If you love crispy broccoli, you’re going to love this Air Fryer Broccoli. It cooks in just 10 minutes, so it’s faster than roasting it in the oven, and it’s definitely crispier, too!
Benefits of Broccoli
Why is broccoli good for you? Broccoli is an excellent source of antioxidants and minerals.
Here’s why you’ll love it:
- Eating broccoli may help to reduce inflammation.
- A flavanoid in broccoli, called kaempferol, has been observed to have antioxidant and antitumor properties.
- Eating cruciferous veggies, like broccoli, may help to lower the risk of breast cancer and stomach cancer.
- Broccoli sprouts have been shown to lower insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes.
- Broccoli may help to lower the risk of heart attack, possibly due to its fiber content.
When you cook broccoli in the air fryer, it also makes the perfect side dish for almost any dinner recipe you love.
How to Cook Broccoli in the Air Fryer
The air fryer has a tendency to crisp the outside of veggies before the insides are tender, so the key to making perfect air fryer broccoli is to cut it into relatively small pieces first.
I always make sure to cut the stem in half, or into quarters, so that they will cook faster, then preheat your air fryer to 360ºF.
Toss the broccoli with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. I like to use a little lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt, but any seasonings will work here!
Transfer the seasoned broccoli to the air fryer basket and arrange it in a single layer, without too many pieces overlapping. For the crispiest results, don’t overcrowd your air fryer.
Cook at 360ºF for 10 minutes. This is usually the perfect cooking time for 1 to 2-inch broccoli pieces.
If your broccoli pieces are on the smaller side, you can check on them a couple minutes earlier, and if they are larger, they might need another minute or two of cooking. Luckily with the air fryer, it’s easy to add extra time if you need it.
Serve the air fryer broccoli right away, for the crispiest texture. For extra flavor, you can also top it with a sprinkle of Parmesan and black pepper, but this recipe is vegan if you don’t add any cheese to it. (Or try my Vegan Parmesan for a dairy-free spin!)
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you Steam Vegetables in the Air Fryer? The air fryer cooks with hot air, similar to a convection oven, so your vegetables won’t be steamed unless you really fill the air fryer basket. When I tried cooking 2 pounds of broccoli at once, the result was more like steamed broccoli, with only a few random pieces with crispy edges.
For truly steamed broccoli, you might be better off using a steamer basket on the stove, or try Instant Pot broccoli for a hands-off experience.
Which air fryer is best? For the crispiest results, I recommend using a basket-style air fryer, as opposed to an oven-style air fryer. I own this NuWave model, but I’ve heard the Ninja air fryer doesn’t smell as much when you first use it. (I want to try this out myself soon!)
If you use an oven-style air fryer, in my experience the result is more like oven-roasted broccoli. It’s not quite as crispy, but it’s still delicious!
Note: If you own the Cuisinart air fryer, keep in mind that it tends to run hot (sometimes up to 50ºF hotter than other models) so you may want to use a lower heat to get similar results.
Cooking Frozen Broccoli
Can you cook frozen broccoli in the air fryer? Yes, you can add frozen broccoli directly into your air fryer and run a 5-minute cycle to help it thaw it first.
After you run that cycle, you can toss the broccoli with your favorite seasonings, like olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, cook it again for 5 minutes, or a few minutes longer until it’s crispy on the outside.
Frozen broccoli in the air fryer turns out a little more tender and not quite as crunchy-crispy as fresh broccoli, but I’m surprised by how much I like it! I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.
Air Fryer Broccoli (Fresh or Frozen)
- 12 ounces broccoli
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the air fryer to 360ºF and cut the broccoli into small pieces. You want to make sure there are no very thick stems, which might not get tender during the short cooking time. I usually cut the broccoli florets in half, or into quarters.
- In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, and salt. Once it's evenly coated, transfer the broccoli to the preheated air fryer and cook at 360ºF for 9 to 10 minutes.
- The broccoli is usually done in 10 minutes, but you can add a minute or two more, if you need to. Serve warm right away for the crispiest results. This seasoning is delicious on its own, or you can add any other toppings you like, too. Leftover broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, but it's crispiest the first day you make it.
More Air Fryer Recipes
Want to get the most out of your air fryer? Try these other recipes, too!
- Crispy French Fries
- Air Fryer Tofu
- Chicken Breasts
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Crispy Air Fryer Potatoes
- Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Perfect Air Fryer Baked Potatoes
- Air Fryer Salmon
If you try this air fryer broccoli, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too!