Thick Cauliflower Steaks roasted to perfection in the air fryer with smokey sweet spices make for the perfect vegan and gluten free meal. With only 4 ingredients and 5 minutes to prep these insanely easy cauliflower steaks are sure to become a kitchen staple.
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Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Cauliflower Steak
Cauliflower steaks cooked in the air fryer are brown and crispy on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside. You’re going to love these steaks because:
- Gluten Free
- Less then 5 Ingredients
- Less then 5 Minutes to Prep
- Quick and Easy
- Dairy Free
- Plant Based
- Nut Free
- Soy Free
What is A Cauliflower Steak?
A cauliflower steak is simply a piece of cauliflower that is cut to look like a steak! Cauliflower that has been sliced vertically into one inch thick pieces look like beef steak when they’re laid flat.
Cauliflower steak is nothing like traditional steak, they just look similar! Cauliflower steaks can be cooked similarly too traditional steaks. They do well when seasoned with spices and then either grilled, air fryer or baked in the oven.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks
How to Cook Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Create the cauliflower steaks by slicing the cauliflower down through the middle repeatedly and Cut 1 inch thick pieces. Set aside on a greased and foil lined baking sheet. Expect to get 2 steaks per head of cauliflower.
- Drizzle the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and season generously with spices and lemon juice. Using a dough scraper carefully flip the steaks and season the other side. Place the cauliflower in the air fryer basket and allow the cauliflower to cook for twenty minutes. Turn over the steaks when the cooking time is half way done.
How to Slice Cauliflower Steaks
Slicing cauliflower steak is easy! Keep in mind that you’ll get only 2-3 steaks per head of cauliflower. The rest of the cauliflower will just fall apart because the stem is what keeps the florets together. There isn’t enough of a stem on the outer 1/3rd of the cauliflower to hold the florets together.
So if you’re cooking this recipe for a bunch of people you may want to use more cauliflower heads. Generally you’ll need 1 cauliflower head for every two people.
Now, exactly how do you cut cauliflower steaks?
- Take the cauliflower head out of the plastic and give it a quick rinse. Next place it stem side up (upside down) on the cutting board. Using your fingers or a knife trim away the leaves. Next turn the cauliflower onto it’s side so that you can trim off the extra stem with a knife. You’ll want to trim off the extra stem so that the cauliflower lays flat on the cutting board. That way it will be easier for you to cut the steaks without the cauliflower rolling all over the place.
- Now you’re ready to cut some steaks! Turn the cauliflower right side up onto the board and use a sharp knife to slice directly down the middle. Move the blade over one inch to the right or left and slice straight down the middle again. Now make the same cut on the opposite side of the original cut. This will give you two nice sized steaks. You can try to slice another one out, but don’t be surprised if the florets just fall apart on you.
What to Do with Extra Cauliflower Florets?
When you see how many cauliflower florets fall off of the steaks you’re not going to want to waste them. It’s a lot! I like to take these florets and cook them right along side the steaks. Simply toss them with the Peruvian seasoning, lemon and butter and place them on a foil lined sheet tray. Roast them for 30 minutes or until they’re golden brown.
You can also place the florets in a bag and save them to make as a side dish the following day.
How to Make Cauliflower Steaks in the Air Fryer
Cooking cauliflower steaks in the air fryer is just as easy as roasting them in the oven! Simply preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees and place them in the air-fryer bed for 15 minutes. Flip them half way through the cooking process. You’ll know they’re done whey they are golden brown and crispy around the edges.
How to Make Cauliflower Steaks in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer you can still make cauliflower steaks in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and set the rack on the top rung. Place the cauliflower steaks on a foil lined or non stick baking sheet and roast on the top layer for 40 minutes.
Cooking cauliflower steaks in the oven takes twice as long as it takes to make them in the air fryer. But they always turn out delicious!
How to Make Cauliflower Steaks on the Grill
You can get crispy cauliflower steaks by cooking them on the grill!
Start by heating the grill up to 350 degrees. Lightly drizzle the cauliflower steaks with olive oil, lemon and the seasoning. Place the cauliflower directly on the grill for 5 to 6 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to flip once they start to brown.
Flip the steaks over with a large flat spatula and allow the steaks to cook on the other side for five minutes. Remove the steaks from the grill and enjoy!
Ingredient Substitution for Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks
Lemon: If you don’t have a lemon on hand you can use a lime instead.
Olive Oil: I think that these air fryer cauliflower steaks taste even better when cooked with a bit of butter. Replace the olive oil for equal amounts of melted butter for buttery cauliflower!
At 375 degrees it takes 20 minutes to cook a one inch thick cauliflower steak in the air fryer.
Of course! You can make cauliflower steaks without an air fryer, just use your oven or grill instead! Roasting cauliflower steaks in the oven takes twice as long as frying them in the air fryer, but they still taste amazing.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place the cauliflower on the highest rack and roast for 40 minutes.
