranch dipping sauce.

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A white platter with a pile of buffalo cauliflower bites, carrot & cucumber sticks, and a bowl of dipping sauce. There is a pile of plates and some forks in the background. The text overlay says"Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Homemade Ranch". Similar photos of the recipe from various angles are used throughout with different text overlays unless otherwise described.

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Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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I know that readers like to skip to the recipe card, but I recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions, to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required and understand the steps and timings involved.

Does it seem like everyone you know suddenly has an air fryer? They certainly have become very popular, haven’t they!

Not only are they easy to use, but they’re also easy to clean, and most importantly, can save you money on your energy bills.

I was kindly gifted a NINJA Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer by Very, which has been the perfect upgrade to our other air fryer which we bought a couple of years ago!

Before you get to the buffalo cauliflower bites recipe, let me tell you about the fab features of this air fryer.

NINJA Foodi MAX Dual Zone 9.5L Air Fryer

NINJA Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer Features

  • With a 7.6L capacity (two large baskets/drawers), this air fryer is perfect for large families or when entertaining.
  • The Dual Zone means you can cook the same things at the same time, temperature, and program, or, you can cook different foods independently of each other too.
  • Use the SYNC function to ensure you have everything ready at the same time. So for example, if one basket of food takes 30 minutes and the other takes just 10 you can sync the settings and not have to worry about some of the food getting cold.
  • Or if you are cooking the same food across both baskets, use the MATCH function so that you have the exact same settings – this is the feature we used when making our spicy cauliflower bites.
  • And if you’re cooking just for yourself, you can use just one basket.
NINJA Foodi MAX Dual Zone 9.5L Air Fryer
  • NINJA say that their air fryer is up to 75% faster than fan ovens. (Tested against fish fingers and sausages, including preheat.)
  • There are 6 different cooking programs:
    • Max Crisp – perfect for cooking from frozen to crispy for quick dinners and snacks. From breaded scampi and chicken nuggets to golden French fries, onion rings, and more.
    • Air Fry – uses up to 75% less fat than traditional frying methods. (Ninja tested this against deep-fried, hand-cut French fries.)
    • Roast – a whole chicken (up to 1.6kg) can fit in one of the NINJA Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer drawers, so that is Sunday roast dinner sorted!
    • Reheat – No more soggy leftovers with this feature which gives a delicious out-of-the-oven finish.
    • Dehydrate – this is a feature that my husband is excited to try out as you can use it to make jerky! I am looking forward to drying fruit and our homegrown herbs too.
    • Bake – you can also make casseroles, pasta bakes, bread, brownies, cupcakes, and cookies in this air fryer!
  • Easy to clean with non-stick, dishwasher-safe baskets/drawers.
Air Fryer Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites on a serving platter with a NINJA Foodi MAX Dual Zone 9.5L Air Fryer AF400UK (gifted) in the background.

Why You’ll Love Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

  • They’re quick and easy to make – around 35 minutes from start to finish. (But a little more if you have to air fry in batches).
  • Vegetarian alternative – if you’re serving buffalo chicken wings, you don’t have to leave out the plant-based eaters with this recipe.
  • You can customise the heat – whether you like your buffalo-style foods to be mild, spicy, or extra spicy, you can adjust to your tastes with different hot sauces.
  • They can be enjoyed several ways – double or triple the recipe to make enough for feeding a crowd at a party or gathering; serve a portion up as a dinner party starter; enjoy them as a snack when you get a spicy craving; or dish them up with a side salad as a light lunch or dinner option.
Ingredients for Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been linked to Amazon, Amazon Fresh, or other stores if available online.

Ingredients Needed For Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found on the recipe card at the end of this post.


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Equipment Needed For This Recipe

  • Air Fryer – this is (one of the air fryers) we have. Cook times will vary among different air fryer units. Be sure to check the recommended guidelines for your specific unit before preparing this recipe
  • Sharp Knife – for cutting the cauliflower into florets, as well as the carrot and cucumber if using.
  • Chopping/Cutting Board
  • Mixing Bowlsyou will need a large mixing bowl to toss the cauliflower florets in the batter, and then, after cooking, in the hot honey sauce.
  • Whiskfor whisking both the buffalo batter and the hot honey sauce.
  • Rubber/Silicone-Tipped Tongsfor transferring the cauliflower bites to the air fryer. Using rubber-tipped tongs will prevent damage to your air fryer basket.
  • Serving Platteralong with a small bowl for the dipping sauce to serve your spicy bites on.

Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use cups and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American US customary, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. Please note, that you can mix cup measurements with weighted measures, but never mix US customary/imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, liters, etc.,).

Spicy Air Fryer Appetizer Recipe - Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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One of the hero ingredients in this dish is cauliflower, so here are some more recipes using the same:

Ingredients for Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

How Do I Make Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites?

The printable recipe card with the full ingredients list and instructions can be found at the end of this post.

Step 1 – Prepare the Batter: Whisk the batter ingredients – sweet smoked paprika, cumin, garlic granules, flour, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined and smooth.

NOTE: The batter is quite thick, and this is perfect for the air fryer method of cooking as it doesn’t make a lot of mess in the basket which a thinner batter would.

Step 2 – Batter the Cauliflower: Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl of batter and mix to coat the cauliflower well on all sides.

Step 3 – Place Cauliflower in Air Fryer: Place the battered cauliflower florets into the air fryer basket in a single layer, shaking off any excess batter if needed.

NOTE: Depending on the size of your basket, you have to cook in batches. I love the NINJA Foodi Dual Zone 7.6L Air Fryer as I don’t have to wait to cook in batches!

Cook in the air fryer at 200°C/400°F for 15-20 minutes, shaking/turning halfway through the cooking time.

NOTE: Cooking time may vary on different air fryers. A full 20 minutes was too much for my air fryer – 16 minutes was the actual time for me. A slight charring is fine, but you don’t want cauliflower bites that are too burnt!

Step 4 – Make Hot Honey Sauce: While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk the hot sauce, olive oil, and honey together in a bowl to combine.

Step 5 – Add Sauce to Cauliflower: When the cauliflower has finished cooking, transfer the florets to a large bowl, pour the hot honey sauce over, and toss to coat well.

Step 6 – Place Back in Air Fryer: Return the coated cauliflower florets to the air fryer basket in a single layer for a further 5-10 minutes (see note in step 3 about cooking time), shaking halfway through.

Step 7 – Make the Ranch Dip: While the florets are air frying for a second time, make the ranch dipping sauce by whisking the mayo, buttermilk, vinegar, chives, parsley, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl until combined.

NOTE: The dip was the perfect consistency for dipping the air fryer cauliflower into, but if you prefer a looser sauce, add some milk as desired.

Step 8 – Serve the Buffalo Cauliflower Bites: To serve, pile the buffalo cauliflower bites onto a serving platter with carrot and cucumber sticks, if using, and a small bowl of the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Recipe for Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Homemade Ranch
Spicy Cauliflower Bites Dipped in Homemade Ranch

More Air Fryer Recipes

Looking for more recipes to make in your air fryer? Check these recipes out next:

Air Fryer Recipe for Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Printable Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites Recipe Card

To save ink, any demonstration photos on the recipe card do not print.

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower Bites are a delicious spicy appetizer, served with a homemade ranch dip.

Ingredients

For the Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

  • 1 Tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • ½ Tbsp granulated garlic
  • ⅓ cup/50g all-purpose (plain) flour
  • ¾ cup/195ml buttermilk
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 medium cauliflower, leave removed and cut into florets
  • ½ cup/85ml hot sauce
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Carrot and cucumber sticks, to serve, optional

For the Ranch Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp granulated garlic
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the paprika, cumin, garlic, flour, and buttermilk into a large mixing bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste then whisk to create a smooth batter.
  2. Add the cauliflower florets to the bowl of batter and mix coat the cauliflower well on all sides.
  3. Place the battered cauliflower florets into the air fryer basket in a single layer, shaking off any excess batter if needed. Depending on the size of your basket, you have to cook in batches.
  4. Cook in the air fryer at 200°C/400°F for 15-20 minutes, shaking/turning halfway through the cooking time.
  5. Meanwhile, place the hot sauce, olive oil, and honey into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  6. Add the cooked cauliflower to the bowl of hot honey sauce and toss to coat.
  7. Return the coated cauliflower florets to the air fryer basket and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until hot and cooked through.
  8. While the florets are having their second air frying, make the ranch dipping sauce by whisking the mayo, buttermilk, vinegar, chives, parsley, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.
  9. To serve, pile the buffalo cauliflower bites onto a serving platter with carrot and cucumber sticks, if using, and a small bowl of the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 349Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 660mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 5gSugar: 18gProtein: 7g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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