Theresa's Mixed Nuts: Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings

One of my favorite foods used to be hot wings. The first Superbowl party that we hosted after I switched to a veg diet left me feeling a little angry because I had to make a batch of my beloved hot wings for everyone else but couldn't enjoy any of them myself. I swore that by the next year's game I was going to find a suitable replacement. Cauliflower seems to be the new "it" food, replacing meat in a lot of recipes. Some critics will say it's one of the most bland foods there are, but if you know how to properly spice it up, that stuff is pretty damn delicious.

After playing around with a few cauliflower recipes, I thought why not apply the same spices that I used for my chicken hot wings and try it on the cauliflower too? The worst that could happen is it would turn to mush and we'd just have to throw the batch away. But, after the first attempt, I knew I had a winner of a recipe on my hands, one that I could make for the game so I could enjoy the eats just as much as everyone else.

Buffalow Cauliflower Wings

Jason wasn't thrilled when I changed up our dinners after switching up my diet, but he's adjusted without too much complaint. When I tell him we're having cauliflower hot wings, he gets pretty excited because these have become one of his favorite foods. I had my in-laws over for dinner last week and whipped up a batch and my father-in-law commented 3 times during dinner how much he loved them, then again on his way out the door.  All of this praise from meat eaters definitely says something about this recipe. If you are a critic of cauliflower thinking it's bland, try this recipe. I'm sure you'll change your tune afterwards.

Bufflao Cauliflower Hot Wings

 Buffalo Cauliflower Hot Wings


  • Oil for frying
  • 1 large head cauliflower
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup butter *real butter, not a spread*
  • 1/2 cup Franks original flavor hot sauce 
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2  teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1  teaspoon salt 


  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Cut cauliflower into wing sized pieces, dip into milk, then place in a large zip top bag. Pour flour mixture over the cauliflower, seal bag, and shake until all the pieces are coated with the mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Pour oil 1 inch deep into a frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Place cauliflower into the hot oil so 1/2 of each floret is covered in the oil. Fry for 4 minutes or until the bottom side of the cauliflower is a golden brown, then turn each piece over to submerge the other half in the hot oil. Fry for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.
  3. While the cauliflower is frying, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, hot sauce, black pepper and garlic powder until well blended. Pour over the fried hot wings. Serve immediately.

I'm sure these could also be made in a deep fryer or even an air fryer (though I don't think they'd turn out as good air fried since the cauliflower won't get completely soft with that method), but I have yet to try cooking them these ways myself. I use my Calphalon skillet (affiliate link) and they turn out perfect every time.

Cauliflower Hot Wings

What's your favorite way to enjoy cauliflower?


  1. It was such a victory for you :)
    Looks lovely, I do love me veggie patties!
    I'm surprised these aren't cooked first, we often make breaded cauliflower (breaded in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs and sesame) but we always first boil the cauliflower a bit. Your is soft even after just frying?

    I do love cauliflower, but sadly I cant eat any of the cabbagy veggies, like that, cabbage, kale, sprouts etc. I literally feel like I'm gonna die after eating it. It is sad as I loved them before in creamy soups or just sautéed.

    When I was little we often ate baked cauliflower (boiled, rinsed and then baked with eggs and sour cream in the oven).

    1. Yes, it gets soft with just frying. You don't want it too soft or it will turn to mush after frying, so boiling before hand would not be recommended. You want a bit of texture in there that mimics the texture of meat.

      That is so sad that you can't enjoy those goodies. I love a good cabbage soup and we eat a boat load of cauliflower here. I don't think I would have done so well with the diet transition if I didn't have cauliflower to fall back on.

    2. Imagine my predicament then :) especially since the veggies that suit me are the ones rich in sugar carrots, peas and such things :( It is really horrible.

  2. Theresa this looks amazing! I love cauliflower!! xoxo

  3. That is sure a neat way to use cauliflower. Only way I ever ate it is bland at our sea.

    1. At least get some dip for it, so it's not so bland. Even I'm not a huge fan of raw cauliflower.

  4. I hate cauliflowers and I hate hotwings but something tells me I will like your cauliflower hotwings. Did I mention you're a genius? How in the world did you come up with that idea?

    1. Sometimes when you are forced to change your diet, you get creative in the kitchen :) Come over for our Superbowl viewing party and I'll have a plate ready for you Blue.

  5. I love the change from chicken to cauliflower. The kids love the classic buffalo wings and switching to cauliflower is such a great idea! I love classic recipes turned healthier! Thanks for the recipe, can't wait to make it!

  6. oh wow, they really do look like the real thing

  7. I like it in the oven with olive oil, pepper, garlic salt, and parmesan cheese.

  8. Perfect for Game Day. I am actually gonna miss SuperBowl this year due to traveling overseas but looks good.

  9. This looks really good! A sure hit for game day!

  10. I have had something similar and you're right, it was delish! Glad you got the meater lover's approval. This is always a tough thing to do.

  11. I have never liked cauliflower, in any shape, fashion or form. I've tried it cooked, raw, with dipping sauce. I think it's a texture thing. I see so many new recipes, but honestly, I'm scared to try it - no one in my household (including parents and in-laws) are fans, so we don't ever try them. I'm not against it - but I can see some of the others (my husband and mom especially) not willing to try. LOL!


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