Kirbie's Cravings

Korean Fried Cauliflower

A fun and vegetarian spin on Korean Fried Chicken, using cauliflower instead. Ultra crispy cauliflower bites are coated in a savory and sweet soy garlic sauce.
Overhead photo of plate of Korean Fried Cauliflower

One of my favorite dishes to eat is Korean Fried Chicken. I order it whenever I see it on the menu. Chicken is coated in a wet slurry batter that produces extra crunchy fried chicken. It’s then usually served with a spicy sauce or soy garlic sauce.

After successfully making buttermilk fried cauliflower, I wanted to try making a cauliflower version of my favorite Korean fried chicken.
Close-up of plate of Korean Fried Cauliflower

The Wet Slurry

The slurry is a combination of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, vodka and water.


The Korean fried chicken method uses a combination of cornstarch and flour. Because cornstarch is almost pure starch, it produces a much crispier crust than a batter using only flour.


The idea to add vodka came from Serious Eats. The volatility of vodka makes the batter dry faster, producing a crispier crust. I’ve experimented with adding vodka to many of my fried recipes which start with a wet batter and it always makes a difference.

Normally, you may be able to omit the vodka and still get a crunchy crust with just cornstarch and flour. However since there is so much moisture in cauliflower, a crunchy exterior is much harder to achieve without it. I tried versions with and without and the version without the vodka immediately turned soft

Baking Powder

Baking powder helps to raise and aerate the batter, which helps to produce a crunchy coating.

As a result of all of these ingredients, when the batter reacts to the hot oil, it turns into this wispy crispy coating.
photo of crispy coating

The cauliflower is then coated in an addictive soy sauce garlic glaze. It’s sweet, savory, garlicky and slightly spicy.
photo of chopsticks holding korean fried cauliflower

More Recipes to Try

photo of fried cauliflower

Korean Fried Cauliflower

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Korean
A fun twist on Korean Fried Chicken, using cauliflower instead of chicken.
5 from 4 votes


  • 1 small head cauliflower cut into bite-sized florets
  • oil for frying
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 green scallions thinly sliced

Soy Garlic Glaze

  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Gochujang
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water


  • In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, ice water and vodka. Whisk until smooth. The batter should be thin with the consistency of paint.
  • Add oil to pot or pan being used for frying. Add about 1 inch of oil and bring to medium heat.
  • Working in batches, toss some of the cauliflower into the wet batter until evenly coated. Shake off excess batter drippings and then add cauliflower pieces to hot oil. Cook until batter is crispy and a light golden brown. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
  • To make the glaze, add all glaze ingredients except cornstarch and water to a small saucepan. Stir to evenly mix and bring sauce to a simmer. Taste and adjust as needed. Keep in mind the final version will have a more concentrated flavor. I prefer my sauce to be a little more sweet but if you prefer more savory you can add a little more soy sauce.
  • In a small bowl, stir cornstarch and water until cornstarch is fully dissolved. Add to the glaze and immediately stir it in so the cornstarch does not clump. Allow sauce to simmer until thickened. Remove from heat.
  • Brush cauliflower pieces with glaze. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve while cauliflower is still hot and crispy.


  • Adapted from Serious Eats
  • Because of how delicate the crispy coating is, I found it better to brush the sauce on rather than tossing the cauliflower in the sauce.
  • The cauliflower will start to soften after the sauce is added, so I recommend adding the glaze right before serving.
  • Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that can be found at most Asian grocery stores.
  • Mirin is a sweetened Japanese rice wine that can be found at most Asian grocery stores.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

44 comments on “Korean Fried Cauliflower”

  1. Is it possible to use sparkling water instead of normal water ? Cold of course. Love the idea of adding the vodka for extra crisp too, and look forward to trying this.

    • We haven’t tried it, but sparkling and soda water is often used in fried batter. Let us know how it works for you!

  2. Hello – Do you have nutrition information for this recipe? (calories, etc). We love making it!

    • Sorry, but we don’t because it’s difficult to estimate how much oil is absorbed when you fry. Also, the amount of oil may vary based on the size of the pan used.

  3. Do you have a Keto version of this recipe, I would love to get it.

  4. Can I air dry them? 

  5. This was SUPER tasty and so easy to make. Loved it thank you!

  6. I used gin instead of vodka, it was just as lovely as expected ?

  7. Looks delicious! What can I substitute for the gochujank? (Hard to find where I live)

  8. Excellent, excellent, excellent!!

  9. I LOVE this recipe. I first had Korean Fried Cauliflower at a local restaurant and I knew I needed to make it at home. This recipe is as good as if not better than restaurant versions. I never use the vodka and the recipe is still great.

  10. I really want to try this! Can I substitute tequila for vodka? 

  11. I made this last night, and it was awesome! I’ve never produced such a light crisp batter in my own kitchen before. I can’t wait to try it on chicken wings.

  12. Can I substitute rum instead of vodka?

  13. My daughters introduced this recipe to our family. Love love love it! I am now trying my hand at making it and I shared it with my Mom! Passing UP through the generations!! Thank you

  14. I tried a non-fried recipe and …well…it was aw…ful!! Tonight I tried this recipe and it was aw…esome!!!!  Nice recipe for a first-timer!  I’ve done other things but have always been fearful of the frying process. I used a large wok and was much more comfy.   Tasty and crispy!  Thank you!!  You need to deep fry this stuff for the crispy and tasty treat and it can be done safely. Try it!!!

  15. This is seriously the best recipe. I use this batter on all my fried veggies. So light and crispy and tasty! This is my go-to!

  16. Can I use frozen cauliflower?

  17. I don’t have any cornstarch can I leave it out and just use flour and vodka?

  18. Hi, I want to make this for a friend of mine who is allergic to alcohol – is there anything you can suggest to substitute for the Vodka to keep the crispiness?
    Thanks in advance

  19. This was a delicious cauliflour dish. My husband and boys absolutely loved it! Had to make a second round. The vodka is a great trick to getting crisper fried cauliflower…plan on using that trick for other fried dishes. The sauce itself would be great on chicken wings. A BIG HIT in our house!! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I absolutely love your recipe! I am writing vegetarian recipe round ups on my blog in 2019 for people who are trying to make more meat-free meals (everyone has to start somewhere). I would love to feature you. You can check out my blog (for beginner environmentalists) at Is it alright if I share this link to your recipe?

    • I don’t mind you sharing a link to my recipe, as long as it just the link and not the full recipe or photos. Thanks!