Tender, nutty, and beautifully caramelized Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites are the simple, healthy, and versatile 4-ingredient snack or side you need in your life. Making perfectly roasted cauliflower in the air fryer is so easy, you’ll never want to make it any other way.
About This Recipe
Despite (or perhaps as a result of) being a professional pastry chef with a serious sweet tooth, I often have strong cravings for big piles of fruits and vegetables. When the mood strikes, I turn to simple recipes like my tomato cucumber panzanella, Tajin-laced fruit skewers, or summer stone fruit salad.
Unfortunately, fresh fruits and veggies aren’t always in season. While our supermarket system makes things like tomatoes, peaches, and eggplant available year-round, they’re usually not all that tasty. So, what’s a girl to do before the bounty of summer arrives? Why, turn to trustworthy cauliflower of course as a delicious appetizer or healthy vegetable side dish!
No matter the time of year, you can *always* find a good cauliflower in the produce section, or, at the very least, in the freezer. This delectable cruciferous veg is always high on my list — you can use it to make grain-free “rice,” soup, low-carb mashed “potatoes,” and so much more!
In this super simple and straightforward recipe, we let the tiny white florets of this magnificent vegetable shine. Aside from being perfectly golden and tender, these air-fried cauliflower bites are also:
- Made With Just 4 Ingredients - Aside from cauliflower, it’s almost guaranteed you have everything else on hand.
- Quick & Easy - You only need 5 minutes of active prep time and another 15-20 minutes of time in the air fryer to get these roasted cauliflower florets on the table.
- Allergen-Friendly - Naturally free from wheat, eggs, soy, nuts, dairy, and just about everything else, these gluten-free, vegan cauli bites are perfect for any crowd.
- Wholesome & Nutritious - I can’t think of a more virtuous snack than this air fryer roast cauliflower!
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need 4 simple ingredients to make perfectly golden and crispy cauliflower florets in your air fryer as a healthy snack:
- Cauliflower - I typically reach for a full head of fresh cauliflower, but feel free to swap in bagged florets (fresh or frozen) to cut back on prep work.
- Olive Oil - No need to bust out your fancy finishing oil. Normal cooking oil is perfect here - avocado oil or cooking spray works as well here!
- Salt & Pepper - Basic seasonings wake up all the savory goodness of cauliflower.
- Fresh Thyme - Optional, but lovely as a flavorful and pretty garnish.
- Air Fryer or Convection Oven With Basket
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Sharp Knife (Chef's Knife)
- Cutting Board
How To Make Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites
Making roast cauliflower air fryer-style is a snap. Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1: Preheat your air fryer to 400F.
Step 2: Season. Toss the cauliflower in a large bowl with salt, pepper, and oil, continuing to toss until each floret is lightly coated in oil and seasoning.
Step 3: Air Fry & Shake. Add cauliflower to the air fryer for 12 to 15 minutes. Shake the basket and cauliflower halfway through, monitoring the crispy edges.
Step 4: Serve. Plate in a serving bowl and add fresh herbs before serving!
- Spicy - Make air fryer buffalo cauliflower by tossing your florets in a mixture of butter and hot sauce as soon as they’re done cooking. Serve with a side of carrot batons, celery sticks, and blue cheese or ranch dressing to complete the buffalo effect.
- Air Fryer Frozen Cauliflower - Feel free to use frozen cauliflower florets in this recipe (no need to defrost them first), adding on a few extra minutes of cooking time as needed.
- Use Different Seasonings - Add garlic powder, seasoning blend, onion powder, black pepper, or any of your favorite seasonings to your air fryer cauliflower!
- Add Broccoli - Adding cauliflower’s brassica cousin to the mix gives your plate extra color and some variety in flavor. Air fryer broccoli and cauliflower FTW!
- Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks - Slice two 1-inch thick “steaks” from the head of your cauliflower, then use the remaining pieces to break into florets. Air fry the steaks as directed, then serve with your favorite accoutrements as a delicious side dish. Right now, I like serving them on a bed of marinara and topping them with a generous dusting of cheese for air fryer cauliflower parmesan cheese. YUM!
- No knife? No problem! Try this easy TikTok hack for breaking a head of cauliflower into perfectly portioned florets.
- Don’t crowd the basket. The way air fryers work is by circulating hot air around the food to help crisp it up. If you don’t leave enough room for air flow, you’ll end up steaming the cauliflower, which leaves you with a sad, soggy, mushy pile of veggies.
- Line your basket for easy cleanup. Use a sheet of parchment or foil with holes poked in the bottom, or a reusable liner. When the cauliflower is done cooking, toss the sheet (or toss the liner in the dishwasher) and cleanup is done!
Air-fried cauliflower bites are best served straight from the fryer basket while they’re still hot and crispy.
Any leftovers can be packed into an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
To reheat them, I suggest using the air fryer again rather than the microwave in order to get the best, crispiest results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ooops! Sounds like you might have overloaded the air fryer basket and accidentally steamed the florets instead of roasted them. Next time, make sure to work in batches. The cauliflower should be in a single layer with some space between the florets for the air to circulate. Also, if you’re using a liner, make sure that you make holes so there is ample airflow.
I’m perfectly happy eating a big ol’ bowl of them just by themselves, but they’re also delectable when added to grain bowls, as a garnish in cauliflower soup, added to quiches or frittatas, or served with your favorite dipping sauce.
Absolutely! Just make sure that you’ve preheated your air fryer and that you are only adding enough to the basket at a time that there is no touching or overlap so they have a chance to cook evenly.
More Savory Snack & Appetizer Recipes
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try this crispy air fryer cauliflower recipe, please share your creation with me on social media and add a comment under the recipe card! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
4-Ingredient Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites
- 1 Head of Cauliflower, processed/cut into florets
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh thyme to serve, optional
- Preheat your air fryer to 400F
- Meanwhile, place your cut cauliflower florets into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the cauliflower in the bowl so that each floret is lightly coated in oil and season with salt and pepper.1 Head of Cauliflower, 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper
- Add cauliflower to the air fryer for 12 to 15 minutes. Shake the basket and cauliflower halfway through.1 Tablespoon Fresh thyme to serve
- Plate in a serving bowl and add fresh herbs before serving!
- Air-fried cauliflower bites are best served straight from the fryer basket while they’re still hot and crispy.
- Any leftovers can be packed into an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
- To reheat them, I suggest using the air fryer again rather than the microwave in order to get the best, crispiest results.
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