Keeping frozen broccoli on hand is a great option for an easy side dish but no one enjoys eating it as mush! This air fryer frozen broccoli recipe results in crispy seasoned broccoli florets everyone will love! It’s easy, quick and will instantly become a favorite.
While I mostly shop and consume as much fresh produce as possible, I do keep a few bags of frozen vegetables on hand for convenience.
There’s always a time when they come in handy.
Whether it’s supplementing a recipe with fresh produce or, just one of those times you’re dealing with a completely empty fridge and need to make some dinner!
Frozen broccoli is probably the most common of them all and definitely my go to when it’s a frozen veggie kinda night. It’s also kind of nice to not have to deal with the whole process of cutting broccoli.
That said, let’s be honest, if you microwave, steam or sauté frozen broccoli it basically turns to a soggy mush.
I love vegetables but, I despise mushy vegetables.
Sure, you can always roast it but if you want a quicker and crispier outcome, the solution is to cook frozen broccoli in the air fryer.
Air fried frozen broccoli was kind of a surprise.
I’ve made air fryer carrots and air fryer eggplant before which has resulted in a perfectly roasted, crispy outcome but I admit, I was definitely skeptical if that would translate with a frozen vegetable.
Especially because making air fried okra with frozen okra doesn’t really work out so well.
Spoiler alert – for broccoli, it does.
The result of just 20 minutes in the air fryer is an insanely crispy, golden brown broccoli floret that not only makes an amazing side dish to literally any meal but, you could also eat these air fried frozen broccoli florets as a fry substitute along with your favorite dipping sauce.
THAT’S how crispy and perfectly seasoned they are.
INGREDIENTS FOR AIR FRIED FROZEN BROCCOLI
Simple, quick and delicious – that’s the name of the game with this broccoli.
Here’s everything you’ll need:
- frozen broccoli florets (best if they’re all about the same size)
- avocado oil
- garlic powder
- onion powder
The spice mixture is completely customizable. The basics for cooking frozen broccoli in the air fryer are really just the broccoli florets themselves and oil.
When cooking at high temperatures, I choose avocado oil for its nutrition and high smoke point.
This spice mixture has that perfect salty garlic addictiveness to it that most will like but feel free to take the seasonings in any direction you prefer.
Southwestern, cajun, Italian, etc. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
HOW TO COOK FROZEN BROCCOLI IN THE AIR FRYER
The somewhat surprising secret to making the perfect air fryer frozen broccoli is – don’t thaw it.
You heard that right, you can cook broccoli from a frozen state directly in the air fryer. Yep, a time saving technique that actually translates to a better outcome, gotta love that!
Start by preheating your air fryer to 400°F while you prepare the broccoli.
Place the frozen (not thawed) broccoli florets in a bowl. Drizzle the avocado oil on top of the broccoli and add all the spices. Mix until everything is well combined and the spice mixture is evenly coating the florets.
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Spread the broccoli out on the trays (or in the basket) of the air fryer in a single layer.
Air fry for 10 minutes. Then, if you have a tray model, rotate the trays. If you have a basket model air fryer, shake the basket. Air fry for another 8-10 minutes until the broccoli is crispy and golden brown.
If using substantially larger broccoli florets, you may need to increase the time in the air fryer. Adjust accordingly based on size of your frozen broccoli.
Serve the air fried broccoli with some lemon wedges or a dipping sauce and enjoy!
THE HEALTHIEST WAY TO COOK FROZEN BROCCOLI
I actually think air frying frozen broccoli is one of the healthiest ways to enjoy it.
Often times when microwaving or steaming, the flavor is so bland, people end up dousing the broccoli in an unhealthy sauce or dressing to make it taste decent.
When you air fry frozen broccoli you simply need one tablespoon of oil (per 4 cups) and whichever spices you choose to get an insanely flavorful end result.
One tablespoon of a heart healthy oil is way better nutritiously speaking than a cheese sauce or most commercially available dressings.
AIR FRYING VS. ROASTING FROZEN BROCCOLI
While I love roasted vegetables and it’s pretty much my default cooking method for any fresh produce I have on hand from roasted turnips to roasted kohlrabi to roasted broccoflower, I just don’t find it the best approach when it comes to frozen vegetables.
Firstly, roasting frozen vegetables really requires thawing first.
Then, after the vegetable is thawed, it needs to be squeezed of excess water.
If those things aren’t done, you end up with a liquid mess on a baking sheet in the oven and soggy vegetables.
Even if you take the time to thaw and drain, it’s a time suck and without a convection oven still often results in a subpar roasted vegetable.
Air frying frozen vegetables surprisingly takes less time and results in a crispier vegetable.
If you have an air-fryer, it’s really the best method for making most frozen vegetables especially frozen broccoli.
Save this roasted broccoli cauliflower gratin for the oven instead.
If these pictures don’t illustrate it enough, these air fried frozen broccoli florets get so incredibly crispy they’re like little vegetables fries!
Honestly, they become just like green bean fries, asparagus fries and eggplant fries (crispier than those actually!) and you could totally take that approach with them when serving by including a dipping sauce.
Using this lemon herb tahini dressing as a dip or even just some ketchup is a great idea for encouraging vegetable consumption with any picky eaters!
Running out of fresh produce will never be frowned upon again once you try this frozen broccoli!
MORE CRISPY VEGETABLE RECIPES TO ENJOY
Air Fryer Frozen Broccoli
- 4 cups frozen broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat air fryer at 400°F for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place the frozen broccoli florets in a large bowl.
- Pour the avocado oil on top of the broccoli then add the spices, salt and pepper. Toss until everything is well combined.
- Place the seasoned broccoli in the air fryer either on trays or in the basket depending on model. Air fry for 10 minutes then rotate the trays or shake the basket. Air fry for an additional 8-10 minutes until crispy and browned. Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.