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Air-Fryer Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wings

This Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wing recipe will transport your taste buds halfway across the world. Bite-sized pieces of cauliflower smothered in a sticky, sweet and rich Korean BBQ sauce. Perfect for a party appetizer, side dish or just because!

Cauliflower wings or bites have become a favourite on appetizer menus in any pub these days. Taking the lead from the forever favourite chicken wings and moving into the new plant-based trend. All the flavour choices of chicken wings without the chicken.

But who would have thought that cauliflower would be the item to replace a chicken wing? I mean really. That bland white veggie that sits lonely on veggie platters begging for some attention?

The beauty of cauliflower is just that… it is bland. So when you bake it and add sauce the flavours of the sauce become the hero of the dish.

Now don’t get me wrong most pub cauliflower bites are anything but good for you. They are almost always fried just like a chicken wing so they are usually full of fat. This Cauliflower wing recipe though is made using an air-fryer to bake these bites to crispy perfection in a much healthier way.

How to make cauliflower wings

To make them simply break a cauliflower head into small bite-size bites and cut off any of the long stems so they are round almost like a nugget.

Then dredge them in an egg bath, toss them in panko bread crumbs and put on a wire rack. Air-fry them for about 15 minutes at 400F and then toss them in Korean BBQ Sauce.

The baskets in air-fryers are quite a bit smaller than a regular baking sheet so you may need to cook these in two batches. You want to leave a bit of room between each cauliflower bite so that the air-fryer can work its magic and circulate air all around each bite.

If you don’t have an air-fryer I have made these using a convection oven too. You can sit the bites on a heat resistant rack or flip them halfway through to make sure they are cooked and crisp on all sides. When they are done the cauliflower should still be firm but fork tender.

How to make Asian bbq sauce

To make the sauce simply add the honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ketchup, ginger, pepper, sesame oil, rice vinegar and garlic to a small pot over medium-high heat. Stir often until honey is melted and the liquid begins to boil.

Then add a 1/4 cup of cold water to a small cup and 2 tsp of corn starch. Mix well until liquid is smooth and all of the corn starch is dissolved. Add the cornstarch mixture to the Korean BBQ sauce mixture and stir. Lower heat to medium and continue stirring until sauce thickens.

If you like Asian inspired fare you might want to check out this recipe for Honey Sriracha Chicken Thighs. A little spicy, sweet and quick to prepare.

Remove from heat and in a large bowl toss the cooked cauliflower wings with the Korean BBQ sauce until they are well coated and serve. This cauliflower wing recipe is best served hot and right away so that they are their crispiest. But you can also eat them cooled or reheated.

Cauliflower bites tossed with Korean BBQ sauce on a stone platter and topped with sesame seeds

Air-Fryer Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wing Recipe

This Asian BBQ Cauliflower Wing recipe will transport your tastebuds halfway across the world. Bite-sized pieces of cauliflower smothered in a sticky, sweet and rich Asian inspired BBQ sauce. Perfect of a party appetizer, side dish or just because!
4.58 from 21 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American, Asian
Keyword: Appetizers, Cauliflower Bits, Cauliflower Recipe, Cauliflower Wing Recipe, Korean BBQ Recipe, Plant-Based Snack, Vegetarian Snack
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 305kcal

Equipment

  • Air-Fryer or Convection Oven
  • Wire Cooking Rack
  • Large Bowl
  • Small Bowl
  • Small Pot
  • Knife
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Spoon

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower medium
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 3 eggs large

Korean BBQ Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup water cold
  • 2 tsp corn starch

Instructions

  • Preheat air-fryer or convection oven to 400 F
  • Wash and dry a medium head of cauliflower. Cut cauliflower crown bit-size pieces removing any stems.
  • In a small bowl add 3 large eggs beat. In a large bowl add 2 cups of panko bread crumbs. Dip each piece of cauliflower first in the egg mixture and then into the panko bread crumbs. Before adding each piece to the panko bread crumbs be sure to shake off any excess egg. Toss the cauliflower in the panko bread crumbs and then place on a wire rack that will sit on top of the baking sheet. Ensure the cauliflower pieces are not touching or crowded so there is room for air to fully circulate around each piece. Air-fry or bake for 15 minutes. If using a convection oven flip the cauliflower pieces halfway through cooking.
  • Meanwhile in a small pot over medium-high heat add 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp ketchup, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 1/4 tsp ground ginger and 2 minced garlic cloves. Stir to combine and let come to a small boil.
  • In a small bowl add 1/4 cup of cold water and 2 tsp of cornstarch. Mix well until cornstarch has been fully dissolved. Pour into the BBQ sauce mixture and mix well. Reduce heat to medium and continue to simmer the sauce until it thickens. About 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the cooked cauliflower pieces to a large bowl ad add the sauce. Toss until each cauliflower wing is fully coated. Serve immediately.

