Air-Fryer Herb and Lemon Cauliflower Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 20 min.
Need an easy side dish for dinner? Try air-fryer cauliflower, which comes together quickly and can be flavored in umpteen ways.

Updated: Oct. 11, 2023

Our air-fryer cauliflower hits the spot when you’re hankering for a fried appetizer but don’t really want to eat something super heavy and, well, fried.

There are so many ways to cook with cauliflower. It has a mild flavor that pairs well with most seasonings and cooking methods. One of our favorite methods? Air frying! How does an air fryer work? The versatile appliance cooks cauliflower quickly, with a heat just high enough to leave the vegetable crispy, crunchy and delicious.

Here’s how to make our air-fryer cauliflower, plus serving suggestions and ideas for flavor variations.

Ingredients for Air-Fryer Cauliflower

  • Cauliflower: This low-carb vegetable has crept into mainstream cuisine lately, and we love that it has! It’s easy to find, chock-full of health benefits, and incredibly versatile in recipes.
  • Olive oil: Deep-fryer recipes usually call for a cooking oil that can withstand high heat, like canola or vegetable oil, but these oils don’t have much flavor. An air fryer creates all the crispness without the extreme heat, so you can use flavorful, omega-rich olive oil without fear of it burning.
  • Herbs: Cauliflower is so mild tasting that just about any spices and herbs pair well with it. Our recipe calls for a lively blend of parsley, rosemary and thyme, but go ahead and use any herbs you have on hand, fresh or dried. Find more flavor variation ideas below.
  • Lemon: A dash of fresh lemon juice and a grating of zest add even more brightness to this dish.

All Ingredients for Air Fryer CauliflowerTMB Studio


Step 1: Prep the cauliflower

Cauliflower in a Big Bowl with Oil in a Bottle and A SpoonTMB Studio

Preheat an air fryer to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Toss together until the florets are evenly coated in oil.

Step 2: Set up the basket

Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the tray in the air fryer basket. Don’t crowd the cauliflower pieces too close together or they’ll steam rather than roast. Give each floret a bit of breathing room so the heat can circulate. You may need to work in batches.

Step 3: Air-fry the cauliflower

Air Frying Cauliflower in Air FryerTMB Studio

Cook until the florets are tender and the edges are browned, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Halfway through the cook time, give the cauliflower a stir so the bottom and tops cook evenly.

Step 4: Make the herb mixture

Mixing Ingredients for Air Fryer CauliflowerTMB Studio

In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Step 5: Toss cauliflower in herb mixture

Air Fryer CauliflowerTMB Studio

Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl. Drizzle with the herb mixture, and toss to combine.

Editor’s Tip: Tossing the cauliflower in the seasonings after cooking ensures that the flavors taste fresh and the spices and herbs don’t burn in the air fryer.

Air-Fryer Cauliflower Variations

  • Switch up the herbs: In the winter, woody herbs like rosemary and thyme add a fragrant earthiness to cauliflower. In the summer, sprinkle in tender herbs like dill, basil or cilantro.
  • Go spicy: A sprinkle of cayenne pepper or chile powder will dial up the heat in your spice mix. Or, go all in with air fryer buffalo cauliflower.
  • Get inspired with other flavors: Indian spices like cumin, curry powder and coriander are delicious on cauliflower. Italian herbs and spices are also delicious (think garlic, basil and lemon). Or get inspiration from Chinese food recipes and make General Tso’s cauliflower.

How to Store Air-Fryer Cauliflower

Like most air-fryer recipes, air-fryer cauliflower tastes best while it’s still hot and crispy. If you have leftovers, keep them in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to three days. A quick reheat in the toaster oven or air fryer will restore some of the crispness.

Can you freeze air-fryer cauliflower?

No, air-fryer cauliflower doesn’t freeze well. The crispy exterior will get soggy, and the cauliflower will taste watery when reheated. Best to enjoy fresh.

Air-Fryer Cauliflower Tips

Air Fryer CauliflowerTMB Studio

Can you use frozen cauliflower to make air-fryer cauliflower?

Yes! Frozen cauliflower works well in this recipe. Put the frozen cauliflower directly in the air fryer; no need to thaw first. The high heat of the air fryer will thaw the cauliflower quickly, and the water will evaporate, so the cauliflower is nice and crispy. You may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.

How can you make air-fryer cauliflower crispier?

Love extra crunch? Toss the cauliflower in panko bread crumbs in Step 1; the crumbs will get extra crispy in the air fryer. You can also dial up the temp on the air fryer temperature. An extra 10° should do the trick.

What foods taste good with air-fryer cauliflower?

This mildly-flavored recipe tastes great with all kinds of dinners. For a traditional Sunday dinner, serve with roast chicken, potatoes and a green. In the summer, serve with any grilling ideas for dinner, like barbecued chicken, steak or fish. And bonus: Air-fryer cauliflower is naturally vegan, so you can serve it with your favorite vegetarian dinner.

Air-Fryer Cauliflower

Prep Time 20 min
Yield 4 servings.


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


  1. Preheat air fryer to 350°. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower and 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. In batches, arrange cauliflower in a single layer on tray in air-fryer basket. Cook until florets are tender and edges are browned, 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl; drizzle with herb mixture and toss to combine.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 161 calories, 14g fat (2g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 342mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (3g sugars, 3g fiber), 3g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 fat, 1 vegetable.

A standout cauliflower side is easy to prepare with just a few ingredients. Crushed red pepper flakes add a touch of heat. —Susan Hein, Burlington, Wisconsin