Air fryer asparagus is perfectly crispy outside and tender inside, cooks in just minutes, and is a truly versatile, delicious, healthy side dish. Low-carb, keto, gluten-free, vegan, paleo, whole30, etc.!
For the longest time, my favorite year-round method for cooking asparagus was to roast it in the oven. The dry heat caramelizes the sugars within and enhances the flavor while crisping up the outside for crispy, nutty, savory, slightly sweet veggie perfection. Now, you can achieve the same results in less than half the time, sometimes as low as just 3 minutes (!!), with this air fryer asparagus recipe!
Plus, when you cook asparagus in an air fryer, it requires just a few minutes of prep, minimal fat, low clean up, and even less effort than sautéed asparagus. Once cooked, they’re perfectly crisp-tender, vibrant, delicious, and jam-packed with antioxidants, gut-friendly fiber, micronutrients like vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, potassium, and folate.
Having made this air fryer asparagus 6 times in the last month, I think I’m obsessed! Looking for more super quick and simple veggie recipes, though? You might like my 10-minute air fryer green beans, most delicious pan-fried zucchini, or 5-minute sugar snap peas.
Ingredients for Air Fryer Asparagus
At its simplest, fresh asparagus only requires a little salt and pepper to become a five-star side dish. For this air fryer asparagus recipe, I used:
- Asparagus: You can use thin, medium, or thick fresh asparagus stalks. I don’t recommend using frozen or canned asparagus for this method.
- Olive Oil: Or another neutral cooking oil like avocado oil, coconut oil, etc. You could alternatively use low-calorie cooking spray if preferred.
- Salt & Pepper: Season to taste. For more umami, use a splash of soy sauce instead of salt.
My other favorite version is garlic parmesan asparagus. I simply add about ½ teaspoon garlic powder to the seasoning and sprinkle over some freshly grated parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup) when I air fry asparagus.
Optionally, garnish the air-fried asparagus with some lemon slices/lemon juice and/or red pepper flakes, too. Refer to the recipe card notes for more ways to flavor this delicious green.
How to Make Asparagus in Air Fryer
First, prepare the asparagus spears by washing them well and drying them with a kitchen towel. Then, if needed, trim the light woody ends (usually 1-2 inches) either with a knife or by snapping the end in your hands – it will snap off at the right place.
The quickest way to trim the asparagus is to snap one, then grab a handful, line up the ends on your cutting board, and trim them all in one go. Repeat with all the remaining spears.
Then, toss the spears in a large bowl with the oil, salt, and black pepper until evenly coated. Spread them in a single layer across the bottom of your air fryer basket without overlapping.
Be careful not to overcrowd the asparagus in air fryer. Otherwise, it will steam rather than become wonderfully caramelized/lightly crisp.
How Long To Cook Asparagus in the Air Fryer?
Then air fry the asparagus at 400ºF/200ºC until they’re tender-crisp and lightly golden brown on the edges. The exact air frying time will vary based on the thickness of the spears.
- Thin: Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Medium: Cook for 6-9 minutes. I cooked mine for 7 minutes.
- Thick: Cook for 10-15 minutes.
When ready, the air-fried asparagus should be a vibrant green, have golden-brown crispy edges, and bend but still have a little “bite.” If you prefer them to be more tender inside and crisp outside, air fry for a further minute or two.
How to Serve Air Fried Asparagus?
Anywhere you want a simple and delicious vegetable side dish, this air fried asparagus deserves a place on your plate. I particularly love it with:
- Air fryer salmon or cod,
- Baked chicken breast,
- Stir-fried chicken, tofu, or tempeh,
- An omelette, frittata, or quiche
- With poached eggs and hollandaise sauce,
- Alongside, over, or chop and stirred into pasta and risotto,
- Thanksgiving favorites like fluffy mashed potato and gravy.
You can also enjoy it as a healthy snack, and the leftovers make a great addition to salad bowls, pasta salad, potato salad, over soup, and more.
More Air Fryer Vegetable Recipes
If you try this air fryer asparagus recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Perfect Air Fryer Asparagus
- 7.2 oz asparagus fresh is best; thin, medium, or thick
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil, coconut oil, etc.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt kosher/sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Prepare the asparagus spears by washing them well and drying them with a kitchen towel. Then, if needed, trim the light woody ends (usually 1-2 inches) either with a knife or by snapping the end in your hands- it will snap off at the right place for you.The quickest way to trim the asparagus is to snap one, then grab a handful, line up the ends, and trim them all in one go. Repeat with all the remaining spears.
- Toss the spears with the oil, salt, and black pepper until evenly coated, and spread them in a single layer across the bottom of your air fryer basket without overlapping.Be careful not to overcrowd the air fryer. Otherwise, the asparagus will steam rather than become wonderfully caramelized/lightly crisp.
How Long To Cook Asparagus in Air Fryer?
- Air fry asparagus at 400ºF/200ºC until they're tender-crisp and lightly golden brown on the edges. The exact air frying time will vary based on the thickness of the spears.• Thin: Cook for 3-5 minutes.• Medium: Cook for 6-9 minutes. I cooked mine for 7 minutes. • Thick: Cook for 10-15 minutes. When ready, the asparagus should be a vibrant green, have golden-brown crispy edges, and be bendy but still have a little "bite." If you prefer them to be more tender inside and crisp outside, air fry for a further minute or two.
- Don’t forget to trim the spears: Otherwise, you can end up chewing on tough, woody stems.
- To save time: You could purchase fresh, pre-trimmed asparagus.
- Using frozen asparagus: While it will technically work, it takes longer to cook and will be mushier, so I stick to fresh asparagus when air frying.
- For very thick asparagus: Larger spears sometimes have thick, tough peels. Peel them (pre-cooking) if required.
- Use even-sized spears: It’s a good idea to use spears of similar thickness so they cook at the same rate.
- Flaky sea salt: For crunch and flavor.
- Fresh herbs: You could toss the cooked asparagus with fresh parsley, dill, chives, tarragon, or mint when serving.
- Lemon zest: To add when serving for extra zippy zing and brightness.
- More seasonings: You can experiment with smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, chili powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, everything but the bagel seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc.
- Butter: Optionally toss the asparagus with lightly salted butter or garlic butter when serving.
- Balsamic: Adding 1-2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar with the oil will add tang.
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