Air Fryer Broccoli Isn't Ideal, But Here's The Right Way To Do It In A Pinch

At Tasting Table, we're big proponents of the air fryer, and it's hard not to be. The revolutionary cooking device is a game changer for everything from pork chops to sweet potatoes. We even have a list of the best fruits to cook in your air fryer. Even though we like to push the limits of air fryer creativity, we fully understand that there are some foods you should never cook in the air fryer. Among that list is fresh broccoli. Roasted broccoli itself isn't bad, but cooking it in the air fryer isn't our first choice. Not only does the air fryer make for a very quick (and often uneven) cook, but it can also cause your broccoli to dry out and burn. If you are in a pinch, however, we don't want to leave you high and dry. The best way to cook broccoli in your air fryer is to add moisture before you start cooking and then cook it low and slow.

In the air fryer, the tip of the florets can quickly brown before the stalk has a chance to become sufficiently tender. While this is often considered a good sign in roasted broccoli, the line between a slightly sweet golden brown caramelization and a dark brown char can be crossed very quickly in the air fryer because you can't keep a close eye on the broccoli while it's cooking. Reducing the temperature reduces the chance that your broccoli will turn bitter and burn.

How to make air fryer broccoli taste good

Perhaps it's not so much that you shouldn't cook fresh broccoli in your air fryer, but rather that you should take the time to learn how to do it right. First, you'll need to wash your broccoli and cut it into florets. Dry the florets with a paper towel, place them into a large bowl, and drizzle the florets evenly with a light coating of olive oil. While air frying reduces the amount of cooking oils you'll need, a gentle spritz of cooking spray or a drizzle of oil is still important to help retain moisture, especially for foods with little to no fat, like vegetables. Once the broccoli florets are lightly coated, toss them in your preferred flavoring. Just remember to use a light hand when seasoning your air fryer broccoli.

Preheat your air fryer to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and place the broccoli into the basket in an even layer. Allow the broccoli to cook for eight to 10 minutes, shaking the basket two or three times during the cooking process to make sure every piece gets cooked evenly. Depending on how you prefer the texture, you can cook your broccoli to be tender-crisp or utilize the upper end of the cooking range for softer florets. When done, the broccoli should be lightly browned and tender but not overly charred. Then, you can simply top it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a sprinkle of parmesan before serving.