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Whether you serve them as an appetizer or a side, these Bang Bang Cauliflower Bites are hard to resist. Cauliflower wings are tossed in a gluten free batter and then baked before slathering them in an Asian-inspired sweet and spicy bang bang sauce that is lightened up with Greek yogurt. You can even make them in the air fryer!
Bang Bang Cauliflower Bites
A must-make gluten free appetizer recipe that needs to appear at your next party, or as a side dish on your dinner table. Light little crisp-tender cauliflower florets are tossed in a “bangin'” flavor-packed sauce that is slightly sweet, subtly spicy, and oh so creamy.
This is one of those recipes where I just can’t stop myself from finishing my serving in an instant. Then after everyone else in the family had had their fill, I go back to the bowl and take whatever is left. So if you are making these for a crowd, I definitely recommend doubling the batch!
What makes this recipe different?
- It’s healthier! Unlike other cauliflower bites recipes, this one if baked or air fried, not cooked in oil. Plus, it uses a healthy Bang Bang Sauce that is lightened up with Greek yogurt instead of a mayo-based sauce. There is a little mayonnaise for richness, but you can use all yogurt if you prefer.
- It’s crispier! Other versions use a bread crumb coating that can fall off easily or no coating at all. This is made with a light rice flour-based batter that gives it a similar texture to tempura veggies.
- It’s gluten free! Yes, by using brown rice flour, these are gluten free cauliflower bites. Though if that isn’t a concern to you, you can use regular all-purpose flour.
Here’s an overview of what you’ll need and some details on how to make them. But scroll down to the recipe card for the full quantities. And you can even check out my full Bang Bang Sauce recipe if you want more ideas for how to use this delectable sauce.
For the Bang Bang Sauce:
- Plain Greek Yogurt. You can use nonfat, low fat, or whole milk yogurt, just make sure it isn’t sweetened or flavored.
- Mayonnaise. Just a little gives it that richness even if you use lighter yogurt. Feel free to substitute with more yogurt if you prefer.
- Sweet Chili Sauce. This is typically found with the Thai ingredients in your local grocery store. It is sweet with a hint of spice, versus a spicy chili pepper sauce like sambal oelek.
- Rice Vinegar. Do check that yours is gluten free. Most are, but sometimes seasoned rice vinegar can have hidden gluten.
- Sriracha Sauce. This is where the heat comes from. You can substitute your favorite hot sauce, and adjust the spice by adding more or less.
For the Cauliflower Bites:
- Cauliflower. One large head that is rinsed, dried, and cut into small florets.
- Brown Rice Flour. You can also substitute all-purpose flour if you are not gluten free.
- Kosher Salt.
- Black Pepper.
- Garlic Powder.
- Onion Powder.
- Milk. I usually use unsweetened almondmilk, but any dairy or nondairy milk will work.
How to make Bang Bang Cauliflower
This entire recipe comes together so quickly. Just a few simple steps before you pop them in the oven. And it’s even faster if you make them in your air fryer. Before you get started, preheat your oven to 450°F or your air fryer to 350°F. If you are baking them, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Make the Bang Bang Sauce. You can do this either before you start on the cauliflower or while it is cooking. Simply combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Then set it aside until you need it.
Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, and milk to form a smooth batter. It’s not super thick or super runny so it will nicely coat the florets.
Coat the wings. After you’ve washed and dried your cauliflower and cut it into florets, toss them into the bowl with the batter and mix everything around until the cauliflower bites are coated thoroughly with the batter.
Bake or air fry. Place the coated cauliflower in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet or in the air fryer basket. Note that for the air fryer, you may need to cook it in two batches.
- Baked Cauliflower Bites: Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes, or until slightly less done than you want them. Remove from the oven and gently flip the cauliflower. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
- Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites: Air fry at 350°F for about 15 minutes, tossing gently every 5 minutes until they are browned on the outside and cooked through in the middle. You may need to adjust the timing based on your make and model of air fryer.
Toss in the sauce. Transfer the cooked cauliflower wings to a bowl and pour about half of the sauce over them. Gently stir to coat, adding more sauce if needed. Serve extra sauce on the side for drizzling or dipping.
