Make perfect Roasted Broccoli in the Air Fryer that tastes amazing with only a few simple ingredients like fresh lemon, garlic, and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
We enjoy adding fresh veggies to our daily meals to make them well rounded and healthy. For more side dishes, check out this Roasted Asparagus, made with lemon and parmesan or Whole Baked Sweet Potatoes. These sweet Brown Sugar Carrots make a great side for kids that don’t like vegetables.
Air Fryer Broccoli and Cheese
Roasting broccoli makes the best broccoli, it gets nice and crispy on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. I am sure that if you have tried it, then it’s got to be one of your favorite ways of eating broccoli, too.
And if you have never tried roasted broccoli, now is your time, you must try this broccoli air fryer recipe!
When cooking broccoli in the air fryer, it gets wonderfully roasted and cooks so much quicker than making it in the oven.
Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan
Broccoli can get a bad rap. I know that I personally have eaten my fair share of bad steamed broccoli.
When overcooked on the stove over boiling water, broccoli can get squishy, bitter, and can be just plain gross.
I think this is part of the reason so many people (especially kids) hate the taste and texture of broccoli. They just haven’t ever had broccoli that’s been caramelized in the roasting process.
It’s not that there is anything wrong with steamed broccoli (I happen to love it), but it is very easy to over steam the broccoli.
To turn blah broccoli into wow broccoli all you need to do is add the juice and zest of a lemon, garlic, sea salt, a generous bit of freshly ground pepper, and if you like, a final sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Pro Tip! My number one tip is to add a tablespoon or two of water to the bottom air fryer basket. Or if you are using an oven style air fryer, put the water in a small oven safe dish. It will help in the cooking process of the broccoli.
Roasted broccoli in an air fryer comes out pretty crisp. If you like your broccoli even softer then I recommend microwaving the broccoli before air frying it. Just add broccoli to a microwave safe bowl with 1/2 cup of water. Microwave for 4-5 minutes until it is cooked to your liking, drain any water. Continue with the recipe as it is written, it may need a little less roasting time so just check on it during air frying.
What Nutrients are in Broccoli
Broccoli is surprisingly healthy, it’s full of vitamin C (one cup of broccoli has as much vitamin C as an orange), fiber, potassium, folate, and even a fair bit of iron. It’s so good for you plus 1/2 cup of plain broccoli only has 15 calories.
Why Make This Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan Recipe
- Quick cooking. It cooks quicker than roasting broccoli in the oven.
- Delicious side dish. Roasted broccoli makes a great side dish that pairs well with so many recipes.
- Extra healthy. Not only is roasted broccoli yummy, it’s also healthy.
- Very versatile. Use this broccoli recipe for other recipes or eat it by itself.
How to Cut Broccoli
Step 1: Wash the broccoli well under running water or soak in vinegar water. Dry off excess water.
Step 2: Lay broccoli on its side on a cutting board.
Step 3: Cut each floret off where it attaches to the main stalk. You can cut the stems a little shorter if they are too long. Since you want the pieces to be uniform in size, cut the larger florets in half.
Pro Tip! You don’t have to throw away the stalk of the broccoli, it is also edible. You can use a vegetable peeler to take off the thick, fibrous exterior and cut off the dirty base of the stalk. Then cut the stalk into chunks for dipping into dip, add it into broccoli cheese soup or make broccoli slaw.
What to Serve With Broccoli?
We love this tasty side dish and have to admit that we eat a lot of broccoli in this house. Here are some fun ways to eat more broccoli.
- Make it a healthy meal and serve this with air fryer chicken breast.
- Add this broccoli to any pasta dish for extra nutrients.
- Eat this roasted broccoli with air fryer garlic. You can omit the garlic in the recipe and just spread the roasted garlic on after cooking the broccoli.
- Crumble up some cooked air fryer bacon and add to the air fryer broccoli recipe.
- Add the baked broccoli florets to these air fried potato skins.
- Mix into white rice for a healthy and filling dish or incorporate it into broccoli egg fried rice.
- Use roasted broccoli in salads.
- Top the broccoli with hot beer cheese or gooey queso (drooling face emoji).
How to Make This Broccoli Vegetarian
Parmesan cheese is not a vegetarian cheese since it is made with an animal rennet (neither is pecorino romano, manchego, gruyère, grana padano, camembert, gorgonzola, emmenthaler, and vacherin, just fyi). If you are looking for an alternative, you can pick up an Italian Style Hard Cheese. I like Twineham Grange for a parmesan cheese alternate.
Just be sure to check the label to be sure it is free of animal ingredients. Or just leave the cheese off all together to make this veggie side dish completely vegan.
Air Fryer Ingredients
- Broccoli: One small head of fresh broccoli, about 2 cups.
- Oil: I like to use extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Garlic: I like to use powdered garlic so that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Salt: Sea salt or kosher salt.
- Pepper: Freshly ground black pepper.
- Cheese: I like to use freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Adding cheese is completely optional.
