This whole air fried cauliflower with garlic butter makes a delicious vegetable side dish. It's so simple to make and the garlic butter gives it a delicious golden brown crust.
I love using my air fryer to cook vegetables in and as Christmas approaches I'm thinking of ways to use it to free up oven space for dishes I don't plan to cook in the air fryer. This air fried cauliflower could be cooked in the oven but I love to cook it my Instant Pot Duo Crisp with Ultimate lid. A whole cauliflower fits in perfectly. I also cook this air fried broccoli with garlic and parmesan in it!
Cooking the cauliflower in garlic butter makes a it a great side to go with a roast dinner. It is beautifully flavoured with gnarly crunchy bits on the outside and softer inside but still with a little bite. Just like the best roasted cauliflower. By the way, another vegetable that you might not think to air fry is corn on the cob. Check out my recipe for air fried corn and why not try this garlic butter on it too?
What ingredients do you need for this whole air fried cauliflower?
- Cauliflower - I use a large cauliflower but you can use a smaller one if you are serving fewer people.
- Butter - I usually use unsalted and add a little salt but you can use salted. Either are fine.
- Garlic - I prefer to use fresh garlic as it adds sronger flavour but you can use a paste or puree if you prefer.
How do you cook a whole cauliflower in the air fryer?
Cauliflowers are great vegetables to cook whole either in the oven or air fryer. Feel free to cook it in the oven if you don't have an air fryer. It will take a little bit longer to cook through (probably about 40 minutes) but it's basically the same method.
First crush the garlic and mash it into the butter with a fork.
Then, smear the butter all over the top of the cauliflower. If you want, add a little extra salt and pepper. Place the cauliflower in the air fryer basket and cook at about 180°c for about 25 minutes. Stick a knife or skewer into the middle to check that it is cooked and not too hard. I like it to be fairly firm so you may prefer to cook it for an extra 5 minutes.
Can you adapt the recipe?
Yes of course. You can add extra seasonings to the butter. Why not try this lemon garlic butter or this Indian spiced butter? You can still cook the caulifower in the same way in the air fryer. Or the oven if that's what you prefer.
Another way of adapting the recipe is to use a different vegetable instead of a cauliflower. You can also air fry a whole celeriac using the same method or a whole broccoli head.
Storing the leftovers
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can then reheat it in the air fryer too. If there's a large chunk of cauliflower left, I usually cut it up into smaller pieces to reheat though. This stops the outside from browning too much and makes sure the inside heats up all the way through too.
What can you serve with this whole air fried cauliflower?
I love to serve this as a side dish with a main meal, especially a roast dinner like this garlic roast chicken. But, you could serve it as a vegetarian main even or as an additional main if catering for meat and non-meat eaters.
Whole Air Fried Cauliflower with Garlic Butter
- 100 g butter at room temperature
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cauliflower large
- Mash the crushed garlic into the butter. If using unsalted butter, add a little salt too.
- Rub the butter onto the cauliflower.
- Place the cauliflower inside the air fryer basket and cook for 25 minutes at 180°c.
- Stick a knife into the cauliflower to check that it is cooked enough. I like cauliflower to still be quite firm so you may prefer to cook yours for an extra 5 minutes.
- When serving, you can drizzle over the butter than has run down and collected under the cauliflower if you want.
- Follow the instructions as above but preheat the oven to 180C and roast the cauliflower for about 40-50 minutes.
More Air Fryer recipes
If you like this recipe then do check out these recipes too:
- Air fried Cajun sweet potato fries
- Spicy air fried chips (fries)
- Air fryer crushed potatoes
- Air fryer asparagus with za'atar
- Air fryer carrot salad
- Air fryer brussels sprouts salad
- Air fried sweet potato wedges with harissa
Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this whole air fried cauliflower or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.