Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower

Crispy cauliflower for the win, thanks to your air fryer! Make the cauliflower even tastier and crispier with spices, a little egg, and a light coating of breadcrumbs. Perfect as an appetizer or a side dish.

Vertical view of golden air fried cauliflower resting on a green lettuce. Above is a small bowl of creamy dressing swirled with hot sauce. Both are resting on a white fluted platter.
Nick Evans

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. Whether roasted, made into pizza crust, or tossed in a vegetable curry, I love how versatile it is. And this Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower is my new favorite way to eat it!

An air fryer is a great way to get extra crispy cauliflower, of course, but you can also bake the cauliflower instead. Either way, this cauliflower works great as a hearty vegetable side or served with spicy blue cheese dip as an appetizer. Yum!

The Trick to Extra-Crispy Cauliflower

Cauliflower will get a little crispy if you just fry or bake it without any breading, but to get it super crispy, a light breading is key. Toss the cauliflower with spices, add it to an egg mix, and then coat it with breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs help keep the spices on the cauliflower and amp up the crispy outer coating.

Also, you can’t go wrong with an air fryer if you want super crispy cauliflower. It quickly sears the cauliflower and creates a beautiful crust. It also cooks quickly and is pretty easy to clean up.

This crispy cauliflower is best to eat as soon as possible out of the air fryer, so it’s warm, and the breading is crispy. It’s okay to let it sit for a few minutes while you finish another batch, but if it sits for too long (over 30 minutes) it starts to lose some of its crispiness.

Hortizontal photo with a white fluted platter sitting vertically on a marble background. The platter has golden air fried cauliflower heaped on the bottom with a few leaves of lettuce and above is a small bowl of creamy dip swirled with hot sauce. To the right of the platter is the air fryer with a few fried cauliflower inside.
Nick Evans

No Air-Fryer? No Problem! Make Crispy Cauliflower in the Oven

To make crispy cauliflower in the oven, spread the cauliflower in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes in a 350 ̊F oven. Rotate the cauliflower once while it’s baking to ensure it cooks evenly.

I don’t think the oven version gets quite as crispy as the air fryer version, because you are missing that intense direct heat, but it’s still darn good.

What to Serve With Crispy Cauliflower

You can serve this vegetable as a side dish to any protein, like pan-seared chicken or pork chops. But my favorite way to eat crispy cauliflower is as a hearty appetizer with a quick spicy blue cheese dip. The flavors go great together, and it’s a nice addition to an appetizer spread.

Thumb and forefinger holder air fried cauliflower that has been slightly dipped in a creamy sauce. The sauce is in a fluted bowl and swirled with hot sauce.
Nick Evans

Suggestions and Substitutions

  • If you don’t want to do the breading, just toss the cauliflower in olive oil and add the spices. It’ll still okay to roast or air fry and get some crispy edges.
  • If you’re gluten-sensitive, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or cornmeal to coat the cauliflower.

More Air Fryer Appetizers

Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower served on a platter with dip
Nick Evans

Air Fryer Crispy Cauliflower

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Total Time 17 mins
Servings 6 servings

To cook without an air fryer: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spread the cauliflower florets out on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until cauliflower is crisp. Rotate the cauliflower once during baking so they cook evenly.


For the blue cheese dip:

  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese

  • Pinch ground black pepper

  • Dash hot sauce

For the crispy cauliflower:

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

  • Nonstick spray, for air fryer


  1. Make the blue cheese dip:

    Stir together ingredients in a medium bowl. Keep in fridge until needed.

  2. Prepare the cauliflower:

    Cut the cauliflower into florets. It’s okay to have a few different sizes, but try to make sure there are no florets bigger than about 1 1/2 inches.

    Chopped raw cauliflower on a wooden cutting board.
    Nick Evans
  3. Bread the cauliflower:

    In a medium bowl toss florets with salt, chili powder, and garlic powder. In a separate small bowl, add eggs and water and whisk together. Add the egg mixture to the bowl with the cauliflower and toss to coat. Once the cauliflower is coated with the egg mixture, toss with breadcrumbs and coat well.

    Cauliflower florets in a mixing bowl and coated in spices. A fork is inside the bowl with the cauliflower.
    Nick Evans
  4. Air-fry the cauliflower:

    Spray the basket of an air fryer with nonstick spray and place as many cauliflower florets in the basket as will fit in a single layer. Return the basket to the fryer and cook at 350 ̊F for 7 minutes. Then flip the florets and fry for another 7 minutes.

    Repeat until all cauliflower is done.

    Cauliflower florets fried in an air fryer.
    Nick Evans
    Golden air fried cauliflower florets inside a black air fryer.
    Nick Evans
  5. Serve:

    Serve cauliflower immediately once all batches are done, or serve on a rolling basis as the batches come out of the fryer. Cauliflower is best right out of the fryer! Serve with the blue cheese dip as an appetizer or side dish.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
272 Calories
17g Fat
18g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 272
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 83mg 28%
Sodium 706mg 31%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 41mg 207%
Calcium 189mg 15%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 272mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.