Air fryer broccolini (or broccoletti) is an incredible side dish that takes just a few minutes to prepare and make! With just a handful of ingredients, minimal prep time and a delicious final outcome. Whether you call it broccolini, broccoletti, baby broccoli or even tenderstem broccoli, this recipe has got you covered. Great on the side of a stuffed acorn squash, a roast dinner or served on holiday meals!
🌟 Why this recipe works
Speedy – broccolini only needs a couple of minutes of prep and 5 minutes cooking time. You'll get a nutritious and delicious side dish that's versatile and perfect for serving alongside so many different mains, as well as a vegan roast dinner or Christmas roast dinner!
4 ingredients – you'll need just broccolini (brocoletti) olive oil, garlic and sea salt! But it's versatile too – check out the variations we suggest to make this work with all kinds of dishes below.
Vegan and gluten free – this broccolini recipe is a side dish that everyone can enjoy! It's dairy and gluten free, low oil, as well as vegan and vegetarian.
Air fryer – everyone's favorite gadget right now! Makes everything super yummy and means a lot less cooking time than a traditional oven. Not sure about an air fryer? Check out this awesome air fryer buying guide.
🥦 What is broccolini?
Broccoletti is a hybrid vegetable that was developed in Japan. It's a mix between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli (gai lan). Broccolini, Tenderstem Broccoli, baby broccoli and Bimi are all trademarked names for the same vegetable.
It looks and tastes very similar to sprouting broccoli, like the broccoli that's used in our vegan beef and broccoli stir fry recipe. The main difference is that the the stem is much longer, it grows to around 15–30 cm (5.9–11.8 in). It has a sweet and earthy taste, that is very reminiscent of regular broccoli.
Broccolini can be cooked in many different methods. It can be stir fried, like in this oyster mushroom and broccoli recipe, baked, steamed, boiled or air fried like in this easy recipe!
While the whole of a regular broccoli can be eaten (including the stem), most people cut it into florets and discard the stem. However, with baby broccoli or broccolini, the whole stem is always cooked and eaten.
Broccolini works well with all kinds of flavours, such as garlic, chilli, umami and even zesty lemon juice. It can be added to fried rice, curries and stews!
Broccolini / broccoletti are interchangeable terms, as you will probably notice throughout this article!
📋 Ingredients notes for air fryer broccolini
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this charred air fryer broccolini recipe.
Broccoletti – whether you call it broccolini or broccoletti, it's obviously the key ingredient in air fryer broccolini. To prepare it we usually just trim the dry, thicker end of the stalk a little. It can be substituted for Chinese broccoli or Broccoli Rabe as similar alternatives.
Olive oil – we like to use olive oil in cooking, as it is thought to have many health benefits such as being rich in monounsaturated fats, as well as having a subtle but amazing flavour. In addition, a low calorie oil spray could be used instead, or even a different oil such as sunflower or sesame (for an Asian-inspired flavour).
Garlic – fresh crushed garlic burns easily in the air fryer, but fortunately it won't be cooked for long since air fryer broccolini is so quick to cook. Garlic powder or garlic granules are a great alternative, as they don't burn as easily. Especially for recipes that require longer cooking time in the air fryer, like in this air fryer smashed potatoes dish, which uses garlic granules.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for making broccolini in the air fryer. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
1. Trim the stems of the broccoletti. Roughly, cut off 1-2cm (up to an inch) off the bottom of the broccolini.
2. Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl to coat the broccolini in the olive oil, garlic and salt.
3. Lay the broccolini in your air fryer basket, in one single layer.
4. Place the air fryer basket into the air fryer. Cook on 150°c for 4 minutes. Be sure to stick to four minutes, as the broccoletti will burn very easily if left in the air fryer for too long! If 4 minutes isn't quite enough in your air fryer, just put it in for a bit longer – better to start low and add more time on!
A matter of seconds can be the difference between perfectly charred broccolini and burnt broccolini, and nobody wants that. Some recipes advise cooking broccolini for 10 minutes in the air fryer. We tried this, and many other timings before landing on the perfect amount of time – 4 minutes!
5. Once cooked, you can add seasonings of your choice. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice, add vegan parmesan cheese, season with black pepper or even sprinkle over chilli flakes or sesame seeds. Serve as part of a roast dinner with marmite roast potatoes, cashew nut roast and vegan cauliflower cheese.
👩🍳 Expert tips
Don’t overfill the basket – be careful not to overfill the air fryer basket as the airflow in the gadget is important for even cooking. The air won't flow easily if there are layers of the broccolini stacked in the basket. A little overlap is alright but try to keep it to one layer of broccolini if you can. It may mean doing two batches (depending on the air fryer size), but as it only takes 4 minutes to cook, this should be OK!
Make it in the oven – while we've included a recipe here for making broccolini in the air fryer, it can also be made in the oven! Simply, preheat the oven to 190°c / 370°f and bake on a sheet pan or in a casserole dish for around 10 minutes. Broccolini will take longer in the oven, but it will become just as beautifully tender and charred. It will also burn easily so it doesn't need more than 10 minutes.
Make it lower in fat & calories – while broccolini is low in fat and calories, adding olive oil increases both. So alternatively, for a lower fat and calorie version, use a few squirts of oil spray or cooking spray.
Make it zesty – add a splash of lemon juice or even a little lemon zest to bring a zingy fresh flavour to the dish. And generously season with salt and pepper.
Give it an Asian-twist – try using sesame oil instead of olive oil and then sprinkle on a pinch of sesame seeds before serving. I can totally recommend this as it is my favourite way of serving air fryer broccolini.
Get cheesy – add grated vegan parmesan cheese before serving, especially when alongside pasta dishes or casseroles.
Broccolini is the same as broccoletti. It's basically a new breed of sprouted broccoli that has been developed. Also known as baby broccoli, bimi and tenderstem broccoli.
As above, broccoletti is the same as broccolini, baby broccoli, tenderstem broccoli and bimi. It's a new version of broccoli that is similar to the regular version of the vegetable. However, it instead has a long thin stem, rather than a thick short stem. The whole vegetable is eaten.
🍛 Serve with
Serve this awesome side dish with:
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Air Fryer Broccoletti (Broccolini)
- 400 g broccolini
- 2 cloves garlic – crushed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Trim the stems of the broccoletti. Roughly, cut off 1-2cm (upto an inch).400 g broccolini
- Toss all the ingredients (garlic, broccolini, salt and olive oil) together in a bowl to coat the broccolini in the olive oil, garlic and salt.2 cloves garlic – crushed, 1 tablespoon olive oil, Salt to taste
- Lay the broccolini in your air fryer basket, in one single layer.
- Place the air fryer basket into the air fryer. Cook on 150°c for 4 minutes. Be sure to stick to four minutes, as the broccoletti will burn very easily if left in the air fryer for too long! A matter of seconds can be the difference between perfectly cooked broccolini and burnt.
- Once cooked, you can add seasonings of your choice. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice, add vegan parmesan cheese, season with black pepper or even sprinkle over chilli flakes or sesame seeds. Great served as part of a roast dinner with marmite roast potatoes, cashew nut roast and vegan cauliflower cheese.