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Bang Bang Cauliflower

Bang bang cauliflower is a sweet, spicy, and addictive snack or appetizer. Crispy air fried cauliflower is coated with spices and a flavorful glaze, making a mouth-watering dish that’s vegan and gluten-free! 

A serving tray of bang bang cauliflower with a bowl of sauce, topped with scallions.

Bang bang shrimp has taken the internet by storm lately, and has become a super trendy dish. But there are two problems with it: it’s made with lots of shrimp, and lots of gluten. So I decided to come up with a solution, and create a recipe for bang bang cauliflower. It has all the components that make everybody love bang bang shrimp, but it’s vegan and gluten-free. What’s not to love? 

It’s almost hard to describe how much flavor this bang bang cauliflower recipe has. The cauliflower is cooked in the air fryer with a breading that includes onion, garlic, and paprika. Then it’s coated with a glaze of chili garlic sauce, maple syrup, and vinegar, and put back in the air fryer. The result is more flavor than you ever thought cauliflower could have! 

Overhead view of the ingredients for bang bang cauliflower: a head of cauliflower, a pyrex of almond milk, a bowl of seasonings, a bowl of panko bread crumbs, a bowl of chili garlic sauce, a bowl of gluten-free flour, a bowl of sesame seeds, a bowl of rice vinegar, a bowl of apple cider vinegar, a bowl of maple syrup, and a bowl of starch.

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients that you need for this crunchy, juicy bang bang cauliflower recipe. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts of each ingredient.

For the Cauliflower: 

  • Almond milk – Make sure to use unsweetened, unflavored almond milk. You can use other types of non-dairy milk if you prefer.
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Gluten-free flour – I use quinoa flour, but you can use whatever your preferred gluten-free flour is. 
  • Starch – Any type of starch will work, such as potato starch, corn starch, or tapioca starch. It helps the breading adhere to the cauliflower, and keeps the vegetable’s juices from escaping.
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Chili garlic sauce – You can also use sriracha. 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Gluten-free panko breadcrumbs 

For the Glaze: 

Close up of a bang bang cauliflower topped with sesame seeds and scallions

How to Make Bang Bang Cauliflower

Here’s how to make this easy bang bang cauliflower recipe in the air fryer. 

  • Curdle the milk. Add the vinegar to the dairy-free milk and let it sit until the milk is curdled. This should take about 5 minutes. 
  • Mix the dry ingredients. Add the flour, starch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt to a large mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
Side by side of a bowl of flour, starch, and seasonings, and a whisk whisking together those ingredients in the bowl
  • Add the liquid. Pour the curdled milk and the chili garlic sauce into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until a batter forms. 
Side by side of a pyrex pouring almond milk into a bowl with seasonings, chili garlic sauce, and a whisk, and all of those ingredients whisked together with the whisk in the bowl
  • Prep the panko. Pour the gluten-free panko breadcrumbs onto a flat plate. 
  • Prepare the cauliflower. Starting with about a quarter of the florets, place the cauliflower into the batter, and coat them thoroughly. Use tongs to move the cauliflower to the plate with the panko, and cover each floret. Then transfer them to a baking sheet. 
Side by side of raw cauliflower in a bowl of batter, and tongs holding a piece of batter-covered cauliflower on a plate of breadcrumbms
  • Heat the air fryer. Turn the air fryer on to 400F. 
  • Oil the cauliflower. Spray cooking spray on the cauliflower. 
  • Fry. Put the cauliflower in the air fryer basket and cook until crispy, which should take about 10 minutes. Flip the cauliflower halfway through. 
Side by side of an air fryer basket with breaded, uncooked cauliflower, and an air fryer basket with breaded, fried cauliflower
  • Prep the next batch. While the cauliflower fries, prepare the next quarter of florets.
  • Make the glaze. Add all of the ingredients for the glaze to a bowl, and whisk to combine. 
Side by side of a mixing bowl with sesame seeds, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and maple syrup, and that bowl with a whisk whisking those ingredients together
  • Glaze the cauliflower. When the cauliflower is crispy, add it to the bowl with the glaze, and toss until the florets are well coated.
  • Finish frying. Put the glazed cauliflower back in the air fryer and cook for 5 minutes, then serve. 
Side by side of a mixing bowl filled with cauliflower coated with glaze with a mixing spoon, and that cauliflower in the basket of an air fryer

Tips for Success and Variations

Here are a few tricks, tips, and variations for this bang bang cauliflower recipe. 

