How many calories are in buffalo cauliflower?

Buffalo cauliflower is a popular low-carb alternative to traditional chicken wings or fried cauliflower. By baking cauliflower florets and tossing them in a tangy buffalo sauce, you can create a flavorful appetizer or side dish with fewer calories than the classic options.

What Is Buffalo Cauliflower?

Buffalo cauliflower starts with fresh cauliflower florets. The florets are tossed in oil, then roasted in the oven until lightly browned. Once cooked, the cauliflower gets coated in a mixture of hot sauce, like Frank’s RedHot, and butter or oil. The sauce gives the cauliflower a spicy, tangy buffalo flavor, similar to buffalo chicken wings.

In addition to hot sauce, buffalo cauliflower recipes might also contain:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika
  • Ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing for dipping

The baked cauliflower gets crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. When combined with the zesty buffalo sauce, you get an appetizer with a perfect crunch and kick of heat.

Calories in Buffalo Cauliflower

The number of calories in buffalo cauliflower will vary depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used in the recipe. However, in general, buffalo cauliflower contains significantly fewer calories than traditional buffalo wings or fried cauliflower appetizers.

Here is the nutrition breakdown for a standard buffalo cauliflower recipe per 3/4 cup serving:

Calories 80
Fat 6g
Carbs 5g
Protein 2g

By comparison, an equivalent serving of traditional buffalo wings would contain around 400 calories, while fried cauliflower would have about 190 calories. So buffalo cauliflower provides a significant calorie savings over those options.

Calories from Cauliflower

The main low-calorie ingredient in buffalo cauliflower is the cauliflower itself. Here is the cauliflower nutrition profile per 1 cup raw florets:

Calories 25
Fat 0g
Carbs 5g
Protein 2g
Fiber 2g

As you can see, raw cauliflower is very low in calories and has minimal fat. It also provides fiber and nutrients. The process of cutting the cauliflower into florets, roasting, and saucing does add some additional calories. But cauliflower remains the main low-calorie base of buffalo cauliflower.

Calories from Oil

When roasting the cauliflower, most recipes call for 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil to lightly coat the florets. One tablespoon of oil adds about 120 calories to the finished recipe.

If you are trying to lighten the calorie load even further, you can roast the cauliflower with just a spray of oil rather than a full tablespoon. Every little reduction in oil saves calories.

Calories from Hot Sauce

Traditional hot sauces like Frank’s RedHot are low in calories, so they don’t add much to the total. Two tablespoons of hot sauce only contributes about 10 calories.

The butter or oil mixed into the sauce does kick up the calories a bit. But even with the sauce, buffalo cauliflower still comes in at just 80 calories per serving.

Ways to Reduce Calories in Buffalo Cauliflower

If you want to lighten buffalo cauliflower even further, here are some easy tips:

  • Use less oil when roasting – 1/2 tablespoon oil saves 60 calories per tablespoon
  • Skip butter in the sauce – use just hot sauce
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of ranch or blue cheese for dipping
  • Use a lower calorie hot sauce like Tabasco (0 calories)

With these simple swaps, you can easily make buffalo cauliflower with only 50-60 calories per serving. This makes it an extra diet-friendly option while still delivering on big flavor.

Nutrition Benefits of Cauliflower

In addition to being low in calories, cauliflower provides some valuable nutrition:

  • Vitamin C – cauliflower contains 77% of your daily vitamin C needs per cup. Vitamin C supports immune health.
  • Folate – cauliflower provides 12% of your daily folate. Folate helps make DNA and produce new cells.
  • Vitamin K – cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower are high in vitamin K. This vitamin promotes bone health.
  • Fiber – a 1 cup serving of cauliflower contains 2 grams of fiber to support digestive health.
  • Antioxidants – cauliflower contains antioxidants like kaempferol that combat oxidative stress and inflammation.

So while buffalo cauliflower is low in calories, you still get an array of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the cauliflower itself.

Making the Healthiest Buffalo Cauliflower

To get the maximum nutrition from your buffalo cauliflower while controlling calories, follow these tips:

  • Use fresh cauliflower florets, not frozen
  • Leave the skin on for fiber and nutrients
  • Roast the cauliflower – don’t fry!
  • Go light on the oil when roasting
  • Use hot sauce instead of butter for the sauce
  • Avoid dips with dairy, cream or mayo

Roasting instead of frying prevents excess calories from being added. And choosing healthy sauces and dips prevents you from piling back on the calories you avoided by using cauliflower in the first place.

Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower Recipe

This lightened up recipe keeps buffalo cauliflower crisp and flavorful without overdoing the calories:


  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (Frank’s RedHot or Tabasco)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt and pepper until coated.
  3. Arrange florets in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes, flip florets, then roast 10 more minutes until browned.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a clean bowl. Add hot sauce and butter and toss until evenly coated.
  6. Serve immediately, or broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp the sauce.

