Viral TikTok Buffalo cauliflower wings are pretty good, but not worth the work


Welcome to AirFryDay, where — you guessed it —every Friday Mashable covers the latest trends, dispenses advice, and reviews recipes for your air fryer.

I have a deep, well-documented love of hot wings.

Myself, I'm a purist — I enjoy bone-in wings with very hot hot sauce — but I don't begrudge other Buffalo-based foodstuffs like boneless wings or Buffalo cauliflower. Whatever floats your boat.

So, when I saw a recipe on TikTok for air-frying Buffalo cauliflower wings, I thought it seemed interesting. A nice little appetizer, conveniently cooked? Sign me up.

SEE ALSO: The best air fryers for making crispy food faster than the oven

The recipe from user @faithsfresh, which has racked up more than 4 million views, is relatively straightforward. You can watch it here, but these are the basic steps and what you'll need:


  • Cauliflower, cut into florets

  • Flour - 1 cup

  • Almond milk - 1 cup

  • Garlic powder

  • Onion powder

  • Salt and pepper

  • Hot sauce


  • Mix 1 cup of flour — @faithfresh used gluten-free but said in the comments regular was fine — with 1 cup of almond milk, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. To be honest, I measure spices with my heart, not teaspoons, and I added a heavy pinch of salt to this mixture because we season our food in my household, damnit.

  • Dunk cauliflower florets in that batter until coated.

  • Spray or oil your air fryer basket.

  • Bake in the air fryer at 375 degrees for 14 minutes.

  • Cover the cauliflower in hot sauce then bake for six more minutes and enjoy.

Here's how their end product turned out. Looks pretty tasty.

The viral air fryer cauli looked pretty good.
The viral air fryer cauli looked pretty good. Credit: screenshots: tiktok / @faithsfresh

I set about making the same thing.

I mixed the batter, but it did not, in any way, have the same consistency as the TikTok. This might be because I used regular flour. But in the TikTok the batter was, for lack of better words, thick and chunky. My batter was smoother. I added extra flour to thicken it a bit, which worked, but didn't leave it chunky like the TikTok. It was similar to a really thick pancake batter.

Here's how that looked.

Tiny whisk.
Tiny whisk. Credit: Mashable

I dunked my cauliflower in the batter, which is kind of self explanatory, but here's how it looked.

Goopy cauliflower is beautiful, is it not?
Goopy cauliflower is beautiful, is it not? Credit: mashable

Then, hurriedly, I dropped my cauliflower in a preheated air fryer and sprayed the basket with oil. Since my batter was a bit drippy, it was a battle to get my pieces in there cleanly. But a little mess never hurt anybody. Here's the ready to cook cauliflower.

Loaded and ready to go.
Loaded and ready to go. Credit: mashable

After the 14 minutes, the batter seemed mostly cooked and a little browned. Then it was time for dunking in hot sauce — a traditional Buffalo sauce involves hot sauce plus butter or some kind of fat. But I was following the TikTok recipe, which was hot sauce only. I did that, using tongs because the food was hot, and baked the cauliflower for six more minutes.

Sauceless, mostly cooked cauliflower.
Sauceless, mostly cooked cauliflower. Credit: mashable
That's Valentina extra hot I'm dipping in, if you're curious.
That's Valentina extra hot I'm dipping in, if you're curious. Credit: mashable

My final result, plus a little ranch for dipping, looked like this.

The final result wasn't bad, but it was also not like the TikTok
The final result wasn't bad, but it was also not like the TikTok Credit: mashable

The verdict? It was fine. Pretty good, even. It tasted something like you might get from a sports bar deeply in the weeds on an NFL Sunday. To be fair, the TikTok version looked crunchier, so maybe you'll have better luck. But I'm not sure I'd make this again.

It's not because it wasn't decent, but rather that for an air fryer snack, it was kind of a lot of work. You have to make a mess with flour, drip a batter everywhere, and take more than 20 minutes of active cook time. There are a bunch of dishes to do afterward. If I'm going to make a mess and extra dishes while air frying — a cooking method that is supposed to be convenient — I want something really good to come out of it, like, say, a fried chicken sandwich.

If I truly desired Buffalo cauliflower, it might be simpler to pop a frozen version in the air fryer and get a similar result for no effort at all. Or I could air fry cauliflower to a nice char — save myself all the batter hassle — and have a great snack I could always douse in Buffalo sauce if I wanted.

So, sure, the viral cauliflower wings are decent, but I don't see them becoming a staple in my life.

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