If you love crisp and tender roasted broccoli and cauliflower but don't have the time to preheat the oven, this air fryer broccoli and cauliflower offers an easy, delicious alternative. Dressed with olive oil, lemon, garlic, and thyme, this quick, versatile side dish goes with everything from steak to pasta to omelets.
Why You'll Love Air Fryer Cauliflower and Broccoli
Air frying is a quick and easy way to make a delicious side dish that takes less time than traditional roasting. There's no need to wait for the oven to heat up, and no need to heat up the house!
This crispy air fryer broccoli and cauliflower, with an optional (but highly recommended) lemon herb vinaigrette, is a simple side dish that pairs amazingly well with everything from Italian chicken cutlets to garlicky pasta to grain bowls. It's excellent for meal prep and it's also a great snack!
You can try this air fryer method for lots of different fresh veggies. The crispy texture it produces is perfect for cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts or kale.
What You'll Need
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- Fresh Broccoli You can purchase either a whole head of broccoli and cut into 1-inch pieces, or pre-cut broccoli florets, and cut or break apart to create relatively even 1-inch pieces. Some smaller pieces are fine.
- Fresh Cauliflower The same note above applies to the cauliflower. Be sure your broccoli and cauliflower are also similarly sized.
- Garlic I like to grate the fresh garlic on a microplane or finely mince it. If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, you can use a pinch of garlic powder instead.
- Olive Oil A high-quality olive oil is always nice when your recipe has so few ingredients, but use whatever you have on hand. You can also use avocado oil if you prefer.
- Lemon I prefer the taste of fresh lemons, but if you don't have access to them, try using some bottled lemon juice.
- Fresh Thyme You can also use fresh rosemary that's chopped very fine.
- Kosher Salt My recommendation is to use the brand Diamond Crystal kosher salt because it allows you to easily adjust without oversalting. It is a flake shape as opposed to a compact grain, which means it has a less concentrated salty flavor by volume.
- Black Pepper This is optional but delicious. Feel free to add a bit of freshly ground black pepper to your vinaigrette.
How to Prepare
Step One Cut your broccoli and cauliflower into approximately uniform 1-inch pieces.
Step Two Mince or grate your garlic.
Step Three Create your dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and salt in a dish or jar and whisking or shaking to combine. If you'd prefer, you can swap the vinaigrette for a small amount of oil or olive oil spray, for more simple seasoning.
Step Four Dress the broccoli and cauliflower. You can mix with a spoon, your hands, or drizzle the dressing over the vegetables and lightly toss in a bowl.
Step Five Place the dressed vegetables in the basket of your air fryer and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 to 8 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.
Step Six Serve right away, or cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use.
Variations and Substitutions
Traditional You can omit the lemon and herbs for a more traditional roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
Spicy Add some grated jalapeño or red pepper flakes to your dressing for some added kick.
Rosemary In place of fresh thyme, try finely chopped fresh rosemary in your vinaigrette.
Shallot Instead of garlic, try adding some finely minced shallot to your dressing.
How to Store Air-Fried Broccoli and Cauliflower
Fridge Cool and then store leftovers in an airtight container, making sure to transfer to the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. It will last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.
Freezer You can store cooled broccoli and cauliflower in freezer bags for 2 to 3 months. The vegetables will last longer if cooked without garlic or lemon.
Reheating from Fridge For the best results, I recommend reheating this dish in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 to 3 minutes. You can also reheat it in the oven on a baking sheet for a few minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, or in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
Reheating from Frozen Place the frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then follow the directions above.
There are many markers used to determine what is healthy for different people. However, this broccoli and cauliflower recipe has lots of vitamin C, vitamin K, and fiber. Check out this article on the health benefits of broccoli for more information.
Of course! Nothing about the recipe needs to be changed in order to cook just one or the other.
Yep. This would be delicious with parmesan cheese. I recommend adding it at the end of the cooking process to add some extra savory, salty flavor, or adding it closer to the beginning of the cooking time for more of a crisp, frico-like texture.
- To ensure even cooking, be sure to cut your vegetables as uniformly as possible. If you buy pre-cut vegetables, make a few alterations once you open the bag to cut larger pieces into similar, smaller shapes. If you decide not to cut your vegetables, you may need an additional 2-3 minutes if you are using larger pieces.
- Avoid crowding the air fryer basket if you like crispy edges. You can work in batches, placing the vegetables in an even layer, to give everything enough room to brown evenly.
- If you are concerned about your first batch getting cold, heat your regular oven to its lowest setting, usually 170 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and place your veggies in the preheated oven in an oven-safe dish.
How to Serve Crispy Broccoli and Cauliflower
This air fryer broccoli and cauliflower are incredibly adaptable. Below are just a few of its countless uses:
Side Dish: Serve these alongside grilled steak, furikake salmon, this delicious air fryer ham steak, air fryer pork belly, air fryer turkey burgers, or these easy and delicious air fryer boneless skinless chicken thighs... the list goes on and on.
An easy complementary side dish is these sautéed sweet potatoes.
Omelets and Scrambles: Adding leftover roasted vegetables to omelets or scrambles is something I absolutely love to do. Reheat the veggies in the pan and serve over top or in the center of your omelet or scramble.
More Recipes You'll Love
If you're in the mood for more air fryer favorites, try these recipes:
Air Fryer Broccoli and Cauliflower
- Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into uniform 1-inch pieces. If using packaged, pre-cut vegetables, cut the larger pieces into small, uniform pieces. Some smaller pieces are fine - they will get browned and crunchy in the air fryer.
- Create the vinaigrette. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme leaves, salt, and grate or mince the garlic and add into the mixture. Whisk or shake in a jar.
- Coat the vegetables in the dressing.
- Add the vegetables to the air fryer basket and cook at 400°F for 7 to 8 minutes, shaking at the halfway point.
- Remove from the basket and serve right away.
- For simply seasoned broccoli and cauliflower, omit the lemon, herbs, and garlic and just air fry with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- You can make this recipe with just broccoli or just cauliflower. No changes need to be made to the cooking time.
- For the best texture, be sure everything is in a single, even layer. Work in batches if needed.
- Fridge Cool and then store leftovers in an airtight container, making sure to transfer to the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. It will last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.
- Freezer You can store cooled broccoli and cauliflower in freezer bags for 2 to 3 months. The vegetables will last longer if cooked without garlic or lemon.
- Reheating from Fridge For the best results, I recommend reheating this dish in the air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 to 3 minutes. You can also reheat it in the oven on a baking sheet for a few minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of olive oil, or in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Reheating from Frozen Place the frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the fridge overnight to thaw. Then follow the directions above.