This recipe keeps the cauliflower crispy on the outside while reducing the amount of oil used. The hot sauce provides plenty of flavor without extra calories.

Tips for Meal-Prep and Storage

Buffalo cauliflower is easy to make ahead for quick weeknight meals or on-the-go lunches. Here are some storage and reheating tips:

  • Store roasted cauliflower florets and sauce separately. The cauliflower will get soggy if sauced too far in advance.
  • Roasted cauliflower keeps 3-4 days refrigerated in an airtight container.
  • Sauce keeps 5-7 days refrigerated.
  • When ready to eat, toss cauliflower with sauce and bake, broil or microwave until hot.
  • Let sauced cauliflower cool before storing to prevent condensation in the container.

With a batch of roasted cauliflower prepped in advance, you can quickly mix up a single portion with sauce for fast weekday lunches.

Simple Serving Ideas

Buffalo cauliflower makes a great appetizer or snack served as-is. But you can also incorporate it into full meals. Serving ideas include:

  • Wrap in lettuce leaves for buffalo cauliflower tacos
  • Toss with pasta or rice
  • Top salads or bowls
  • Mix into omelets or frittatas
  • Stuff into a pita with veggies for a sandwich

The buffalo flavor pairs well with creamy or tangy ingredients to balance the heat. Try pairing it with avocado, Greek yogurt sauce, blue cheese crumbles or buttermilk ranch dressing.

Comparison to Chicken Wings

Here is how 3/4 cup of buffalo cauliflower stacks up against an equivalent serving of traditional buffalo chicken wings:

Food Calories Fat (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
Buffalo Cauliflower 80 6 5 2
Buffalo Chicken Wings 406 26 0 28

Buffalo wings contain over 5 times more calories and 4 times more fat than buffalo cauliflower per serving. The cauliflower version is clearly the lighter option.

However, buffalo wings provide more protein. If you are looking for a protein boost, add chickpeas or white beans to the buffalo cauliflower.

Is Buffalo Cauliflower Healthy?

Overall, buffalo cauliflower provides a nutritious and low-calorie alternative to hot wings and fried appetizers. The fresh cauliflower gives you fiber, vitamins and minerals without excess calories or fat.

Roasting instead of frying prevents extra calories from being added during cooking. And choosing healthy dips and sauces keeps the calorie content reasonable.

While buffalo cauliflower is healthy in moderation, it is still an appetizer or side dish. Eaten in large portions, the calories can add up. Stick to about 3/4 cup serving to keep calories around 80 per person.

Healthier than Hot Wings

Compared to hot wings, buffalo cauliflower is definitively the healthier choice. You get the same fun flavor, but a serving of cauliflower has 80% fewer calories than chicken wings.

The coating adds a bit of fat and sodium. But overall, buffalo cauliflower provides more nutrition and less calories than the classic it mimics.

Healthier than Fried Cauliflower

Buffalo style is also healthier than fried cauliflower appetizers from restaurants or frozen packages. Frying adds lots of extra fat and calories, around 190 calories per 3/4 cup.

By baking instead of frying, buffalo cauliflower avoids all that added fat and oil from deep frying. The roasted method helps keep the calorie content down.

Common Questions

Is buffalo cauliflower keto?

Buffalo cauliflower can fit into a keto diet when served with minimal sauce. Avoid adding extra sugars or starchy thickeners to the sauce. And be mindful of portions, as the calories can add up if you overeat.

Is buffalo cauliflower Whole30 compliant?

Basic buffalo cauliflower made with hot sauce, olive oil and cauliflower complies with Whole30 guidelines. Just avoid added sweeteners in the sauce. And confirm your hot sauce choice is Whole30 approved, as some contain sugar.

Is buffalo cauliflower gluten-free?

Plain buffalo cauliflower made with just hot sauce, butter/oil and cauliflower is naturally gluten-free. As always, check labels to ensure your ingredients are gluten-free certified.

Can you eat buffalo cauliflower raw?

Buffalo cauliflower needs to be roasted to achieve the right crispy-tender texture. Eating raw cauliflower florets coated in buffalo sauce would be hard and unpleasant. Roasting transforms the cauliflower into the perfect vehicle for the buffalo flavor.


Buffalo cauliflower makes a flavorful, lower-calorie alternative to hot wings and fried appetizers. A 3/4 cup serving contains only around 80 calories, compared to over 400 calories for chicken wings.

The fresh cauliflower provides bulk along with fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Roasting instead of frying prevents excess calories. And a tangy hot sauce adds tons of flavor for minimal calories.

While tasty, buffalo cauliflower should still be enjoyed in moderation as an appetizer or side dish. But overall it provides a lighter and more nutritious option compared to traditional buffalo wings.

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