These Simple Crispy Air Fryer Roast Parsnips do exactly what they say on the tin. Air frying really gives parsnips a beautifully even cook all the way round so they’re soft and tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Perfection!
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I’ve loved roast parsnips my whole life – they’re easily one of my favourite parts of any roast or Christmas dinner. I’ve been air frying parsnips for quite a few years now – first in the Actifry and now in my basket fryer.
Oven cooked Roast Parsnips remain a great option and this is still how I cook them when I’m cooking large batches and/or have the oven on anyway. But the air fryer option really cooks the parsnips all the way round absolutely evenly and perfectly.
I’ve got a few tips and tricks to making sure that parsnips aren’t ever stringy in the middle or burnt on one end while being undercooked in the thickest part. So please make sure to read the recipe instructions, my tips and the ingredient notes to make sure you’re making the best possible parsnips.
How to Serve
You’ll find images on this page with the served alongside air fried turkey breast, roast potatoes, carrot and swede mash, buttered cabbage, air fried stuffing balls, pigs in blankets, creamy mash potato, cranberry sauce and onion gravy.
But you don’t need to only reserve them for roasts, parsnips make a great side for many other meals – try them with –
- Corned beef & potato bake as a crunchy side.
- Puff pastry sausage plait in place of potatoes or maybe alongside some garlic roasted sweet potatoes.
I like to look for big thick parsnips if at all possible. This is the best way to make them easy to cut and remove the core whilst leaving a good amount of parsnip to roast. However you cut them, the biggest trick is to make sure all the pieces are as evenly sized as possible even if that means cutting each parsnip a little differently.
Removing the core is essential as this is the part of the parsnip that doesn’t cook down very soft and can be stringy to eat. I’m more than aware that many people don’t bother with this stage when roasting parsnips but I do firmly beleive that if they tried it, they’d realise that it really does make a difference. There is a reason that I get amazing feedback whenever I cook them.
The other trick to perfect parsnips is the boiling stage. You can air fry the parsnips straight from raw and they will be edible. But to make them deliciously soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, boiling them first is key. This is exactly the same with roast potatoes.
Whilst air frying uses significantly less oil then deep frying, oil is still essential to the cooking process. You can skip using it but the parsnips will be dry and shrivelled not lovely and crunchy. So please don’t skip this step.
I generally use a neutral flavoured oil such as vegetable oil but you can use olive oil if you prefer. You can also use a meat fat like lard, duck or goose fat. You will need to heat it slightly so it is liquid before tossing the parsnips in 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 parsnips 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 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 Parsnips
After they’re been boiled, steamed dry a little, oiled and seasoned, the parsnips take around 18 minutes to get brown and crispy.
This time can vary slightly depending on the exact size that you’ve cut the parsnip. If the pieces are on the smaller size you can check them sooner. And of course if they are larger, you may want to cook them for a few minutes more.
How to Air Fry Roast Parsnips From Frozen
I don’t generally recommend air frying frozen raw parsnips. This is because they are best boiled first. You can of course boil the parsnips from frozen and then continue to air fry as normal.
Whilst it does seem like boiling the parsnips then freezing them ready to air fry from frozen feels like a good idea, it isn’t. The boiled parsnips are extremely soft and have a tendency to break up.
However, if you do want to batch prepare some parsnips for quick reheating from frozen, the best thing to do it roast them a little. Then cool then freeze. Around 5 minutes in the air fryer or 20 in the oven is about right.
To then cook these from frozen, they will take roughly the same time – 18 minutes. Do make sure to check that the insides are piping hot before serving and cook a little longer if needs be.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to around 5 days in the fridge or can be frozen. Make sure the parsnips are fully cooled before storing.
I do try to only fully air fry as many parsnips as I realistically think are going to be eaten for that meal. If I have cooked more with the intention of their being leftovers, I take the remainder out 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
This means that when I reheat them for around 8-10 minutes, they cook perfectly rather than overcooking.
If you do have fully cooked parsnips to reheat, air fry them at a lower temperature, around 180c/350f for around 8 minutes.
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.
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Simple Crispy Air Fryer Roast Parsnips Recipe
- 500 g Parsnips
- 2 tsp Fine Salt
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- Put a full kettle onto boil and grab a small saucepan. Or put a saucepan of water onto a high heat.
- Top, tail and peel 500g Parsnips.
- Quarter each parsnip lengthwise. If the thin end is especially thin, cut this off and set it aside first.
- Hold each quarter upright and use a sharp knife to cut the core out. You will be able to see the colour difference between the stringy core and the tender parsnip. Be sparing and try not to cut any flesh away with the core.
- Depending on the size of the parsnips, you can cut them down further if needed. You are looking for pieces around the size of, and a little longer than an adult thumb.
- Put the parsnips into the saucepan and cover with boiling water. Add 2 tsp Fine Salt and bring the water to a boil over a high heat. Allow them to boil for around 20 minutes until the parsnips are just fork tender.
- When the parsnips are just cooked through, thoroughly strain them. Leave them to sit in the colander/sieve for a minute to steam dry a little.
- If your air fryer has a preheat setting, start this now.
- Tip the parsnips back into the pan and drizzle over roughly 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil and sprinkle on 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes.
- Carefully move the parsnips into the air fryer basket. I like to use tongs for this to prevent the parsnips from breaking up. Try to aim for one layer.
- Cook at 200c for a total of 18 minutes. Turn after roughly 10 minutes, especially if the parsnips are quite tightly packed in the air fryer.
- The parsnips should be golden and crispy – if you want them to be crispier, cook for a little longer until you are happy.
- Portion Size – The portion size given assumes that the parsnips 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 500g of prepared parsnips with room for air flow but not many more parsnips at all.
- 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.