Don’t want to cause a “stir,” but there’s a new fry in town. Consider giving your saute pan a summer vacation while you let your air fryer handle the heat. Air Fryer Broccoli is just as delicious as you think it’s going to be – tender-but-firm florets, roasted flavor, and crispy edges – with no sweat, literally or figuratively.
As someone with an inclination toward creative problem solving, I don’t like taking no for an answer. But, sometimes “no” is the answer, so I’m also someone who looks for silver linings.
I knew when I bought my air fryer that I wasn’t going to be able to roast a whole turkey dinner, but I think I wasn’t fully prepared for the amount of batch frying I’d have to do to get the kind of results I would put my stamp of approval on. Even for simple things, like, say, broccoli.
But, as I discovered when I went wild on air fryer cauliflower, there is truly something to be said for “bespoke” small-batch vegetables. This sounds pretentious as hell, but really, it’s the perfect kind of silver lining. Let everyone adjust their salt, seasoning, flavors, and (the big culprit) heat to taste and all of a sudden, everyone wants to eat more veggies.
What’s better? They want to cook their own veggies too! If you came up in a certain era with a certain kind of parent, then you most likely had a dinner time that went a little something like “if you don’t eat what I made, you don’t eat.” And I get it – cooking a whole separate dinner every night cause little Timmy only eats dino-shaped nuggets is a bridge too far. But if you’ve got to cook in batches, think about all the ways you can customize! (Like extra crispy fries, but no one else does? Do you need flaming hot spicy food in order to feel anything at all? Small batch!)
So now we have a (carefully-guarded and heavily-regulated) sandbox that our kids can play in to learn and grow their own preferences. And I get my stuff as salty and garlicky as I want with no whining.
Why Use the Air Fryer
- One: it takes way less time than roasting in the oven. You can have roasted broccoli on the table in under 15 minutes!
- Two: if you have picky kids (ahem) and adventurous adults (double ahem), it’s pretty straightforward to cook one plain batch, and then one seasoned batch.
- Three: the air fryer uses less oil than oven roasted broccoli.
- Four: you don’t need to turn on the oven in the summer months. Bless the air fryer for this benefit alone!
How to Cook Broccoli in an Air Fryer
Put several new twists on old, reliable broccoli when you batch cook in your air fryer. Air Fryer Broccoli only needs a couple good tosses – first in your oil and spices, and then in the air fryer basket – to get a super simple side that’s super tasty. Adjust seasonings for individual preferences, or prep the florets to use in other sides or salads. Either way, less time, less oil, less mess.
This recipe is also available as an interactive story post!
- Toss the broccoli with the olive oil and seasonings.
- Spread into an even, single layer in air fryer basket.
- Cook at 390°F for 8 minutes, tossing every 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
Tips for Making This Recipe Perfectly
- Preheat your Air Fryer if necessary (check manufacturer instructions).
- Shake at least once halfway through cooking, more if your basket is on the fuller side.
- Don’t overfill the basket. For BEST results, arrange the broccoli in a single layer for air frying. If you have just a bit more, go ahead and toss it in there, but a single layer will produce the crispiest broccoli that’s evenly cooked.
- Slice into smaller, 1″-1.5″ florets for maximum crispiness. See this section on how to cut broccoli for the easiest, mess free way to do it!
Make It Your Way
Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it – broccoli isn’t nearly as forgiving or transformative in the flavor department as it’s cruciferous cousin, cauliflower. But there are some pairings that never miss:
- Garlic: season using garlic powder or toss with minced before air-frying.
- Lemon: season with zest, juice, or both just before serving.
- Pesto: a little drizzle after air frying goes a long way.
- Sesame: add 1 tsp to the olive oil before cooking, then garnish with toasted seeds just before serving; a drizzle of tahini sauce is also a welcome addition.
- Aged hard cheeses: grate Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino before or after air frying.
A quick and easy way to change things up is to toss your florets in infused oils or non-neutral cooking oils (sesame, chili, walnut, hemp seed, etc.).
PRO TIP: Looking to keep it vegan? Use nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor (plus extra protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals) without dairy.
More Recipes for Fabulous Florets
- Broccoli Quinoa Salad with Sunbutter Sauce
- Healthy Stiry Fry with Chicken and Broccoli
- Roasted Broccoli with Tahini
- Keto Broccoli Bacon Salad
- and even more ways to cook broccoli!
Did you make this Air Fryer Broccoli? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Air Fryer
- 1 medium head broccoli, divided into small florets (about 4 heaping cups)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Lemon juice, to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder until well combined.
- Arrange the florets in a single layer in the basket in the air fryer; do not fill the basket more than halfway full.
- Program the air fryer to 390°F for 8 minutes. Remove the basket and toss at least once halfway through, but preferably every 2-3 minutes. (You can also program in 2-4 minute increments as a more firm reminder to toss). If the broccoli isn’t cooked through, program an additional 2-3 minutes (smaller florets will cook more quickly).
- Serve with a sprinkle of lemon juice, if desired, and serve immediately.