Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings

By Jessica Hylton -

This Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings recipe is a twist on a popular takeout order! They’re crispy, crunchy and coated in a sweet and sour sauce with just a few ingredients. Learn how to make these in HALF the time!!

Sweet and Sour cauliflower wings piled on white plate beside gold forks

I first made this sauce 10 years ago during Jessiker Bakes days & have been trying to find every way that I can use it since then (hello sweet and sour tofu!). 10 years later (and after a little tweaking) I’m so happy to add this to one of my favourite veggies, cauliflower!

This sweet and sour cauliflower wings recipe hits all the notes. Tangy, sweet and savoury. If the 100+ 5-star reviews on my sweet and sour tofu is any indication, you’ll love this version, especially if you can’t eat tofu. It’s definitely another great addition to your game-day options, or for a great vegan dinner recipe.

Notes on Ingredients

Overhead ingredient shot of sweet and sour cauliflower wings

This recipe calls for standard dredging and will be absolutely easy for all cooking levels.

Cauliflower: If you’re using a large cauliflower head instead of medium, definitely double it! It’s hard for me to guess the size of yours, so size up your ingredients accordingly!

Sweet and Sour Sauce: Using ingredients that you enjoy are important. I prefer the subtle taste of rice wine vinegar but white vinegar works well too.

Flour, breadcrumbs: these work perfectly any version of these ingredients! Regular or gluten free flour or breadcrumbs – the choice is up to you.

Vegan milk: For the vegan milk, any kind will work. If you want the best battering result, might I suggest a thicker one like soy milk or cashew milk? 

Seasonings: There is a lot of flavour in the sauce so basic seasonings like garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt go a long way.

How to make Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings (Step by Step)

Here are some step by step instructions on how to make this sweet and sour cauliflower wings recipe.

A head of cauliflower next to a bowl of cauliflower florets.

Using a knife, remove florets from the cauliflower (aka cut off the leaves and don’t use the stems). Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces to resemble the size of the wings.

Overhead shot of ingredients to make batter for the sweet and sour cauliflower wings

In a bowl, whisk the flour, vegan milk and sea salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder in a bowl to make the batter. If the batter is too thick, feel free to thin it out with some more milk and vice versa. 

Over head shot of dredging station for cauliflower to make wings

In a separate bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Line it up beside the batter bowl and the cauliflower (for a dredging station). Toss the cauliflower in the batter mixture (you can add them all at once), using a spatula or spoon to coat them all. 

Overhead shot of dredged cauliflower in a bowl of bread crumbs

Transfer them to the breadcrumbs (you can do this in two or three batches) to coat completely.

overhead shot of breaded cauliflower on baking tray

Then place onto the baking sheet, giving each wing enough space. Repeat until all of the wings are coated. Bake for 22 minutes.  

a spoon of sweet and sour sauce over pan of more sweet and sour sauce

While baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by heating & whisking together. Allow it to cool while the wings finish cooking.

side by side shot of wings in sauce from the pot then placed back on to the baking sheet

Remove from oven. Toss the wings in the sauce (I like to use a spatula to move them around to get properly coated) then using tongs or a spoon, remove and place back on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes for the sauce to soak into the wings.

Remove from oven, and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Eat immediately – enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower wings on golden fork above plate of more sweet and sour wings.

Expert Tips and FAQs

When you’re cutting the cauliflower off of the stem, don’t make them too small. Think: hand held wing-like pieces!

BTW, and it’s a big “by the way”, I completely hacked my own recipe! You don’t have to dip each cauliflower wing in individually (like I used to in the past). Like in the video, you can just toss them all at once! It saves SO much time and energy (and you get to eat them faster!)!

When making your sauce, ensure that you actually simmer it for the full 5 minutes so that the sauce reaches the perfect viscosity. A thick sauce is preferred over a thin one.

The sauce only takes a short time to prepare. Starting it early in the baking process allows the sauce to cool and ensures the wings stay crispy (so you’re not pouring piping hot sauce over crispy wings and losing the crispiness).

I highly recommend using a (affiliate link) silicone baking sheet for this. Nothing sticks to it, and it’s so easy to clean! This is especially important with this sticky sweet and sour cauliflower wings recipe. This is the (affiliate link) one I use

Serving Suggestions for Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings

Keeping it simple is key with the combination of flavours in this dish. So one of the best pairings for it is white rice.

If simple isn’t your thing using you can try these 15 Minute Sesame Noodles. It also pairs really well.

Close up shot of Sweet and sour cauliflower wings on a white plate

More Vegan Game Day Snacks

As game day approaches, these cauliflower wings are must on the table. It works as a stand-alone or a treat to pass around to the family. The best part is that these cauliflower wings work perfectly with the other “wings” I have on the blog.

You can make a platter with your family by adding the following:

To find even more me approved cauliflower wings to mix and match, you can look through all my cauliflower recipes!

Enjoy friends! If you make this Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!

