This cauliflower recipe is something my mom has made often when we were growing up. I remember waiting impatiently in the kitchen as she was finishing cooking the cauliflower, so that we can sit down with fresh, delicious, crispy pan fried cauliflower florets.
I am excited to share with you our recipe for fried cauliflower!
This recipe is super simple and delicious. If you like cauliflower, then this recipe is perfect because the flavor of the cauliflower really comes through, unlike in some deep fried cauliflower bites recipes, or some recipes that call for smothering the cauliflower in spices and roasting it. Don’t get me wrong, I like those things too, but this simple, very lightly battered pan-fried cauliflower is my favorite.
The funny thing is that this time around I was making the cauliflower Aldo couldn’t wait to eat it, and could hardly wait for me to be done taking pictures. There’s just something about this cauliflower recipe that makes people hang around the kitchen waiting impatiently.
This recipe is very quick, and the amount of time it takes to make this will really depend on how you cook the cauliflower (steam or boil) prior to dipping it in batter and pan frying it. I boiled mine in advance, rinsed it under cool water to stop the cooking, and set it aside until we were almost ready to eat. Then it only took me 20 minutes to make this for a side dish.
I’ve also been known to sit down and eat half of the cauliflower for dinner – it is so good, and once you start you really don’t want to stop. It’s actually a pretty balanced meal – a huge serving of vegetables, an egg, and some flour goes into half a cauliflower. Could be worse!
I recommend dipping these cauliflower florets into sour cream, or into this Zesty Cilantro Lime Greek Yogurt Sauce.
And now, here is the recipe for how to fry cauliflower florets!
This recipe contains affiliate links.
This recipe for Crispy Pan Fried Cauliflower Florets is a family favorite, and one of the best ways to eat cauliflower! These bite-sized florets make a great snack or side dish.
- 1 small cauliflower
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk (any kind, I used 1%)
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil
- optional: pinch of powdered cayenne pepper or chipotle pepper
Boil or steam the whole cauliflower (do not separate it into florets yet) to your desired doneness - I prefer mine fork-tender. rinse in cold water and allow to cool. Cut the cauliflower into florets. I prefer to cut the large florets so that there is a flat edge which makes them easier to fry.
Prepare 2 small containers for the batter. In one, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salt. In the other, mix together the flour and black pepper. If you want, add some spice with a pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder.
Dip each cauliflower floret into the egg mixture (really mix it around in there), and then dip it into the flour mixture, making sure to coat each side in a light layer of flour. Set aside until ready to fry.
Pan fry the battered cauliflower in batches: heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, and make sure the oil covers the skillet. You might need more or less oil, depending on the size of the skillet. Place the cauliflower pieces flat side down into the hot oil (if there is a flat side), and fry without disturbing them for about 2 minutes, or until the underside is a nice golden brown. I was able to get 8-10 pieces in the skillet at a time without crowding the cauliflower.
Use tongs to gently flip each cauliflower piece, and cook until the other side is nicely browned. The cauliflower florets are obviously not flat on each side, so try to cook each piece on at least three sides. The heat of the frying pan will cook all the batter that is caught inside the cauliflower floret, so no need to worry about frying every side.
Set the cooked cauliflower florets on a paper towel to drain. Serve warm, and dip into sour cream or this Greek yogurt sauce.
These cauliflower florets of goodness are best served fresh and hot. If you have any left over, it is best to reheat the florets in an oven, so they crisp up again and don't get mushy in the microwave.