This Air Fryer Broccoli is made using my fool proof technique to make crispy roasted broccoli florets without burnt edges.
Broccoli becomes amazingly sweet, caramelized and nutty, when roasted in the air fryer. It draws out their natural sugars and intensifies their flavor.
The thin coating of olive oil is essential, because it's a better heat distribution medium. Extra virgin olive oil is the first oil expressed and extracted from fresh olives. A good quality extra virgin olive oil has a fruity, grassy and buttery notes.
Air fryer broccoli has a crispy texture without being greasy, cooks in less than 8 minutes and few minutes of prep time. Have you tried this tasty broccoli cranberry salad?
When you bring home your broccoli head, keep it loosely wrapped in plastic, inside your crisper draw. It should stay fresh for at least a week. It is best to use it right away after cutting the head into florets to prevent moisture loss.
Air fryer broccoli often ends up smoking or results in florets with almost black edges, before the inside cooks. I developed a fool proof technique of Steam-Roasting, which allows the florets not get burnt.
What is steam-roasting? You add a splash of water into the basket, which creates some steam and prevents the florets from charring too much.
Why this recipe works?
The high heat from air fryer rapidly begins caramelizing and charring the florets, browning the exterior, while leaving a bit of fresh crunch in the centre.
There's a significant loss in moisture on the exterior buds and they begin browning at an exponential state, before the inside cooks. The steam roasting makes up for the moisture loss, keeping the buds tender and moist, even when subjected to high heat.
Scroll down to the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and amounts.
- Broccoli - When buying broccoli heads, look for tight florets that are evenly dark green in color. Have extra broccoli? Try it in chicken broccoli alfredo or shrimp broccoli stir fry.
- Olive oil - You don’t need a ton of olive oil, just a couple of tablespoons. That is the beauty of air frying, there isn’t much oil needed at all!
- Seasonings - Salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
Tip: Cutting evenly sized florets is the key to evenly cooked results and also create plenty of surface area.
- Garlic Parmesan - Skip garlic powder and add about 4 cloves of grated garlic (grated garlic tends to adhere better to the florets when compared to chopped ones) along with seasoning and proceed as instructed. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the florets, when done.
- Cheesy - Sprinkle grated cheddar on top of the florets in the last minute of roasting. Check out this broccoli with cheese recipe, which is an over cooked version.
- Parmesan - Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan on top, right after cooking, like in chicken pasta bake.
- Lemon - Toss cooked florets with freshly squeezed lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest.
- Spicy - Increase red pepper flakes in the recipe.
- Balsamic - Finish the dish with a drizzle of good balsamic vinegar.
- Mexican - Toss with homemade taco seasoning for a Mexican twist.
- Indian - Mix with turmeric powder, chili powder, black pepper powder, cumin seeds, grated garlic, salt and vegetable oil instead of olive oil.
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.
1.Cut broccoli into florets - Trim the woody ends of the stalks and discard. Using the tip of a large knife, cut the florets off the stalks and trim into large florets.
Tip: Did you know the stalks are equally nutritious and tasty? Peel the stalks, using a vegetable peeler, and slice into 1 inches lengths.
2 & 3. Toss florets with olive oil and seasonings, making sure that the seasoning coats evenly.
4. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water into the basket and then place florets in a single layer on the grill plate. Cook at 390° for 8 minutes (giving a shake mid way) and serve hot.
Tip: The high heat maximizes caramelization while still maintaining a pleasant crunch.
How to serve?
- Perfect side dish with your favorite pastas , rice, chicken, shrimp, fish, air fryer pizza or other dinner recipes.
- More kid friendly meal pairings include one pot mac and cheese.
Storage and reheating
Cook air fryer broccoli, and cool completely before refrigerating in a sealed container for up to 4 days.
- Reheating in the air fryer - Best for re-crisping! Place the florets, in a single layer, in a pre heated 350°F air fryer, for 2 to 4 minutes (depends on the quantity), until heated through.
- Reheating in microwave - It won’t be as crispy when you heat it in the microwave. Just warm it for 2-3 minutes or until it’s hot all the way through.
Here are a few tips to ensure that this is the best roasted broccoli in very few minutes-
- Floret size - Cut florets into medium size florets (about 1 and ½ inches) and make sure that all florets are the same size, which ensures even cooking.
- Coat well - Toss the florets together with seasonings, in a bowl prior to transferring to the basket. This allows all the nooks and crannies of the flower to be packed with flavor.
- If using lesser broccoli, then reduce oven temperature accordingly (refer recipe for details).
- Pat dry– Make sure you dry the florets after rinsing, so the oil and seasonings will adhere better. Otherwise, the oil will bead off the water.
- Don’t crowd the basket- Air fryers work by quickly circulating hot air throughout the basket. Leave some space between florets so the air can hit all sides for crisping up.
Yes but do not thaw them. Cook them frozen in the same temperature, but add seasoning half way through cooking. And, also skip the added water into the basket, when using frozen ones.
It is a good practice to wash all vegetables before cooking. Simply place the flower under cold running water, making sure to scrub and rinse every nook and cranny. You could also immerse in a bowl filled with a water, mixed with a splash of vinegar. Drain water and pat dry before cutting.
Sure can! Prepare recipe as instructed, transfer to a baking sheet, spreading in a single layer and bake in a pre heated 400 degree oven, for 15 to 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees if doubling the recipe.
More air fryer vegetables
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Air Fryer Broccoli
- 6 cups chopped broccoli florets about 12 ounces, cut into medium size
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add all ingredients into a large bowl and toss well, until well combined. Tip: Make sure that the seasonings coats all the nooks and crannies of the broccoli florets.
- Pre heat the air fryer for 7 minutes at 390°F. When hot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons water into the bottom of the air fryer basket and place broccoli florets on the grill plate, spreading to a single layer. Tip: There's a significant loss in moisture on the exterior buds and they begin browning at an exponential state, before the inside cooks. The steam roasting makes up for the moisture loss, keeping the buds tender and moist, even when subjected to high heat.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, giving them a good shake half way, until it turns a vibrant green with some char on the outside. Tip: Broccoli florets in the perimeter tends to brown sooner than the middle. So, give them a shake halfway through cooking.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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Which is more crispy, deep fried or air fryer?
Deep fried..of course😃