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No need to heat up the oven when you can make Air Fryer Asparagus. It is such a quick and easy way to enjoy this favorite spring vegetable with less oil than roasting. 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.
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.
Now that I’ve learned I can make perfectly crisp-tender asparagus in my air fryer in under ten minutes, I make it even more often.
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 parmesan crust to dress it up and make it even more delicious. It is made with cornmeal so it is gluten free, plus your choice of dried herbs for flavor.
Why Use an Air Fryer to Cook Asparagus?
- Less oil. 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. When makeing air fryer asparagus, it cooks more quickly. So 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.
- Cooks fast. It’s ready in no time – under ten minutes, actually! And the prep time is almost nonexistent.
- Save room in the oven. It is also helpful to cook asparagus in an air fryer when you are adding it to a holiday meal. You’ll save room for your ham, roast turkey, and corn pudding.
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. 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.
Preparations: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Wash and dry the asparagus and break off the woody stems. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Toss to coat and place it in the air fryer basket.
Air fry the asparagus: Cook at 400°F for 7-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus and your desired doneness.
For the Parmesan Asparagus
You really only need another minute or two to make this simple parmesan herb mixture to sprinkle over your asparagus before cooking. Follow the same preparations and cooking time and temperature but simply add this parmesan crust.
Make the parmesan crust: Combine the crust ingredients in a small bowl and toss them together with a fork. Sprinkle over the asparagus before air frying.
Tips for Success
Preparing your asparagus
Instead of wondering exactly where to trim asparagus spears, 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. 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.
Leftover air fried asparagus can be kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 or 4 days. I do not recommend freezing it, as it can get quite mushy.
It can be reheated in the microwave. But, especially if you add the parmesan, I recommend warming it up in the air fryer or oven at 400°F for about 3-5 minutes to crisp it up again.
Whether you keep it basic or make the asparagus with parmesan crust, this is a simple but special side dish. It can go from a weeknight meal to a weekend dinner to your holiday table on Easter and more!
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.
Recomended Air Fryer
The Cosori XL 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.
Then use it to make these air fryer vegetables:
Air Fryer Asparagus (with Optional Parmesan Crust)
- 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.