Panko Crusted Buffalo Cauliflower uses panko crumbs to give this lighter recipe the crispy crunch of its deep-fried cousin.
When buffalo cauliflower hit the scene a few years back there were a lot of pretty bad recipes out there. The batter would fall off, or the coating would burn before the cauliflower was tender. Now there are tons of good deep fried recipes, but I still struggled to find a technique that would work in the oven.
After several good but not great tests, I finally found a method that worked. Starting with crispy panko crumbs, and roasting on a rack gave me deep-fried crunch I was looking for.
Techniques for perfectly crispy Panko Crusted Buffalo Cauliflower
- Already crispy panko bread crumbs crunch up well in the oven.
- Frozen cauliflower is par-cooked which gets it to the right texture faster than fresh cauliflower.
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- 1 pound bag frozen cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup whole milk - plain soy or almond milk works well
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup hot sauce
- 1 stick butter or butter substitute
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon seasoning salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon MSG (or more salt if you don’t have MSG)
- Adjust the rack to the second to the top position, then preheat the oven to 450°F
- Cauliflower: allow to thaw on the counter for about 30 minutes
- Milk: Pour 1/2 cup whole milk into a bowl
- Flour: Combine 1/2 cup all-purpose flour with 1/2 tablespoon seasoning salt and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in another bowl
- Panko: Combine 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs with 1/2 tablespoon seasoning salt in a 3rd bowl
- Butter: Slice into 1/2 tablespoon pieces
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a metal rack on top, use a bit of vegetable oil or cooking spray to grease the rack
- Put the partially thawed cauliflower a few pieces at a time into the seasoned flour and coat thoroughly
- One piece at a time, dip the cauliflower in the milk, making sure to thoroughly wet the cauliflower, shake gently to remove excess milk
- Dip the wet cauliflower in the panko bread crumbs to coat lightly
- Place the breaded cauliflower on the baking rack
- Bake at 450°F for 20 to 25 minutes until browned
- While cauliflower is baking prepare the sauce
- Heat 2/3 cup hot sauce in the microwave until almost bubbling
- Stir in 1 stick sliced butter, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons white vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon MSG, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Either toss the baked cauliflower with the buffalo wing sauce, or serve the sauce on the side and dip to preserve maximum crispiness
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 444Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 2623mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 8g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.