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This bang bang cauliflower is a spicy, sweet, and incredibly easy to make. It's bite-sized pieces of cauliflower breaded and baked until golden and then tossed in a homemade bang bang sauce. It's a delicious vegetarian appetizer, snack, or side dish, and it's ready in just 40 minutes!
We've turned our favorite bang bang shrimp into bang bang cauliflower for a lighter vegetarian version that's baked instead of fried, but just as delicious! The cauliflower is crispy on the outside, tender in the center, and smothered in our sweet and tangy homemade bang bang sauce.
If you've ever made cauliflower wings, the process is really similar. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, toss them in the flour mixture and panko, spray them with oil, and bake them until they're golden. Coat them in bang bang sauce and then top them with green onions or chives and sesame seeds. It's a tasty appetizer or snack for game day and casual dinner parties that everyone always swoons over. Serve it over rice as a meal, or as a side dish alongside other Asian foods.
What is bang bang cauliflower?
Bang bang sauce is a condiment served alongside Asian street foods and was made popular by the American restaurant Bonefish Grill's bang bang shrimp appetizer. The sauce is used to dip, dunk, or drizzle over fried foods like chicken, seafood, and vegetables.
This bang bang cauliflower is essentially cauliflower wings coated in crunchy panko and tossed in our sweet and spicy bang bang sauce. It's basically a healthy vegetarian spin on the original!
Bang bang cauliflower ingredients
Here are the ingredients you need to make this bang bang cauliflower recipe:
- Cauliflower – we use one large head of cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets.
- Milk – any type of milk or non-dairy milk alternative will work.
- Flour – we use all-purpose flour, but you can use a gluten-free alternative if needed.
- Seasonings – a mix of sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt add flavor to the flour mixture.
- Panko – panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese-style breadcrumb used for coating foods to give them more crunch. Look for gluten-free panko if needed!
- Spray oil – a cooking spray oil like avocado oil or olive oil gives moisture to the coating and helps make it crunchy.
- Chives or green onions and black or white sesame seeds – for garnish.
What you need for the sweet and spicy bang bang sauce:
- Mayonnaise – makes up the base of the creamy sauce.
- Honey – unlike most bang bang sauce recipes that use sweet chili sauce for sweetness, we use honey as a more natural alternative.
- Sriracha – sriracha has that perfect mix of flavor and heat. You can play around with the amount for a spicier or milder sauce.
- Rice vinegar – rice vinegar is a bit sweeter than white vinegar. Its acidity helps to brighten and balance out the creaminess of the sauce.
How to make bang bang cauliflower
Bang bang cauliflower is a super delicious snack, appetizer, or side dish. It's also easy to make in just a few simple steps. Let's make it!
- While your oven preheats, stir together the flour mixture in a bowl, then toss the cauliflower in it to coat it well.
- Working with a few pieces of cauliflower at a time, coat them in panko. Transfer them to the baking sheet then continue until all the cauliflower is breaded (be sure to scroll down to the notes section in the recipe card for a helpful tip for keeping your hands clean and making the panko last longer).
- Spray the breaded cauliflower with a little oil and then bake them until they're brown and crispy.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, whisk together the bang bang sauce ingredients.
- When the cauliflower is done, toss it in the sauce, and serve with chives or green onions and sesame seeds.
What to eat with bang bang cauliflower
Bang bang cauliflower is typically eaten as an appetizer or snack. It's a delicious vegetarian option for game days, laid-back dinner parties, movie nights, and gatherings of all kinds.
Can I prepare it in advance?
Because the cauliflower is breaded, it's one of those recipes that's best eaten right away for the best taste and texture. You can definitely prepare the bang bang sauce ahead of time and store it in a container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Can I make them in an air fryer?
Yes! Place the breaded cauliflower into your air fryer basket, making sure the pieces aren't touching. Give them a little spray with oil then air fry them for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
How do I make vegan bang bang cauliflower?
To make this recipe vegan, use dairy-free milk for the batter. For the bang bang sauce, swap the mayonnaise for a vegan alternative and use agave syrup instead of honey for sweetness.
- 1 large cauliflower (cut into florets)
- ¾ cup milk of choice
- ½ cup flour (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 teaspoon EACH: sweet paprika, garlic powder and onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups panko (gluten-free if needed)
- Spray oil
- Chives or green onions and black or white sesame seeds (to serve)
The Bang Bang Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise (can be light)
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. (See notes) In a large bowl, mix the flour, milk, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat.¾ cup milk of choice, ½ cup flour, 1 teaspoon EACH: sweet paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large cauliflower
- Place the panko into a shallow bowl. Add a few pieces of cauliflower to the panko and toss to coat – see notes. Put the breaded cauliflower on the baking sheet then continue until all of the cauliflower is breaded. Spray the top of the cauliflower with oil.2 cups panko, Spray oil
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the cauliflower is brown and crispy.
- While the cauliflower is in the oven, prepare the bang bang sauce by mixing all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.½ cup mayonnaise, ¼ cup honey, 2 teaspoons sriracha, 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- When the cauliflower comes out of the oven, put it into a bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Toss to coat then serve it with some chives and sesame seeds on top.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.