Cauliflower Tots (Baked or Air Fryer)
These Cauliflower Tots are easy and a delicious way to eat more veggies! The combo of cauliflower with cheese, bread crumbs and seasoning makes for the perfect veggie tot and cooks up beautifully crisp in your air fryer or oven!
Cauliflower is having a moment. A long moment. And it seems cauliflower is finding its way into just about everything. Pizza crusts, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and in place of rice in so many dishes and recipes. And now, they are taking over the tots!
This recipe for Cauliflower Tots is the love child of my Broccoli Tots and Cheesy Cauliflower Nuggets. They are a fun veggie side that is just as fun to eat as they are tasty! Kids LOVE this recipe…because, let’s just be honest, finger food just tastes better!
These Cauliflower Tots are delicious and easy. Mixed together in one bowl and with just 10 minutes of prep, these tots can be cooked to crispy perfection in your oven or air fryer! While best freshly cooked, they reheat beautifully, so go ahead and make them as part of meal prep!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I makes these Cauliflower Tots egg free?
The eggs act as a binder in this recipe and keep the tots together, so I wouldn’t suggest omitting them all together. I haven’t tried this recipe with an egg replacer, so I do not know if it will work with aquafaba or flax “eggs”.
How can I make these dairy-free?
The cheese also acts as a binder in this tot recipe (like the eggs), so I wouldn’t suggest omitting it entirely. I haven’t tried these cauliflower tots with dairy-free cheese, but it *might* work if you have a brand of dairy-free cheese (like Chao) that melts well.
Can these be made without the breadcrumbs?
The breadcrumbs are needed to help balance the texture of the cauliflower and create the ideal level of moisture and crispness. You can use gluten free bread crumbs if gluten free is needed.
How can I make these Cauliflower Tots gluten free?
There are wonderful gluten free breadcrumbs that work beautifully in this Cauliflower Tot recipe. Simply sub your favorite gluten free brand for Panko bread crumbs.
Can these Cauliflower Tots be frozen?
After cooking these tots, they can be frozen and then reheated for future enjoyment.
How to squeeze out the water from cauliflower rice
Cauliflower is full of water that is released when cooked, so it is important to remove as much of that liquid from your riced cauliflower after cooking it and before adding the rest of the ingredients for these veggie tots.
There are a couple of ways to get the water out of your cauliflower.
Press it out: Place a colander over your sink or bowl and place a clean, thin tea towel in it. Place cooked cauliflower rice in the lined colander and use the back of a spoon to press out as much moisture as possible. This method is ideal if you are in a rush and don’t want to wait for your cooked cauliflower to cool enough to safely handle. However, it is not as effective as the squeezing method.
Squeeze it out: Once your riced cauliflower is cooked, let it cool a bit, about 5 minutes, so it is safe/comfortable to handle. Once you can touch it, transfer it to a clean, thin tea towel. Wrap the cooked cauliflower up in the towel and then squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
Tips and tricks
- Shaping of these tots may feel a bit tricky at first, but you will get the hang of it! I found that forming the mixture into a ball in the palm of my hand first and then shaping the ball into a tot was the way to go. Just remember, even if they aren’t perfectly shaped, they will still taste delicious!
- If you can’t find riced cauliflower at your store, use your food processor with the “S” blade to pulse fresh cauliflower florets into “rice”. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate fresh cauliflower on a box grater to make riced cauli, too!
- Don’t skip squeezing out the water. Cauliflower has a lot water that is released when it’s cooked. SO make sure you carefully squeeze out the water before forming the Cauliflower Tots, otherwise your veggie tots will be mush!
Make them gluten free with gluten free bread crumbs.
Use other riced veggies in place of cauliflower. I’ve seen riced broccoli, riced sweet potatoes and mixed riced veggies sold in many grocery stories and those will work in this Cauliflower Tot recipe!
Make them as part of meal prep. These Cauliflower Tots reheat beautifully in your microwave or air fryer and are good in your fridge for about 3 days.
Other cauliflower-packed recipes to try
- Cheesy Cauliflower Nuggets
- Chicken Cauliflower Meatballs
- Creamy Blueberry Cauliflower Smoothie
- Blueberry Cauliflower Oatmeal
- Delicious Frozen Cauliflower Rice Recipes
- Creamy Cauliflower Vegetarian Potato Soup
Loving this cauliflower recipe and hungry for more?
- 3 cups riced cauliflower, fresh or frozen. If frozen, thaw first to make sure it evenly cooks.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded parm
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For cooking in your oven
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a large baking sheet with a thin layer of oil or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the riced cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the microwave carefully (it will be hot), let it cool and place it in the center of some paper towels or a clean tea towel to strain. In a bowl, combine cooked cauli rice with remaining ingredients. Mix throughly.
- Using a heaping tablespoon or small cookie scoop, portion out the cauliflower mixture into small balls. Gently press the balls into a tot shape. Place on your prepped baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove tots from oven and use a spatula to flip them. Return the tots to the oven and cook an extra 5-8 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and enjoy warm with ketchup, ranch dressing, or another of your favorite dipping sauces.
For cooking in your Air Fryer
- Prepare tots as instructed for the oven method above.
- Once tots are formed, arrange them in a single layer in your air fryer basket, being careful not to crowd. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the tots in 2 batches.
- Turn on your air fryer and cook the tots at 400℉ for 5 minutes, shaking the tots at the 3 minute mark. This helps to rotate the tots so that they evenly cook on all sides. Every air fryer is a bit different, so be sure to check your tots for doneness after 5 minutes, but an additional minute or two might be needed to reach your desired level of crispness on the outside of the tot.
- Once done cooking, remove cauliflower tots from air fryer and enjoy warm with your favorite dipping sauce.