America’s Test Kitchen: Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

To celebrate 20 years of the most-watched cooking show on public television, America’s Test Kitchen fans around the country voted for their all-time favorite recipes from the series. The results are presented in the America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special, as cast members including Bridget Lancaster, Julia Collin Davison, Jack Bishop and Adam Ried count down the series’ 20 most popular recipes and look back on moments from the show’s two decades on air.


America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special airs Saturday, November 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm, Sunday, November 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm and Thursday, November 28, 2019 at 8:00 pm.


Enjoy this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen 20th Anniversary Special.

Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Bites


Deemed “better than wings” by our tasters, these crunchy, tangy, spicy, and just plain addictive cauliflower bites will be the new star of your game day table. The key was to come up with a flavorful, crunchy coating that would hold up under the Buffalo sauce. A mixture of cornstarch and cornmeal gave us the ultra crisp exterior we wanted. But because cauliflower is not naturally moist (like chicken), the mixture didn’t adhere; we dunked the florets in canned coconut milk first, which had the right viscosity. We got decent results when we baked our bites, but we absolutely flipped over the crackly crust and tender interior we achieved through frying. We served our bites with an herby ranch dressing, a cooling foil to the kick of the bites.

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon packed organic dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1-2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup cornmeal
  • Salt and pepper
  • ⅔ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 pound cauliflower florets, cut into 1½-inch pieces
  • 1 ranch dressing

Melt coconut oil in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in hot sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar until combined. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm; set aside.


Line platter with triple layer of paper towels. Add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-high heat to 400 degrees. While oil heats, combine cornstarch, cornmeal, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Whisk coconut milk and hot sauce together in large bowl. Add cauliflower; toss to coat well. Sprinkle cornstarch mixture over cauliflower; fold with rubber spatula until thoroughly coated.

3. Fry half of cauliflower, adding 1 or 2 pieces to oil at a time, until golden and crisp, gently stirring as needed to prevent pieces from sticking together, about 3 minutes.Using slotted spoon, transfer fried cauliflower to prepared platter.

4. Return oil to 400 degrees and repeat with remaining cauliflower. Transfer ½ cup sauce to clean large bowl, add fried cauliflower and gently toss to coat. Serve immediately with dressing and remaining sauce.

Photo Credit: Joe Keller