4.64 from 57 votes

Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Chilli Mayo

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Think of these as a low-calorie, vegetarian take on chicken nuggets. These crispy baked buffalo cauliflower bites are delicious, easy to make and packed full of nutrients.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.83
Makes: 4
Snack
British

The baked buffalo cauliflower bites are little crispy balls with a spicy, smoky flavour which when dunked in some chili mayo, make for the best movie snack or side dish. 

Golden browned cauliflower bites on a black baking tray

Why this recipe works

I love how this caulflower bites recipe works as a vegetarian substitute for what usually is a crispy battered meat. It incorporates a vegetable whilst still being super tasty. It’s healthy in two ways, we’re getting nutrients from the vegetable thanks to the cauliflower bites and they’re made crispy through baking rather than deep frying. 

Here are some other side dishes for you to try ; Air Fryer Green Beans, Parmesan Tenderstem Broccoli with Garlic Butter and Goats Cheese Tart.

Ingredients

Ingredients to make Cauliflower bites laid out on a pale grey background and labelled.

Cauliflower
The vegetarian star of the show.  If you love cauliflower, try these tasty recipes with cauliflower ; Rigatoni Fiorentina and Creamy Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup

Hot sauce and Honey
Adds an extra layer of flavour and heat to the buffalo cauliflower bites. It also adds the most vibrant colour to give the batter that deep fried look and the honey adds sweetness and helps to crisp up the cauliflower bites when they’re being baked in the oven. 

Flour, Soy Milk (Unsweetened) and Baking Powder
For the batter. With the plain flour, I like the use of soy milk here, but feel free to use any unsweetened milk of your choosing. The baking powder activates the batter and causes it to rise slightly which helps to add crispiness in the oven.

Mayonnaise
Balances the smoky spicy buffalo bites nicely whilst still having a slight kick from the hot sauce that we add to the mayo. I, of course, opt for hellmans. 

Seasoning
I go for a blend of cayenne pepper, paprika, cumin, onion salt and garlic granules. 

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

How to make buffalo cauliflower bites

Preheat oven to 180°C FAN/ 200°C

  1. Start by combining the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, onion salt, garlic granules and baking powder in a large mixing bowl (Image 1).
  2. Slowly stir the soy milk into the bowl and mix together to achieve a smooth thick batter, similar to the consistency of American pancake batter (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, one with flour and spices added to bowl and the second with the mixture being stirred into batter.

3. Now pour the cauliflower florets into the batter and use a spatula to ensure all the pieces are evenly coated (Image 3).

4. Using up any left over batter, throw in the cauliflower leaves and ensure evenly coated (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, one withbatter mixed with cauliflower florets in a bowl and the second with cauliflower leaves added to the leftover batter mix.

5. Using 2 separate greased and lined baking sheets, drizzle around half of the rapeseed oil onto the foil (approx 1.5 tbsp on each of the trays) and spread evenly across the trays. Then add the florets one by one to one of the trays and evenly distribute them so they aren’t touching each other (Image 5).

On a separate tray, place the coated caulflower leaves and distribute evenly.After around 12 minutes, the caulflower florets should be golden brown but not starting to crisp. Remove both trays from the oven.

6. Drizzle with your favourite hot sauce and honey over the florets and leaves, moving the pieces around with the spatula to evenly coat (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, one with the battered cauliflower florets on foil lined baking tray and the second with the florets browned.

7. Now pop back in the oven for around 5 minutes, keeping your eye on the florets and leaves. Remove when the cauliflower bites and leaves are crispy and golden brown. Season generously with flaky salt straight after removing the trays from the oven, as this will allow the salt to bind better (Image 7).

8. Serve with your favourite hot sauce combined with mayo to make a chilli mayo (Image 8).

2 step by step photos, one with hot sauce being added to the battered cauliflower florets on the foil lined baking tray and the second with the florets browned and the leaves.

Which hot sauce shall I use?

I use Frank’s buffalo wings sauce, as it’s usually used on fried chicken, which is the hot and saucy vibe that we’re trying to create with the buffalo cauliflower bites. 

Any hot sauce that allows you to use a higher volume without it being too spicy would work here. For example, we don’t want to use a dripping hot sauce like regular franks or tabasco, as we’d have to use a whole bottle to coat our cauliflower and it would be far too spicy/tangy. 

