If you love to pluck the darkest, crispiest veggies right from the pan, Air Fryer Broccoli is for you!

Crispy air fryer broccoli

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Deeply charred and ultra crispy, this is broccoli at its most addictive.

The way we were chowing down on it reminded me of the way I felt the first time we tried Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts and Air Fryer Cauliflower.

How can a vegetable taste THIS GOOD?!

Thanks to the air fryer’s high-powered convection fan, it makes the food you cook in it—like Air Fryer Zucchini—wicked crispy in a fraction of the time.

This mega crisp power makes the air fryer an excellent way to create healthy versions of deep-fried favorites, Air Fryer French Fries, Air Fryer Potato Chips, and Air Fryer Tofu being primo examples.

I’ve been working my way through our healthy side dish repertoire, trying each recipe out in the air fryer instead of the oven.

This full list of air fryer recipes includes everything we’ve tried so far, plus yummy main dishes too.

air fried broccoli in an air fryer

5 Star Review

“First time using my air fryer- the broccoli was perfect. Great recipe – will definitely use again!”

— Cheryl —

For a long time, I relied on Grilled Broccoli for its ease and signature flavor.

Because of this, I hadn’t quite gotten around to trying broccoli in the air fryer yet.

But that changed the day I overheard a woman speaking with a passion—a passion one typically does not associate with vegetables—about how incredible it tastes.

Broccoli in the air fryer is SO GOOD!” she clamored. “The kids couldn’t stop eating it!

Excited Air Fryer Broccoli Lady, you were so very right.

The air-fried broccoli hardly made it to our plates—we inhaled most of it right out of the air fryer basket!

Avoiding Soggy Broccoli

Using a high temperature and not crowding the broccoli during cooking are the best ways to cook broccoli that’s not soggy.

Since the air fryer uses a high temperature, it’s perfect for crispy cooking. Be sure to cook in batches and keep the florets in a single layer so the air can circulate.

air fryer broccoli with lemon on a plate

How to Cook Air Fryer Broccoli

Cooking perfect broccoli in the air fryer is quick, easy, and versatile!

The only hurdle is figuring out how to make the broccoli insides tender before the outsides burned.

The air fryer roasts the broccoli so quickly, my first few batches were black outside but still hard inside.

The answer: add water to the air fryer to help the broccoli steam as it cooks. Taa-daa! Water is how you keep broccoli from burning in your air fryer.

  • You do not need to steam broccoli before air frying. Rather, add a few tablespoons of water to the air fryer prior to cooking. As the water evaporates, it will help the broccoli soften a little.
  • Chop the broccoli florets SMALL (think broccoli bites). This will give the insides a chance to tenderize before the outsides completely char.
air fried broccoli on a plate

Tip!

Broccoli cooked in the air fryer will still be quite al dente inside. We love it this way, but if you prefer broccoli a more tender broccoli (but not mushy!), this oven Roasted Broccoli might be a better option for you.


The Ingredients

  • Broccoli. We’re going for crispy air fryer broccoli here! High in fiber, packed with vitamins, and low carb, broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse. Air frying is a healthy way to enjoy its nutrients and make it outrageously addictive.

Market Swap

You can use this same recipe for cauliflower (or try Air Fryer Cauliflower) or do a blend for an air fryer broccoli and cauliflower medley.

  • Olive Oil. While you can make air fryer broccoli with no oil, I find that the broccoli doesn’t caramelize quite as nicely, nor does it taste as satisfying. Fortunately, you only need a small amount of olive oil to ensure it cooks properly in the air fryer.
  • Seasonings. Salt and pepper are the classic. I also like to add garlic powder for a little extra zip. Bonus: garlic powder won’t burn in the air fryer.
  • Toppings! This broccoli is tasty just as it is, but there’s still room to gussy it up a bit to make it extra special. See below for topping ideas.

The Directions

broccoli florets in a bowl
  1. Chop the broccoli florets and season.
air fryer broccoli bites
  1. Preheat the air fryer, then add the broccoli and water.
broccoli in an air fryer
  1. Air fry broccoli for 8 to 12 minutes at 400 degrees F, tossing the florets throughout. Top as desired and ENJOY!

How to Make Frozen Broccoli in the Air Fryer

You can make frozen air fryer broccoli! Like this Roasted Frozen Broccoli, it doesn’t become *as* crisp as fresh broccoli, but it’s still tasty and a total time saver.

