Crispy Cauliflower Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. Cook: 25 min.
Our crispy cauliflower recipe is crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. This version of the veggie will delight vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Updated: May 20, 2024

Crispy foods are all the rage. Crispy chickpeas, crispy rice, crispy potatoes—you name it, there’s a crispy recipe for it! Crispy cauliflower is next up on the docket, and even if you’re not normally a cauliflower lover, we think you may just become one when it’s prepared this way.

Each floret is tender as you bite into it, while the edges stay crispy and golden brown. What’s not to love? Here’s how to make crispy cauliflower that provides a satisfying crunch with every bite.

How to Prep the Cauliflower

Cutting cauliflower can easily become a mess. If you cut straight down into a head, it can crumble everywhere, causing tiny flowerets to roll off the counter. Soon you’re forced to add vacuuming to your to-do list!

It’s best to have a game plan. Prepping this cruciferous veg doesn’t have to be a pain if you know how to cut cauliflower properly. As we learned from Ina Garten: First, turn the cauliflower head upside down and cut out the core. Next, pull off the big florets from the head and separate them into smaller flowerets. Finally, cut through the remaining stems to make bite-sized pieces. Simple as that! No vacuuming required.

Crispy Cauliflower Ingredients

  • Cauliflower head, broken into florets
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Step 1: Prep the pans

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line two 15x10x1-inch baking sheets with parchment. Grease the parchment.

Step 2: Season the cauliflower

Place the flowerets in a large bowl. Add the oil and seasonings, and toss to coat.

Step 3: Coat the cauliflower

In a shallow bowl, mix the panko bread crumbs and Parmesan. Dip the florets into the crumb mixture to coat, patting to help the coating adhere.

Step 4: Bake the cauliflower

Place the coated cauliflower on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the pans halfway through baking to promote even cooking.

Crispy Cauliflower Variations

  • Zhuzh up the spice blend: Our recipe calls for cayenne, salt and pepper, but you could add chili powder and garlic powder or cardamom and paprika.
  • Use an air fryer: Make the crispy cauliflower in an air fryer instead of the oven with our guide to converting oven recipes to the air fryer.
  • Create a thicker coating: Use our breaded cauliflower recipe if you want a thicker, more even coating.

Crispy Cauliflower Tips

Crispy Cauliflower on a baking sheet with a spatula; some crispy cauliflower pieces are on a plate nearbyTMB Studio

How do you serve crispy cauliflower?

Crispy cauliflower is versatile. It can be an add-in or an appetizer, or even dressed up to be a main dish.

Crispy cauliflower would make a great topper for bowl recipes, such as a bulgur bowl or a wild rice bowl. It can even work as a textural add-in for your favorite healthy salad recipe.

Or, use crispy cauliflower as a delicious vessel for a variety of sauces: spicy sriracha aioli, General Tso’s sauce, buffalo or ranch. Any chicken wing sauce recipe would do the trick as well.

If you want to make your crispy cauliflower the main event, serve it in soft tortillas with a little coleslaw, cubed avocado, and drizzled ranch and buffalo sauce to make crispy cauliflower buffalo tacos. You could also serve crispy cauliflower in a bun for a hearty vegetarian sandwich.

How long does leftover crispy cauliflower last?

If you have leftovers, eat them within one to two days and reheat them in the oven or in the air fryer, not the microwave. Since you want the cauliflower to stay crispy, it is best to eat it fresh. As more time passes, the cauliflower will lose its crispy edges.

Crispy Cauliflower

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 25 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, broken into florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line two 15x10x1-in. baking sheets with parchment; grease parchment. Place cauliflower in a large bowl. Add oil and seasonings; toss to coat.
  2. In a shallow bowl, mix bread crumbs and cheese. Dip cauliflower in crumb mixture to coat, patting to help coating adhere. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking.

Nutrition Facts

3/4 cup: 131 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 6mg cholesterol, 361mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 4g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch.

This is a great base recipe to be used as a side dish or appetizer with dipping sauce or even tossed with buffalo sauce and served on slider buns for a vegan buffalo sandwich. Be sure to leave plenty of space around each floret on the pans so steam doesn't prevent the cauliflower from becoming crispy.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen