Smoked Cauliflower

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If you’ve never tried smoked cauliflower before, you have to give it a try! The cauliflower is marinated for several hours before it is tossed on the Traeger to soak up all that smoky flavor. Once the cauliflower is on the pellet smoker, it cooks over indirect heat for a couple of hours until it is tender and slightly charred on the outside.  

Smoked cauliflower on cutting board with blue cheese dressing and crumbles

This is a great dish for those veggie lovers at your next cookout. It gives BBQ vibes on a whole new level, so forget about the boring grilled veggies and pull out this recipe for smoked cauliflower next time you need a dish to impress! Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable, so cook it up as a main dish or serve it as a flavorful side dish with some of your other favorite recipes.

Keep reading below for variations to the recipe. There are a few marinade ideas below that we know you’re going to love. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (try BBQ sauce or blue cheese dressing), and you’re sure to have a winner on your hands!

Smoked cauliflower with lots of blue cheese crumbles and dressing

💪 Why This Recipe Works

  • Whole roasted cauliflower gets a BBQ treatment for a smoky flavor to create a unique dish
  • All you need is a head of cauliflowera smoker, and a marinade
  • I’m sharing recipes for a buffalo and soy sauce marinade — take your pick!
  • It comes together easily
  • I love making Traeger smoked cauliflower, but you can use whatever smoker or pellet grill that you have
  • It’s a vegetarian’s dream!

Smoked cauliflower with blue cheese crumbles

🍽 Ingredients

You’ll find a list of key ingredients for both marinade versions below. Feel free to pick your preference! If you like spicy foods, I definitely recommend that you go for the buffalo marinade. The soy sauce option is great if a traditional marinade with a much more mild flavor is more of your style. Either way, the smoky cauliflower turns out amazing!

As always, scroll down below to see the recipe card with a detailed ingredient list and cooking instructions.

  • Cauliflower. Use a whole head of cauliflower for this smoked cauliflower recipe. Be sure to trim the leaves first, but leave the cauliflower florets intact.
  • Frank’s RedHot. The fiery base of the buffalo marinade.
  • Olive oil. You’ll need olive oil for both sauce options.
  • Garlic and onion powder. The same goes for garlic and onion powder — both add the perfect amount of savory flavor.
  • Salt and pepper. Add to taste in either of the marinades.
  • Apple cider vinegar. For some extra tang in the soy sauce marinade.
  • Smoked paprika. Also for the soy sauce option. It adds even more smokiness to the mix!

ingredients for buffalo marinated smoked cauliflower

Buffalo marinated cauliflower ingredients.

Ingredients for smoked cauliflower, soy-based marinade.

Soy sauce-based marinade ingredients.

👨‍🍳 How To Make It

This recipe only takes a few minutes to prep, and the Traeger does the rest of the work. The cooking time can be adjusted in order to achieve the perfect tenderness for you.

For more detailed instructions, be sure to refer to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.

  1. Optional: precook the cauliflower head if you prefer a more tender result. Steam it in the microwave or in a double boiler.
  2. Place the whole cauliflower head in a sealable bag and add the marinade ingredients. 
  3. Shake to cover everything evenly, then store in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours. 
  4. Preheat your smoker using your preferred wood pellets or wood chips. You can also use a charcoal grill or gas grill. Add wood chips to achieve a smoky flavor.
  5. Position the cauliflower directly on the grill grates, close the grill lid, and smoke at 225°F for 2-3 hours. Sit back and relax while the cauliflower cooks.
  6. When your whole smoked cauliflower is done, it should be fork tender and golden brown but still intact. Slice it into steaks and serve with your favorite dipping sauces and side dishes!

adding buffalo marinade ingredients to bag with cauliflower head

Place the trimmed cauliflower and buffalo marinade ingredients into a bag.

cauliflower in plastic bag with marinade ingredients

Place the trimmed cauliflower and soy sauce-based marinade ingredients into a bag.

mixing marinade ingredients in bag

Marinate the cauliflower in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.

smoking whole cauliflower on grill

Remove the cauliflower from the marinade and place on the Traeger to smoke.

😉 Tips For Success

  • If you want your smoked Traeger cauliflower to be extra soft and tender, steam it in the microwave or pre-cook it in a double boiler first. Be sure not to pre-cook it too much, or you run the risk of it falling apart on the grill grates. Steaming in the microwave or on the stove for 5-10 minutes should be enough.
  • Frank’s RedHot will bring on the heat. Beware, this condiment is quite spicy! If you love spicy foods, you can leave this smoked cauliflower pellet grill recipe as is. You could also tone it down by replacing half of the Frnak’s with apple cider vinegar.
  • The longer you marinate, the better the flavor will be. I definitely recommend letting the cauliflower sit for 24 hours, but if you don’t have time, 2 hours is the minimum.


Why do you soak cauliflower before cooking?

Before cooking cauliflower, you should clean it properly. You can soak it in a bath of salt water or vinegar water for 30 minutes before rinsing it off. This will help to remove trapped dirt and bugs

Why is my smoked cauliflower tough?

Make sure to cook your smoked cauliflower until it’s nice and tender. If it’s tough, it means that it’s undercooked. You can also avoid this completely by pre-cooking it by steaming it in the microwave until tender. Just be careful not to steam it for too long. Otherwise, it will fall apart on the grill.

