Air Fryer Cauliflower


5 from 32 votes
Jump to RecipeJump to Video

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Crispy, golden, and tender, this air fryer cauliflower recipe will have you reaching for seconds. I love how it cooks in just 12 minutes.

Love air fryer recipes? Try air fryer chicken drumsticks, air fryer steak, air fryer shrimp, and air fryer orange chicken.

air fried cauliflower.

Air frying vegetables is, hands down, the best way to cook them.

You get the oven-roasted or fried texture without needing excess oil and skip the lengthy baking time. This crispy air-fried cauliflower recipe is one of my absolute favorites and is a staple in my home. It seriously tastes like roasted cauliflower!

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients Needed
  3. How to air fry cauliflower
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. More delicious ways to cook cauliflower
  7. Air Fryer Cauliflower (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • It’s versatile. The cauliflower is simply seasoned, so pairs well with almost anything. I actually love it as a veggie snack.
  • Quick and speedy. Because it cooks in just 12 minutes, it’s perfect when I need a veggie to round out a meal.
  • Healthy. I use only a touch of oil for maximum crispiness. Cauliflower is packed with fiber, vitamins, and protein and has very little fat.
  • Perfect texture and flavor. Air-frying foods are the perfect cheat for deep-frying. This dish delivers the crispy, caramelized texture and the comforting taste of fried cauliflower.
air fryer cauliflower.

Ingredients Needed

  • Cauliflower. Pick a clean, firm cauliflower head and cut it into bite-size florets. The easiest way is to make quarters and separate florets from the stem. You can also use two smaller heads of cauliflower.
  • Salt and pepper. To taste.
  • Olive oil. To air-fry the cauliflower. Other cooking oils like avocado oil or vegetable oil will also work.
  • Cumin. One of my absolute favorite spices to work with and one that lends itself SO well to cauliflower. Choose ground cumin over the seeds.
  • Smoked paprika. For a subtle hint of spice. Other spices work, too, including basil, Italian seasoning, and chili powder.

How to air fry cauliflower

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Prep the cauliflower: Wash, clean, and pat dry the cauliflower florets. Toss them in a large bowl with the seasonings and oil.

seasoned cauliflower.

Step 2- Air fry the cauliflower: Lay the seasoned florets in a single layer in the cooking basket and air-fry them for 12-15 minutes until crispy and golden.

cauliflower in air fryer.

Step 3- Garnish and serve: Remove the air-fried cauliflower from the basket once you get the crispy brown edges.

air fried cauliflower.

What to serve with this

Cauliflower, in any shape or form, goes well with pretty much anything! In our household, it’s a popular side dish to simple protein! This includes crispy baked chicken thighs or pan-seared salmon.

My Ninja DZ201 Dual Air Fryer has two air fryer baskets, so I like to cook air fryer proteins in it as the cauliflower cooks for a quick and easy dinner. Some popular options include air fryer chicken breast, air fryer chicken thighs, air fryer salmon, and air fryer tilapia.

Other air fryer veggies you can cook at the same time include air fryer broccoli, air fryer buffalo cauliflower, air fryer zucchini, and air fryer brussels sprouts.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Ensure that you have a single layer of florets in your air-fryer basket. And if you have lots of florets, it is best to cook them in batches for even cooking.   
  • Pat dry the cauliflower florets well before tossing them in seasoning for easy air-frying and better crisping.  
  • Shake the air fryer several times throughout, for even cooking on all sides.
  • Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Nothing brightens the dish better than a drizzle of fresh lemon juice.


  • Make a panko-parmesan coating. For a cauliflower popcorn variation, coat the florets with an egg wash, then roll them in the seasoned panko breadcrumbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Follow the steps in the recipe for air-frying and enjoy this filling appetizer.
  • Glaze with a sauce. Once you have air fried the cauliflower, finish it with a glaze or a flavorful sauce (Family favorites include katsu saucebulgogi sauce, or hot honey sauce!).
  • Change up the seasonings. Toss through some Italian seasoning, add curry powder, onion powder, garlic powder, or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes.

Storage instructions

To store. Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 

To freeze. Freeze the air-fried cauliflower florets in a freezer-safe container/bag for up to 2-3 months.

To reheat. The best way to reheat the cauliflower would be to use an air-fryer to retain the texture.

cauliflower in the air fryer.

More delicious ways to cook cauliflower

air fryer cauliflower recipe.

Air Fryer Cauliflower

5 from 32 votes
This air fryer cauliflower recipe cooks in 12 minutes and yields crispy, golden, and tender cauliflower every time! I love how it cooks in just 12 minutes. Watch how I make this in my kitchen in the video below!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 12 minutes
Total: 13 minutes



  • 1 head cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika


  • Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F. Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Wash and clean the cauliflower and pat dry. Add it to a mixing bowl, then toss through the olive oil and seasonings and mix well. 
  • Add a single layer of cauliflower and air fry for 12 minutes, shaking the basket several times throughout. 
  • Remove the cauliflower once golden and crispy. 


TO STORE. Refrigerate the leftover or meal-prepped cauliflower in an airtight container for 3-4 days. 
TO FREEZE. Freeze the air-fried cauliflower florets in a freezer-safe container/bag for up to 2-3 months.
TO REHEAT. The best way to reheat the cauliflower would be to use an air-fryer to retain the texture.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 68kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSodium: 625mgPotassium: 439mgFiber: 3gVitamin A: 125IUVitamin C: 69mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 4g
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published May 2023, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

You May Also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I always thought csulflower is too fragile for air fryer. Apparently not! So really need to give it a shot!

  2. 5 stars
    Excited to try this 🙂 I notice cumin was left off the recipe part of the ingredients but mentioned in the narrative. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

  3. 5 stars
    Hi just about to try this is the cauliflower soft inside and not hard from this short cooking time?