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Fried cauliflower served with boiled potatoes and a cup of tartar sauce.

Pan Fried Cauliflower (Czech Smazeny kvetak)

In this simple recipe, cauliflower florets are breaded and fried in a pan until golden, with a crispy crust. It's a traditional dish that Czechs love dipped in tartar sauce, and served with boiled buttered potatoes.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Czech
Keyword Vegetable Recipes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 445kcal


  • 1 pound raw cauliflower (450 g) about half a head of medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (120 g) made from shredded dry white bread, e.g. French baguette
  • frying oil sunflower or rapeseed oil (Canola oil)
  • salt


Blanche the raw cauliflower:

  • Remove the outer green leaves and stem. Cut the cauliflower head into florets, which should be similar in size.
  • Pour water into a larger pot and salt it thoroughly. The water should be salty so that it tastes like seawater. Bring the water to a boil. Carefully drop in the cauliflower florets and cook uncovered, without a lid, for 3-4 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of cold water. When the cauliflower florets are cooked, transfer them to cold water with a slotted spoon. This will stop the cauliflower from cooking. Add ice cubes to enhance the cooling effect. 

Bread cauliflower florets:

  • Put the flour in a deep bowl or on a piece of baking paper. Coat the individual pieces of blanched cauliflower on all sides. Shake off any excess flour by gently tapping the cauliflower florets on the work surface.
  • In a deep bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and season with a pinch of salt. Dip the cauliflower, previously coated in flour, into the egg mixture. Personally, I have found it works nicely to use a fork to turn the cauliflower in the eggs until the cauliflower florets are sufficiently wet on all sides.
  • In a separate bowl or again on a piece of baking paper, sprinkle the breadcrumbs. Using a fork, remove the cauliflower pieces from the egg mixture, drain off a bit of the excess liquid and dredge them thoroughly with breadcrumbs. Again, tap the coated cauliflower lightly on the table to remove any excess breadcrumbs.

Fry breaded cauliflower in a pan:

  • Pour oil into the pan (sunflower or rapeseed oil is the Czech choice). Do not skimp on the oil. The layer of oil should be at least ¾ inch. Let it heat up to medium-high heat.
  • Using a pair of kitchen tongs or two forks, carefully place pieces of coated cauliflower into the hot oil in a single layer and fry until golden. Expect to have to turn each cauliflower to fry it regularly on all sides. One pan full of cauliflower should be fried in about ten minutes.
  • Expert tip: To save calories, put the fried cauliflower on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess fat.


  • Makes 4 portions.
  • SERVING: Crispy fried cauliflower clearly goes best with boiled potatoes, topped with melted butter. For a better color display, sprinkle them with chopped fresh chives. Also, the tartar sauce is a definite addition to this dish, the Czech favorite dipping sauce.
  • Fried cauliflower can also be made from frozen cauliflower that you let thaw before preparing.
  • You may also cook the cauliflower in a deep fryer if you don't want to use a pan. I don’t suggest preparing this cauliflower dish in an air fryer, nor to bake it in an oven.
  • STORAGE: Do you have any fried leftover cauliflower? Put it in the fridge and use it up in five days.


Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 263mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Vitamin C: 55mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 3mg