The Ultimate Guide (Plus, the Recipe!) for Vegan Cauliflower Wing Lovers

Americans really, really Love Wings On Super Bowl Sunday in 2022, it was estimated that more than 1.4 billion wings were consumed across the country. But while they may be delicious, wings have a dark side. The poultry farming industry is fraught with animal welfare issues and is also harmful to the environment. Each year, more than nine billion chickens are raised for the meat industry in the United States, most of them in cramped, industrial factory farms. But there’s another way to enjoy wings without the chicken.

In the past few years, cauliflower wings have been growing in popularity. They’re just as delicious and addictive, but they don’t require an animal. Here’s everything you need to know about crispy veggie snacks, plus where you can buy them and how to make them at home.

What are cauliflower wings?

Cauliflower wings are basically cauliflower florets covered in a crispy, crunchy batter. Like chicken wings, they can be covered in barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce, super spicy sauceā€”the list goes on.

Are cauliflower wings vegetarian?

Although many brands and restaurants offer vegan cauliflower wings, they are not vegetarian by default. This is because these coatings may sometimes contain animal products, such as milk or honey, or they are deep-fried in animal fat. For example, Buffalo Wild Wings’ cauliflower wings are meat-free, but they’re not vegetarian because they’re cooked in beef fat. (That said, you can try baking them instead of frying!)

VegNews.vegancauliflowerwings.solcuisineFloor kitchen

Do cauliflower wings taste like chicken wings?

Thanks to its neutral flavor, cauliflower will flavor anything it’s cooked with. So, if you order barbecue cauliflower wings, you can be sure that the overwhelming flavor is going to be the barbecue rather than the cauliflower flavor. In this sense, cauliflower wings are similar to chicken wings. (After all, by itself, chicken has a very bland flavor.)

But it’s important to remember, cauliflower wings don’t taste exactly like meat because of the different textures. But they’re still a great-tasting snack in their own right. (If you’re after vegan wings that taste just like chicken, plenty of plant-based meat brands, like Like Meat and Gardenain, offer credible options.)

Where can you buy vegetarian cauliflower wings?

A few different brands and restaurant chains offer vegan cauliflower wings. Here, we’ve put together a handful of examples. But it’s also worth checking the menu at your favorite local vegetarian or vegan restaurant (or even a vegetarian-friendly restaurant), as cauliflower wings are quickly becoming a popular menu addition at many eateries.

VegNews.vegancauliflowerwings.HolyVeggieTotally veggie!

1 Totally veggie

All of Whole Veggie’s products are made with recognized healthy, plant-based ingredients. Unlike many plant-based brands, none of its range is designed to taste exactly like meat. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious. Its crunchy, gluten-free buffalo cauliflower wings (designed to be baked, not fried) are served with a panko breadcrumb crust and a side of buffalo sauce.
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VegNews.vegancauliflowerwings.SolCuisineFloor kitchen

2 Floor kitchen

When Soul Cuisine founder Drew Balshine wrote a song called “Cauli (You’re My Favorite Flower),” he meant what he was singing. The brand’s breaded cauliflower wings showcase how delicious and versatile this humble vegetable can be. Even with buffalo sauce in the mix, you’ll never feel the need to buy chicken wings again.
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VegNews.vegancauliflowerwing.VeggieGrillVeggie Grill

3 Veggie Grill

If you’re near one of Veggie Grill’s 30 locations, you’re in luck: You can grab a side of the chain’s crispy cauliflower anytime. Crunchy florets battered with tempura and served with either buffalo sauce (naturally) or orange sauce. If you also enjoy the taste of plant-based meats, you can also grab a serving of chicken-style buffalo wings while you’re there.
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VegNews.vegancauliflowerwings.BirdsEyeBird’s Eye

4 Bird’s Eye

Next time you’re at the grocery store, check the frozen aisle for Bird’s Eye’s range of cauliflower wings. It’s worth noting that neither is actually labeled as vegan, but the barbecue option doesn’t include any animal products in the ingredients list. (The garlic parmesan version is, of course, not vegan.)
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VegNews.vegancauliflowerwings.NoBonesBeachClubNo Bones Beach Club

5 No Bones Beach Club

During the pandemic, popular vegan company No Bones Beach Club transitioned from a restaurant chain to food service. Now, it offers a range of products, including buffalo cauliflower wings with coconut-based buffalo sauce, to restaurants and shops instead. Right now, you can find its delicious wings at Alberta Food Co-op in Portland, along with a few Seattle eateries.
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How to Make Vegetarian Cauliflower Wings

If you can’t find vegan cauliflower wings near you, or you just enjoy getting creative in the kitchen, another way to enjoy this crunchy side is to make it at home. They’re so easy to throw together, all you need is a cauliflower (of course), your favorite hot sauce (or light, you do), and a few pantry staples (flour, cornstarch, black pepper, oil, etc.) to make the batter.

To help you out, we’ve collected some of our favorite vegan cauliflower wing recipes below. Happy snacking!

Best Vegetarian Cauliflower Wings Recipe

VegNews.EverythingBuffaloWingsDustin Harder

1 All buffalo cauliflower bites

If you don’t have all the bagel seasonings in your pantry, it’s easy to make at home with a few different seeds, garlic, onion, and salt. Combined with spicy buffalo sauce, this is one of the best ways to coat your cauliflower wings.
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VegNews.Spicy CauliflowerTrilogy Sanctuary

2 Spicy Cauliflower Wings with Pesto Dipping Sauce

Not a fan of buffalo? When it comes to cauliflower wings, one type of sauce isn’t mandatory. You can experiment until you find the right flavor for you. For example, we recommend serving your wings with this cool, refreshing pesto-cashew dip.
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VegNews.ThaiChiliBitesAshley Madden

3 Baked Thai Chili Cauliflower Bites

If you love a spicy Thai curry, pair your favorite flavors with these crunchy cauliflower bites. This recipe is also ideal for those who don’t own a fryer as they can only be baked in the oven. (It’s healthy too!)
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VegNews.CocaCola Cauliflower (2)Shanika Graham-White

4 Sticky Vegan Coca-Cola Cauliflower Wings

Cooking with Coca-Cola sounds a little weird, but trust us, you’ll be glad you tried it. These vegan cauliflower wings are just the right amount of crispy, saucy and gooey. Food always tastes better when there’s a mess to eat, right?
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VegNews.Sticky CauliflowerDaniel Keith

5 Teriyaki Sesame Cauliflower Bites

Again, these cauliflower bites are baked and not fried, so they don’t need any faffing with oil. All you need for the coating is some flour, teriyaki sauce, garlic, ginger and red chili powder. Plus, of course, top them with sesame seeds. Simple and delicious.
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