You could use Sriracha to coat the bites, but bear in mind that you’ll get more of a sweet/Asian flavoured undertone, rather than American/buffalo vibes.

Close up of golden browned crispy cauliflower bites with chilli mayo in a bowl in the background.

Other spicy recipes to try ; 10 Minute Spicy Peanut Butter Noodles, Nando’s Spicy rice and Spicy Tuna with Crispy Rice (Budget Recipe)

Tips and Tricks

  • Choose fresh cauliflower that is firm, with compact florets. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots or signs of wilting.
  • It’s essential to preheat your oven to a high temperature, usually around (220°C) 425°F. This helps create a crispy exterior while maintaining a tender interior.
  • Cut the cauliflower into florets ensuring the florets are similar in size so they cook evenly.
  • Dip and coat evenly with the batter, ensuring it is fully coated. Allow any excess batter to drip off before transferring the florets to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Make sure the cauliflower bites are spread out in a single layer on the baking sheet, without overcrowding. This allows hot air to circulate around each piece, promoting even browning.

What can I pair this recipe with?

If you want to make this side recipe into a main meal, you could serve the cauliflower bites with a protein such as: pork loins, steak and grilled chicken 

Other foods/recipes you could pair it with: 

FAQs

Can I make them ahead of time?

You could make the batter for the buffalo cauliflower bites ahead of time and prep the cauliflower ahead of time. That way, when you come to making the bites you can just combine everything and pop it in the oven. It’s best to eat them fresh out of the oven though, as to retain the crispiness, we don’t want to reheat them.

Is this recipe vegan?

Switch the honey for maple syrup and ensure your hot sauce is vegan, then it’s vegan-friendly. 

Can I use an air fryer?

You can! If you preheat your air fryer to 190°C and then cook for 8 minutes, adding the hot sauce/honey and popping in for another 4 minutes or until golden and crispy. 

Are these freezable?

No sadly not. If you froze them they would lose their crispiness and be very soggy. 

Close up of a piece of crispy cauliflower being dipped into the chill mayo.

If you tried this Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

 

Crispy Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Chilli Mayo

Print
4.64 from 57 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
£0.83
Snack
British
Servings: 4
Think of these as a low-calorie, vegetarian take on chicken nuggets. These crispy baked buffalo cauliflower bites are delicious, easy to make and packed full of nutrients.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower (£0.95)
  • 220 ml unsweetened soy milk (£0.85)
  • 4 tbsp hot sauce of choice (£1.00)
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise (£2.00/4)=(£0.50)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 150 g flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil onto foil

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C FAN/ 200°C

  • Combine the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, onion salt, garlic granules and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Slowly stir the soy milk into the bowl until you achieve a smooth thick batter, like the consistency of american pancake batter.
  • Pour the cauliflower florets into the mixing bowl and use a spatula to ensure all the pieces are evenly coated in the batter. Throw the cauliflower leaves into any left over batter and ensure evenly coated, before placing on a separate greased baking tray.
  • On two foil lined baking sheets, drizzle around half of the rapeseed oil onto the foil (approx 1.5 tbsp on each of the trays). Ensure the oil is spread evenly across the tray and then add the florets onto the tray. Add them one by one so you can evenly distribute them so they aren’t touching each other. Pop them in the oven.
  • After around 12 minutes, the batter should be golden brown but not starting to crisp. Remove the tray from the oven and use a slotted spatula (preferably a bendy plastic one) to rotate the pieces. Drizzle with your favourite hot sauce and honey, moving the pieces around with the spatula to evenly coat.
  • Pop back in the oven for around 5 minutes or until crispy and golden. If your oven is powerful it could be less than this so keep an eye out! Season generously with flakey salt immediately when you remove them from the oven, this will allow the salt to bind better with the c. bites. Serve with your favourite hot sauce combined with mayo to make a chilli mayo.

Notes

  • Choose fresh cauliflower with firm and compact florets, avoiding those with brown spots or wilting.
  • Preheat the oven to a high temperature (around 220°C/425°F) to achieve a crispy exterior and tender interior.
  • Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets for even cooking. Dip and coat the florets with batter, removing excess before placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread them out in a single layer to ensure even browning.

Nutrition

Servings: 4 servings
Fat: 23g
Calories: 420kcal
Carbohydrates: 49g
Protein: 9g

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