These crispy vegan bbq cauliflower wings are cooked to utter perfection. Can be fried in oil or air fried. Pair with our homemade vegan BBQ sauce.
Cauliflower has had the biggest come up in recent years. And these crispy fried vegan BBQ cauliflower wings are a good reason why.
We’ll be the first to admit that prior to going vegan, we didn’t see the cauliflower hype that was happening. I mean, it’s cauliflower and yes raw dipped in a ton of vegan ranch dressing is great, cooked cauliflower was not.
EHHHHHHH! Were we wrong!
It’s kind of like tofu for us. It comes down to the fact that we just didn’t really know the possibilities that it held and how to properly cook it for an amazingly delicious meal.
Now, with these vegan BBQ cauliflower wings and more, you can’t tell us that cauliflower isn’t one of the best vegetables out there!
We have made the most perfect crispy fried vegan bbq cauliflower wings and you are absolutely going to love this recipe!
There is one wet batter and one dry batter, no double dipping, and these are really easy to make but you do need patience so you don’t overcrowd your pot while frying. If you can do that you will have the crispiest cauliflower wings that are perfectly cooked every single time.
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CRISPY VEGAN BBQ CAULIFLOWER WINGS INGREDIENTS:
Below are notes about the ingredients before we get into the full recipe located lower in this post on how to make these vegan bbq wings:
- Cauliflower – The star of this dish is cauliflower. It’s inexpensive, easily accessible, and easy to use. When used with this cooking method, you’ll be shocked at how good it is.
- BBQ Seasoning – Enhancing the BBQ flavor with a spice blend that kicks up the taste of these vegan wings even more.
- Flour – We use all purpose flour as part of the breading method to add a nice coating and give the perfect texture
- Corn Flour – A must for the golden texture and the absolute crunchiness vegan cauliflower wings you’ve had
- Bread Crumbs – We prefer panko bread crumbs for this recipe
- BBQ Sauce – Trust us that you need to make our homemade version vegan bbq sauce listed below. You will absolutely love not only how easy it is but also have flavorful it is. You’ll want to dip more than just these crispy vegan wings inside.
- Oil – We are using vegetable oil because it’s a great neutral oil that is great for deep frying and allows the food to retain it’s flavor without any compromise.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS:
- “Meat” Base – While we love cauliflower and thing you will too, you can definitely play around with the base of this recipe with the batter. Try oyster mushrooms, tofu, seitan, jackfruit, and more.
- Seasoning – For different flavors you could use an all-purpose seasoning, something like Mrs Dash or 21 seasoning salute from Trader Joe’s. Feel free to use your favorite homemade blend or store blend to switch things up
- Flour – You can use whole wheat flour for this recipe, in addition to gluten free 1:1 blend like King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill
- Corn Flour – You can replace this with all flour but the texture will be different. It will still be good though.
- Bread Crumbs – Most breadcrumbs contain dairy so are not vegan, but if you do have regular breadcrumbs you can use those. Alternatively you could switch it up and try crushed chips, cornflakes, and more.
- Sauce – Use any store bought or homemade sauce you like! Buffalo, ranch, teriyaki, etc.
- Oil – You want to use a high heat oil that is neutral in flavor – other options would be canola, corn, peanut, soybean or avocado oil.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
CAN I MAKE THIS AHEAD OF TIME?
This dish is best served fresh out of the skillet. But good news is that you can heat that back up! We recommend doing so in an air fryer for 7-10 minutes. We recommend not adding any sauce if possible for the ones that you aren’t going to eat. Consume within 3-5 days.
Can vegan cauliflower wings be frozen?
Yes! You can freeze vegan bbq cauliflower wings for up to 3 months at a time. Store in an air tight freezer bag or container.
Can I make half a batch? (or can I double, triple, etc)?
Yes! If making half a batch, then you can halve the batter ingredients. Similarly if you are doubling the recipe, you will add twice as much of every ingredient.
CAN I MAKE THIS TOP 8 ALLERGEN FREE?
Yes. You’ll want to use both Gluten Free 1:1 flour and breadcrumbs. Additionally, you can either omit or swap the vegan worcestershire sauce in the homemade BBQ sauce. If swapping use, a vegan-friendly steak seasoning like A1.
What’s the best way to cut cauliflower for bbq cauliflower wings?
