Air Fried asparagus on a plate

I once had a co-worker who refused to eat asparagus tips. I can recall going to several dinners together where they specifically ordered asparagus spears with their meal then proceeded to eat everything but the tips.

It felt like I was on an episode of Seinfeld the first time it happened. I’m not trying to be judgmental, but isn’t the tip of the asparagus spear the best part?! #serenitynow

Maybe my co-worker just needed some Air Fryer Asparagus in his life because this easy, roasty-toasty, side dish is so good you won’t leave a single bite behind!

air fryer asparagus on a plate with chicken

Easy Air Fryer Side Dish

Asparagus is a vegetable my entire family loves so I make it regularly as part of a meat + starch + veggie dinner (aka the only type of dinner my brain is capable of cooking some nights!)

My favorite way to make asparagus is to air fry the stalks because all you need is 3 ingredients and 5 minutes, plus you don’t need to heat the oven up.

Asparagus is easy to overcook and this Air Fryer Asparagus recipe gives you a ton of control to ensure the insides of the spears stay crisp-tender, while the outsides become flavorful and toasty. Plus those crispy tips? Like I said — they’re the best part!

Ingredients Needed

Air Fried Asparagus is a side dish you do not need to overthink. That said, I like to season them simply and the flavor always comes out great. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Asparagus: grab yourself a bundle of fresh asparagus which is typically 3/4 – 1lb total. Read below on the optimal thickness of the stalks for air frying.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: all you need is 2 teaspoons for an entire bunch of asparagus. Feel free to use another oil like avocado oil or vegetable oil. You could even use a spritz of your favorite cooking spray.
  • Garlic salt: feel free to season your asparagus with any seasoning you love, though I usually reach for Lawry’s Garlic Salt or my Homemade Seasoned Salt which contains garlic powder.

Why Isn’t My Asparagus Crispy?

Whether you Air Fry, steam, broil, or roast asparagus — if the spears come out soggy and limp it means they’re overcooked. I usually categorize asparagus spears into thin, medium, and thick categories. Here’s how long to air fry each of them at 390 degrees:

Asparagus Spear Thickness + Air Fryer Cooking Time:

  • Thin (like a pencil): 3 – 4 minutes
  • Medium (between a pencil and marker): 5 minutes
  • Thick (like a marker): 6 – 7 minutes

I generally choose asparagus bunches with medium-thick spears because they’re less likely to overcook and become soggy in the Air Fryer.

asparagus in an air fryer basket

Tips for the Best Air Fried Asparagus

  1. Don’t trim too much. Did you know that asparagus spears will snap wherever you apply pressure so the old advice of snapping the bottom 1/3 off because that’s where they naturally snap could actually be costing you perfectly good asparagus?! Unless the asparagus spears are very thick, you really only need to trim off the bottom 1/2 – 1″.
  2. Allow for carry-over cooking. The air fried asparagus spears will continue to soften after they’re removed from the Air Fryer so plan for a little bit of carryover cooking to ensure the asparagus stay crisp-tender vs soggy.
  3. Eat right away. I recommend air frying only the amount of asparagus you need because, IMO, cooked asparagus don’t reheat super well. If you do have leftovers, I recommend chopping them into 1/2″ pieces then tossing into fried rice, an egg scramble, or salad the next day.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Asparagus

The possibilities are endless! Like I said, I often make Air Fryer Asparagus as part of the Midwestern dinner trifecta of meat + veg + starch, but here are some other recipes that would benefit from a side of air fried asparagus:

airfried asparagus on ap late

How to Make Air Fryer Asparagus

This is one of the easiest Air Fryer recipes you will ever make! Start by preheating your Air Fryer to 390 degrees, or the closest temperature to that on your model. I have an early generation Philips Air Fryer that’s great — here’s the upgraded model.

Phillips Air Fryer on a countertop

While the Air Fryer is preheating, trim 1 bunch asparagus which is usually 3/4 – 1lb total. Again, you only need to trim off the bottom 1/2 – 1″ of the asparagus spears unless they have very thick and woody ends.

ends trimmed off asparagus

Place the trimmed asparagus spears in a baking dish or Ziplock bag then season with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle of garlic salt or homemade seasoned salt.

garlic salt and extra virgin olive oil on a countertop

Toss the spears in the oil and seasonings until everything is well coated. You can do this a day ahead of time if you’re looking to do some meal prep.

seasoned asparagus spears

Add the asparagus spears into the preheated Air Fryer basket then air fry for 3 minutes.  The spears can be overlapping — no need to have them all in a single layer.

asparagus spears in an air fryer

Use tongs to mix up the asparagus spears then air fry for another 1 – 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears.

Remember, the asparagus will continue to soften after they come out of the Air Fryer, so err on the side of undercooking which is easy to fix vs overcoooking — which is not!

tongs stirring asparagus in an air fryer

Seriously, my husband and I could eat this entire basket as dinner (we may have shared the basket in the photo below for breakfast ????) — they really are that delicious!!

No matter what you pair them with, I hope this easy, healthy, vegetarian side dish becomes as beloved in your house as it is in mine! Enjoy!

air fried asparagus in a basket

More Easy Side Dish Recipes

Air Fryer Asparagus

Description

Air Fryer Asparagus is a simple side dish that requires just 3 ingredients, and cooks in 5 minutes! Pair this healthy, gluten free side with any dinner.

Ingredients

serves 4

  • 1 bunch asparagus (3/4 - 1lb), trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Lawry’s Parsley Garlic Salt, see notes

Directions

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 390 degrees.
  2. Add trimmed asparagus spears to a rectangular baking dish then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and garlic salt. Toss to evenly coat then place spears inside the Air Fryer basket and air fry for 3 minutes. Stir asparagus using tongs then continue to air fry until the asparagus spears are crisp-tender, 1-2 more minutes, depending on how thin or thick the stalks are. Note: stalks will continue to soften slightly after cooking so be sure to not over-cook. Serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

photo collage of air fryer asparagus

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin