Healthy Vegan Chicken Wings (Crispy & Tender)

by Alena

These easy and healthy vegan buffalo cauliflower wings are the perfect meatless appetizer! A true hit at any picnic or party, they are kid-friendly & crowd-pleasing finger food. Try these crispy and tender bites with dips of your choice!

Who thought flavorful could be so flavorful and fun? Our delicious vegan chicken wings are a true hit with kids and the perfect meatless appetizer.

Even if you’ve never been keen on cauliflower, we are positive that our vegan chicken wings can completely change your relationship with this cruciferous vegetable!

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Slathered in homemade buffalo sauce and coated with crispy crumbled cornflakes, these cauliflower bites are perfect for picky eaters and to serve during Game Day.

The secret is to double coat them with lots of delicious spices and textures! Nobody will miss the real chicken wings.

Be sure to try our scrumptious kidney bean burgers, Mexican 7-layer dip and roasted black beans for more hearty plant-based treats.

hand holding a baked cauliflower wing that's been dipped in some green vegan ranchPin

Why you’ll love them

Everyone can eat up on these healthy vegan chicken wings without checking for serving sizes! They are just so delicious and good for you.

wooden cutting board on a white surface and two hands cutting cauliflower in florets with a knifePin
white bowl with spicy batter with which cauliflower bites are being coated with a wooden spoonPin

Ingredients needed

  • Cauliflower – this humble veggie can turn beautifully tender when baked
  • Chickpea Flour – the gluten-free & high-protein base for our flavorful batter
  • Plant-Based Milk – to make the batter nice and creamy; use your favorite.
  • Spices – garlic, cumin, paprika and salt are needed for the batter
  • Cornflakes – for the optional, yet highly recommended, crispy coating!
  • Buffalo Sauce – we’ll provide you with a healthy and easy homemade recipe, but you can use any store-bought variety you like.

In terms of kitchen equipment, you’ll need a baking sheet, parchment paper, two bowls, measuring equipment, blender, knife and cutting board.

cauliflower florets with batter being coated with cornflakes crumbles in a small bowlPin
uncooked vegan cauliflower buffalo wings on a baking dish with parchment paperPin

How to make vegan chicken wings

Prepare your ingredients

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Follow our recipe for homemade buffalo sauce (it’s a 5-minute blender recipe) or get any vegan store-bought hot sauce or buffalo sauce.

Preheat your oven to 450°F / 230°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Make the batter

Add all dry ingredients for the batter to a medium-sized bowl. Mix to combine, then add soy milk. Whisk until there are no lumps left.

Coat the cauliflower

Dip the cauliflower pieces into the batter one by one. Make sure they are coated evenly and shake off any excess batter!

Next station is a shallow bowl with crumbled cornflakes: coat the battered cauliflower bites evenly, then line them next to each other on a prepared baking sheet without touching each other.

Bake & double coat

Once the battered cauliflower wings have been baked for 20 minutes, drown them in buffalo sauce and mix with a spoon.

Place them back into the oven for 10 more minutes and let them cool slightly before enjoying!

white speckled bowl with baked cauliflower bites that are being drizzled with homemade vegan buffalo saucePin
crispy baked vegan cauliflower buffalo wings on a white baking sheetPin

Storage & serving suggestions

These vegan chicken wings taste best fresh out of the oven and a few hours later. But you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days!

Reheat them in the oven or a toaster oven to re-crisp them at your convenience.

These buffalo bites are best served with ranch dressing, celery and carrots. We also like them in vegan tacos, in wraps or as a pizza topping!

Serve them alongside vegan coleslaw, potato salad or pasta salad during a picnic.

Tasty dips for vegan wings

woman in apron holding a white plate with buffalo cauliflower while dipping one of the florets into a vegan ranchPin

Tips & adjustments

Don’t cut the cauliflower into very small florets or they will burn! Try to make them about the same size as traditional chicken wings.

You can also make the wings spicier by adding more chili powder!

Be sure to use parchment paper because the batter will stick to anything you place the wings on.

Suggested swaps

Here are some easy swaps you can make to create the perfect vegan chicken wings that suit your needs.

  • Chickpea flour: use all-purpose flour or swap for almond flour to reduce carbs
  • Soy milk: any unflavored plant-based milk or even water works
  • Cornflakes: use breadcrumbs or omit for a quicker, lower calorie version
vegan cauliflower buffalo bite cut open and a hand showing the texture on the insidePin

More delicious vegan sides

If you liked this recipe, try the following plant-based goodness next!

Did you make our vegan wings and like them? Let us know in the comments, leave a rating and be sure to Pin the recipe here.

two hands holding a white plate with crispy baked vegan chicken wings next to carrot and zucchini sticks as well as green vegan ranch dip

Healthy Vegan Chicken Wings (Crispy & Tender)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

These easy and healthy vegan buffalo cauliflower wings are the perfect meatless appetizer! A true hit at any picnic or party, they are kid-friendly & crowd-pleasing finger food. Try these crispy and tender bites with dips of your choice!

