Cooking Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer

Didn’t think air fryer vegetables could get any easier? Enter frozen vegetables! In an air fryer, they get crisp and delicious without any of the prep work of fresh veggies. Is this the best way to cook frozen vegetables? We sure think so!

  • By Leila Kalmbach
  • May 18, 2020

Looking for a crispy, craveable, healthy snack or side dish without a lot of fuss? You might not think to turn to frozen veggies. But if you have an air fryer, you may change your mind after reading this post!

One of the major complaints we hear about cooking with frozen vegetables is that they tend to end up limper and softer than starting from fresh. That’s why air frying is one of our absolute favorite ways to cook frozen vegetables — it offers all the ease of frozen veggies, with none of the sogginess! In fact, in the air fryer, frozen broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and more wind up beautifully crisp and browned on the outside — even more so than with roasting.

And it couldn’t be simpler. Read on for our 5 tips on how to prepare frozen veggies in the air fryer for perfect results every time. 

1. Never defrost

No need to add an extra step to your prep — frozen veggies do not need to be thawed before putting them in the air fryer. In fact, cooking them from frozen will yield the best results. As veggies cook in an air fryer, the circulating air helps them to dry out and achieve that beautiful exterior crispness. If you thaw your veggies first, they’ll release some water and your air fryer will be trying to play catch-up the whole time they’re cooking. By starting from frozen, the air fryer is able to evaporate the water as it gets released, meaning your veggies stay crisp. 

2. Give the veggies space

Like anything you cook in an air fryer, not crowding your veggies is crucial to getting a good result. Arrange your veggies in a single layer in your air fryer, if possible, which will allow air to get in between the pieces and dry them out more thoroughly. 

3. Add a few minutes to the cooking time

Soft frozen veggies, such as broccoli, bell pepper, green beans, and corn, cook in the air fryer for 10 to 15 minutes. Firmer veggies, such as butternut squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes, provided they haven’t been cooked before freezing (consult your package) take 20 to 30 minutes.

As a general rule of thumb, any veggie you can cook fresh in the air fryer can also be cooked from frozen — simply add a few minutes to the cooking time to account for the time they’ll take to thaw (but check them frequently so they don’t burn!). You’ll find the approximate cook time for the fresh version of most vegetables on our air fryer cooking chart

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Cooking Times & Temperatures for the Air Fryer

Get all the cooking times and temperatures of foods you can fry in an air fryer in one handy cheat sheet!

4. Preheat air fryer

As with any cooking method, preheating your air fryer before cooking will yield the best result. 5 minutes should be enough to get the small space up to temperature before dumping your bag of veggies into the frying compartment. Vegetables tend to cook at a temperature between 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit; use the same temperature for frozen as you would for fresh (check the air fryer cooking chart linked above for the exact temperature we recommend for each type of vegetable). 

5. Season halfway through

To get more out of your salt, we recommend seasoning your veggies midway through the cooking process. For example, if you’re planning to cook cauliflower for 15 minutes, dump the bag into the preheated air fryer and cook them for the first 8 minutes. Then take them out, toss with oil and seasonings, and return them to the air fryer for another 7 or8 minutes. If you’re cooking for longer than 15 minutes, you’ll need to stir the veggies a couple of additional times, or roughly every 5 to 8 minutes. 

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How to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook SmartsHow to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook SmartsHow to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook SmartsHow to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook SmartsHow to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook SmartsHow to Cook Frozen Vegetables in an Air Fryer | Cook Smarts

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