Air Fryer Cauliflower

Air Fryer Cauliflower is made to make your mouth water with that crispy seasoned outer texture and a tender juicy bite. These delicious little gems are the perfect easy side dish to any meal made in under 30 minutes!

Wondering what else you can do with cauliflower? Check out my cauliflower biscuits, cauliflower risotto, and cauliflower mashed potatoes to start. Then, check out the rest of them because there are lots!

air fried cauliflower recipe garnished with fresh herbs

Cauliflower is so underrated, don’t you think? We’ve been so busy trying to find other uses for it like cauliflower rice and cauliflower pizza crust that sometimes we forget to enjoy the simple floret. This air fryer recipe will remind you exactly why you should eat more of it just like this!

It’s simply made with a bit of oil, some garlic powder, paprika, a squirt of lemon juice, and some parmesan cheese. There is so much flavor in these crispy tender bites and they’re ready in 20 minutes or less!

Why Make Cauliflower in Air Fryer?

  • Nutritious: Provides plenty of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. It’s also a gluten free and keto friendly recipe!
  • Delicious: It’s a mild-flavored cruciferous vegetable that pairs well with all kinds of other ingredients and always tastes great!
  • Quick and easy: This super easy recipe is perfect for a weeknight side dish ideas and using the air fryer takes up no space in the oven or stovetop.
  • Versatile: Once you’ve had your fill of cauliflower florets as a side, you can use leftovers in other things like healthy cauliflower soup or teriyaki chicken and cauliflower.  
air fried cauliflower in basked of air fryer

Ingredients for Air Fryer Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower: You’ll need 2 lbs of cauliflower, which is the size of a medium head.
  • Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil helps with nonstick action and also helps keep the seasoning sticking to the florets. Use a bit of toasted sesame oil for an Asian taste, like I do in air fryer broccoli.
  • Lemon juice: A lovely tart, vibrant flavor that wakes up everything!
  • Seasoning: Garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper are a simple combination of seasonings that gives flavor and colour. For a hint of smokiness, use smoked paprika.
  • Parmesan: Freshly grated from a block! Gives it that extra crispy exterior with a lovely sharp cheese flavour.

How to pick a really good cauliflower head: Choose one that is firm to the touch, has a heaviness to it, and is without brown or black spots on it.

air fryer cauliflower ingredients with cauliflower and seasonings

How to Cut Cauliflower for Air Fryer

This is a recap of my step by step photo tutorial on how to cut a cauliflower:

  1. Wash your cauliflower head by running it under water. 
  2. Remove the leaves from around the stem.
  3. Place cauliflower head on a cutting board, stem side down.
  4. Using a sharp knife, cut the cauliflower down the middle. Now you should have two identical halves.
  5. Lay one half of the cauliflower down on the board, exposing the inside of the stem and core. Cut it right out of the middle, loosening the little florets. 
  6. Repeat with the other half. Cut any larger florets into smaller pieces. 

Don’t discard any of what you’re not using! I like to wash all of it and store it in a freezer-friendly bag. Anytime I cut or peel veggies I wash and add the scraps to the bag (I’m talking onion peels and everything!). Next time I want to make a veggie or chicken broth, I have everything I need in one place 🙂 

You can also roast the leaves and serve them along with the cauliflower or save the scraps and use them in soups and stews!

how to cut cauliflower

How to Make Cauliflower Air Fryer Recipe

  • Prep: Preheat the air fryer to 400F degrees, grab a large bowl, and make sure your florets are all ready to go.
  • Coat the florets: Add the cauliflower to the bowl and drizzle it with oil and lemon juice. Give it a toss to coat evenly.
  • Season cauliflower: Sprinkle with garlic powder, smoked paprika (or regular), salt, and pepper. Toss once more to make sure everything is coated evenly.
  • To the air fryer they go: Transfer the cauliflower from the bowl to the air fryer basket. Make sure they’re in a single layer without overcrowding.
  • Cook: Air fry for 14 minutes, pausing to shake once or twice. At the 12 minute mark, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Continue air frying until nice and crispy!

Serve it up! Enjoy hot right out of the basket as a side dish, a light lunch or as a healthy snack!

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

This is one of the easiest cauliflower recipes to make. All that is required are heads of cauliflower cooked in batches for larger crowds, or just one for you and your family. Other than that, you can use whatever seasoning you like.

