Fried Cauliflower with Lemon

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We first learned about this amazing dish when we were researching classic dishes that are enjoyed by families during Hanukkah.

It is a traditional Sephardic dish, and we just love the texture and flavor. It is such a delicious combination of spice, lemon, and crunchy-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside. All you need is a little extra coarse sea salt and a few squeezes of lemon. However, it would be delicious served with our Rosemary and Garlic Aioli!

An overhead view of a black circular plate filled with a pile of fried cauliflower with lemon with a row of lemon wedges off to the side of the plate.

How To Make Fried Cauliflower with Lemon


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The Ingredients You Will Need

There are not a lot of ingredients in this dish. Turmeric is common. We upped the flavor profile with smoked paprika and cayenne. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

Cauliflower florets – Fresh is definitely best, and can be prepped hours in advance. If using frozen, let thaw completely and then dry completely.
Flour – All-purpose.
Seasonings – Turmeric, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Turmeric can be found in the ‘gourmet’ spice section of most well-stocked supermarkets.
Lemon zest – From 2 large lemons. Use a zester, microplaner, or the small holes on a box grater.
Eggs – Lightly beaten.
Oil – For frying. Canola oil or vegetable oil are great choices.
Parsley, lemon wedges, sea salt – For garnish.

EXPERT TIP: Boiling the cauliflower florets for 4 to 5 minutes helps to achieve the ideal texture. Don’t boil for more than 5 minutes, and we recommend immediately transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Over-cooking them will result in “mushy” cauliflower.

An overhead view of a medium-sized pasta pot filled with cauliflower florets that are being boiled.

Tips for Perfect Fried Cauliflower with Lemon

Cut into Uniform Florets – Cutting the cauliflower into uniform florets ensures even cooking and consistent texture.

Coat Evenly – Make sure to coat the cauliflower florets evenly with the seasoning mixture to ensure that each piece is well-seasoned.

Fry in Batches – Fry the cauliflower in batches to prevent overcrowding the pan, which can lead to uneven cooking and soggy results.

Squeeze Lemon Juice Before Serving – Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fried cauliflower just before serving to add a bright, citrusy flavor that complements the earthy spices and adds a refreshing touch.

EXPERT TIP: Be sure to dry the cauliflower thoroughly before dredging in the seasoned flour and eggs. Also, sprinkling the cauliflower with salt before dredging ensure they are sufficiently seasoned. Placing the battered florets back in the flour will yield extra crispy cauliflower.

Three images with the first being a person dredging cauliflower florets in a pan filled with seasoned flour, and then the florets in an egg bath, and then back in the flour again.

How To Serve

As mentioned, this is a popular dish to serve during the Hanukkah season. It’s wonderful to set out as an appetizer before the main feast, but it also makes a nice side dish.

Be sure to have plenty of lemon wedges and coarse sea salt for guests to help themselves.

These are definitely best served piping hot, soon after frying. You can do all of the prep up to dredging the florets hours in advance.

A close-up view of a black plate filled with a pile of fried cauliflower topped with chopped parsley and coarse sea salt.

Other Delicious Hanukkah Recipes to Try

There are so many wonderful options for dishes when developing a Hanukkah feast. Here are a few of our favorites.

Matzo Ball Soup (not traditional at Hanukkah, but is perfectly acceptable).
Classic Latkes (Potato Pancakes)
Maple Glazed Carrots
Slow-Cooker Brisket
Brisket with Carrots and Apricots
Hasselback Potatoes
Jelly-Filled Doughnuts

And, once again, these amazing fried pieces of cauliflower will round out an ideal Hanukkah feast.

A person squeezing a lemon wedge over black circular plate filled with fried cauliflower and lemon wedges.

Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, you will absolutely love this dish.

We love to whip up a batch when watching the big game on Sunday, having friends over, or just looking for an appetizer that’s different than standard hot wings!

Every time we serve this fried cauliflower, we get rave reviews and folks always want the recipe. So tasty and beautiful, too!

A close-up view of a piece of fried cauliflower with lemon that has been pierced with a fork and is being held up.

Ready to make the best holiday (or anytime) appetizer in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a black circular plate filled with a pile of fried cauliflower with lemon with a row of lemon wedges off to the side of the plate.

Fried Cauliflower with Lemon

This Fried Cauliflower with Lemon is so flavorful and we just love the crunchy outside and the soft cauliflower on the inside. This is perfect for Hanukkah or really any time of the year. So flavorful, and just so delicious!
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Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Keyword: Cauliflower, Hanukkah recipe, how to fry cauliflower
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 194kcal


  • Sturdy skillet for frying


  • 1 large cauliflower cored and cut into 1" florets.
  • Kosher salt
  • canola oil or vegetable, for frying
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper plus more, to taste
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
  • Coarse sea salt for finishing, optional


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add cauliflower and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes.
    1 large cauliflower
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer to an ice bath, then drain and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cauliflower all over with salt.
    Kosher salt
  • Heat 2" oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F, or when a small piece of bread turns golden in the oil after about 1 minute.
    canola oil
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
    1½ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp ground turmeric, 1 tbsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs.
    4 eggs
  • Working in batches, dredge the cauliflower in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess, then into the eggs, shaking off excess, and then back into the flour for another dredging.
  • Fry, flipping as needed, until golden and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • Place on a platter, sprinkle parsley on top, and a little coarse sea salt (if using). Serve at once with lemon wedges on the side.
    1 tbsp fresh parsley, Coarse sea salt


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
We recommend using freshly cut cauliflower, however, if using frozen, make sure it is fully thawed and then completely dried. 
These are definitely best served piping hot, soon after being fried. For this particular dish, we don't recommend oven-baking in place of frying. Don't squeeze the fresh lemon juice on the fried cauliflower until just before serving, or, let guests squeeze the lemon wedge on their own. 
Leftovers will keep for a day or so but they will lose their crunch. 


Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 473mg | Potassium: 507mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 337IU | Vitamin C: 71mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in December 2017, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in December 2023!


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