This simple air fryer cauliflower recipe makes an addictively delicious side dish! Spicy red pepper flakes and salty Pecorino Romano will have you coming back for seconds.

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What is an Air Fryer?

If you’re new to cooking with an air fryer, think of it as a convection-style oven. Hot air circulates around a metal basket which helps create a crispy outer layer on the food you’re cooking. You can “fry” foods with minimal oil and still create deliciously crispy food. Curious to learn more about air frying? Don’t miss my Air Fryer Tips & Tricks! I love using my air fryer to create deliciously roasted vegetables like air fryer rosemary potatoes or broccoli in minutes.

How to Make Cauliflower in an Air Fryer

Remove the outer leaves of the cauliflower and chop the florets into 1″ pieces. Try to cut them into a uniform size so they cook at the same rate. Toss the cauliflower with a little olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and crushed red pepper flakes.


Spread the cauliflower into a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower is browned.

Remove from the air fryer and transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with shredded Pecorino Romano cheese. Serve immediately.

How to Reheat Leftovers

This cauliflower is best when it’s first cooked. It can start to get a bit soggy as it cools. If you do have leftovers, I recommend reheating them in the air fryer. Just preheat the air fryer to 400 and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated. I do not recommend freezing leftovers.

What is Pecorino Romano?

This salty goat’s milk cheese is similar to Parmesan cheese, but with a brighter, more grassy flavor. You can generally substitute one for the other, but I like the unique flavor Pecorino Romano gives to this cauliflower. If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute it with Parmesan cheese.

Tips & Tricks

  • Try to cut the cauliflower into evenly sized pieces so it cooks evenly.
  • Don’t crowd the fryer basket. If you have a small air fryer, you may need to cook the caulflower in two batches. The goal is to have the florets in a single layer, with no overlapping. This helps evenly distrubte the heat.

When is Cauliflower in Season?

Cauliflower is in peak season in the fall, typically September through November. But it’s available year-round at most grocery stores. You can buy a whole head of cauliflower or pre-cut cauliflower. Sometimes buying pre-chopped vegetables is worth the extra cost since it can save you time!

Can I Double the Recipe?

Yes! You can double the recipe but you may need to cook the cauliflower in batches unless you have an extra-large air fryer. You don’t want to crowd the basket or the cauliflower will get soggy.

Dipping Sauces & Serving Suggestions

If you want to spice things up, try adding a dipping sauce! This air fryer cauliflower is delicious with marinara sauce. You could also make a simple aioli. Whisk together 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, a pinch of black pepper, and 1 tablespoon of water. Drizzle over the zucchini or use it as a dipping sauce.

More Cauliflower Recipes

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air fryer cauliflower

Air Fryer Cauliflower

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This simple air fryer cauliflower recipe makes an addictively delicious side dish! Spicy red pepper flakes and salty Pecorino Romano will have you coming back for seconds.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups cauliflower, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees
  2. Toss the cauliflower with olive oil and red pepper flakes
  3. Place the cauliflower in the air fryer basket in a single layer.
  4. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  5. Sprinkle with shredded Pecorino Romano and add salt and pepper to taste.