Cooking broccoli in air fryer is quite easy. Toss it in parmesan and olive oil for a crispy cheesy taste that’s a great side dish with any meal.
Broccoli in air fryer seemed simple enough. I didn’t want it plain though, I’m all about the cheese when making vegetables. Try our olive oil and parmesan air fryer broccoli yourself and let us know what you think! Find this and many more instructions on our air fryer recipes page.
- Did you just get a Ninja Foodi or other air fryer this year?
- You may be looking for a few air fryer vegetables recipes. We have quite a few!
I will admit, it took me a few years to tackle this new machine but once I did I was in love! I should’ve started using this SO much sooner because everything I put it turns out great.
If you haven’t tried air fryer roasted broccoli, it’s different than any other. Broccoli in the Instant Pot comes out very tender but without any crisp.
Cooking broccoli florets in an air fryer basket is kinda’ the opposite. It won’t get super soft, but it will make it quite crispy on the outside pieces.
- I add a simple mixture of salt and pepper with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for flavor. You could include any seasonings you love and they will stay on quite well.
With any other air frying recipe you need to ensure that there is no overlapping. In case you are new and don’t understand the concept, this works because hot air circulates around the food. If it’s in more than one layer it won’t work properly.
Similar to our brussel sprouts in the air fryer recipe, you’ll get a nice char on the outer leaves or pieces. Increase the cooking time to brown them further, but the timing below works well for us.
Want to know the biggest tip to cooking broccoli in an air fryer (or any other extra firm veggie)?
- You need to add a bit of water into the bottom of your air fryer basket!
- I know, weird right? If you’ve never done this before you might not understand but here’s the gist of it.
- For firmer vegetables like broccoli stems and cabbage you need to steam it a bit as well as air fry it so it softens nicely.
- Here’s what I mean by adding water into the bottom, see the photos below for reference:
For this electric air fryer the basket sits on top of this solid basket/drawer. Many look the same way but just may be a different shape.
Can you steam veggies in an air fryer?
- If you want your florets to be really tender follow these steps:
- Add 1/4 c water into the bottom of your air fryer (under the basket where the food goes)
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Prep florets by chopping them to the size you want, keep them all the same size though.
- Drizzle with olive oil and cook for about 8-10 minutes
- Move pieces around in the basket a few times during cooking time.
Add salt and pepper to the top during and/or after they’re done for a low calorie broccoli recipe.
Why would you add water to an air fryer? For certain foods that are low in water content, it may cause your machine to smoke. It has a hard time softening such items because there isn’t enough moisture inside the cooking compartment.
- I am sure there is a more technical way to explain this, but you know what I mean by this. You could leave out the water but your vegetables will be a bit firm. Some prefer it this way so by all means do it to your preference.
Is frying broccoli healthy?
Broccoli is a green powerhouse of a vegetable with a ton of nutrients. It benefits digestion, the cardiovascular system and the immune system. It’s said to have anti-inflammatory and even cancer preventing properties. Naturally low in sodium and calories, it’s also a fat free vegetable.
- Frying broccoli in the traditional method with oil will reduce or take away all of these positive aspects. Air frying however will maintain it’s integrity as it just uses hot air to cook.
That’s where this air fryer broccoli and cheese recipe comes into play. I kid you not, my 3 girls would now rather eat a plate full of veggies vs. meat. It wasn’t always the case though. Year after year I’d try something new.
- As they grew up the deal was they had to try one bite, and that they did. Some took longer than others but eventually they gained a love for cauliflower, broccoli and even my spinach quiche recipe!
- Air frying vegetables brought their love to a whole new level though! I can’t get enough of them this way either.
I kid you not, I air fry “all the things” now because it makes everything so good! I get the crunchy crispy outsides I love without the laden calories you get with deep fried foods.
Speaking of this, you should try our air fryer zucchini chips next!
If you want a copy cat Carl’s Jr fried zucchini recipe, this is it!! I actually love it better than theirs because sometimes they use dirty oil and the after taste is horrible. Homemade is always best anyway, we all know that.
Here are a few other Ninja Foodi air fryer recipes to try. You can use any brand of machine to make them though.
- Air fryer cake is moist and delicious
- Chicken fried steak in an air fryer is a fun finger food
- Print this free air fryer cook times chart to help you create your own recipes
Printable instructions and nutritional information listed below in recipe card.
Broccoli in Air Fryer
- Pour 1/4 c water in the bottom portion of your air fryer, below the basket itself. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
- In a bowl put your small broccoli florets with all other ingredients and toss well so they are good and coated.
- Once air fryer is done preheating, pour florets into basket making sure they don't overlap. May have to do 2 rounds if your basket is small. Can sprinkle with a bit of salt, pepper, and/or chili flakes now if you'd like.
- Cook at 400 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes or until they're as done/tender/crispy as you'd like them to be. Start at 8 minutes, check, and add additional minutes if they aren't as tender as you'd want.