One of my very first recipes on this website was a Cheesecake Factory copycat recipe of their Korean Fried Cauliflower. Since it was so dang irresistible, I thought I’d make a version that I could eat more frequently, that’s a touch healthier. This vegan Air-Fried Korean Cauliflower is just as spicy, sweet and to die for as the fried version. The only difference is that it’s less oily (and thus less heavy) but just as comforting.
why we love this air fried korean cauliflower
This vegan Korean cauliflower is super fast and easy to make. I love that I don’t need to turn on my oven for this recipe since it uses my countertop air fryer. While some of the beginning steps to this recipe are similar to the fried version, you could argue that this air-fried version is easier. Since there’s no frying involved, most of the cook-time is passive. All you need to do is throw the basket into the air fryer, and presto! 20 minutes later, your cauliflower is ready to eat. Served over rice, these air fryer cauliflower wings become a filling weeknight dinner.
don’t have an air fryer?
No air-fryer? No problem! I’ve included baking instructions in the recipe card below for you. Everyone should be able to enjoy this delicious cauliflower side dish.
the air-fried korean cauliflower ingredients
To make this air fryer Korean cauliflower, you’ll only need a few ingredients. This recipe has 3 main components: the tempura batter, the cauliflower, and the sauce.
the tempura batter ingredients
- Sesame Oil
- Rice Flour, or Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- Baking Powder
- Salt + Pepper
- Garlic Powder
- Seltzer Water
the korean chili sauce ingredients
- Maple Syrup, or agave
- Soy Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Minced Garlic, 2-3 cloves
- Minced Ginger
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Sesame Oil
- Korean chili sauce, Gochujang Sauce
the cauliflower batter
The batter for this cauliflower is actually completely gluten-free! Which is amazing!! This batter uses rice flour instead of all-purpose flour because it’s lighter and leads to a less dense coating around the cauliflowers. It’s actually very similar to a tempura batter.
tips for air frying
Here are a few important tips for air frying these cauliflower wings:
- Make sure to preheat your air fryer.
- Line your air fryer basket with parchment paper specifically designed for air fryers. The parchment paper I use has holes in it which allows the air to circulate around all the sides of the cauliflower.
- I also recommend spraying cooking oil on both sides of the cauliflower to make sure every part of it is coated in at least a tiny bit of oil.
- Flip the cauliflower halfway through the cooking time.
the korean chili sauce
These cauliflowers have an absolutely mouthwatering, sticky exterior! This sauce’s main ingredient is gochujang, or Korean Chili Paste. I use a gochujang sauce by the brand Chung Jung One which is labeled as vegan, which is amazing.
It’s a thick, sweet, spicy, tangy paste with an irreplaceable flavor. I picked up a bottle of gochujang from my local big-box grocery store. It was really easy to find but if you’re not able to find it at your local grocery, be sure to check any local Asian markets. If you’ve never tried gochujang, I highly highly recommend doing so.
I also have a super simple 5 ingredient Korean Chili Sauce, if you want a flavorful sauce that uses fewer ingredients.
serving the air-fried korean cauliflower
Once done air frying, in a heated wok, I tossed these batter-coated florets with the sauce and some sesame oil. This extra step helps the sugars from the sauce caramelize and adds another level of tenderness.
This vegan air-fried Korean chili cauliflower is best served with some white rice and topped with avocado, sesame seeds, or some green onion! It would make an amazing main dish or a finger-licking-good appetizer/side dish!
For a more decadent take on this recipe, try out the fried version!
If your looking for more easy dinners, check out these vegan recipes!SESAME ‘BEEF’ UDON NOODLES
Yellow Tofu Sushi Bowl
Hoisin Tofu Bao
Did you make this Air-Fried Korean Cauliflower? I’d love to know! Leave a rating and comment below!
Air-Fried Korean Chili Cauliflower (Vegan)
Tender, spicy, flavorful air-fried of baked gluten-free, vegan Korean chili cauliflower! This bowl of cauliflower is flavored with gochujang, giving it a unique, mouthwatering flavor.
- 2 Heads of Cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tsp Sesame oil
- Green onion (for serving)
- Sesame seeds (for serving)
- Lime (for serving)
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (or rice flour)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp granulated white sugar
- 1 3/4 cups seltzer water extra cold
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, or agave
- 6 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp minced garlic, 2-3 cloves
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 tsp sesame oil
- 5 tbsp Korean chili sauce or paste, Gochujang (please note, not all Gochujang pastes are gluten free, however the sauce linked is)
- 4 tbsp mirin
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (or your oven to 425 Fahrenheit if baking).
- Line the air fryer pan with parchment paper. If baking: put a cooling rack on the baking sheet. Place parchment onto the cooling rack. This will help the cauliflower get a crispier exterior while baking.
- Cut your cauliflower into small florets.
- In a large bowl, combine the gluten-free flour blend, cornstarch, baking powder, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir in the cold seltzer water until just combined. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter.
- Coat the cauliflower evenly in tempura batter and place it on the rack / baking sheet or in your air fry basket. Spray the cauliflower with cooking spray.
- Air fry for 17 minutes (flipping halfway). Bake for 20 minutes (flipping halfway).
Make the Sauce:
- While the cauliflower cooks, make the sauce by combining all the chili sauce ingredients (except the cornstarch) into a blender. Blend on high until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Pour 1/4 cup of the sauce into a small bowl and mix it with 2 tbsp of the cornstarch to form a slurry. (There should be no cornstarch lumps).
- Pour the remaining sauce into a small saucepan and heat on medium-low. Once the sauce is simmering, pour the cornstarch slurry into the pan. Simmer on low for 3-5 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir the sauce as it simmers. Once thickened slightly, remove the sauce from the heat.
Toss the Cauliflower with the Sauce:
- Heat up a saucepan or wok with 2 tsp of sesame oil.
- Toss the baked cauliflower with the thickened Korean Chili Sauce in the pan. Stir fry for about 3 minutes until evenly coated and the sauce has thickened.
- Serve with green onion, lime, sesame seeds, and rice.
Make sure to use parchment paper designed for air fryers. I like to use this parchment paper because it is precut with holes for better air circulation.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 510Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gFiber: 3gProtein: 10g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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Korean here. The link you used for Gochujang is NOT Gochujang. It’s a Gochujang sauce. As in, it’s a type of sauce made with Gochujang. It tastes vastly different from Gochujang, as it’s got sugar and vinegar, which aren’t in Gochujang itself. you need to specify if you used Gochujang (but linked something irrelevant), or if you used the product that you linked but didn’t write it correctly.
Hi there, I’ve used both the sauce linked and Gochujang paste in this recipe before and both taste delicious. I’ve updated the ingredients list to be more clear. Thank you for your comment!
Where does the sugar go in the batter recipe? Can’t see it in the method?
Hi Fiona, the sugar is mixed in with the rest of the batter ingredients. I’ve updated the instructions to include it.
delicious recipe!!! thank you for posting, this satsified my cheesecake factory craving 🙂
I’m glad you enjoyed it!