Perfectly Tender Air Fried Asparagus with Parmesan
This speedy air-fried asparagus recipe is the ideal vegetable side dish for busy nights. It’s fork-tender, ready in less than 15 minutes, and topped with crispy parmesan bits. What’s not to love?
Why I Love This Recipe
This is the fastest asparagus recipe you’ll ever make! That’s all thanks to our friend, the air fryer.
I love this little gadget because it’s basically like a mini oven. (Smaller oven = less space to heat = quicker cooking.)
Air-fried asparagus is also awesome because it comes out way crispier than stovetop or steamed asparagus.
Adding lemon pepper and parmesan takes this recipe to the next level. The air fryer does something magical to parmesan cheese. SO crunchy and delicious, especially on top of tender asparagus.
Aside from tasting amazing, this recipe also has some nutrition benefits too!
Asparagus is a fabulous source of prebiotic fiber! This is a specific type of fiber that provides fuel for our beneficial gut bacteria.
Fiber also helps keep you full and can improve your heart health. Basically, it’s the best. (Want the lowdown on fiber? Read my Fiber 101 post.)
Always start any air fryer recipe by preheating your air fryer for about 5 minutes! As I mentioned, it’s basically like a mini oven, so treat it like one.
For the crispiest asparagus, you’ll want to set your air fryer’s temperature to its highest setting.
I also recommend lining the bottom of your air fryer basket with aluminum foil. This will keep any crispy parmesan pieces from falling through. (Believe me, you’ll want every last crumbly bit.)
Gather your ingredients
- avocado oil (I use the spray version for even coverage)
- lemon pepper
- shredded parmesan cheese (you can also use grated, but I prefer the bigger shreds!)
- lemon (optional but a yummy last step)
Be sure to wash and dry your asparagus, then it’s time to trim!
You can use a knife to chop them in one big bunch, but I prefer snapping off each end by hand. This method will cause the spear to separate right where the woody end of the asparagus starts so that no tough parts are left behind.
Add toppings + air fry
Toss the asparagus in a bowl with avocado oil, lemon pepper, and parmesan to coat.
Once your air fryer is preheated, add the seasoned asparagus. Be sure to sprinkle any remaining bits of parmesan on top. Air fry for 4 minutes, give the basket a good shake, then cook for another 4 minutes.
The result? The most tender asparagus with crispy parmesan pieces. To take this recipe up another notch, add a squeeze of lemon right before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Cooking asparagus for too long will result in mushy spears and burnt ends. Yuck. To prevent overcooking, make sure to check your asparagus halfway through cooking.
Asparagus should be fork tender when done cooking. Air fried asparagus should have a lightly browned exterior.
- Vegan/dairy-free version – Substitute the parmesan cheese for vegan parmesan or omit the cheese and sprinkle your cooked asparagus with nutritional yeast.
- Use different spices – Branch out from lemon pepper with any spices you enjoy! Garlic herb, classic salt/pepper, or chili lime would all be yummy.
- Make it crispier – The key to crispy cooked veggies is giving them enough room to breathe and enough heat to brown. For even crispier asparagus, try making it in two batches, and be sure to have your air fryer heated up to the max.
- Use a different type of cheese – Any hard cheese will do – asiago, romano, or even an aged cheddar… all delicious.
Tender Air Fried Asparagus with Parmesan
- air fryer
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 tsp avocado oil
- 2 tsp lemon pepper
- 3 tbsp shredded parmesan
- fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Line the bottom of your air fryer basket with aluminum foil, then preheat the air fryer to 400°F for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, wash and dry the asparagus, then snap or chop off the woody ends. Place in a bowl and add a drizzle or spray of avocado oil, lemon pepper seasoning, and parmesan cheese. Add to the air fryer basket and top with any parmesan and spices left in the bottom of the bowl.
- Cook for 4 minutes, toss, then cook another 4 minutes. Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.
- Please note that nutrition facts are an estimate and can vary widely based on amounts and specific types used.