Air Fryer Cauliflower

5 from 186 votes

Air fryer cauliflower is a simple side dish with the best roasted flavor and crisp-tender bite. If you're looking for more air fryer recipes, this is one you must try!

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Air Fryer Cauliflower roasts up wonderfully with a crispy outside and tender inside; it is the perfect quick and easy side dish. The cauliflower florets are tossed in a delicious seasoning blend, making for a simple roasted cauliflower recipe that’s ready in just 20 minutes! You can air-fry cauliflower for a side dish or substitute it as a main for a vegetarian-friendly option.

Brown and crispy cauliflower florets in an air fryer basket garnished with fresh parsley.
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Once I tried this crispy air fryer cauliflower recipe, I was hooked. So much so that it’s become my go-to method for roasting cauliflower, especially when I am serving it as a simple side dish.  The florets cook up with a delicious toasty crust on the outside and have an irresistibly tender center. Believe you me – you’ll have a hard time not wanting more.

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Air Fryer
Dietary Info: Diabetic-friendly, Low Calorie, Vegan
Key Flavors: Smoky and aromatic with a hint of zest
Skill Level: Beginner-friendly


  • Five-Ingredients: Beyond the basics of salt and pepper, this recipe keeps things straightforward with just five simple ingredients, making it an ideal choice for a no-fuss side dish.
  • Quick and Convenient: Achieve crispy, golden-brown cauliflower florets in just 15-18 minutes with the hands-off convenience of air frying.
  • One-Pot Bowl Prep: Toss everything in one bowl and cook in a single air fryer basket for minimal cleanup.
  • Healthy Innovation: This air-fried cauliflower offers a low-calorie, nutritious side dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor or satisfaction.

Ingredients to make Air Fryer Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower: Cauliflower is an incredibly healthy and delicious vegetable that’s low in calories and carbs with a good boost of fiber and nutrients.
  • Oil: This helps adhere the spices and to crisp up the cauliflower in the air fryer. Choose a neutral oil such as olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Seasonings: paprika, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Ingredients for recipe: spices in small bowl, a lemon, whole head of cauliflower, and oil.

How to Prepare and Cut Cauliflower for Air Frying:

  1. Wash the cauliflower thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.
  2. Remove the leaves: Starting at the base, strip away the surrounding leaves to expose the stem.
  3. Halve the cauliflower: Holding it stem side down, make a clean cut through the middle from crown to stem using a large chef’s knife.
  4. Separate the florets: With a smaller paring knife, detach the large florets from the stems. Depending on your dish, cut these into smaller, even-sized pieces for consistent cooking.
  5. Don’t waste the stems: Although many recipes focus on the florets, the stem is flavorful and can be chopped into bite-sized pieces for roasting or used in soups.

Want more detailed tips and visual guidance on preparing cauliflower? Check out my full tutorial post on cutting cauliflower here.

How to make crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower

  1. Toss the cauliflower florets in a bowl with oil and seasonings until evenly coated.
  2. Arrange them in a single layer at the bottom of an air fryer basket.
  3. Halfway through cooking, shake the basket to encourage even cooking.
  4. After roasting, the cauliflower will be crisp and tender with browned edges. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top before serving, if desired.
4 image collage making recipe in the air fryer.

Tips for making the best Cauliflower florets in an air fryer

  1. Make sure the cauliflower is dry. Before tossing it with olive oil and seasoning, pat it dry with a paper towel. This helps to limit the moisture in the air fryer basket and ensures a better crisp.
  2. Cut into even sizes. You want each piece to cook up simultaneously, so cut and break down the cauliflower into similar-sized florets.
  3. Avoid overcrowding the basket. If they are overlapping, they won’t get crispy all over. Cook in a couple of batches if needed.
  4. Shake the basket. About halfway through cooking, give the basket a good toss to get an even cook and crispness on every side. This way, each piece is exposed to the air fryer’s convection.
  • Add a breading. These cauliflower florets have no breading and get some pretty tasty, crispy bits on them, but you could toss them in a parmesan and breadcrumb mixture for a breaded air fryer cauliflower recipe.
  • Cook with broccoli. Make a vegetable medley of cauliflower and broccoli to add some color and extra goodness to this recipe. You could also try it as part of my air fryer vegetables recipe!
  • Switch up your spices. Use any seasonings you like or have on hand. Some other great options are chili powder, turmeric, or curry powder with various fresh herbs like cilantro, dill, or thyme.
  • Add to another recipe. Once you’ve roasted the cauliflower in the air fryer, pop them into another recipe, like a creamy roasted cauliflower soup or stuffed inside a pita sandwich.
  • Serve with a dip. These cauliflower florets can make a good appetizer. Pair them with a tasty dip like avocado crema, homemade ranch dip, or creamy feta dip.
Plate of cooked cauliflower florets with a small bowl of avocado crema in the center and garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

What to pair with roasted air fryer cauliflower

How to store & reheat air fried cauliflower

To store: Air fryer cauliflower is easy to store and reheat later! Simply add them to a container and store them in the fridge.