Truly any size will work, but there is a best practice. You don’t want tiny bite size pieces because that will take forever to coat but you also don’t want huge pieces. Where the cauliflower naturally breaks into florets is a good starting place. If anything is too large, then you can cut that in half. It’s also great to leave some of the stem on to be more wing like.
Why do you have to boil the cauliflower first?
Often time when people make cauliflower wings, the inside is still a bit firm. To get the best, closest to meat texture, we boil the cauliflower to get it a bit softer first. The end result is the perfect texture both inside and out.
Can I make this oil free in an air fryer?
Yes! We suggest not overcrowding the pan or basket of your air fryer. Then work in batches to cook at 425 degrees F for 10-15 minutes or until desired texture. It will not be as golden brown as the ones in the photos, but these are still great!
WHAT BBQ SAUCE SHOULD I USE TO SPREAD OVER THE CAULIFLOWER?
If the photos we are using our peach BBQ sauce recipe, but here’s all our flavors:
Any of these can be used and they are absolutely delicious! Of course you can use your own homemade version as well.
WHAT DO I EAT WITH VEGAN BBQ CAULIFLOWER WINGS?
This can be an appetizer or the main component of your dinner.
We recommend serving with fries or onion rings or even as a side to your favorite homemade vegan pizza.
If you are looking for a healthier alternative for a side, try rice or quinoa. You could also serve with just a side of steamed vegetables or salad, noodles, or lo mein.
Why are my cauliflower wings soggy?
This happens for two main reasons. The temperature of your oil or air fryer is not hot enough when you go to bake so the mixture sits too long before baking. The second reason is that you tossed in too much sauce after finished cooking. We highly recommend brushing the sauce on at the end or just serving it on the side.
Do bbq cauliflower wings taste like chicken?
While the cauliflower when boiled, breads and fried, does have a more meaty like texture than just cooking or baking cauliflower, we can’t say that it’s entirely comparable. There are both taste and texture difference to traditional meat; however, if you are vegan, vegetarian or leaning towards eating more plant based options, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe.
Are bbq cauliflower wings better for you?
This recipe is still coated and deep fried, so we can’t say it’s healthy. What we can say is that it is a healthier alternative to traditional fried chicken wings. Cauliflower is low in fat and has zero cholesterol. For a healthier alternative to deep frying, we suggest air frying.
What other vegan cauliflower recipes would I like?
Cauliflower is an excellent vegetable for a variety of dishes!
If you love wings, you also love our vegan lemon pepper cauliflower wings shown in the photo above.
Here’s a few more vegan cauliflower recipes we think you would like:
- Easy Vegan Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- Vegan Cauliflower Tinga Tacos (photo above)
- Vegan Cauliflower Coconut Curry
- Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
- Vegan Kung Pao Cauliflower
- Vegan Orange Cauliflower
and more! Get all our vegan cauliflower recipes!
Pin these vegan BBQ cauliflower wings for later!
Vegan BBQ Cauliflower Wings
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets (about 2.5lbs)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup corn flour
- 1 – 1 ½ cups water
- 3 cups vegan panko breadcrumbs
For the BBQ seasoning (use this blend or 2 tablespoon of your favorite store bought blend)
Vegan Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
- Rinse cauliflower and dry very well. Cut into florets.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and boil florets for 3 minutes. Drain immediately.
- In a bowl, add flour, corn flour, and all BBQ seasoning ingredients. Whisk together. Slowly add in 1 cup of water, whisking while pouring. You want a thick pancake like batter. If you have more of a dough, add a little more water at a time up to an additional ½ cup.
- In another bowl add the breadcrumbs.
- Add a cauliflower floret to the wet mixture and move around to coat everything evenly. Let excess batter run off. Next, dip and cover the cauliflower in breadcrumbs.
- To Fry: Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (About 350 degrees F). Fry the cauliflower in batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden and crisp on all sides. Remove and drain on a wire rack with paper towels underneath.
- Alternative cooking: After coating, air fryer in batches for 7-12 minutes at 425 degrees F or until crispy on all sides.
For the BBQ Sauce
- Add oil to a point over medium heat. Add garlic and let saute for 1 minute.
- Add the remaining BBQ sauce ingredients and cook until heated through. Remove from heat.
- Brush BBQ sauce onto fried cauliflower or use as a dip. *We don't recommend tossing in the sauce as it gets too soggy.
This post was originally written on 5/23/2021 and updated on 1/14/2022.