Learn how to cook broccoli using this simple and easy method. It's delicious and ready to serve in only minutes!
Today we are talking about one of my absolute favorite veggies - broccoli. Specfically, we're talking about how to cook broccoli in an air fryer.
My kids all like broccoli, which means we make it quite often. It also means that it can get boring fast if you don’t find a new way to prepare it once in a while.
Even with several methods for how to cook broccoli up your sleeve, you're going to want to try cooking broccoli in the air fryer!
It's so easy to make, comes together in just a few minutes and is seriously delicious. It's crisp, tender and loaded with flavor - and it's my new favorite.
What Exactly Is an Air Fryer?
Air fryers are compact convection ovens that circulate hot air very quickly in order to efficiently cook food that is crispy and delicious.
It’s not a surprise that busy households or people looking to save time have turned to air frying to simplify the occasionally tedious task of making dinner.
My best friends rave about their air fryers, which they use to cook anything from chicken nuggets to fries on a regular basis for picky young eaters.
I know many people who have experimented with air fryer desserts like our air fryer chocolate cupcakes recipe, or used them to try something completely new like our savory and flavorful air fryer falafel recipe.
An air fryer also makes for an easy way to safely fry something you’ve always wanted to try, including homemade air fryer potato chips.
How To Cook Broccoli in an Air Fryer
Air fried broccoli is simple, delicious, and maintains a crispy, fresh texture that will be ready in under ten minutes.
The prep is easy and fast - you do not need to steam or boil broccoli before air frying, which saves you a lot of time.
You can use air fried broccoli in place of any recipe that would require parboiled broccoli, which makes it super convenient.
Follow these basic steps for how to cook broccoli in an air fryer, but know that you can always make it your own!
Step 1. Select fresh broccoli. Uniform, brightly colored green broccoli with closed florets is as fresh as it gets. Stay away from yellow or flowering florets, or a stalk that is too thick.
Step 2. Prepare your broccoli by washing it thoroughly. This ensures that you remove any pesticides, debris, or insects. Rinse well under moving water, rubbing off any excess dirt. Or, soak in a large bowl of cool water with ¼ cup salt and 2 tablesppons vinegar added to it for approximately 20 minutes, then rinse.
Step 3. Cut broccoli into evenly-sized, small pieces. Think “bite sized” pieces- what size broccoli floret would you be able to pick up with a fork and eat without cutting? That’s the perfect size cut for air frying.
Step 4. Toss broccoli with a light amount of oil and any desired seasonings in a bowl. Powdered seasonings such as onion or garlic powders will stick to the broccoli well and are less likely to burn. If you’re looking to cut out oils in your diet, you can skip the oil, but you will compromise some on the crispy texture.
Step 5. Set the air fryer to 400° F for 4 minutes. Check the broccoli, toss it and cook for an additional 4 to 7 minutes as necessary.
Step 6.Serve! Add a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese for added flavor. At this time you can also add your broccoli directly to other dishes such as our 30 minute beef and broccoli ramen recipe, which is a weeknight favorite if you're looking for easy dinner ideas.
How To Keep Broccoli From Burning in an Air Fryer
Coating the broccoli with a small amount of oil and, optionally, adding a bit of water will help prevent your broccoli from burning while air frying.
The mixture of water and oil will give the broccoli a satisfying crunch without drying your veggies out.
While most leafy greens are not suitable for air frying, broccoli thrives!
If you have any issues with your broccoli burning in the air fryer, try this:
- Cook on a lower temperature than advised. Even at 370°F, broccoli should take ten minutes or less to make in an air fryer.
- Shorten your cook time at the recommended temperature. Playing around with the ideal cook time for the amount of food you’re preparing is essential.
- Set a timer to remember to toss your broccoli halfway through cooking while also checking for doneness.
Is Air Fried Broccoli Still Good for You?
The simple answer is yes! Broccoli cooked in an air fryer is still loaded with vitamins and nutrients.
Air frying is generally considered a healthy way of preparing almost any food as it requires less oil than other cooking methods.
In that sense, air frying can be much better than deep frying, preparing food in a skillet, pan frying or even roasting.
Why We Love Cooking Broccoli in the Air Fryer
Broccoli prepared in the air fryer is crisp, crunchy, delicious, and healthy! That pretty much sums up why we love this method of cooking broccoli.
Air frying is an easy way to prepare broccoli as a side dish - I love to serve it alongside a creamy pasta dish, like our creamy chicken linguine recipe.
My vegetarian daughter replaces the meat in such pasta recipes with broccoli quite often to have a filling, hearty meal.
The crisp, caramelized texture of air fried broccoli adds body and flavor along with excellent health benefits.
Plus, air fryers are easy to use, inexpensive to run, easy to clean, and save time in the kitchen!
Storing and Reheating Air Fried Broccoli
Air fried broccoli can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days. This makes it an excellent candidate for cooking foods ahead of time to pack in your lunch!
Reheat on a baking sheet to keep the texture, or warm it up in the air fryer again for a short time.
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Nicole is a self-published author of fiction novels, and a lover of food and spending time in the kitchen with her six children. She lives in coastal Maine where she loves exploring new recipes especially those that can save time, money and wow a crowd.