Our SPICY CAULIFLOWER POPPERS are baked instead of fried, and so easy to make. Once you start popping these babies into your mouth, you won't be able to stop! Serve them with our creamy Ranch Dressing or our spicy Buffalo Sauce!
Published January 31, 2014 and updated April 16, 2019. This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Hi there! Thanks for visiting us, we’re so happy you’re here. If you’re looking for Southern and Midwestern inspired vegan comfort food recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
We love vegan comfort food and we’re really good at making it. Take a tour through our site and you’ll find all of the recipes that scream, stretchy pants required!
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EASY BAKED CAULIFLOWER BITES
This is an easy vegan appetizer recipe that you and your friends are going to love. We make them often, and like potato chips, once we start, we can't stop eating them.
The good news is that our crispy cauliflower bites are baked, not fried. This reduces a ton of oil, fat, and calories. Let's just say that this is a healthier comfort food appetizer that doesn't taste healthy at all. WINNING!!!
They're also super easy to make. It takes about 20 minutes of prep work and about 20 to 30 minutes of baking. That gives you enough time to turn on your favorite song and dance around the kitchen while you do the dishes and get those dipping sauces ready to go.
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
- We parboil the cauliflower for about 2 minutes to ensure that the stems (the toughest part of the floret) of the florets aren't partly raw after baking.
- They're spiced to perfection and the batter gives them a nice crunch.
- Unlike cauliflower poppers that are dipped in sticky sauces after baking, we prefer to dip the poppers into sauce as we eat. This means no sticky fingers. 🙂
WHY DO WE LOVE CAULIFLOWER WINGS?
Firstly, we love cauliflower. It's so healthy and it makes us happy. Have you seen our Healthy Vegan Taco Filling, Chili Con Carne, or Middle Eastern Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower recipes? Those are just a few of the many cauliflower recipes on the blog.
But I digress....
Y'all, these egg-free cauliflower poppers are so perfect for so many occasions.
We make them year round. We love them for movie night at home, game day (any game, tennis, football, baseball....), happy hour fun, summer pool or BBQ parties, you name it!
Here's the thing, you're probably going to want to make a few batches if you're making them for more than four people, because they're so dang good that one batch will be gone in not time.
WHAT INGREDIENTS DO YOU NEED FOR SPICY CAULIFLOWER POPPERS?
You're only going to need 8 INGREDIENTS to make these yummy poppers. This doesn't include the dipping sauces, but you can buy those pre-made if you like.
- Plant-based milk of choice (don't use coconut milk)
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked paprika
- Salt & Pepper to taste
HOW DO YOU MAKE CRISPY CAULIFLOWER POPPERS?
We're glad you asked, because once you see how easy this recipe is, you'll be making them at least once a month.
Parboil the cauliflower florets for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, or until they're slightly softer than raw. Then drain the hot water and dip the cauliflower in ice water for 30 seconds and drain.
The ice water bath stops the cauliflower from cooking further, so make sure you do that. If you're feeling lazy, you can rinse them with cold water, but a bath is best.
While the cauliflower is boiling, add the milk, flour, and spices to a large bowl and stir until they're completely combined. Use a whisk if the flour is lumpy. You want a smooth batter.
Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter, make sure the florets are fully coated. Put them on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some space between them.
Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until the batter is golden and crunchy.Dip them in your favorite dipping sauce.
WHAT KIND OF SAUCE IS GOOD FOR DIPPING CAULIFLOWER POPPERS?
- Our Spicy Basil and Parsley Green Sauce is a great option.
- Vegan Ranch Dressing
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- This BBQ Sauce
- Peanut Sriracha Sauce from THIS recipe.
- Vegan Caesar Dressing
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT CAULIFLOWER POPPERS
Don't skip parboiling the cauliflower if you want the cauliflower to be perfectly tender.
Parboiling ensures that the stems of the cauliflower will be cooked through. They shouldn't be tough. You'll want the batter to be crispy and crunchy and the cauliflower to have a tender texture.
Some people add a cup of plant-based milk to the water to keep the cauliflower white and to add a bit of sweetness. We don't think this is necessary for this recipe. See how to parboil HERE.
Bake the poppers until the coating is golden brown and firm to the touch. You'll want the batter to be firm and crunchy. Let them cool for five to ten minutes before eating.
Save yourself some time and effort and buy cauliflower florets instead of the whole cauliflower.
WHAT CAN I MAKE WITH CAULIFLOWER?
Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable. You can transform it into so many different types of recipes. Here are some of our best cauliflower recipes:
- Spicy Green Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Soup
- Middle Eastern Spiced Whole Roasted Cauliflower
- Cauliflower Rice Bowl
- Healthy Vegan Taco Filling
- Hearty Vegetable Chili Con Carne
Make this and let us know what you think. We love to hear from you! And, don’t forget to take a picture of your gorgeous creation and tag us @veganosity on Instagram.
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Spicy Cauliflower Poppers
- 1 large cauliflower see note
- ¾ Cup Flour
- 1 Cup plant-based milk not coconut
- 1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne See note
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425° (218°C) and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Remove the stem and the core of the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite size pieces (the size of chicken poppers).
- Parboil the cauliflower for approximately 2 minutes, or until the stem is softer, but not fork tender. You don't want it to cook too long as that will result in a mushy appetizer.
- Drain the water and put the cauliflower in a pot of ice water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain the water and let the cauliflower sit in the colander for a few minutes to get rid of the excess water.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir the ¾ cup of flour, the 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon coriander, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (see note), and salt and pepper to taste together until well combined. Use a fork to break down any clumps.
- Dip the chopped cauliflower in the batter until well coated and evenly place on the baking sheet. Make sure to leave a bit of space between them, you don’t want them to be piled on top of one another or they won’t get crispy.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. See what we like to dip them in within the post.
- If you want to save time, buy pre-cut cauliflower florets.
- If you don’t like spicy food, use less cayenne pepper or omit it all together.
- If you like spicy food, feel free to add more.
- The Nutrition Facts are an estimate only.
Christine @ Run Plant Based says
These look wonderful, so fun for a party or just a fun dinner. 🙂 Thanks!
Linda Meyer says
They work for both! We made them for tacos last night. 🙂
Hi Alex 🙂 Would you happen to have a GF version of this? Thank you 🙂
Linda Meyer says
You could use gluten-free breadcrumbs or coarsely ground oats. Ener-G egg replacer is gluten free but if you don't have that available you could use 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed + 6 tablespoons of water. Mix them together well and let it sit for at least ten minutes until the flax egg is thick.
Linda Meyer says
Hi Michael, So sorry! I just realized that I was responding to your question about the cauliflower fritters, not the poppers. You can use chickpea flour for this recipe to make it gluten free. 🙂