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Switching up the average weeknight with these saucy Crispy BBQ Beer Battered Cauliflower Nuggets…beer batter coated cauliflower “nuggets”, pan-fried or oven-baked, and tossed with spicy/sweet BBQ sauce. Served these saucy “nuggets” with an addicting creamy, sweet, and tangy honey mustard sauce. Enjoy as a fun summer snack, or make them into a family meal with oven-roasted french fries and veggies. Each oven-baked nugget is delicious, peppery, and full of flavor. These extra saucy BBQ cauliflower nuggets are sure to be loved by all.

overhead photo of Crispy Beer Battered BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets

Growing up in Cleveland, a lot of my time during the summer was spent at the pool soaking up the lazy summer days without a care in the world. And the best part about pool days?

The pool snack bar…lots of chicken nuggets, french fries, and ice cream bars. Anyone else? What’s your favorite pool bar snack?

To be very honest, I don’t remember ordering from the pool snack bar all that much. Mostly because we never “belonged” to the pool and were always someone’s guest. That said, I do have memories of eating chicken nuggets by the pool with my cousins. And even though the memory is a little vague, it’s fun to think back to those times.

overhead photo of Crispy Beer Battered BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets on baking sheet after baking

(above: oven baked nuggets)

As I’ve been mentioning all week, I have all things summertime on my mind. Yes, this means plenty of sweet fruit recipes and plates of pasta filled with zucchini and tomatoes will all be coming your way soon. But for me personally, it’s a time to enjoy some of our favorite kid foods as well.

Of course, with an adult-like twist! Enter these BBQ beer battered cauliflower nuggets. They’re kind of like the chicken nuggets we all loved as kids…just made the vegetarian way.

And most importantly, they’re so delicious. Think extra saucy, tangy, sweet, and spicy.

And served with a creamy honey mustard that’s flavored with BBQ seasonings…SO GOOD.

overhead photo of Crispy Beer Battered Cauliflower Nuggets before adding BBQ sauce

(above: fried nuggets)

Let’s all make some cauliflower nuggets…

I thought long about whether I wanted to deep fry these nuggets or oven bake them. And in the end? I couldn’t make up my mind, so I’m sharing BOTH fried and oven baked variations. Both the fried and oven-fried variations are delicious, though the fried is just a bit crispier, as you’d probably imagine.

Regardless, this recipe is about the sauces and seasonings, so either way you end up cooking these nuggets, they’re going to be GOOD.

Start with the beer batter. It is very simple. Gather my favorite blend of seasonings…smoky paprika and spicy cayenne, plus flour, and a little bit of beer. The beer creates a light and airy batter that I’ve found to fry/bake up better in the oven. It’s perfect.

And easy.

For Baking: you’ll want to bake the nuggets on a sheet pan until just tender. It’s important not to overcook the cauliflower. If you over bake them, they will end up on the soggy side, so twenty minutes, flipping the nuggets halfway through cooking, is really all you need.

For Frying: frying is actually easier than you’d think, and for this recipe, I prefer this method of cooking. It yields a nugget with an extra crispy exterior, and perfectly cooked pieces of cauliflower in the center. To fry, you simply heat a couple inches of oil in a deep skillet. Then fry for a few minutes until crispy, and drain on a wire rack. Surprisingly, this very little time.

overhead photo of Crispy Beer Battered BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets after adding sauce

While the nuggets cook, make some sauce.

I love to make my own BBQ sauce. It looks like a long ingredients list, but in reality, it comes together in five minutes and with zero cooking involved. I promise it’s EASY. I’m sharing the recipe just below the cauliflower nugget recipe. If you have the time, I highly recommend making this, it’s my favorite BBQ sauce. A little tangy, a little sweet, and perfectly spicy. Very similar to Sweet Baby Ray’s, but much healthier.

In addition to BBQ sauce, I also like to make a quick honey mustard. Yes, double sauces here. It’s just how I like to do it.

This sauce is hands down a favorite. For one, it’s EASY. Just mix, stir, and done. It’s made using creamy yogurt, honey, mustard, more BBQ seasoning, and just a touch of lemon. It’s extra creamy, a touch sweet, and a touch spicy. So perfect as a side with this cauliflower. The creaminess in the sauce makes everything heartier, but the sweetness balances out the spice.

overhead photo of Crispy Beer Battered BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets being drizzled with BBQ sauce

Finish it up…

When the cauliflower nuggets are done baking, simply serve them up either drizzled or dipped in BBQ sauce. Then add the creamy honey mustard on the side for an additional dip. I love serving these alongside homemade french fries, but the nuggets would be delicious with a side of rice too.

Important Note: I don’t recommend covering the nuggets in BBQ sauce as the sauce can make the nuggets soggy over time. I find it best to just drizzle or dip the nuggets in the BBQ sauce (either homemade or store-bought – though I prefer homemade).

And for a vegetable, I ‘d do a big salad for a refreshing, crunchy bite.

Perfect lite summertime dinner or fun appetizer to make any day of the week.

overhead close up photo of Crispy Beer Battered BBQ Cauliflower Nuggets

Looking for other cauliflower recipe ideas? Some favorites… 

Lebanese Chicken with Charred Lemon Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Creamy Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower.

