This Air Fryer Asparagus recipe shows you how to quickly roast up a bundle of asparagus for an easy, healthy side dish in under 5 minutes.
Air fry asparagus for 5 minutes for a side dish, or do it ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator to add to omelets, breakfast burritos, and salads.
Updated June 14, 2022.
Slender wands of asparagus is Earth's way of waving hello to spring. And they make the perfect side dish.
No matter how you cook them, they cook up fast. But of all the methods I've ever tried - steaming, sautéeing, and roasting in the oven and air fryer, air fryer asparagus is the fastest and easiest. By far.
And yes, I know, you can also eat asparagus raw. Obviously, that's fastest way to get it to your plate. LOL.
Is Asparagus Good For You?
First of all, asparagus is low in carbs and can be enjoyed regularly on a ketogenic diet.
It's also low in calories, high in fiber, and an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folate and vitamins A, C and K. For more information, check out this article on the health benefits of asparagus on Healthline.
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Skinny Asparagus Spears vs. Fat Asparagus
It comes down to personal preference, but fat asparagus is more tender. This is particularly important when grilling or roasting.
If skinny asparagus is all you can find, no worries. I use skinny asparagus just as often as I purchase fatter spears. Just be sure to keep the cook time short. It's very easy to overcook, resulting in a more fibrous texture.
When air frying, don't roast skinny asparagus longer than 5 minutes.
How to Prep Asparagus
Wash in a colander or fine mesh strainer, drain and dry with a towel.
For skinny asparagus, snap the ends off, about 3 inches from the bottom. Asparagus becomes more fibrous towards the bottom of the spears. For fat asparagus, the snapping point is closer to the halfway point along the stem.
A faster method is to use a chef's knife to slice off the fibrous ends.
How to Air Fry Asparagus
Toss the spears in a little oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I often add a dollop of balsamic vinegar to cut through some of asparagus' trademark bitterness.
Use a minimum amount of oil to coat the spears. This helps to prevent oil dripping on the pan, which can smoke, depending on the type of air fryer you have.
If air fry temperatures are at 400˚F or hotter, use a high heat oil such as avocado oil. For temperatures under 400˚F, olive oil is fine to use.
I prefer to add herbs after air frying, to keep them from burning or becoming bitter.
Spread the spears in the basket, touching each other as little as possible. This promotes a crispier skin when they're done. The closer the spears are to each other, the more they steam while they air fry. This is much easier with fatter asparagus because there are less of them to arrange. (Each bundle at the market is around 1 pound.)
Air fry time will depend on the temperature, the thickness of the spears, and how tender you prefer the asparagus. There's also some variability among air fryers.
I use a Breville air fryer oven that is a countertop toaster oven combination air fryer. I considered the stand alone air fryers, but if something gets a spot on my counter, it needs to serve multiple purposes.
At 400˚F, skinny spears in my air fryer are done in 5 minutes. Fatter spears take 7 minutes.
Serve with a few shavings of Parmesan cheese or add to a variety of dishes. Scroll on down for a bunch of ideas.
What if I Don't Have an Air Fryer?
No worries. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat the oven 400˚F.
Increase the oil to 2 tablespoons. Toss with the prepped asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast skinny asparagus for 10 minutes, and fatter asparagus for 15 minutes or until tender.
Note: air frying may not appear to be a major time saver on this particular recipe, but when you consider how long it can take to preheat the oven to 400˚F, it is. Also, air frying results in a crispier spear while remaining tender inside, and uses much less oil.
How to Use Asparagus
A healthy side dish for most any entree.
Add to salads, soup, or your next grilled cheese sandwich using fontina cheese.
Make pasta and toss with asparagus and a little pesto, or make asparagus carbonara with garlic bread crumbs.
Stir into risotto.
Or add to a vegetarian Eggs Benedict with a hollandaise sauce.
One of my favorites is to top asparagus with a gribiche sauce made with hard boiled eggs.
Want more vegetarian and vegan dish ideas? I can help you. I have three newsletters for different topics: 1) Weekly Recipes, 2) Vegetarian Meal Plans, and 3) Monthly Vegetarian Tips for helping you to move to a more vegetarian diet. Choose which newsletters are most relevant to your lifestyle and you'll also get my 5 SECRETS TO FUSS-FREE VEGETARIAN DINNERS.
Air Fryer Asparagus (or Oven Roasted)
- Preheat the air fryer to 400˚F.
- Remove the ends of the asparagus by snapping off, or slicing off with a sharp chef's knife.
- Toss with the avocado oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Arrange in the basket of the air fryer so the spears are touching each other as little as possible.
- Cook in the air fryer for 5 minutes for skinny asparagus, and 7 minutes for fatter asparagus.
- Arrange on a plate and serve as is, top with a little grated Parmesan, or a few squeezes of lemon.