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Air Fryer Cauliflower Steak

This Air Fryer Cauliflower Steak makes such an easy and flavorful veggie side dish! Just a few simple spices, 12 minutes of cook time, and it's ready to eat.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

Cauliflower steak on a plate
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Cauliflower steak recipe

I've been skeptical about cauliflower steaks for the longest time. I mean... it's not steak, it's a cauliflower side dish, right? Who are we trying to fool? Why are we pretending cauliflower is steak?

But because I love cauliflower, I figured that air fryer cauliflower was worth trying. It couldn't turn out bad. Even if it wasn't "steak."

I actually really liked it!!

"Cauliflower steak" is just a way to simply describe what kind of cauliflower I am making—the kind that cuts a head of cauliflower into large steak-like pieces. And then you get the satisfaction of cutting into it with a knife, kind of like eating a steak

Fork holding piece of air fryer cauliflower steak to show detail

More vegetarian "steak" recipes to try: Lion's Mane Steaks

I seasoned with cauliflower steaks with a simple mixture of salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder mixed together with olive oil. I added a tablespoon of maple syrup to add some sweetness, which would add a little caramelization to the cauliflower. 

I brushed the spice mixture over the cauliflower steak and air fried for 12 minutes at 375F. 

DONE!

So simple, flavorful, and healthy. I hope you give it a try!

Side view of an air fried cauliflower steak

More cauliflower recipes: Roasted Cauliflower with Parsley Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower - you'll only use the middle parts of it so you'll have some cauliflower florets left over. Wash the cauliflower before getting started and let it sit on a plate or cutting board so the excess water drips out. It doesn't need to be super dry, just shouldn't be dripping wet. By the way, if your cauliflower has long leaves on it, be sure to save them and make crispy roasted cauliflower leaves!
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or use 1 clove of fresh garlic and mince it finely
  • 1 teaspoon paprika - use sweet paprika, or try adding a pinch of spicy paprika or cayenne pepper for some spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
Ingredients to make air fryer cauliflower steak

More cauliflower recipes: Cauliflower Chicken Soup

Instructions

Wash your cauliflower and let the extra water drip out onto a plate or a cutting board. Slice the cauliflower in half, then cut about a 1-inch "steak" from each half.

You might be able to get more than 1 steak from each half. The best way the "steaks" will keep together is if they have the core in the middle.

Cauliflower sliced into a steak shape

You'll end up with some cauliflower florets from the sides that will fall apart. You can season those with the spice mixture and air fry them too, or refrigerate or freeze them and use them for another recipe later.

Combine the spices, olive oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Mix well and give it a taste. Do you like it?? Good. Does it need more salt? Add it? Maybe a splash or lemon juice? Add that.

Seasonings mixed with olive oil and maple syrup in a bowl

Brush the cauliflower steaks (and florets, if using) with the spice mixture on both sides and around the edges.

Cauliflower steak brushed with seasoning mixture

Place in the air fryer basket or tray. Air fry at 375F for 12-15 minutes, or until done to your liking, flipping halfway through. I like the cauliflower to be fork-tender, where it still has some crunch and does not fall apart, but is significantly softer than raw cauliflower. Remove from the air fryer and serve warm.

Cauliflower steaks in an air fryer

More recipes where cauliflower pretends to be something it isn't: Cauliflower Grits with Cajun Shrimp

Cauliflower air frying tips

→ As always when air frying, check on the food a few minutes before the recipe specifies the first time that you make it. You want to make sure that the food is not burning. All air fryers cook differently, and so many things affect the cook time, such as the temperature of the cauliflower before you get started, the thickness, how much water is in there, etc. 

→ If the cauliflower is burning but is still too tough for your liking, lower the heat to 340F and continue air frying. 

→ Air fry the extra florets at the same time as the steak. Make sure you coat them well in the seasoning mixture. They might need more or less time, depending on their thickness.

→ You can use parchment paper under the cauliflower for easier cleanup, but it does prevent some air flow under the cauliflower. It's up to you.

See all my cauliflower recipes.

Recipe variation ideas

Try switching up the flavors for your cauliflower steak seasoning:

More cauliflower recipes: Cauliflower Tots

What to serve with cauliflower steak

For a light vegetarian meal, serve the cauliflower steak as a main dish with a salad. Super light, low-calorie, and healthy. Warning: you might be hungry 2 hours later, but you've filled yourself with nutrients! So it's still a win.

For a more hearty meal, serve cauliflower steak with a filling side dish, such as roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or turmeric rice. Add some protein with quinoa black bean burgers or chickpea burgers if you want to keep it vegetarian. Or serve with some air fryer chicken leg quarters, cilantro lime shrimp, or roasted pork loin, if you want to add some meat.

More cauliflower recipes: Cauliflower Pancakes

If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

Cauliflower steak on a plate with a side salad
Print Recipe
4.94 from 15 votes

Air Fryer Cauliflower Steak

This Air Fryer Cauliflower Steak uses just a few simple seasonings and makes a satisfying and delicious side dish or main dish!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2
Author: Kate

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup - or honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder - or use 1 clove of fresh garlic and mince it finely
  • 1 teaspoon paprika -
  • 1 teaspoon salt - or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper - or to taste

Special equipment

Instructions

  • Wash your cauliflower and let the extra water drip out onto a plate or a cutting board. Slice the cauliflower in half, then cut a 1-inch "steak" from each half.
    You might be able to get more steaks from the cauliflower, depending on how big the core is. You'll have some cauliflower florets from the sides that will fall apart. You can season those with the spice mixture and air fry them too, or refrigerate or freeze them and use them for another recipe later.
  • Combine the spices, olive oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Mix well.
  • Brush the cauliflower steaks (and florets, if using) with the spice mixture on both sides and around the edges.
    Cauliflower steak brushed with seasoning mixture
  • Place in the air fryer basket or tray. You might need to fry in 2 batches if both steaks don't fit. Air fry at 375F for 12-15 minutes, or until done to your liking, flipping halfway through. Check on the cauliflower after 10 minutes, since all air fryers cook differently. Remove from the air fryer and serve warm.

Notes

Try these other seasonings:
Nutrition facts will vary depending on the size of your cauliflower and how much seasonings (and oil) you brush on.

Nutrition

Calories: 255kcal (13%) | Carbohydrates: 6g (2%) | Protein: 0.4g (1%) | Fat: 21g (32%) | Saturated Fat: 3g (15%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 1165mg (49%) | Potassium: 63mg (2%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 495IU (10%) | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 7mg (1%) | Iron: 0.5mg (3%)

The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.

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