Air Fryer Cauliflower


5 from 8 votes
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Crispy golden on the outside and tender and sweet on the inside, this perfectly seasoned air fryer cauliflower recipe will have you reaching for seconds. Barely any prep is needed, and it cooks up in less than 20 minutes.

air fryer cauliflower.

We love using different techniques in our recipes. An air fryer is, hands down, one of our favorite ways. Some of our go-to air fryer favorites are pork chopsasparagusmeatballs, and garlic bread

Cauliflower is super-versatile and gets the perfect meaty texture when cooked right. Some of our fanciest dishes, like pizzasesame cauliflower, and mac and cheese, are made with cauliflower. 

Why you’ll love this recipe

This air fryer cauliflower recipe is the ultimate all-rounder for vegetable sides. This recipe will not disappoint if you love crunchy, savory veggies with bold flavors. 

  • It’s versatile. This cauliflower recipe is highly customizable and pairs well with almost any main dish.
  • Healthy. It uses only a fraction of the oil that goes into frying, making it a low-carb, high-fiber, and healthy side dish. Also, it is gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
  • Tasty. Air-frying foods are the perfect cheat for deep-fried stuff. This dish delivers the crispy, caramelized texture and the comforting taste of fried cauliflower.

What I love the most about this recipe is how quick and easy it is. You don’t have to spend hours roasting it in the oven or frying it in copious amounts of oil. 

Ingredients Needed

Like most air fryer recipes, this one also calls for a handful of common ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cauliflower. Pick a clean, firm cauliflower head, and cut it into individual florets. Ensure florets are roughly the same size. 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 cauliflower. You can use any good-quality oil of your preference.
  • Cumin. Use ground cumin powder to coat the florets. Raw and roasted cumin powder work well for this recipe. 
  • Smoked paprika. For a subtle hint of spice. Other spices work, too, including basil, Italian seasoning, and chili powder. 

How to cook cauliflower in the air fryer

Follow these five simple steps to make a satisfying side of tasty cauliflower.

Step 1- Prep the air-fryer

Start by pre-heating the air-fryer to 200°C/400°F. Remember to prep the air fryer basket by greasing it with oil. Either spread the oil with a brush or use cooking spray.

Step 2- Prep the cauliflower

While the air-fryer preheats, wash, clean, and pat dry the cauliflower florets. Then toss them with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Mix gently but thoroughly to avoid losing tiny bits of florets in the process.   

seasoned cauliflower.

Step 3- 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. While they cook, shake the basket several times for uniform cooking. 

cauliflower in air fryer.

Step 4- Garnish and serve

Once you get the crispy brown edges, remove the air-fried cauliflower from the basket. To serve, add finely chopped fresh parsley on top.

air fried cauliflower.

Serving suggestions

Once you have roasted cauliflower, you can enjoy it as is, turn it into cauliflower soup or salad, toss it into a delicious glaze, or enjoy it with a dipping sauce, ranch dressing, or spicy mayo

It also pairs well with protein-rich mains like tandoori chickenpork chopsMexican soup, and shrimp curry.

Tips and tricks

  • Don’t burn your cauliflower. Keep an eye on the cauliflower while cooking. The air-frying time may vary depending on the amount of cauliflower and the size of the florets. Toss the air-fryer basket every 2-3 minutes to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom. 
  • Avoid overcrowding the basket. 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.   
  • Start with dry cauliflower. For easy air-frying and better crisping, pat dry the cauliflower florets well before tossing them in seasoning.  

Flavor variations

Get creative with the seasoning. You can keep it simple or change the profile of your seasoning. Add garlic powder and Italian herbs for Italian roasted cauliflower. Or try our buffalo cauliflower and curried cauliflower.

  • 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 it 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 roasted cauliflower, finish it with a glaze or a flavorful sauce (like katsu, bulgogi, or hot honey!).
  • Toss through other vegetables. We’ve done air fryer broccoli, green beans, and carrots, so why not add them to the air fryer basket while the cauliflower cooks? 

Storage instructions

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.

Recommended tools to make this recipe

  • Air fryer. My tried and tested air fryer that yields perfect results every single time.
  • Mixing bowl. To give everything a good mix.
  • Tongs. For the easy removal of the cauliflower.
cauliflower air fryer.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this recipe without oil?

You can, but it will affect the texture of the cauliflower, meaning you might not get the crispy exteriors.

Can I use frozen cauliflower for this recipe?

Frozen cauliflower turns mushy when cooked. It has such a high moisture content that it is difficult to use it as is. I recommend thawing it completely, drying it with a paper towel, and then using it for air-frying.

How do you know when the cauliflower is done?

Poke the largest floret in the basket with a fork. If it is tender and soft on the inside, it is done.  

Should I boil the cauliflower florets before air-frying them?

No, you don’t need to blanch/boil the florets before. Because the florets are bite-sized, they’ll cook inside-out in the air fryer. 

More air fryer vegetables to try

air fryer cauliflower recipe.

Air Fryer Cauliflower

5 from 8 votes
Crispy golden on the outside and tender and sweet on the inside, this perfectly seasoned air fryer cauliflower recipe will have you reaching for seconds. Barely any prep is needed, and it cooks up in less than 20 minutes.
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- 15 minutes, shaking the basket several times throughout. 
  • Remove the cauliflower once golden and crispy. 


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

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website.

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.

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