This air fryer cauliflower recipe is super quick and easy, served with the most addictive lemon-garlic aioli. The perfect healthy side dish any time you’re craving lots of flavor and with only a couple minutes of prep, your whole family will love it as much as mine does.
What Makes This Air Fryer Cauliflower So Good
- There’s very little prep work involved. If you can cut, toss, and shake, you can cook cauliflower in the air fryer.
- The air fryer gives you that beautiful deep-fried texture without actually having to deep fry your food, which keeps things easy and healthy.
- Perfectly cooked cauliflower with the most incredible lemon-garlic aioli? SAY NO MORE! Seriously, this is my new favorite way to eat cauliflower, period. The lemon-garlic aioli is unbelievably delicious. Like, “has no right being this good” delicious. And the air fryer makes the cauliflower perfectly tender with just the right amount of crisp on the edges.
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Cauliflower with Lemon-Garlic Aioli
Cauliflower – For this recipe, start out with a whole head of cauliflower then remove the leaves and give it a quick rinse. Cut it into bite-sized florets and you’re good to go! Fresh cauliflower will give you a much better texture and flavor than frozen cauliflower, but you can use whichever is easiest for you!
- Make sure to cut the cauliflower into evenly-sized florets. If they’re uneven, the smaller pieces will cook much faster than the larger pieces, which will leave you with both burnt and undercooked cauliflower. No one wants that.
- Your cauliflower needs to be completely dry before it goes in the air fryer, or it’ll steam instead of fry. If possible, rinse it the day before you intend to cook it. If there’s not enough time for that, just make sure to dry it completely with a paper towel!
- All air fryers are different, and they all cook differently based on the brand, the size, basket vs. rack, altitude of your kitchen, etc. The freshness and size of your cauliflower florets can also affect the cook time! Keep an eye on the cauliflower in the air fryer, especially the first time you cook this recipe, and adjust your cook time as needed to get the best results.
More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love
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Air Fryer Cauliflower with Lemon-Garlic Aioli
- Small bowl
- Air fryer
- Large bowl
For the Lemon-Garlic Aioli (Optional)
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 big pinch lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Lemon-Garlic Aioli (Optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the Cauliflower
- Preheat air fryer to 380° Fahrenheit.
- In large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil until evenly coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Place cauliflower in air fryer basket. Distribute in one even layer. Don't overcrowd.
- Cook 16 to 17 minutes, shaking basket vigorously halfway through cook time.
- Remove cauliflower from air fryer basket and serve hot with a side of lemon-garlic aioli (optional).
- Make sure cauliflower florets are equally sized. I recommend cutting any large florets in half so their stems become tender.
- Be careful not to overcrowd the air fryer basket, or your cauliflower won’t cook evenly.
- Cook times will vary slightly based on the size and freshness of your cauliflower florets. Keep an eye on them as they’re cooking and shorten or lengthen your cook time as needed.
- Make it Vegan: Skip the lemon-garlic aioli, or use a vegan mayonnaise.
- Make it Paleo: Use compliant mayonnaise.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.