Air Fryer Cauliflower (Quick & Easy Recipe)

If you love crispy, roasted, and healthy veggies, then this cauliflower air fryer recipe should be your next weekday side dish. It’s well seasoned and packed with flavor, with just a touch of oil so you won’t feel too guilty loading up on this!

air fryer cauliflower

Prepping the cauliflower

Prepping the cauliflower for this quick and easy recipe is basically a three step process: cut, wash, and dry. I like buying whole, organic cauliflower at my local grocery store and cutting it at home so I get my preferred size of florets. 

You can also buy them precut in bags to save time, however, make sure the florets are about the same size or thickness so they cook at the same rate in the air fryer.

washed cauliflower in a basket

Since cauliflower has very tight crowns, I submerge them in a bowl of wash for a couple minutes to get rid of extra dirt that’s hiding in between. I use my salad spinner to remove excess water and then towel dry the florets to make sure it’s super dry. 

If you’re wondering how to make the cauliflower crispy in the air fryer, it’s all about how well you dry the cauliflower after washing them. Not only can your oil stick better to the cauliflower when it’s dry, but the excess moisture in the veggies can cause it to steam in the air fryer–this is something you don’t want. 

Herb and seasoning options

seasoning options for cauliflower

The seasoning for this air fried cauliflower includes some of my favorite spices: garlic, onion, and paprika. This simple mix of spices gives the cauliflower’s slightly sweet and mild flavor a fragrant and spicy taste. I like to mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to make sure each ingredient gets even coverage on the cauliflower.

I also added dried minced onion for extra texture. Other additional ingredients you can add to this recipe are herbs and other ingredients, like:

  • oregano
  • thyme
  • fresh basil 
  • parmesan

How long to air fry cauliflower

uncooked cauliflower in air fryer

For a full head of cauliflower, I like to cook it for about 12-15 minutes at 390 °F. I pause every 3-4 minutes to stir and turn over the cauliflower to make sure all sides are toasted and cooked. You can tell when your cauliflower is done by its golden coloring and crispiness. If your cauliflower doesn’t have crispy edges, cook for another 2-3 minutes. 

finished air frying cauliflower

Why is my cauliflower soggy?

Drying cauliflower when prepping is the ultimate tip! The excess moisture in the air fryer can create a steaming effect and can make your cauliflower softer instead of crispier. Soggy cauliflower is no fun, but you can easily prevent it by drying your cauliflower with a towel after washing to remove any excess moisture. If you have extra time, you can also pop them in the fridge to dry up a little more for 15 minutes.

air fryer cauliflower sq
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5 from 2 votes

Air Fryer Cauliflower (Quick & Easy)

Sweet and crispy cauliflower seasoned with fragrant garlic, peppery paprika, and pungent onions–this air fryer cauliflower recipe is full of flavor and super easy to make in under 20 minutes.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer, cauliflower, roasted vegetables
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4


  • knife and cutting board
  • bowls
  • air fryer


  • 1 cauliflower cut into florets
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried minced onion optional
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat the air fryer to 390 °F.
  • Cut your and separate your cauliflower into individual florets that are roughly the same size. Wash them in water and let them soak for a couple minutes to remove extra dirt in between the crowns. Put them in a salad spinner to dry or manually dry them with a towel. Make sure to make them as dry as possible. Transfer the cauliflower into a mixing bowl.
    washed cauliflower in a basket
  • In a small bowl, add all the seasoning ingredients except the olive oil and mix until it’s combined.
    seasoning options for cauliflower
  • Drizzle the olive oil onto the cauliflower and mix to evenly coat. Sprinkle the seasoning over the cauliflower and mix thoroughly making sure the seasoning covers every floret.
    adding oil to cauliflower
  • Transfer the cauliflower into the air fryer basket and make sure they are in one even layer so they crisp properly. If you have more than can fit in one layer, you may need to cook this in multiple batches.
    uncooked cauliflower in air fryer
  • Put the timer on for 15 minutes and begin to cook. Every 3 minutes pause the time and stir the cauliflower. The finished cauliflower should be golden brown with slight crispy edges.
    finished air frying cauliflower
  • Transfer to a serving plate and eat immediately.
    air fryer cauliflower