- Lemon: You will need a little juice from a lemon, this is optional.
How to Roast Broccoli in Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer. Clean and cut up broccoli.
- In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, pepper, parmesan, and garlic.
- Add in the broccoli and combine well to coat.
- Add broccoli to the air fryer. Add water into the bottom of the air fryer. Cook, making sure to flip the broccoli at the halfway point.
- Top cooked broccoli with lemon juice and extra cheese if wanted. Serve immediately.
Air Fryer Broccoli Tips and Tricks
- Space out the broccoli. If broccoli is cooked too closely together, it will only steam the broccoli and not let it get all crispy on the sides. Keep the broccoli in a single layer, with space between the broccoli pieces so that they can cook evenly and get all caramelized.
- Small pieces. Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces so it’s easy to eat, but make sure they are uniform so that they all cook evenly. That may mean cutting some of the florets in half.
- Check on the broccoli. At any time feel free to open the air fryer to make sure the broccoli is not burning. If the broccoli is getting too dark drop the temperature down by 20°.
- Get your hands dirty. I like to kind of massage the oil mixture into the broccoli florets, using my hands works well.
- Add water. Put 1-2 tablespoons of water in the bottom basket or in a small oven safe bowl placed at bottom of an oven style air fryer.
Roasted Broccoli Variations
There are so many ways to make this simple broccoli recipe even more incredible. Here are some ideas to add a little more flavor to your roasted broccoli. You can try these options with or without the parmesan cheese and lemon.
- Additional toppings. Top with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze to the cooked broccoli. Use a different cheese besides parmesan like pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, or mozzarella.
- Make it spicy. Add in red pepper flakes or 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne powder to the oil garlic mixture.
- Mexican broccoli. Add 1/2 -1 teaspoon of a combination of chili powder, cumin, or oregano to uncooked broccoli, then cook according to the directions. Or to cooked broccoli sprinkle on some Tajin (made of dried chilis, lime, and sea salt).
- Italian broccoli. Before cooking oiled broccoli, add on 1/2-1 teaspoon of any combination of the following dried, chopped rosemary, dried oregano, dried basil, and dried thyme or just use Italian seasoning. Then cook according to the directions.
- Indian broccoli. Sprinkle uncooked, olive oiled broccoli with 1/2-1 teaspoon of garam masala or Indian curry powder, salt, and pepper. Then cook according to the directions.
- Asian broccoli. Use sesame oil in place of olive oil, mix with two tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of ginger. Cook the broccoli and top with white or black sesame seeds.
- Ranch broccoli (aka crack broccoli). Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry ranch seasoning in with the oil mixture. You can leave off the garlic if you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is roasted broccoli good for you? Roasted broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals, some are lost in the cooking process.
Can you make air fryer broccoli ahead of time? Yes, you can make air fried broccoli in advance. Just make sure you let it cool down completely and place into an airtight container. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
Can roasted broccoli be frozen? Yes, you can freeze cooked broccoli. See storage instructions below for how to do it.
Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan Storage Instructions
How to refrigerate roasted broccoli? Let the broccoli cool and put in an air tight container. It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
How do you reheat steamed broccoli in an air fryer? Pre-heat the air fryer to 350° F. Cook broccoli for 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn.
How to freeze roasted broccoli? Let broccoli cool completely before putting into an air tight, freezer safe container. Broccoli can be frozen for 3-6 months, just be sure to label with the recipe and date.
How to thaw frozen steamed broccoli? Thaw frozen cooked broccoli on a plate in the refrigerator overnight until defrosted.
Try these air fryer favorites!
- Frozen Rolls in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Air Fried Squash and Zucchini
- Roasted Garlic in the Air Fryer
- Cornish Hen in Air Fryer
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Air Fryer Roasted Broccoli Parmesan
- 2 cups broccoli florets fresh
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese shredded
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice optional
- Preheat air fryer to 390°F. Clean the head of broccoli and cut into bite-sized florets.
- In a large bowl, combine together the olive oil, minced garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Add in the broccoli and mix well to coat. Use your hands to really get the mixture into the broccoli florets.
- Add broccoli into the preheated air fryer. Put 1-2 tablespoons of water in the bottom basket or in a small oven safe dish in the lower level for oven style air fryer
- Cook the broccoli for 6-8 minutes. Set a timer to shake the basket half way through the cook time.
- Sprinkle the broccoli with lemon juice and additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.
- If broccoli is cooked too closely together, it will only steam the broccoli and not let it get all crispy on the sides. Keep the broccoli in a single layer, with space between the broccoli pieces so that they can cook evenly and get all caramelized.
- Cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces so it’s easy to eat, but make sure they are uniform so that they all cook evenly. That may mean cutting some of the florets in half.
- At any time feel free to open the air fryer to make sure the broccoli is not burning. If the broccoli is getting too dark drop the temperature down by 20°.
- Massage the oil mixture into the broccoli florets, using your hands works well.
- Let the broccoli cool and put in an air tight container. It should last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
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