Can You Put Broccoli In An Air Fryer? (read this first)

The air fryer is definitely our “go to” appliance in the kitchen and not just another of those quirky “must have” gadgets that ends up collecting dust after the first few attempts at using it.

It’s such a versatile device which can be used to cook almost anything in a fast, healthy way. Which leads us to the question: can you cook broccoli in an air fryer? The answer is a resounding YES, you can cook broccoli in an air fryer and it’s an incredibly tasty way to cook it.

Why Cook Broccoli In An Air Fryer?

When we were kids we were always being told that we must eat our broccoli. After looking into the nutritional value of broccoli it all begins to make sense.

Nutritional Value Of Broccoli

In a 100g (4 ounce) serving broccoli contains

NutrientPercentage Of Daily Requirement
Potassium9%
Fibre10%
Protein5%
Vitamin C148%
Iron3%
Vitamin B610%
Magnesium5%
Calcium 4%

Sadly, some forms of cooking destroy many of these nutrients because they are water soluble. This means boiling or even steaming broccoli lessens its nutrient value.

Air frying, on the other hand, retains all of those nutrients because you don’t cook food in an air fryer using water. The hot air that passes over the food actually seals in the nutrients, making air fried broccoli one of the healthiest forms of eating broccoli (apart from eating it raw).

So Why Air Fry Broccoli?

Firstly, as we’ve just seen, air frying broccoli is a great way to seal in those nutrients. But more importantly, it tastes amazing, even the kids enjoy it.

Added to which it’s so easy to prepare and cook using the air fryer.

Let’s go over that again, you should air fry broccoli because;

  1. It’s healthy
  2. It tastes great
  3. It’s easy to prepare and cook

How To Cook Broccoli In An Air Fryer?

Air frying broccoli turns a pretty mundane vegetable into a tasty teatime treat. The whole process takes around 10 to 12 minutes from fridge to plate. All you need to do is follow this simple recipe.

Ingredients

You will need;

  • 1 to 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of light olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder

Method

  1. Prepare the broccoli by trimming from the main stalk and cutting any bigger pieces into small bite size chunks. 
  2. Place the prepared broccoli into a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with light olive oil, salt pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Mix to ensure all of the broccoli is coated in the oil and seasoning.
  5. Arrange in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  6. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes at 180 C (350 F) 
  7. Shake the basket to turn the broccoli halfway through the cooking time.
  8. Once the broccoli is slightly crispy on the outside, serve.

For more flavour, try sprinkling with parmesan cheese after serving.

We recommend using light olive oil not virgin or extra virgin olive oil because of its smoke point. An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which that oil begins to burn. 

If the oil burns and begins to smoke it will make the food being cooked smell and taste bad. For more information on which type of oil to use in an air fryer check out this article.

Can You Cook Frozen Broccoli In An Air Fryer?

You can cook frozen broccoli in an air fryer but don’t defrost it first, to get the best results it should be cooked from frozen.

All you need to do is;

  1. Brush the air fryer basket with light olive oil to prevent the broccoli from sticking.
  2. Place the frozen broccoli in a single layer in the basket.
  3. Lightly brush with light olive oil (no more than 2 tablespoons in total).
  4. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder and shake to ensure all of the frozen broccoli florets are covered in seasoning.
  5. Air fry for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 C (350 F).
  6. Shake the basket after 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Check after 10 to 12 minutes, you want the broccoli to be crispy but not burning.
  8. Once the broccoli is crispy, serve.

This works just as well for frozen cauliflower too.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is air fryer broccoli still healthy?

If anything, cooking broccoli in an air fryer is the best way to cook it and preserve its nutrients. Many of the nutrients found in broccoli are water soluble which means boiling, poaching or steaming all result in the loss of nutrients. Air frying actually seals those nutrients into the broccoli as it cooks.

How do I keep broccoli from burning in my air fryer?

The best way to prevent broccoli from burning in your air fryer is to coat it using 1 to 2 tablespoons of light olive oil and then cooking at a temperature of 180 C (350 F) for 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the basket after 4 to 5 minutes.

Why are my vegetables not crispy from the air fryer?

The main reason for vegetables to not get crispy in an air fryer is because they are overcrowded. Try cooking less vegetables at a time and only ever place vegetables in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Another reason could be because you have used too much oil. When coating vegetables with oil less is best.

Can you put water in the air fryer to steam vegetables?

You should not put water in the air fryer to steam vegetables. An air fryer cooks by passing hot air around the food and is not designed to steam cook food.

Should I steam my broccoli before air frying?

It is not necessary to steam your broccoli before air frying it. You can use fresh or frozen broccoli in an air fryer, but frozen broccoli will take a few more minutes to cook.

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