Video

Notes

Store any uneaten cauliflower in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.   The bites will not stay crispy but can be eaten cold or reheated in the microwave or in the oven.
Top with toasted sesame seeds or chopped green onions.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 305kcal | Carbohydrates: 55.4g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5.4g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 5.5g | Sugar: 24.8g | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 3mg
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Please Note:The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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14 Comments

  1. Made this and it is VERY sweet. Kind of a strange sauce taste. Definitely too much hoisin and honey. I would adjust if you are looking for something that’s a sweet/spicy combo.

    1. Hi Jenny, Sweet is a personal choice and you can absolutely adjust the sweetness by reducing the honey but this has been one of my most popular recipes this year so there are many out there happy with flavour as it is. But thanks for letting everyone know how you adjusted the sweetness level so they can too if they prefer!

  2. Definitely too sweet, less honey next time. And apart from having to do it in batches this was really good. You do forget that it’s cauliflower 🙂

    1. I have a little bit of a sweet tooth so I like them on the sweeter side but you can absolutely adjust the sweetness but reducing the amount of honey in the recipe to suit your taste.

  3. Tried this and really enjoyed it!! I too was bit surprised that this is called a Korean dish without the ingredients which are Korean. However, the air fryer made this a good process for tenderness, but took too long since small batches had to be done. I would try it again though, but in the oven next time so I can make a large batch at one time. Thanks!!

  4. Hi Alisa, I’m kind of confused by the recipe, namely the hoisin sauce ingredient. Hoisin sauce is actually used in Chinese cooking not Korean. Gochujang is definitely more appropriate (and used in Korean recipes) to use like Sophia mentioned. As an Asian American, it irks me a little when people make recipes that are “Korean” or “Japanese” but don’t use authentic ingredients and still name it as if it’s from that country when it’s not. Maybe white people don’t see the issue, but for minorities like ourselves it’s seen as culture appropriation. Not trying to hate on your blog…..just stating some facts. I’m curious about this recipe even if it seems more Chinese Inspired/American.

    1. Hi Olivia,

      Thank you for pointing this out to me and I apologize if I have offended. This recipe was given to me by a friend years ago and this was the name of the recipe so I kept it. I should have researched the origins further. I will work on renaming the recipe. Authentic ingredients are difficult to find in some cities such as mine so I often will substitute more common ingredients when I must. In the future, I will make sure to include the authentic ingredient and then provide substitutes for more commonly found ingredients where possible.

      1. Recipe looks great, I haven’t tried it yet but will tonight. I am Asian American, I’m half Korean and I could care less what the name of the recipe is lol. Doesn’t offend me at all. Keep up with the yummy recipes!

        1. Hi Tracy,

          I have since changed it they are right it is missing the one main Korean ingredient but in my city it is impossible to find and so I improvised. I intend to be more mindful in the future.

    2. Don’t listen to this lady. I’m full Korean and Koreans know that “Korean Fried Chicken” itself isn’t authentic. Plenty of popular Korean dishes are actually fusion (jjajangmyeon, taengsuyuk, etc.) and many have only been created in the past few decades. On top of that, plenty of fried chicken recipes use ketchup, which is probably the least Asian ingredient out there.

      There’s nothing wrong with the naming at all and to say otherwise is super nitpicky and food elitist. I’m sure plenty of Asians would enjoy eating this regardless of its origin.

      And yes, it was delicious!

      1. Thanks so much, Kat for your support and kind words. I really appreciate you taking the time and so happy you enjoyed them!

  5. I don’t have hoisin sauce (or ketchup) but do you think gochujang might be an ok substitute for a spicy flavor ?

    1. Hi Sophia,
      I myself have never had gochujang sauce but did some reading on it. I think you could substitute this for the ketchup but it will of course be spicier but don’t think it will work to replace the hoisin. I found this recipe for homemade hoisin on epicurious: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/hoisin-sauce-substitute-52415261. If you don’t have white wine vinegar simple white vinegar will do. For this recipe I would leave out the hot sauce because you will already get a kick with the gochujang. Hope this helps. Please let me know how it turns out with this method.

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