Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

Southern Fried Cauliflower

by Lauren Toyota from Vegan Comfort Classics

This utterly irresistible Southern Fried Cauliflower recipe is vegan comfort food at its very best. A plant-based twist on the American classic, it's perfectly crispy and golden brown, and accompanied by a delicious spicy aioli dip.

From the book


Our extremely popular buffalo cauliflower inspired this jacked-up version that’s going to bring back all your regretful carnivorous memories of fried chicken! It doesn’t get more comforting than this. (Well it does, ’cause you’re only two chapters into the book.) I really like this as meaty two-bite pieces, but you could also go for popcorn style or try chicken fried steak style by slicing your cauliflower the way we do with the Buffalo Cauliflower Sandwich. Serve it up with peas, mashed potatoes, and The Gravy, and you’ve got yourself one helluva Southern classic!

Read more Read less


For the Spicy Sriracha Aioli:
2⁄3 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
For the cauliflower:
8 to 9 cups cauliflower florets (two-bite size)
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus 4 to 6 cups for deep-frying
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground pepper
For the batter:
1 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup buffalo-style hot sauce
2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp celery salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground allspice

Essential kit

You will need: a large heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer.

Don't miss our spring eBook sale!


Prep ahead: to make the Spicy Sriracha aoili, stir all the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

To prepare the cauliflower, toss the cauliflower on a baking sheet with the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, salt, and ground pepper. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until tender. Let cool if necessary before handling the florets for battering.

Heat the oil for deep-frying in a large heavy-bottomed pot or deep fryer to a temperature of 325°F to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. The amount of oil may vary depending on the size of your frying vessel.

To make the batter, combine the nondairy milk with the apple cider vinegar and hot sauce in a large bowl. Mix the cornstarch with a small amount of the milk mixture to make a slurry and add to the bowl. This helps avoid lumps.

In another large bowl, combine the flour with the salt and all the spices.

Do not batter the cauliflower and let it sit before it goes in the oil. Only coat the pieces once the oil has reached 325°F. Batter a floret, then coat in the flour mixture, then submerge in the batter again and coat in the flour mixture once again. Fry a few pieces at a time for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Remove with a slotted frying spoon onto a baking sheet or large plate covered with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Serve with the aioli or a dip of your choice.

To reheat leftover fried cauliflower, place the pieces on a baking sheet and bake in a 425°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Comments are closed.

More Recipes from Vegan Comfort Classics

View all


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week

From the book: Vegan Comfort Classics

Close menu