This Air Fryer Asparagus is a healthier alternative to French fries! Ready in about 20 minutes, they are crisp, golden and makes a tasty snack or side dish. Eating vegetables doesn't have to be boring!
This air fryer asparagus recipe has become one of our family favorite snack. It is crispy when hot and tastes amazing with a spicy sriracha dipping sauce.
Asparagus is delicious grilled, roasted in the oven or made into this quick pan fried asparagus. Although it is much easier to throw them into a baking sheet with some olive oil and let the oven do the work, it is fun to switch things up and give the spring veggie a make over (check out more recipes for spring season).
The spears cook tender with a crisp coating, making them perfect for dipping! This air fryer asparagus recipe is easy and quick, only takes about 8 minutes to cook. So the next time you have a sudden urge for greasy french fries, give these air fryer asparagus fries a try. They are sure to fulfill those cravings!
Thick or thin asparagus?
You can find usually find fat and meaty stalks or thin as pencils. Both will work for this air fryer asparagus recipe. However there are some pros and cons.
Thicker ones will stay firmer and hold their shape better and make it perfect for dipping when compared to the pencil thin guys. Whereas, thinner stalks are great when served hot but tend to get limpy after an hour or so (Check out more detailed description on selecting thick or thin asparagus on cooksillustrated.com).
Why this recipe works?
- Asparagus, in particular has the perfect shape and size to make fries!
- They’re nutritious, healthy, made without any oil, and they are light and guilt free.
- I used my tried and tested method instead of the standard breading procedure. More sticking power and less mess! You might also like this crispy baked buffalo chicken tenders using the same method.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Asparagus - Look for stalks that are firm, fairly straight, have a bright green color and the tips should be tightly closed. Avoid wilted or soft stalks with dry cracked ends.
- Seasonings - Salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
- Eggs - Eggs are the main base for binding and flax eggs won't work here.
- Flour - We used all purpose flour, but you can use whole wheat or gluten free flours as well.
- Parmesan: Using parmesan in the breading, make the air fryer asparagus fries flavorful, crispy and nutty.
- Panko breadcrumbs - Panko gives a light, delicate coating without making it heavy. However use whatever bread crumbs you like or have on hand.
Pro Tip - One pound of using thick stalks or half a pound if suing thin variety makes one batch and will fit in a single layer in the basket.
How to make?
You can find full printable recipe below, but here is a quick overview of the procedure along with step-by-step photos.
Wash and trim your asparagus - Asparagus can have grit in its tips, so give them a good rinse under cold water and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Snap off the tough and woody portions of each stalk with your hand — it should break off naturally.
1 & 2. Add panko breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes into a mini food processor or any dry grinder.
3 & 4. Process until coarsely ground, but not super fine. You want some texture!
5 & 6. Add eggs, all purpose flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a shallow dish and whisk until it forms a smooth batter.
7 & 8. Using tongs, dip each aspargus, one at a time into the egg-flour batter, making sure that it is thoroughly coated on all sides.
Tip: Pat dry your stalks thoroughly! This ensures the batter adheres better without sliding off.
9 & 10. Using tongs, remove the asparagus from the batter, letting the excess batter drip away and then place into the panko-parmesan mixture. Toss around to make sure it's covered on all sides, pressing to adhere.
Air fry - Place them in a single layer without over lapping, at pre heated 400 degree and spray a coating of non-stick cooking spray (this gives more beautiful golden crust, but you can skip for a totally oil-free recipe). Cook until deep golden in color for 6 to 8 minutes.
Pro Tip - One pound of thick stalks or half a pound if pencil thin ones will fit in a single layer in a 6 quart air fryer.
Pro Tip: Don’t overcrowd! Try to keep the spears in one layer so they get adequate circulation of hot air, and crisp on the outside.
How to serve?
This air fryer asparagus fries can be served in a variety of different ways! We love to enjoy them as nutritious snack with any of the following sauce suggestions:
- Sriracha lemon sauce (recipe provided)
- Ranch dressing
- Buffalo Ranch
- Burger sauce - Mix mayo, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, vinegar and sugar (we like this recipe from Browneyedbaker).
- Garlic mayo - Mix mayo, lemon juice, finely grated garlic, salt and ground black pepper.
- Honey Dijon
- Hollandaise - We love this recipe from downshiftology.com
How to store leftovers?
Because of the breading and the moisture content in the spears, these really are best served fresh. I recommend using thick stalks if you are planning to serve them a bit later. They not only stay crisper but also hold the shape better for dipping. Thin stalks are less meaty and limp after about 2 hours.
- Fridge - In a covered container for up to 3 days.
- Freezer - To freeze, place leftovers in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until frozen solid. Transfer to freezer safe zip lock bag and store up to 2 months.
- Reheat - Reheat for 3-4 minutes at 400 degrees. When reheating from frozen, cook at 380 degrees or until hot.
- Single layer - Cook them in a single layer without overlapping for an even brown crispy crust.
- Thick or Thin - Thicker spears will hold firm for dipping even when cold and is perfect for making ahead and thinner ones are great if served right away.
- Skip grinding? You can simply stir panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes in a shallow dish and coat the spears with it. However, we found that the ground bread crumb mixture gave an even and uniform coating to the vegetable.
- Switch up the seasonings - Feel free any of your favorite seasonings.
- Make it gluten free - Use gluten free flour and gluten free panko breadcrumbs.
- Double the recipe - Make sure that you cook in two batches without over crowding.
When purchasing, look for spears that are fresh, vibrant, plump and firm with tightly closed tips. Their color should not be faded. Both thick and thin variety will work for this recipe. Thicker ones will stay firmer for a longer period of time whereas thinner fries are best eaten hot.
This recipe can be easily baked in the oven. Place a wire rack on a cookie sheet, then place the panko breaded spears on top of wire rack in a single layer and give a lavish oil spray. Bake in pre heated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes or deep brown.
Fresh spears works best for air frying. Frozen stalks contain a lot of moisture and may cause the fries to be soggy.
If you think that your spears are very gritty, then they will benefit from a quick soak. However, I find that this step is not necessary since the spears are fairly clean from the grocery store. However, you will definitely need to wash them well to remove the grit.
More Air Fryer Snacks to try
Air Fryer Asparagus
- Wash and pat dry asparagus until thoroughly dried and trim the tough ends.
- Add all purpose flour, eggs, salt, garlic powder and black pepper into a broad dish and mix until well combined.
- Add panko breadcrumbs, parmesan and red pepper flakes into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer into another broad dish or plate.
- Dip each aspargus into the egg-flour batter, making sure that it is thoroughly coated and then gently toss to coat the parmesan-panko mixture and place into a plate.
- Pre heat air fryer to 400°F for 7 minutes. When hot, gently transfer asparagus into the basket in a single layer, without over lapping and spray a coating of non-stick cooking spray (this gives more beautiful golden crust, but you can skip for a totally oil-free recipe). Cook until deep golden in color for 6 to 8 minutes.Pro Tip: Don’t overcrowd! Try to keep the spears in one layer so they get adequate circulation of hot air, and crisp on the outside.
- Serve with your favorite dipping sauce (recipe in notes) or marinara.
Nutritional information, based on third-party calculations, should be seen as estimates, not guarantees, as various factors like product types, brands, processing methods, and more can alter the nutritional content in recipes.
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