Make extra-crispy, just-spicy-enough BBQ Cauliflower Wings with a homemade barbecue sauce that has a delicious Srirahca-honey flavor and a crisp gluten-free crumb coating. The perfect vegetarian and gluten free appetizer.
Football season is around the corner. And whether that means you'll be watching a game every Sunday afternoon or not, it's never a bad time to add some tasty appetizers to your repertoire. These crispy and spicy baked BBQ cauliflower wings are so packed with flavor, they're a favorite among vegans and meat eaters alike.
How to Make the Crispiest Baked Cauliflower Wings
The best part about any wings is the crispy coating. And this meat-free version does not disappoint. To make the breaded cauliflower wings, you'll need:
Cauliflower. Cut the head into even-sized pieces so they cook at the same rate.
Bread crumbs. You can make your own gluten-free breadcrumbs. See how in the notes below the recipe!
Gluten-free flour. Regular all-purpose flour also works.
BBQ sauce. See how to make your own spicy honey-sweetened BBQ sauce below!
Honey. For vegan wings, use agave or maple syrup.
Garlic powder. Fresh minced or grated garlic also works.
Smoked paprika. For extra smoky flavor.
Redpepper flakes. Use as much or as little spice as you like.
Dried parsley. For a nice herby garnish.
The Best BBQ Sauce for Wings
These crispy cauliflower wings are coated in a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce that's easy to make in one pan on the stove. You'll need:
Balsamic vinegar. For a bit of sweetness and acidity
Agave. Honey also works.
Sriracha. Use more or less to meet your spice preference.
Maple syrup. Or use more agave/honey.
Red pepper flakes
Ground mustard. This is found in the spice aisle.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Wings
These BBQ wings are full of flavor all on their own. But who doesn't love to dunk and dip?
Serve your wings with any (or all) of these tasty condiments:
To make sure your wings get as crispy as possible, follow these simple tips:
Make sure each wing has plenty of space on the baking sheet. The airflow helps things crisp up.
Make sure you're using fresh, not soggy or stale, breadcrumbs.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
Let the wings cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving them.
How Long to Bake Cauliflower Wings
The baking time will vary depending on your oven. Check the wings after 20 minutes, to make sure they're nice and crunchy but not burning. If necessary, pop the wings under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes for an extra crispy crust.
You can use store-bought breadcrumbs if you like, but making your own is easy. Here's how I do it:
Grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container.
Breadcrumbs vs. Panko
The difference between panko and breadcrumbs is mostly about where they come from. Panko are Japanese-style bread crumbs. they have a lighter, flakier texture. You can certainly use panko, including gluten-free panko, to bread your cauliflower wings.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. NOTE: Doing this step is a MUST to prevent sticking.
HOMEMADE BBQ SAUCE:
Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk together until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to low-medium and let everything simmer for about 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once thickened enough to desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool. Set aside until ready to use.
In a medium bowl, add water, flour, ½ cup BBQ sauce, honey, salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, dried parsley, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder and whisk together until fully combined. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, add bread crumbs and set aside also.
Now, dip each cauliflower into batter (shaking off any excess) and then toss into bread crumbs. Then lay each cauliflower side by side on the baking sheet (about an inch apart). Repeat until all cauliflower are coated.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and “crunchy” looking. NOTE: If not crispy enough, turn on broil and bake for another 5-10 minutes.
Once cauliflowers are crisp, remove from oven and toss them in the sauce until fully coated. Add coated cauliflower back to baking sheet and place them back in the oven (turning oven on broil) for about 5-6 minutes.
To serve, add cauliflower bites to a salad, tacos, atop pasta, as a topping on pizza, with quinoa or rice, or by themselves with Vegan Ranch dipping sauce.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Best if consumed within the same day. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in oven when ready to serve.
HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container.
SWEETENER: For vegan option, you can always substitute honey with Agave or maple syrup.
STORAGE (BBQ SAUCE): Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.