To reheat: Place in the air fryer or low and slow in the oven until heated through. The fastest method is in the microwave, but the vegetables aren’t going to crisp back up this way.

How long will leftover cauliflower last in the fridge?

As long as they are stored in an airtight container, leftovers will last up to 4 days.

Can I freeze roasted cauliflower?

This air fryer vegetable cauliflower is best eaten the day or shortly after cooking. I’d avoid the freezer in this case.

Frequently asked questions

Why didn’t my cauliflower crisp up?

This is common when there’s overcrowding in the air fryer basket or from not tossing them halfway through cooking. Cook in batches to ensure they roast evenly and get that tasty crisp to them. Try adjusting those things and see if that helps!

How Do You Know When Cauliflower Is Done Cooking?

Cauliflower is done cooking when it becomes tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Depending on the cooking method and the size of the florets, the cooking time may vary. When you’re roasting or air frying, the cauliflower will have a golden-brown color on the outside. It’s essential to strike a balance where the cauliflower is soft without being mushy, and the exterior has a slight crispness. Always rely on both visual cues and fork tenderness to determine doneness.

Are Cauliflower Leaves And Stems Edible?

Yes, both cauliflower leaves and stems are edible. While most people tend to use just the florets, the leaves and stems can be quite flavorful. The stems, when chopped into bite-sized pieces, can be roasted, stir-fried, or added to soups. The leaves can be treated similarly to other leafy greens, sautéed in a bit of oil with garlic or added to soups and stews.

Can I Use Frozen Cauliflower Florets?

Absolutely! Frozen cauliflower florets can be a convenient alternative to fresh ones. If you’re using an air fryer or roasting them, there’s no need to thaw the florets beforehand. However, expect a slightly different texture compared to fresh florets, as freezing can change the cellular structure of the vegetable. They might take a tad longer to cook, so always keep an eye on them and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I Make This Recipe Without Using Oil?

Yes, you can make the air fryer cauliflower without oil, though the outcome will differ. Oil helps in achieving a crispier, golden-brown finish on the cauliflower. If you opt out of using oil, the cauliflower might not get as crispy but will still be cooked through and flavorful. If you’re aiming for a lower-calorie version or just prefer to avoid added fats, simply season the cauliflower well and monitor closely during cooking to prevent drying out.

Hand holding a piece of cauliflower dipped in thick avocado crema over a plate of more bite sized pieces.

These golden brown crispy cauliflower florets cook up deliciously in the air fryer, you may not go back to oven-roasted! Air fry these up for a quick side dish, an appetizer, or the start of another delicious recipe.

More air fryer recipes:

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Air Fryer Cauliflower

Air fryer cauliflower is a simple side dish with the best roasted flavor and crisp-tender bite. If you're looking for more air fryer recipes, this is one you must try!
5 from 186 votes
Servings 4 servings
Course Side Dish
Calories 51
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 26 minutes
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  • Preheat an air fryer to 380ºF.
  • Place the cauliflower in a large bowl along with the olive oil and seasoning. Toss to combine.
  • Transfer the cauliflower to the air fryer and arrange in a single layer. You may need to cook in two batches. Cook until crisp tender with browned edges, shaking the basket halfway through, 15-18 minutes total.
  • Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and serve immediately.


Tip: Shake the basket halfway through cooking.
Storage: Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the air fryer or oven until heated through.


Calories: 51kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 311mg, Potassium: 214mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 127IU, Vitamin C: 32mg, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American
Course: Side Dish
5 from 186 votes (182 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Mary says:

    Awesome !

    1. Yumna says:

      Thank you, Mary!

  2. Jan says:

    I wanted to try this for so long so today I did.
    I must saw the flavors were a bit too strong. And maybe I overlooked them a bit. Next time not so much spice.
    Feta makes it betta!! 🤗

  3. Vicki Paige says:

    I like the recipes.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you so much!

  4. Stephanie Bochenek says:

    This cauliflower is great. I’ll use this recipe over and over. One thing I will do differently next time is to mix the spices together before putting them on the cauliflower. I just dumped it all on top then mixed.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Stephanie!

  5. Sue L says:

    I want to make this! I checked your list of products and could not find what BRAND AIR FRYER you use! You know, your recent video for how to clean an air fryer… The video went SO FAST, I could not make out THE BRAND AND MODEL (and, is it a Vortex?? Or ??)… THANK YOU!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Sue! The Air Fryer was hiding in my shop under “Electrics”. I do use a Vortex you can find it here. I apologize about the video going too fast. With “shorts,” they have to be under a certain time, and you’re right, sometimes the details do get lost.