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air fryer cauliflower bites tossed in a honey chipotle sauce
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5 from 7 votes

Honey Chipotle Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites

These Honey Chipotle Air Fryer Cauliflower Bites are perfectly crispy, hearty, made easily in the air fryer, and coated in the most mouthwatering honey chipotle sauce! This recipe is a copycat of Chili's honey chipotle chicken crispers, but made vegetarian by using cauliflower instead of chicken.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fried cauliflower
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 322kcal



  • 1 large head cauliflower cut into florets


  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup beer or seltzer/sparkling water

Honey Chipotle Sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 Tbsp bbq sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne or less, to taste


  • Preheat air fryer to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack and set next to the air fryer.
  • In a mixing bowl, add breading ingredients (flour, smoked paprika, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and beer), and stir until well combined.
  • Add cauliflower florets to the mixing bowl and stir to coat. Add breaded florets to prepared wire rack and allow excess batter to drip off.
  • Spray basket of air fryer with nonstick cooking spray, add cauliflower in a single layer (depending on the amount of cauliflower and size of your air fryer, you may need to do this in batches). Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and air fry for 10 minutes.
  • Flip cauliflower florets over and spray lightly again with nonstick cooking spray. Air fry another 5 minutes.
  • While cauliflower is finishing in the air fryer, add all sauce ingredients (honey, bbq sauce, water, vinegar, chipotle chili powder, cayenne), and either microwave for about 3 minutes, or heat in a small saucepan until sauce is a looser consistency so you can easily toss the cauliflower in it.
  • Remove cauliflower from the air fryer and toss in the sauce. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, or plain.


  1. Recipe cook and prep time does not include the amount of time needed for the air fryer to preheat, since that will vary from person to person.

Deep Fried Instructions

  1. Add enough vegetable or peanut oil to fill a deep heavy bottomed pot by about 2 inches, and heat over MED heat until oil reaches about 350-375°F.
  2. While oil is preheating, line 2 baking sheets with 2 wire cooling racks.  One is for letting the excess batter drip off, and the other is for placing the fried cauliflower on after they come out of the oil.
  3. Batter cauliflower as directed, letting the excess drip off, then add to the hot oil (I like to use stainless steel tongs, and add one floret at a time).  Make sure not to overcrowd the pot.
  4. Fry for about 3-4 minutes per side, then transfer with a slotted spoon or spider to the wire rack.
  5. Toss with warmed sauce as directed.

Oven Directions

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray.  Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Batter cauliflower as directed, letting the excess drip off on a wire rack.
  3. Transfer battered cauliflower to prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
  4. Toss with warmed sauce as directed.


Calories: 322kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 860mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 599IU | Vitamin C: 102mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 3mg