Yes! You can make cauliflower steaks ahead of time. I think they taste best right out of the air fryer. But you can cook them in advanced and reheat them in the microwave when you’re ready to eat them.
Another thing you can do is prep the cauliflower steaks in advanced and cook them right before eating. Prepping the steaks in advance will save you time but still allow you to enjoy piping hot, freshly cooked steaks.
To prep the cauliflower ahead of time simply season them with the olive oil, lemon and seasonings. Then place them in an airtight container and let them marinate in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
The raw cauliflower steaks will last for up to 3 days in the fridge.
A cauliflower steak is called a cauliflower steak because of the way it’s cut. The one inch thick slabs of cauliflower look like steak! It’s just a fun play on words that references how the cauliflower is sliced.
Cauliflower steak tastes like grilled cauliflower! It’s crispy around the edges and creamy on the inside. Without any seasoning cauliflower steaks taste plain. But they will taste like what ever seasoning you put on them. If you put butter on the steaks then they’ll taste buttery. The same goes for lemon and other flavor additives.
How to Pick the Best Cauliflower At The Store
When buying cauliflower, there are a few things you can look for to ensure that you get the best possible head available.
- Heavy: You want to pick a cauliflower that feels heavy. Heaviness indicates freshness! Look for cauliflower that is free of any blemishes, brushes or brown marks.
2. Color: You want a cauliflower that is creamy and white. Another thing to look out for are cauliflower that have a strong smell. When they start to stink that means they’re about to spoil.
If you’re buying purple or orange cauliflower the same rules still apply!
Can you Freeze Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks?
Yes! You can freeze cauliflower steaks. I think they taste the best when eaten right out of the oven but I know for a fact that cauliflower freezes well. I’ve never frozen these myself (there are never any leftovers) but I have eaten fozen cauliflower on many occasions. I also know other cooks who recommend freezing cauliflower steaks.
The best way to freeze cauliflower steaks is to place them in an airtight zip lock freezer bag. Lay them flat in the freezer. They will last for up to three months in the freezer.
How to Serve Cauliflower Steaks
I like serving cauliflower steaks as a side dish with pasta. I personally like eating them as an entree. You can pair the cauliflower steaks with a nice tomato sauce or melt cheese on top to make it more filling.
You can also serve the cauliflower steaks as an entree with a side of quinoa, tabouli, or brown rice which would be filling and delicious.
What is the Best Air Fryer For Cauliflower?
There are so many air fryers on the market and if you don’t already have one picking the right one can be overwelhming. There are so many options out there that it will make your head spin! I’ve done some digging around and here are the top two air fryers I found for making air fryer cauliflower steaks.
Philips Airfryer, Avance Turbo Star, Digital, Black, HD9641/96
- Cooks Well
- Easy To Clean
- Easy to Use Without Burning Yourself
The Philips Airfryer Avance Turbo Star was by far the best option out there for a number of reasons. This air fryer is on the more expensive side at $247. As far as aesthetics go, I like this air fryer because it looks nice and its a smaller size and yet still holds 1 pound of food. I also like the drawer handle for removing the food. This allows you to pull out the food without burning your hands.
A nice touch is also that the air fryer starts counting down the time during the last minute of cooking. This was helpful for me since I tend to put things in the oven and then forget about them.
The cooking results for the cauliflower were great. They were nice and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
The air fryer is easy to clean because the bottom is non stick. So it’s easy to wipe the excess grease from the food off. It’s nice to enjoy fried food without the mess.
The GoWISE USA 3.7 Quart 7-in-1 Air Fryer was the best affordable option I could find at 69 dollars.
The digital settings on this air fryer were a bit harder for me to use. I had to ask my husband for help. But once I got it going it cooked the food nicely. Like the Phillips air fryer it was short enough to fit under the cabinet. I appreciate this because I hate cluttered countertops. So I was able to store this air fryer under in a cabinet under the counter. If you have shorter shelves you can turn it size ways to store it.
More Cauliflower Recipes
- Curried Cauliflower Soup (Gluten Free & Vegan)
- Keto Cauliflower Wings (Gluten Free & Vegan)
- Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Tomato Tapenade (Gluten Free)
- Cauliflower and Roasted Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Cream (Gluten Free & Vegan)
Air Fryer Cauliflower Steaks
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 degrees. Create the cauliflower steaks by slicing the cauliflower down through the middle repeatedly and Cut 1 inch thick pieces. Set aside on a greased and foil lined baking sheet.
- Drizzle the cauliflower steaks with olive oil and season generously with spices and lemon juice. Using a dough scraper carefully flip the steaks and season the other side. Place the cauliflower in the air fryer basket and allow the cauliflower to cook for twenty minutes.