Tips for Success
- Cut the florets to your preferred size. The larger ones will take longer to cook and stay a bit firmer, and small ones soften up but then get nice and crispy if you leave them in long enough.
- Use parchment paper. You can coat the baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil, but parchment paper is even better to keep the batter from sticking.
- Get them crispy. You’ll bake the cauliflower bites until they are nearly done, then flip them over and put them back in the oven so they have the chance to get browned and crispy on all sides.
- Save the sauce. You will have more Bang Bang sauce than you need for coating the cauliflower. Use just enough to coat it otherwise it will get soggy. Save the rest for dipping the cauliflower or even dunking some air fryer Brussels sprouts or air fryer French fries.
- Give it a garnish. Feel free to sprinkle some sliced scallion, minced cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, or even bits of fresh or dried chili peppers over the top.
What Air Fryer Do I Recommend?
If you are going to make these in your air fryer, I use the Cosori XL 5.8 Qt air fryer. It has a nice, large and deep basket. This has a regular spot on my countertop because I use it several times a week for everything from Air Fryer Carrots to Hot Dog Taquitos.
Storing and Reheating
If you actually have any left, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days. Note that the coating will get more soggy as it sits. You can crisp it up a bit if you reheat it for about 5-10 minutes at 350°F in the oven or air fryer.
Bang Bang Cauliflower Bites make a great appetizer or party snack, especially if you are having a tailgate or watching the game with friends. Serve them along with some of your other favorites like BBQ Chicken Dip, Bell Pepper Vegetarian Nachos, or Gluten Free Pretzel Bites.
But they also work as a veggie side dish for your favorite meals. Try them with these ideas:
- Chili Lime Shrimp has some of that same kicked up flavor.
- Teriyaki Steak Skewers taste great with a spicy side.
- Chicken Fried Rice can always use some extra veggies on the side.
- Thai Curry Butternut Squash Soup is simple and smooth with complementary flavors.
You can even use them as the main component of a vegetarian meal:
- Rice Bowls. Make some basic white or brown rice, or amp up the flavor with Cilantro Lime Rice, then add some crispy slaw, sliced cucumbers, or other fresh veggies.
- Tacos. Wrap them up in tortillas for fusion tacos.
- Salads. Pile them on top of salad greens, maybe with a light Honey Lime Dressing.
You can use the same method and just change up the sauce, towing the cauliflower bites either partway through the cooking process to glaze them nicely, or after baking.
Try these recipes:
- Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Bites
- Sesame Glazed Cauliflower Bites
- Honey Lime Sriracha Cauliflower Wings
Or use these sauces for coating:
More spicy cauliflower recipes
- Horseradish Cheddar Whipped Cauliflower had just the right amount of bite.
- Blue Cheese Cauliflower Cheesy Bread Sticks with Buffalo Marinara are tangy and cheesy and get their kick from the spicy sauce.
- Mexican Pepper Jack Cauli-Tots give some Tex Mex flair to your tots.
- Parmesan Cajun Spiced Cauliflower Steaks from Nutmeg Nanny swaps your steak for veggies.
- Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice from The Food Charlatan is a flavorful low carb side dish.
Bang Bang Cauliflower Bites
For the Bang Bang Sauce:
- Combine the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, chili sauce, rice vinegar, and sriracha sauce in a bowl. Stir until smooth and creamy, and set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 450°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Or preheat your air fryer to 350°F.
- Cut the cauliflower into florets. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook and softer they will get.
- Combine the brown rice flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and milk in a bowl and whisk to form a batter.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the batter and toss until thoroughly coated.
- Arrange the cauliflower on the baking sheet or in the air fryer basket in a single layer (if using the air fryer, you may need to cook it in two batches).
- Oven: Bake at 450°F for 20 minutes, or until slightly less done than you want them. Remove from the oven and gently flip the cauliflower. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown and tender inside.
- Air Fryer: Cook at 350°F for 15 minutes, tossing gebtly every 5 minutes until golden nandcrisp outside, and tender inside. You may need to adjust the cooking time based on your make and model of air fryer.
- Transfer the cauliflower to a bowl, pour about half of the Bang Bang Sauce over the cauliflower. Toss to coat, adding more sauce, if desired. Use an extra sauce for dipping.