I love broccoli! What I love even more is air fryer broccoli now that I finally got an air fryer! I'm very late to the air fryer party apparently, but better late than never. Ever since we got our air fryer, we've been addicted to trying everything we could in it. In order to not kill our waistlines too much, we're trying air fried vegetables as much as possible. Since most of the family actually likes broccoli, we knew this had to be one of our first trials with the air fryer. A friend warned me that she did not have good luck with broccoli in the air fryer. I was determined to make it work and it did!
How To Cook Broccoli In Your Air Fryer
The key to not killing your broccoli, as in turning it to a burnt mushy mess is not to cook it too long. I think a perfect cooked broccoli leaves it mostly green with a little crunch. Air fryer broccoli gives you the chance to do just that. I've made roasted broccoli many times, but my kids aren't the biggest fans. They don't like it overcooked or too "roasted" they say. The oven is less forgiving if you're not timing it just right. Luckily with the air fryer you have a little more control of your cook time and an easy shake makes it easier to keep it from scorching.
The key is to shake your broccoli a couple times. The first time I made broccoli it got pretty scorched in spots because I only shook the basket 1 time. Also, I cooked it just a minute longer. For me, 8 minutes at 350 degrees with 1 shake half-way through does the trick. You'll get perfect still green, slight crunchy air fried broccoli. If you overload your basket it will affect your cook time, so that is why I recommend 12 oz which is ¾ of a pound for a standard sized air fry basket.
Not All Air Fryers Cook the Same
I have to add this disclaimer as I can already see from other recipes, cook times and temperatures can vary a bit with air fryers.
The air fryer we have is the Ninja Foodi and we love it! It can cook 2 dishes at once or make 2 loads of broccoli at once if need be. You have to get to know your air fryer a bit just with trial and error. Some recipes and/or air fryers require a pre-heat, some do not. My recommendation would be when in doubt, go lower on your TIME because you can always add more. You can not undo a scorched dish if you add too much air fry time.
How Long To Cook Broccoli In the Air Fryer
Do not overcook your broccoli. The beauty of the air fryer is you have a little more control; you can quickly pause your cooking and look at your progress if need be. If you like your cooked broccoli to still be a little green, with a little crunch to it, not soft then I find that 8 minutes of air fry time is perfect for about 12 oz of fresh broccoli. If you add more broccoli to your air fry basket it will affect your cook time and the cook.
What to Serve with your Air Fryer Broccoli
This air fry broccoli is great with almost any entrée that goes well with a vegetable. You can also make comfort food entrée feel a bit healthier with adding broccoli. I like to serve this sometimes with chicken tenders or make it a side for an Asian dish like Mongolian Beef.
- Fresh Broccoli (Not Frozen)- I honestly have not tried frozen broccoli in the air fryer yet as I usually prefer cooking fresh, but I'll give it a shot some day and let you know how it works.
- Olive Oil- Olive oil is important in keeping your broccoli from burning. Make sure you shake the broccoli well to coat all of it before adding your spices so that the spices stick to it.
- Spices- These spices are simple to keep that broccoli flavor fresh, yet not be tasteless
- Lemon juice- A fresh squeeze of lemon is a great touch for many green vegetables, especially broccoli
- Parmesan or other hard aged cheese- A little fresh grated or shaved parmesan can give your broccoli that extra gourmet appeal to elevate your broccoli.
What to Serve with your Broccoli:
Perfect Crispy Air Fryer Broccoli
- 12 oz. fresh broccoli washed and cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Just shy of ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt if you need to use less sodium, start with about ⅛ teaspoon and then adjust the salt after cooking
- ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic powder or garlic powder fine
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine ground pepper
Garnish/Add on post Air Fry
- Squeeze of lemon
- Fresh shaved or grated parmesan cheese
- Toss the broccoli with the olive oil in a medium bowl or right in your air fryer basket if you have nonstick baskets.
- Mix together your spices and sprinkle on the oiled broccoli and toss again.
- Set your air fryer to 350 degrees. Pre-heat for 3 mins. Air Fry broccoli for 8 minutes, toss once half-way through
- Once your cook time is complete, move your broccoli to a serving dish immediately to keep it from over-cooking.
- At this point you can squeeze a little lemon juice to the broccoli bowl or directly on plates. Same goes for the parmesan if you so choose to. Up to you.