Here are a few other options:

  • Italian seasoning
  • Chili powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Turmeric
  • Curry
  • Coriander
  • Cayenne
  • Taco seasoning
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Red pepper flakes

Tips for Best Results

  • For crispy results, you need the oil, so don’t try and skip it! Some people prefer to go without or even give it a little spray beforehand, which you can also do, but resulting in a less crispy bite.
  • Work in batches. You want an even single layer spread out in the basket, but also leaving enough room for the air to circulate and the heat to evenly distribute throughout. If not, you’ll end up with soggy cauliflower.
  • Batches 2 and 3. Keep in mind the remaining batches will cook faster because the air fryer will be hotter. Check on them every so often.
  • Uniform sizes. When cutting your cauliflower, try and make the florets even sizes. This is so that they cook evenly and the smaller ones don’t burn while they wait for the larger ones to catch up.
  • Freshly grated cheese: Whenever possible, I always recommend grating cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese from a package or a jar typically comes with anti-clumping agents and other preservatives. This is so that they pour out easily and remain shredded. What this does is prevents the cheese from melting nicely. Grating your own does this but it also tastes fresher and just plain better!

fresh grated parmesan cheese on cutting board

FAQs

Can I make oil free air fried cauliflower?

You can make this recipe using no oil. The oil is what gives it the crispy texture, but if you’re fine without it, feel free to omit the oil. You may need to use parchment paper or give the bottom of the basket a little spray (yes, it’s oil, but less of it!).

Can I use frozen cauliflower in air fryer?

Sure! Save yourself the hassle of cutting up a whole head and use the bag you’ve got in the freezer. You will want to make sure they’re completely thawed first, though. If not, you’ll just end up with soggy cauliflower.

Can I make crispy cauliflower in oven?

Oven-roasted cauliflower is another great way to make this deliciously crispy dish. Place cauliflower florets in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Roast in a preheated oven at 425 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway.

Why is my cauliflower soggy vs. crispy?

This is usually due to overcrowding, not using any oil, or not completely thawing frozen cauliflower florets.

crispy air fried cauliflower in basked of air fryer with garnish

How to Serve Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites?

And even as a snack! Give me and my family a small bowl of these crispy bites any day of the week with a side of our favourite dipping sauce and we’re happy campers! Try buffalo sauce, healthy veggie dip, ranch, blue cheese, or hummus!

How to Store Air Fried Cauliflower?

Storing: Keep any leftover cooked cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Reheating: Pop them back in the air fryer at 300F degrees for 3-4 minutes until warm and crispy again.

Make them ahead. Season the florets as directed and keep them covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Toss them in the air fry when you’re ready!

More Air Fryer Recipes to Try

cauliflower in air fryer with garnish
Air Fryer Cauliflower
Print

Air Fryer Cauliflower {Easy and Crispy!}

Air Fryer Cauliflower is made to make your mouth water with that crispy seasoned outer texture and a tender juicy bite. These delicious little gems are the perfect easy side dish to any meal ready in under 30 minutes!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 165kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer at 400 F degrees. To a large bowl, add cauliflower and drizzle with oil and lemon juice, toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper; toss to coat.
  • Transfer cauliflower into the basket of air fryer leveling into a single layer. Air fry for 14 minutes at 400 degrees F, shaking once or twice. At 12 minute mark, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and keep cooking.
  • Serve hot with a side of quinoa or brown rice and healthy orange chicken, if you wish.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    Make ahead: Refrigerate seasoned cauliflower in an airtight container for up to 24 hours and then cook as per recipe.

      Reheat: Reheat air fried cauliflower in air fryer at 300 degrees F for 3-4 minutes or until warm.

        Notes

        • For crispy results, you need the oil, so don’t try and skip it! Some people prefer to go without or even give it a little spray beforehand, which you can also do, but resulting in a less crispy bite.
        • Work in batches. You want an even single layer spread out in the basket, but also leaving enough room for the air to circulate and the heat to evenly distribute throughout. If not, you’ll end up with soggy cauliflower.
        • Batches 2 and 3. Keep in mind the remaining batches will cook faster because the air fryer will be hotter. Check on them every so often.
        • Uniform sizes. When cutting your cauliflower, try and make the florets even sizes. This is so that they cook evenly and the smaller ones don’t burn while they wait for the larger ones to catch up.
        • Optional seasonings:
          • Italian seasoning
          • Chili powder
          • Onion powder
          • Oregano
          • Turmeric
          • Curry
          • Coriander
          • Cayenne
          • Taco seasoning
          • Breadcrumbs
          • Red pepper flakes
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 400mg | Potassium: 704mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Vitamin C: 112mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 1mg

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        Source: ifoodreal.com

        Air Fryer Cauliflower