Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites Recipe, vegetarian Buffalo Bites

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

Today is day four of super Super Bowl snacks and I have a vegetarian option for you! Instead of using chicken for Buffalo bites, these are Cauliflower Buffalo Bites; as a bonus the method for this recipe can be used for chicken, too. Be sure to have options for your non-meat-eating friends! Super easy, super tasty, it’s a super Super Bowl snack!

Every year we are forewarned that the favorite snacking option for the Super Bowl, the chicken wing, will be in short supply. This year, it’s being reported that there will be…hold onto your seats here…1.25 billion, yes billion with a B, chicken wings consumed during the Super Bowl. That is a lot of chicken wings!

My thinking is that your vegetarian friends shouldn’t be left out of enjoying that favorite Super Bowl snack, and we would all probably benefit from a healthier version. While I have used my recipe for the Buffalo Wing Sauce found in this post, these Cauliflower Buffalo Bites are baked, not fried.

I took the cauliflower and separated it into bite-sized florets. These were dipped into the buffalo wing sauce and then rolled in Panko crumbs. Panko crumbs are a variety of flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine as a crunchy coating for fried foods; they work beautifully for a crusty coating on baked foods, as well. Panko crumbs can be found now in most large grocery stores; I find mine on the International Foods aisle and always have them on-hand.

The coated florets are then placed on a baking sheet and oven-roasted. The result looks a lot like chicken bites and they taste just amazing! The roasting of the cauliflower imparts a very nutty flavor, and the Buffalo wing sauce coating with the crispy Panko crust is just perfection.

So, if you’re looking for a healthier version of that favorite Super Bowl snack, here it is! I hope you’ll try it!


This recipe was featured by Upwave, a brand of Turner Broadcasting.

This recipe was also featured by CNN.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Cauliflower Buffalo Bites
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cauliflower is used as a chicken substitute for a healthier version of the ever-favorite Buffalo Wing. The same sauce is used to coat the florets, which are then further coated with Panko crumbs and baked, not fried.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 6
  • 1 small head cauliflower, separated into bite-sized florets (about 5 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 5 tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce (or similar hot sauce of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups Panko crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, add the melted butter, hot sauce, white vinegar, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir to combine.
  5. Place the Panko crumbs in a small, shallow bowl.
  6. Make an assembly line with the cauliflower florets, the sauce and the Panko crumbs.
  7. Use one hand to dip the florets into the sauce then drop it into the crumbs.
  8. Using the other hand, coat the floret well with the crumbs and place it on the baking sheet.
  9. Once all of the florets are coated, use a very light spray of cooking oil to coat the tops. This will help hold the crumbs in place, as well as aid in their browning. (I use a cooking spray atomizer instead of the aerosol cans.)
  10. Place the baking sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden brown.
  11. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  12. If you have any remaining sauce, that can be lightly brushed onto the tops of the florets.
  13. Serve hot with Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing, carrot and celery sticks.


About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight. I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I'm gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading...and commenting! P~
This entry was posted in Appetizers, Five Ingredient Friday, Fun Food Friday, Meatless Monday, Vegetables. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

  1. I love this vegetarian option for buffalo “chicken.” 🙂 YUM!

  2. Scott Atkinson says:

    Hi – I’m not a vegan, but I do refrain from daily whenever possible…I just do like the taste of butter, milk, cheese, etc. Have you tried this with oil instead of butter? If so (or even if not), is there any that you’d recommend based on their smoking point or the flavor they would add? For instance, I’m thinking “no” for peanut oil because the taste might clash, but maybe just canola or avocado oil? Looks great..can’t wait to try!

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  9. Lou says:

    Saw the article on CNN Health and tried these. They are awesome! Thanks so much for the great recipe. Lou

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  11. vegan chic says:

    I am vegan and tried a few different versions of this dish, and this recipe by far was the best tasting, easiest, and overall enjoyable. The panko crumbsb make a huge difference as opposed to some people who add flour and milk which tends to take away from the simplicity of the dish. I made this with homemade french fries and my six year old daughter absolutely loved this two nights in a row!!! I will definitely make this again. 🙂

  12. Kat says:

    I’ve got mine in the oven now, and it smells wonderful! They’ve only been cooking for 10 minutes so far but I peeked and they look yummy; WAY better than the other recipe for buffalo cauliflower that I tried (with milk and flour). I can’t wait to try these.

  13. Kat says:

    My Dad and I both loved your recipe! The buffalo cauliflower looked, smelled, and tasted wonderful. I did larger pieces mostly and they didn’t crisp up a lot, but the few smaller pieces did so I think I”ll need to keep them in the oven for a few more minutes next time. This recipe is a keeper; thank you!

    PS: Should I turn them half way through cooking?

    • I am so happy you loved them!! You know, every oven is different…so if yours needed more time, or even turning to crisp, I’d do it. That crispy outside that’s created with the panko is what makes them so good. P~

  14. marianne says:

    I love the smell! Mine have been in the oven for only 25 minutes but aren’t crispy yet. I have to satisfy the crunchy texture. I’m a newly converted vegan. I used the vegan margarine which still worked just as well. I am getting over the hump where I crave meat so this will be satisfying! I can tell!

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  17. Manny Ray says:

    Can these be deep fried? or is there a deep fried version of this recipe?

    • Manny, I have not deep fried this recipe and I don’t think that in its current form it would work well for that method of cooking. I don’t think that the panko would adhere to the cauliflower without another form of binder. You could add beaten egg to the sauce then dip in panko and fry, though.

  18. Carlee says:

    What a perfect idea! I’ll have to make some for the playoff games too!

  19. These look super tasty! And, being from Buffalo, I’m glad you used Frank’s!

  20. laura says:

    OH MAN I love buffalo ANYTHING. Burgers, wings, sauce ALL of it. I’m going to make these for our little party this year. BOOM.

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