If you told me that the most delicious cooked vegetable I’d ever consume would come from an air fryer, I might not have believed you – until I had Air Fryer Asparagus. It’s literally the fastest, easiest and tastiest asparagus recipe I’ve ever had. In fact, it’s so good, I’d say it’s worth getting an air fryer if you don’t have one. Two stalks up!
For a condensed post with just the ingredients and instructions, click here to view the web story for this recipe.
I know, I know. I’m late to this party. But I showed up, and darnit, I brought a dish to share. I’m going to say this once and then we’re just gonna move along:
To every single one of my faithful followers, casual readers, and the countless friends and family who were like “Really? You, of all people, don’t have an air fryer (affiliate link) yet? You really need to get one,” I say “YOU WERE RIGHT AND I WAS WRONG.” (Or slow, or lazy, or suspicious, or a little too bougie for my own good.) Regardless, you told me so. And you win.
Full disclaimer: in case you didn’t know (or forgot), I am obsessed with vegetables in general, but asparagus is a particular favorite. I am literally giddy in the spring at the thought of grilled asparagus. I have found ways to sneak asparagus into stir fry recipes, pasta, frittatas, and salads. Heck, I have an entire post of asparagus recipes detailing every way it can be cooked and loved upon.
But I say this with nary a trace of artifice or hyperbole – asparagus in the air fryer is so freaking good, I may never eat asparagus any other way again. And while I should have learned my lesson after dancing around the kitchen eating air fryer cauliflower straight from the basket, I sometimes need to be shoved outside of my comfort zone.
I will gladly test this theory against my family’s favorite lemon roasted asparagus, but I truly believe I’ve been baptized and converted. Praise be.
Why The Air Fryer?
A better question – why not the air fryer?
Okay, here’s a better answer – the air fryer uses convection (hot air via fan) technology to cook the food. In laymen’s terms, this simply means that your food cooks more quickly and most importantly very evenly. Good-bye oven hot spots!
Cooking asparagus in the air fryer translates to a quicker cooking time using less oil – but you’ll get the same tender stalks with charred edges that you would if you roasted them in the oven instead. Faster and better? Yes. More of that please.
(No I’m not leaving you hanging, we’ve got more – air fryer cauliflower and air fryer brussels sprouts are the next natural choices. Zucchini in the air fryer is basically candy, and air fryer corn on the cob will change your life when the craving for grilled corn hits but the weather isn’t cooperating. Browse all our easy air fryer recipes for even more ways to break in your new favorite kitchen toy!)
How to Cook Asparagus in the Air Fryer
Super simple and simply super. Air Fryer Asparagus is the fastest, easiest way to achieve side dish nirvana. Just toss these tasty stalks with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and in 6 minutes you’ve got veggie perfection!
- Trim the asparagus spears. Learn how to trim asparagus and how to pick fresh stalks in our post covering how to cook asparagus.
- Place the asparagus into the basket of your air fryer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper then gently toss until the asparagus is well coated.
- Cook at 400°F for 6 minutes, tossing halfway through. Add 1-2 minutes for spears thicker than ½″.
- Season to taste with balsamic vinegar or reduction and serve immediately.
How Long to Cook Asparagus in the Air Fryer?
Cooking time will depend on the size of your spears, and because of that, we recommend cooking similarly sized pieces (all thin, or all thick).
- For thinner asparagus (less than ½″ in diameter), cook just 5-6 minutes.
- For thicker spears (more than ½″ in diamter), cook 6-8 minutes.
- The asparagus is ready once the tips appear lightly charred, but definitely take a bite to be sure!
- Preheat your air fryer if necessary – check your user manual.
- Make sure your asparagus spears are fresh! It should be firm to the touch and uniformly bright green with tightly packed tips.
- Trim the ends – the ends of the asparagus are the parts where it starts to get woody and stringy. Break or slice away the lower quarter or third of each stalk for tender bites after cooking.
- Remove the basket and shake the spears once halfway through cooking.
Make It Your Way
- Add a half-teaspoon of garlic powder along with the salt and pepper.
- For a spicy side dish, add a quarter to a half-teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Swap kosher salt for favorite seasoned salt.
- Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or reduction just before serving.
- Drizzle with lemon juice and/or zest and grated parmesan cheese.
- Drizzle with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
What Goes with Air Fryer Asparagus?
Is it savory? It probably goes with asparagus cooked in the air fryer! I reach for the air fryer when making vegetables for two other reasons beyond “it’s just better” – when I’m cooking on the grill and don’t have enough space for vegetables, or when it’s too darn hot to turn on the full oven.
Grilled flank steak or flat iron steak is a no brainer, but I find that I reach for asparagus most when I need to lighten up a stovetop chicken dish. Try it with creamy lemon chicken, Italian basil chicken, or creamy pesto chicken breasts.
Did you make this Air Fryer Asparagus? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Air Fryer
- 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground pepper, or to taste
- balsamic reduction or vinegar, to taste, optional
- lemon juice, to taste, optional
- grated parmesan cheese, to taste, optional
- Trim the asparagus ends, then place into the basket of the air fryer. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then gently toss until the asparagus is evenly coated.
- Program the air fryer to 400°F for 6 minutes; remove the basket and shake once halfway through. If the asparagus isn't cooked to taste, return the basket to the air fryer and cook 1-2 minutes longer (especially for thicker asparagus spears).
- Season to taste with balsamic reduction or vinegar, or season with a lemon juice and grated parmesan cheese.