  • Give the cauliflower space. Make sure that the cauliflower florets are not crowded in the air fryer basket. There should be space between each floret or else they won’t get crispy. 
  • Adjust the cooking time if necessary. The cauliflower may need a few more minutes in the air fryer depending on the water content in the vegetable, and how big the florets are. Make sure that you cook the cauliflower until it is crisp before adding the glaze, and then cook until it’s crisp again after adding the glaze. 
  • Use the oven. If you don’t have an air fryer you can easily make this recipe in an oven. Preheat the oven to 400F, and cook the cauliflower on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. It should take about 15 minutes to bake the cauliflower the first time, and about 5 minutes after adding the glaze. 
  • Make your own breading. If you can’t find gluten-free panko breadcrumbs, you can crush a rice cereal or corn flakes and use it as the breading. 
Overhead view of a bowl of rice and bang bang cauliflower topped with sesame seeds and scallions.

What to Serve With Bang Bang Cauliflower

Bang bang cauliflower is usually served with a bang bang sauce, which is a combination of mayo, sriracha, and sweet chili sauce. But I also love to dip it in pretty much any other sauce. Here are a few fun sauces to serve with bang bang cauliflower. 

A pair of chopsticks dipping a piece of bang bang cauliflower into dipping sauce, with a serving tray of cailflower behind it

How to Store Leftovers

You can store bang bang cauliflower in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat and regain the crispiness, put the leftover cauliflower in a 350F air fryer for 5 minutes, or a 350F oven for 10 minutes. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

You can absolutely freeze this recipe. Keep the cauliflower in an airtight container and it will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can reheat straight out of the freezer by placing in a 350F air fryer for 10 minutes or a 350F oven for 15 minutes.

Overhead view of a plate of bang bang cauliflower topped with scallions and sesame seeds and a bowl of sauce

More Fun Apps to Make

Here are some more of my favorite fun appetizers to cook up. 

Bang Bang Cauliflower

4.6 from 8 votes
This bang bang cauliflower recipe is sweet, spicy, and easy to make. It's fully vegan, gluten-free, and super crispy!
author: Alyssa
yield: 4 servings
A serving tray of bang bang cauliflower with a bowl of sauce, topped with scallions.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 35 minutes


for the cauliflower:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup flour of choice (I like quinoa)
  • 2/3 cup starch (tapioca, potato, corn, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt , plus more for panko
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 medium head cauliflower , cut into bite-sized florets
  • cups gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

for the glaze:


  • In a liquid measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, until curdled.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and salt.
  • Add the almond milk mixture and chili garlic sauce and stir to combine. It will be thick.
  • Place the panko on a large, flat plate. You can start with about half of the panko and add the remaining as you work.
  • Add about a quarter of the cauliflower florets to the batter mixture and stir to coat the cauliflower. Using tongs, coat each floret in the panko and transfer to a baking sheet.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Spray the panko-coated cauliflower with cooking spray.
  • Add cauliflower to the air fryer basket in an even layer, working in batches to avoid crowding the basket. Air fry for 10 minutes, until crispy, turning the cauliflower after 5 minutes.
  • While this batch cooks, continue battering and breading the remaining cauliflower.
  • Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Transfer cooked cauliflower to the bowl with the glaze. Toss to coat evenly. Return cauliflower to the air fryer and cook for 5 more minutes. Repeat with remaining cauliflower and glaze.


  • If you can't find gluten-free panko breadcrumbs, finely crush some rice crispy cereal or corn flakes and use in place of the panko breadcrumbs.
  • For the oven: Bake breaded cauliflower on a wire rack set over a baking sheet at 400 for 15 minutes. Toss with the glaze, and bake another 5 minutes, until dry.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in a 350F air fryer or oven. 


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 102g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 1368mg | Potassium: 513mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 246IU | Vitamin C: 69mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 2mg
cuisine: American
course: Appetizer

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