Ingredients

Batter

  • 4 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 cup soy milk (240 ml), unflavored

To serve

Instructions

  1. Add all dry ingredients for the batter into a medium-sized bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Add the soy milk and whisk until smooth. The batter should be thick and not drip – adjust soy milk and flour if needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F / 230°C. Cut or break the cauliflower into bite-size florets and crumble the corn flakes finely into a bowl so they resemble bread crumbs.
  4. Dip the cauliflower pieces in the batter so that they’re evenly covered (shake off any excess batter), then coat them with the corn flakes crumbs and lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (this is important so they don’t stick). Make sure to leave a little bit of space between the cauliflower pieces.
  5. Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. When this time has elapsed, take the cauliflower florets out of the oven and scrape them off into a large bowl.
  7. Pour buffalo sauce over the baked cauliflower, coat the florets with the sauce and mix them with a spoon. Put them back on the parchment paper and arrange in a single layer.
  8. Bake for another 10 minutes until the cauliflower wings are crisp and browned.
  9. Once the buffalo cauliflower wings have been baked, let them cool slightly and serve warm with some vegan ranch dip as well as some celery, zucchini and carrot sticks.

Notes

  • Make sure to shake off any excess batter or they won’t crisp up!
  • Adding the cornflake coating isn’t 100% necessary but is highly recommended.
  • This recipe also works with BBQ sauce or hot sauce instead of buffalo sauce.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1321mgCarbohydrates: 49gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 8gSugar: 13gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

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About Alena Handwritten FontAlena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.

21 thoughts on “Healthy Vegan Chicken Wings (Crispy & Tender)”

    • Thanks for your lovely feedback! We’re very happy that they were a win :)
      Hope you could share it with some non-vegans and blow their minds x

      Reply
  1. I would love some recipes without flour or sweeteners. Is it necessary to eat more then just the three meals a day to get enough nutrients?

    Reply
    • We often just use fruit to sweeten our food – just check out these muffins for example: http://nutriciously.com/vegan-blueberry-muffins/

      Regarding flour, we love using whole grains though understand that some people can have a problem with flour and their blood sugar or digestion. Will keep it in mind!

      Overall, you just need to eat until you’re full and get enough whole starches (potatoes, whole grains, beans, lentils, pumpkin etc.) as well as fruits and vegetables with some nuts and seeds in order to get all your nutrients. No need for snacking if you’re not hungry :) The foods I just listed are very high in nutrient density and therefore you’re not likely to run into any problems. If you’re having a specific question, please feel free to email us!

      Reply
    • Hi Sena,
      we used whole wheat flour with a little bit of chickpea flour here! Hope this helps. Most of the time, we just use what we have on hand, doesn’t matter too much :)
      Happy baking!
      Alena

      Reply
    • Hi Becky, thanks for pointing it out!
      Here are the ingredients listed on their official website: DISTILLED VINEGAR, AGED CAYENNE RED PEPPERS, SALT, WATER, CANOLA OIL, PAPRIKA, XANTHAN GUM, NATURAL BUTTER TYPE FLAVOR AND GARLIC POWDER.
      The “butter type flavor” doesn’t have any animal products, either as one fellow vegan found out:
      “I recently inquired about Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce because it contains “natural butter type flavor” and other “natural flavors” and was told the following: “In response to your inquiry, the natural butter type flavor is made with natural ingredients derived from sources other than milk and butter. Please be assured that the current formulations of Frank’s® RedHot® Sauces do not contain any animal derivatives or synthesized milk proteins”.”
      Hope this helps! What do you think about it?

      Reply
    • thanks so much for letting us know! Back when we created the recipe we might have overlooked that this brand isn’t oil-free or we just recommended a store-bought one for those who don’t mind a bit of oil very much and don’t want to follow our homemade version (which is what we meant by the label “oil-free”). Just changed it :)

      Reply
  2. Made this last night & loved it so much i’m making the rest of my cauliflower like this today! BEST cauliflower “wing” recipe i’ve found!!

    Reply
    • wow this is the kindest feedback I received this week! thank you so much for sharing, makes me super happy to know how much you liked them :)

      Reply
  3. Hi Alena,

    Any suggestions for replacing the corn flakes in this recipe? I’m trying to avoid corn in my meals and really wanting to try making this.

    Reply
  4. I made these the other night and have to say that not only were the wings delicious with the batter/cornflakes combo but if you haven’t made the buffalo sauce recipe as well you are missing out, it is fantastic.

    I honestly thought the sauce would be odd (looking at the ingredients), but it was delicious! I added a tsp of a ghost pepper hot sauce, and it was perfect!

    This recipe is a keeper.

    Reply
  5. Note in the recipe that the spices need to be mixed into the flour first before adding the soy milk! That would help….also it doesn’t get too thick–what do you suggest to thicken it without losing the flavors?

    Reply
    • Hi Patty,
      not sure if I understood your comment correctly; in the recipe card, the instructions say: “For the batter, mix all dry ingredients (except for the corn flakes) together in a bowl, then add the soy milk and whisk everything until smooth.” I’d suggest slowly adding the soy milk to ensure the batter doesn’t get thinned out too much! Otherwise, add more of both flour and spices.
      Hope this helps! Enjoy the vegan wings :)

      Reply

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