To steam the cauliflower, use the microwave. Place the head of cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and add a few tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for 5-10 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork. It should be tender but still should hold its shape and not fall apart.

What brings out the flavor of cauliflower?

Smoking it is a start! It will soak up all of the wonderful flavors from your pellet grill. The added marinade works wonders too — and remember that it will be even more flavorful the longer you let it sit in the marinade before smoking.

smoked cauliflower sliced on cutting board

🫑Other Veggie Recipes

🤔 Substitutions and Variations

  • Create your own unique marinade. I swear by both marinades for this smoked cauliflower recipe, but you can also feel free to get creative and come up with something totally different. Consider pairing lemon juice, lemon zest, and minced garlic cloves, or balsamic and basil, and a hot honey sauce would also be tasty. You can also use your favorite seasoning blend for the marinade.
  • Add some other veggies. Looking for a vegetable-centric dish to serve for your vegetarian or plant-based friends? You can also smoke squash, peppers, mushrooms, and even corn on the cob!
  • Get creative with the toppings. I love the buffalo version topped with blue cheese dressing and crumbles, but you can top it off with a little bit of grated parmesan cheese, ranch dressing, or anything that suits your fancy.

 🥡 Storage and Reheating

You can prepare this dish up to 24 hours ahead of time — which is actually the perfect amount of time to let it marinate. If you smoke it ahead of time and need to reheat it before the party, you can air fry it for 8-10 minutes at 360°F. You can also reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until warm. If you prefer to use your pellet smoker or oven, reheat at 350°F for about 20-30 minutes until warm throughout.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, where they will keep for 3-5 days. Make sure that it has cooled completely before you store it.

Smoked cauliflower with bbq sauce brushed, sitting on a cutting board

🛠 Tools and Equipment

🤤 Other Amazing Recipes

🎁 Wrap Up

Every great BBQ needs a great recipe and unique dish, and this Traeger smoked cauliflower definitely fits the bill! It’s such a unique option for barbecuing, and although I’m a pretty big carnivore, I can’t get enough of it. With minimal prep work required, all that’s left to do is have a little patience as the smoker works its magic. If you are looking for new ways to serve vegetables at the BBQ, this should be at the top of your list!

If you end up trying this dish at home, make sure to let me know how you liked it in the comments below. Cheers.

Buffalo marinated smoked cauliflower, sliced in half, on cutting board

💬 Tell Me What You Think!

Did you try out this recipe? Please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it. Also, snap a picture and post it to your favorite social platform. Be sure to tag me at @alicensetogrill and let me know how you liked it!


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Did you make this recipe? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Buffalo marinated cauliflower with blue cheese crumbles and dressing.

Smoked Cauliflower

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Marinade Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

This smoked cauliflower is something I bet you haven't had before! The entire head of cauliflower is marinated in either a zesty buffalo sauce or a savory soy sauce blend. The choice is yours! For those who like it hot, the buffalo marinade is sure to satisfy your taste buds. If you prefer a more subtle flavor, the soy sauce marinade is the way to go.

The cauliflower is smoked for a couple of hours until perfectly tender. Serve it up with some BBQ sauce or some blue cheese dressing and crumbles. This recipe is a true crowd-pleaser and is sure to impress your guests.


  • 1 cauliflower head, leaves trimmed

For the Buffalo Version

  • 2 cups Frank's RedHot
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon salt

For the BBQ Version

  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ tablespoon black pepper
  • ¼ tablespoon salt


  1. Remove the leaves from the head of the cauliflower but leave the head of the cauliflower intact.
  2. Optional: steam the cauliflower. Place the head of cauliflower in a microwave bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Cover the bowl with a plate and microwave for 5-8 minutes. Be sure not to steam it too long. It should be fork tender but not falling apart. If you are using a large head of cauliflower, this step may be necessary, and you may need to steam it in the microwave for up to 8 minutes.
  3. Place the cauliflower in a sealable bag. Add the ingredients for the marinade, either the buffalo or the BBQ version. Shake to mix the ingredients and let it marinate for 24 hours or at least 2 hours. The longer, the better.
  4. Preheat the Traeger or grill to 225°F using your favorite wood pellets.
  5. Place the cauliflower directly on the grill grates. Smoke at 225°F for 2-3 hours or until the cauliflower is tender.
  6. Remove the cauliflower from the Traeger and slice it into steaks. Serve with blue cheese dressing or BBQ sauce.


  • If you like tender and soft cauliflower, you will need to steam it in the microwave. You can also pre-cook it in a double boiler . 5-8 minutes should be enough. You don't want to cook it too long to the point that the cauliflower is falling apart before you can get it on the grill.
  • Frank's RedHot is quite spicy. If you prefer a more mild sauce, replace half of the Frank's with apple cider vinegar.
  • You should marinate the cauliflower for 24 hours, but if you are short on time, 2 hours should be the minimum.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4893mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?

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About Joshua Boquist

Josh is an outdoor enthusiast and food fanatic. A License To Grill is his passion project where the outdoors intersects food - grilling, smoking, and all things tasty!

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