Sweet and Sour cauliflower wings piled on white plate beside gold forks

Sweet and Sour Cauliflower Wings

This Sweet and Sour cauliflower wings recipe is a twist on a popular takeout order! They’re crispy, crunchy and coated in a sweet and sour sauce with just a few ingredients. Learn how to make these in HALF the time!!
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 22 minutes
Servings 30 Pieces
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head cauliflower if using a large head, you may need to double the batter and sauce quantities
  • ¾ cup flour all-purpose gluten-free flour or regular all purpose flour works
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup unsweetened vegan milk any kind works
  • ¼  teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt & pepper (use gluten free if needed)

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • ½ cup sugar I use cane sugar, you can use brown or any granulated kind (meaning not a liquid sugar)
  • ¼  cup ketchup
  • ¼  cup vinegar preferably rice or white
  • ¼  cup water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce gluten free if needed, or liquid aminos or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch + 2 teaspoons water stirred together
  • ½ tablespoon sesame seeds  for garnish
  • Chopped Scallion for garnish
Instructions

Instructions

Cauliflower Wings

  • Preheat oven to 450°F/230°C.
  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone baking sheet or greased foil. Using a knife, remove florets from the cauliflower (aka cut off the leaves and don't use the stems). Chop the cauliflower into smaller pieces to resemble the size of the wings.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, almond milk, sea salt, ground black pepper and garlic powder in a bowl to make the batter. If the batter is too thick, feel free to thin it out with some more milk and vice versa. In a separate bowl, place the breadcrumbs. Line it up beside the batter bowl.
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter mixture (you can add them all at once), using a spatula or spoon to coat them all. Transfer them to the breadcrumbs (you can do this in two or three batches) to coat completely, then place onto the baking sheet, giving each wing enough space. Repeat until all of the wings are coated.
  • Bake for 22 minutes. Please ensure your oven is completely preheated and hot.
  • While baking, prepare the ingredients for the sauce by heating & whisking together.
  • Remove from oven. Toss the wings in the sauce (I like to use a spatula to move them around to get properly coated) then using tongs or a spoon, remove and place back on the baking sheet. Bake for another 5 minutes for the sauce to soak into the wings.
  • Remove from oven, and garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallions. Eat immediately – enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • In a pan over medium high heat, whisk together the sugar, ketchup, vinegar, water, soy sauce, garlic powder and the cornstarch slurry for the sweet and sour sauce and stir together until fully combined and cornstarch slurry is dissolved.
  • Bring to a slight boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened up. Taste test and add more sugar or soy sauce if you desire. Whisk frequently so the cornstarch doesn't thicken up in spots but instead mixes evenly throughout the sauce. If you’d like the sauce thicker, add more cornstarch, one teaspoon (+ a teaspoon of water) at a time. Remove from heat until needed.
NOTES

Expert Tips and FAQs

When you’re cutting the cauliflower off of the stem, don’t make them too small. Think: hand held wing-like pieces!
BTW, and it’s a big “by the way”, I completely hacked my own recipe! You don’t have to dip each cauliflower wing in individually (like I used to in the past). Like in the video, you can just toss them all at once! It saves SO much time and energy (and you get to eat them faster!)!
If you can’t have it, you can skip the cornstarch. But it does make the cauliflower extra crispy and crunchy by drawing out any excess liquid!
Ensure that you simmer for 5 mins so that the sauce reaches the perfect viscosity. A thick sauce is preferred over a thin one.
The sauce only takes a short time to prepare. Starting it early in the baking process allows the sauce to cool and ensures the wings stay crispy.
I highly recommend using a (affiliate link) silicone baking sheet for this. Nothing sticks to it, and it’s so easy to clean! This is especially important with this sticky sweet and sour cauliflower wings recipe. This is the (affiliate link) one I use

Nutrition

Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 88mg | Potassium: 80mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating




10 comments

  1. Lindsey says:

    this recipe came at the perfect time! i just got some califlower with my produce delivery and was wondering what to make with it. looking forward to having this tomorrow night!

  2. Tiffany Dixon says:

    5 stars
    This is the best Sweet and Sour Cauliflower I have ever tried! So delicious!! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!! ❤️

  3. Christina says:

    5 stars
    Delete all of your other cauliflower wing pins and just use this one and the other variation of Jessica’s. Seriously. The BEST!!

  4. Cortney says:

    5 stars
    WOW! I made these last night and they were AMAZING! The small little pieces of cauliflower got so crispy so make sure you use them too! The whole family loved them and the best part was my kids had know idea they were eating cauliflower!! This recipe will now be a staple in our home.

  5. Janet says:

    5 stars
    I made these cauliflower wings yesterday for the big football games for my husband and neighbours . The feedback was, these are “the bomb”, another neighbour phoned me and said OMG! and these comments came from die hard carnivores. Great recipe and will definitely make them again. All Jessica’s different cauliflower wing recipes are AWESOME!!

  6. Savitri says:

    5 stars
    I just made these and OMG – they are SO good!! My partner and I devoured them. Amazing flavor! Also way more filling than I had expected, which is really nice.

  7. 5 stars
    I love sweet and sour flavor, definitely try this recipe soon, thank you for sharing!!

  8. Natasha says:

    5 stars
    While not vegan, we try to mix in more plant-based meals to our weekly rotation. I loved that this recipe tasted nourishing and filling and my kids loved that I wasn’t trying to feed them mushrooms! We also tried the BBQ version of this recipe for our home Superbowl (the 4 of us are just in it for the snacks), but decided we prefer the tanginess of the sweet and sour sauce the most.

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much Natasha! We’re so happy that the 4 of you loved the recipe.

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