Lastly, if you make these Crispy BBQ Beer Battered Cauliflower Nuggets, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Crispy BBQ Beer Battered Cauliflower Nuggets

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 418 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, using more or less to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite beer, or use sparkling water
  • oil for frying (optional)
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, plus more for serving

Creamy Honey Mustard

Instructions

  • 1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, paprika, cayenne, baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add the beer, mixing until just combined. Add the cauliflower and toss well to evenly coat all the florets.
    2. To Fry: Heat 1-2 inches of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the cauliflower in batches for 4-5 minutes or until golden and crisp on all sides. Remove and drain on a wire rack with paper towels underneath. This will keep the cauliflower crisp.
    3. To Bake: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Rub a baking sheet with olive oil. Spread the cauliflower in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until just tender, flipping halfway through cooking. Don't over bake. The cauliflower should still have a bite to it.
    4. Meanwhile, make the honey mustard sauce. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake or whisk until smooth and creamy. 
    5. Serve the nuggets drizzled or dipped with BBQ sauce. Add honey mustard for dipping. Enjoy!

Notes

Honey Mustard: I use sour cream or yogurt, but for a more classic, less tangy taste, use mayo. 
Homemade BBQ Seasoning: mix 2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 1 tablespoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon black pepper. Makes 3/4 cup. 
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Spicy and Tangy Honey BBQ Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Calories Per Serving: 713 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • 1. Mix all ingredients in a glass measuring cup or jar until combined. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hello Tieghan, thanks so much for the wonderful recipe – it was amazing. I found I had to parboil the cauliflower quickly first!

  2. 5 stars
    Everything on your website is incredible! Such delicious recipes each and every time! Thank you.
    The cauliflower will now be a family favourite. Easy and tasty.

  3. Absolutely amazing!!! I didn’t make my own BBQ sauce bc I am obsessed with Stubb’s Original! Well done (and I hate cauliflower)!

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was so simple and SO DELICIOUS! I did the baked version and they still have a perfect bite. So flavorful! And the honey mustard sauce with your bbq seasoning is *chefs kiss*!

  5. 5 stars
    Hey fellow grew-up-in-Cleveland-er! I made this recipe for my roommates and I for a summer snack/lunch and it was Perfect. Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. Hi Tieghan – thanks for your work on this! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and often make at least one of your recipes weekly. Your chipotle cheddar cauliflower black bean enchiladas are now our go-to enchiladas! I think this is the first recipe I’ve made of yours that just really didn’t click with me – like to the point of being a little grossed out honestly. Maybe it was the beer I used – a Cigar City Guyabara (which I really like!). Thinking maybe I should’ve used something much lighter? Anyway, I’m sure it was just me as my husband loved them and we both liked the honey mustard sauce. Maybe I just don’t like cooking with beer?

    1. Hi Katie,
      So sorry you didn’t enjoy this recipe. I am not familiar with that beer, but I do enjoy using something light like a Pacifico or even a Coors. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  7. Just made these tonight and they were delicious. I didn’t have beer to use but used seltzer. Can’t wait to try it with beer. Also might try it next time in the air fryer.

  8. 5 stars
    My family loved these! Which is no surprise, as we have loved every recipe we have made of yours! The honey mustard was SO good and will definitely be a staple!

  9. 5 stars
    Made this for my family and it was a huge hit! Followed the recipe and chose the frying method- used half olive oil half vegetable oil since that was what I had and turned out crispy and delicious! A huge hit with the dipping sauces that was a fast weeknight dinner that we will definitely make again!

  10. 5 stars
    These were so amazing. My husband is anti- cauliflower so i did 3 of your cauli recipes back to back over 3 nights, the other 2 were the falafel made with blitzed carrot, cauli + chickpeas and the quesadillas filled with pinapple+chilli+cauli. He loved them all. Your recipes are so fantastic, I bought your 2 books within a week of each other and cook nearly every night using them. How on earth you think of so many great new recipes for your website i do not know. Please keep on your excellent work!! Love from Staffordshire, UK.

    1. WOW that is so great! I love when you can get someone to change their mind about a certain food! Thank you Chloe! xTieghan

  11. Hi!! Just made these but I’m wondering where the 3/4 bbq sauce comes in? It’s on the list of ingredients but I don’t see it in any of the steps.
    Please let me know!!!
    Thank you!!!

  12. I will definitely try this recipe, a healthier substitute for chicken nuggets. Thank you for sharing!

  13. My first HBH fail! All my error I am 100% sure. When I put them in the oil to fry all of the batter just fell off. They never looked very coated to begin with. Any suggestions for next time because their will be a next time!! Every other recipe of yours that i have made has been AMAZING!!

    1. Hi Amy,
      So sorry about that! Next time make sure the cauliflower is super dry before coating and then be sure to let any extra coating drip off. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  14. Loved this recipe! However, the cauliflower didn’t stay crispy for long. Do you have any recommendations? It was nice and fried at first, and them 10 minutes later when we finally sat down to eat, it was a bit soft. Like the moisture from the cauliflower had effected it.

    1. Hi Mickey,
      Thanks for trying the recipe. So sorry that the cauliflower did not stay crispy. Next time I would make sure to pat your cauliflower dry before coating and baking. I hope this helps! xTieghan

  15. 4 stars
    Just made these and my husband gave them the thumbs up! I baked them. The flavor and texture were excellent. Unfortunately, I didn’t let the sauce drip off the nuggets before lining them up on my sheet tray. The excess sauce just burned. I will make a note of that because I will definitely make them again. We aren’t bbq fans but I modified your honey mustard dressing to add chili lime seasoning and that was delicious and tangy. We ate them so fast that I forgot to get a picture. Next time! Thanks Tieghan!

    1. Ooo wow that sounds amazing! I am really glad this turned out so well for the both of you, Martie! Thank you so much! xTieghan