This Simple Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts recipe includes all my tips and tricks to serve up perfectly soft in the middle but crispy on the outside sprouts which make a delicious side dish. Say no to bitter or soggy bullet sprouts!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my Disclosures Page for more details.
Brussels sprouts are a little divisive. Like marmite folks tend to love or hate them. A few haters will begrudgingly eat a couple of Christmas in the name of tradition and nostalgia.
I’ve talked about how sprouts used to have quite a bitter taste but how that has now been bred out in my Simply Boiled Brussels Sprouts post. Now I personally feel that roasting sprouts intensifies the bitter notes but so many people tell me that they only enjoy them roasted, I’m happy to oblige with this recipe.
I do find that simply roasting brussels from raw results in bullet like morsels. So in this recipe they’re lightly boiled first, then coated in oil and seasoning before being air fried to have a crispy exterior. You can speed up this process by using the microwave rather than a pan on the stove which makes this a very quick recipe.
How to Serve
Sprouts are great with a roast dinner of course. And are almost a must as part of British Christmas dinner. But that doesn’t mean that’s all you can serve them with.
They’re as delicious served with a steak or pork chop. And don’t overlook adding them to an Asian inspired rice bowl. I’m especially obsessed with them served with satay sauce.
You can buy sprouts at various points of preparation. Its quite common to be able to buy them still attached to their stalk in the winter, especially in the run up to Christmas. I do like to buy them like this because they last really well.
The thing to take into account when buying a stalk is that there will inevitably be many varying sizes of sprout on it. So for each meal or serving, it’s easiest if you try to cut off sprouts of a similar size so they cook evenly.
If you do have some significantly differing sizes, you might want to allow the large ones to cook for a few minutes before adding the smaller ones. This advice really stands regardless of how you buy (or grow) them.
Next are the stalkless sprouts that come with all their outer leaves. You don’t need to remove these unless they’re looking gnarly. Use your gut to determine which to remove or not. If it doesn’t look appetising, get rid.
And then they now often come “prepared”. This is how the sprouts I cooked came. They don’t generally have any dark outer leaves but you should still check through them. By the very nature of the inner leaves now becoming the outer leaves, they can still discolour and wither.
Lastly, you can buy frozen sprouts. I’ve got no issue with using frozen veg at all. But I do find that frozen sprouts can end up extremely soft even with minimal boiling. So they’re not my favourite and if you can get hold of fresh, I would recommend it.
I’ve just used a neutral flavour vegetable oil in this recipe. You can choose which oil to use depending on the flavours you want in the final dish.
It is essential to use some oil rather than simply dry roasting the part boiled sprouts. They will just dry and shrivel rather than nicely roast and crisp without it.
I’ve used two types of salt in this recipe. The first is just a basic fine table salt to season the water that the parsnips boil in. This can be simple and cheap.
The second is sea salt flakes which are used to actually season the sprouts as they roast. I prefer Maldon Sea Salt. This is the main salt I use except for when using large quantities in brines or for salting cooking water.
If you would rather use table salt, use around half the amount I’ve specified for the sea salt flakes as it’ is’s much stronger in flavour by volume.
This recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Roasted Brussels Sprouts
After a quick 5 minute boil to soften the sprouts, they take 15 minutes in the air fryer to get good and roasty toasty.
If you have an air fryer that can be set to a higher temperature than 200c/390f, you could increase the temperature and reduce the cooking time slightly.
How to Air Fry Brussels Sprouts From Frozen
I am not a fan of frozen brussels sprouts at all. Whilst I have absolutely no ill will towards frozen veg in general, in fact I’m a big fan, sprouts just don’t fare well.
When defrosted they become very soft and I don’t think they’re suitable for roasting.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. They can be reheated in the microwave or put back in the air fryer if you prefer.
It’s best to reheat on a lower temperature so the outside doesn’t burn before the insides are piping hot.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
Come on over to Facebook and join my community discussing all things air fryer. Get involved in sharing your experiences and trials, help out others and find out what wonderful things everyone is cooking in their air fryers!
What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I mostly use a Cosori Lite 3.8L (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
I’ve also recommended to several friends and family the model with a slightly larger basket. This is the Cosori 4.7L (CAF-L501) with a 4.7 litre basket. The unit is no larger than the 3.8 litre model on the outside but does have a larger internal basket capacity. I’ve borrowed this air fryer for some recipes where my smaller model was just too small. I’ll always note this in the recipe.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
Pin Simple Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts For Later
Hit one of the share buttons to save this page to your Pinterest boards so you can come back and find it at anytime!
Keep Up to Date
Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to my newsletter and avoid missing out on any of my newest and bonus content. Don’t worry, I promise not to spam you or bombard you too often. Plus you’ll receive a copy of my FREE 7 Day International Meal Plan!
Also please don’t forget to follow me over on my social media channels over at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I love to interact with my followers and I’d love you to share my content with your friends too.
Simple Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts Recipe
- Microwave Steamer Plate or saucepan
- 350 g Brussels Sprouts
- 1 tsp Fine Salt
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Check over 350g Brussels Sprouts. Trim any gnarly ends and remove any leaves that have brown bits or just generally don't appear appealing to eat.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, start this now.
- Put the sprouts into a microwaveable tray or bowl with lid. Add a little water.
- Microwave for 3 minutes. Check that the sprouts are tender all the way through by prodding with a sharp knife. Microwave for a further minute or two if needed.
- Drain the water well and allow the sprouts to sit without a lid so they can steam a little dry.
To Boil on the Stove
- Boil a kettle of water.
- Add the sprouts to a saucepan along with 1 tsp Fine Salt. Cover with the boiling water and add a lid.
- Bring to the boil then cook for around 5 minutes. Check that the sprouts are tender all the way through using a small sharp knife.
- Drain the water then take the lid off the pan and allow to sit and steam a little dryer without the lid for a couple of minutes.
- Drizzle over 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil and add 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes. Toss to fully coat the sprouts.
- Move the sprouts into the air fryer basket.
- Cook at 200c for 15 minutes.
- You can shake the sprouts a couple of times during cooking if you feel the need but unless they are very tightly packed in, they should cook nice and evenly without shaking or turning.
- Portion Size – The portion size given assumes that the sprouts are being served as a main side. If wanting to serve as part of a larger meal like a roast dinner with multiple side options, Halve the recipe (or consider the portion number doubled).
- This recipe is tested in a Cosori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I managed to fit in 350g of brussels sprouts with loads of room for air flow. I could easily fit in 600g or even 700g if needed. They may need an extra shake if significantly more tightly packed in.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.