Air Fryer Asparagus with Parmesan

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Air Fryer Asparagus is such a quick and easy way to enjoy this favorite spring vegetable with fewer calories and fat than roasting. No need to heat up the oven to make roasted asparagus. You can get perfectly crisp tender results using the air fry method. Keep it plain and simple, or add the optional gluten free parmesan crust for more flavor and texture.

tips of roasted asparagus with parmesan crumb crust

Tender Crisp Air Fryer Asparagus

When those perfectly green bunches of asparagus start showing up at the grocery store in the spring, I just can’t get enough. Whether I am roasting it in the oven or making grilled asparagus, it’s all I can do to keep myself from eating the entire pan.

Come on over for dinner in the summer, and I’ll serve it alongside my husband’s perfectly grilled flank steak. And naturally, it is always on the menu with our Easter ham! Now that I’ve learned I can make perfectly crisp-tender asparagus in my air fryer in under ten minutes, I am happy to share.

When it is fresh and in season, asparagus needs nothing more than olive oil, salt, and pepper. But I also love to add a little finishing touch with a simple crust. When I was a kid, my grandma taught me how to add a crumbly buttery bread crumb topping to the asparagus we served on Easter.

I’ve lightened that up a bit and made it gluten free. But this simple parmesan crust made with cornmeal and your choice of dried herbs is a simple way to dress it up and make it even more delicious.

Why Use an Air Fryer to Cook Asparagus?

One of the main advantages of making air fryer asparagus is that you can use significantly less oil than when you roast asparagus in the oven. For oven-roasted asparagus, you need to use enough oil to keep it from sticking to the pan as well as to prevent it from burning in the time it takes to cook it to that perfect crisp-tender texture.

Because it cooks more quickly in the air fryer, you really only need about a teaspoon of olive oil to lightly coat a pound of asparagus. You’ll still end up with it perfectly cooked, but no risk of burnt tips and ends.

Speaking of cooking quickly, it’s ready in no time – under ten minutes, actually! And the prep time is almost nonexistent.

It is also helpful to cook asparagus in an air fryer when you are adding it to a holiday meal. You’ll save room in the oven for your ham, turkey, and corn pudding. And you’ll usually want to roast vegetables at a higher temperature than you need for cooking the other dishes.

simple air fryer roasted asparagus on a white rectangular plate

What You’ll Need

As I mentioned, you can keep it with the simplest of seasonings. But with just a few extra ingredients and another minute or two of work, you can make a simple (and gluten free!) parmesan herb crust.

For the air fryer asparagus

  • Asparagus: About a pound fits perfectly in many air fryers and can easily serve four. If you want to make more, I suggest quickly cooking multiple batches.
  • Olive oil: A teaspoon is enough to coat those stalks for air frying.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: Just a little seasoning is all you need.

For the parmesan crust

  • Olive oil: Just enough to moisten the topping.
  • Cornmeal: A great gluten free alternative to breadcrumbs, though be sure the brand you buy isn’t cross-contaminated with wheat if that is a concern for you.
  • Grated parmesan cheese: The key ingredient. The salty, toasty flavor after it crisps up in the air fryer is out of this world.
  • Dried herbs: Italian seasoning or parsley or oregano are all great choices depending on what you are serving it with.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper: You’ve got to season the crust too.

How to Make Asparagus in the Air Fryer

Here is a quick overview. You can get all of the details, including ingredient quantities, in the recipe card below.

  1. Preparations: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Wash and dry the asparagus and break off the woody stems. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place in the air fryer basket.
  2. Air fry the asparagus: Cook at 400°F for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus and your desired doneness.

How to Make Air Fryer Asparagus with Parmesan

You really only need another minute or two to make this simple parmesan herb mixture to sprinkle over your asparagus before cooking.

  1. Preparations: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Wash and dry the asparagus and break off the woody stems. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place in the air fryer basket.
  2. Make the crust: Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl and toss them together with a fork. Sprinkle over the asparagus.
  3. Air fry the asparagus: Cook at 400°F for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus and your desired doneness.

Tips for Success

Preparing your asparagus

Instead of wondering exactly where to cut your asparagus, just pick up each stalk, hold it at the woody stem and in the middle. Then gently bend until it breaks. Asparagus seems to magically know the perfect spot to break so that you get rid of the tough part and keep the part that cooks perfectly.

Coat it well with oil

While you only need a little bit of oil, you’ll want to make sure you get those tips coated as they are most likely to get overcooked or burn.

Watch the cooking time

I give the cooking time as 7-10 minutes. But if you are cooking that super pencil-thin asparagus, you might even want to check it after 5 minutes. Your “average” thickness asparagus stalks will be ready right around that 7-8 minute mark, depending on how much you like them cooked. The very thick ones will need closer to 9-10 minutes.

parmesan crusted air fryer roasted asparagus on a white rectangular plate

Serving Suggestions

Make it a Meal

Whether you keep it basic or make the asparagus with parmesan crust, this is a simple but special side dish that can go from weeknight meal to weekend dinner to your holiday table on Easter and more!

Quick Weeknight Meal

What to Do with Roasted Asparagus

Besides serving it as a side dish, you can also add it to these recipes. Just skip the steps that call for roasting or sautéing the asparagus, and use the air fryer asparagus instead.

air fryer asparagus with parmesan being picked up from white rectangular plate with wooden tongs

Brianne Recommends

This is the air fryer I use almost daily and love. You can cook the asparagus right in the basket, but you also have the option of lining it with parchment paper for easy cleanup. These sheets fit perfectly and have holes to maintain the perfect air flow. Finally, if you need that certified gluten free cornmeal, this is a great brand.

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air fryer asparagus with parmesan cheese crust on a white rectangular plate

Air Fryer Asparagus (with Optional Parmesan Crust)

A quick and easy way to prepare this favorite spring vegetable with perfectly crisp tender results, less calories and fat, and no need to heat up the oven. Keep it plain and simple, or add the optional gluten free parmesan crust for more flavor and texture.
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the asparagus:

For the parmesan crust:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning or parsley or oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 400°F. Wash and dry asparagus thoroughly and snip off woody stems.
  • Toss the asparagus with olive oil, being sure to coat the tips thoroughly. Season with salt, and pepper and place in the air fryer basket.
  • If you are adding the optional parmesan crust, combine the olive oil, cornmeal, parmesan cheese, dried herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and toss with a fork to mix thoroughly. Sprinkle the crust mixture evenly over the asparagus.
  • Cook in the air fryer at 400°F for 7-10 minutes, or until tender and roasted. Time will depend on thickness of the asparagus and your desired doneness.

Notes

If you are making very thin asparagus (about pencil thickness or thinner), you will want to check it at about 5 minutes.
The nutrition information includes the parmesan crust. For the plan roasted asparagus, one serving is about 32 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 4.5 grams carbohydrates, and 2.5 grams protein.
Nutrition Facts
Air Fryer Asparagus (with Optional Parmesan Crust)
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 79 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 458mg19%
Potassium 245mg7%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 874IU17%
Vitamin C 6mg7%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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