  • Add the frozen broccoli florets to the air fryer at 400 degrees F and air fry for 5 minutes (this will allow the broccoli to thaw a bit and the seasonings to stick).
  • Remove the florets to a mixing bowl and toss them with the oil and seasonings.
  • Return to the air fryer and cook 6 to 10 additional minutes, tossing a few times throughout, until it is crisped to your liking.
air fried broccoli and cheese on a plate

Toppings and Variations

  • Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan over the broccoli after air frying.
  • Air Fryer Broccoli and Cheese. While the broccoli is hot, sprinkle on a few handfuls of a melty cheese, such as cheddar or gruyere.
  • Lemony Air Fryer Broccoli. Top the cooked broccoli with grated lemon zest and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Spicy Air Fryer Broccoli. After the broccoli is cooked, toss it with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Balsamic Air Fryer Broccoli. Drizzle the cooked broccoli with balsamic glaze or aged balsamic vinegar.
  • Asian Air Fryer Broccoli. Toss the cooked broccoli with the teriyaki sauce from my Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry recipe.
  • Air Fryer Broccoli and Potatoes. For the perfect air fryer veggie combo, pair this broccoli with Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries or an Air Fryer Baked Potato.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate the broccoli in an airtight storage container for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm the leftovers in the air fryer or on a baking sheet in a regular oven at 350 degrees F.
  • To Freeze. While the broccoli will become mushy when frozen, it can be done! Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Leftover Ideas

Crispy broccoli leftovers make a tasty addition to pastas like this Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff and Penne Alla Vodka with Chicken, salads like Quinoa Chickpea Salad and Apple Walnut Salad, and even grilled cheese like the Roasted Broccoli Cauli Grilled Cheese in The Well Plated Cookbook.

air fryer broccoli parmesan

What to Serve with Air Fryer Broccoli

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

High Capacity Air Fryer

This air fryer does it all! It cooks, crisps, roasts, broils, bakes, reheats, and dehydrates. It holds more food than many, so you can make more food in fewer batches.

Tell everyone you know!

Once you try this air fryer broccoli recipe, you’ll be an Excited Air Fryer Broccoli Person too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Swap Avocado Oil for the Olive Oil?

Yes, you can use avocado oil instead of olive oil if you prefer.

Why Does the Recipe Call for Sugar?

I like to add a little bit of sugar to my broccoli before air frying it to help with caramelization. If you’d prefer to not use the sugar, you can simply omit it. The broccoli will still be tasty!

Is Air Fried Broccoli Still Healthy?

Yes, this broccoli is still healthy and packed with nutrients. Since the air fryer requires less oil than other cooking methods, it’s a healthy alternative.

Can I Prep the Broccoli in Advance?

Yes! Chop the broccoli florets and store them in the refrigerator up to 2 days in advance.

Air Fryer Broccoli

5 from 1 vote
How to cook perfect, crispy air fryer broccoli. The most delicious way to make broccoli! Healthy, seasoned to perfection, and ready in 15 min!

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins

Servings: 3 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound broccoli florets cut into small, evenly sized pieces (about 4 to 5 cups florets, 2 small heads, or 2 pounds with stalks attached)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar optional; helps with caramelization
  • 2 tablespoons water

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest from about 1 medium lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice about 1/2 medium lemon
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • Place the florets in a mixing bowl and top with the olive oil, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and sugar. Toss to coat, making sure to rub the florets evenly with the oil and spices to prevent burning.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F according to the manufacturer’s instructions (for my air fryer that is 3 minutes preheat time).
  • Add the water to the bottom of the air fryer (it will hiss and splatter). Add the broccoli (if adding toppings, keep the bowl handy and don’t wash it yet). Let cook for 4 minutes.
  • Remove the basket and with tongs, toss the broccoli. Return it to the air fryer and continue cooking for 4 to 8 additional minutes, until crispy outside and tender when pieced with a fork. The cook time will vary based on your air fryer, so keep an eye on it and toss the broccoli every few minutes to promote even crisping.
  • Serve immediately, or if adding toppings, transfer the broccoli back to the mixing bowl. Top with the lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan, and/or red pepper flakes. Stir to coat. Serve hot.

Notes

  • TO STORE. Refrigerate the broccoli for up to 5 days.
  • TO REHEAT. Rewarm the broccoli in the air fryer or a regular oven at 350 degrees F.
  • TO COOK FROZEN BROCCOLI IN THE AIR FRYER: Add the frozen broccoli florets to the air fryer and air fry for 5 minutes (this will allow the broccoli to thaw a bit and the seasonings to stick). Remove them to the bowl, then toss with the oil and seasonings. Return to the air fryer and cook 6 to 10 additional minutes, tossing a few times throughout, until it is crisped to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 3Calories: 152kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgPotassium: 494mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gCalcium: 111mgIron: 1mg

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More Yummy Roasted Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are a great way to get your healthy servings. Even picky eaters approve!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. 1st time using my air fryer- the broccoli was perfect. Followed the recipe exactly including the toppings at the end. I have a Pampered Chef Air Fryer-did 4 minutes, tossed then 4 more minutes. Great recipe-will definitely use again!5 stars