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"It" Air Fryer Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

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This air fryer broccoli is topped with a big cheesy cheese sauce for a simple, fast and delicious side bringing you a bit of comfort to your weeknight dinner or holidays.

broccoli topped with cheese sauce on white plate

FOR THE MOOD

WHAT YOU NEED FOR CHEESY BROCCOLI:

  • Broccoli
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Heavy Cream
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • All spice
  • Paprika
  • Mustard Powder
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Manchego Cheese

BROCCOLI AND CHEESE SAUCE COOKING DIRECTIONS

Cook the broccoli

Chop the broccoli into florets. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set the air fryer to 330 degrees F and cook for 3-5 minutes.

Make the cheese sauce

Grate the cheddar and Manchego cheese. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour, cream, Worcestershire sauce, and spices mixing well. Add in the cheese and stir as needed into the sauce is at a smooth but thick consistency.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE BROCCOLI AND CHEESE RECIPE

Most cheese sauces use just one cheese but I wanted a bit more complexity of flavor so blended the sharp cheddar with the complex but approachable and sweeter Manchego.

If time permits pre-heat your air fryer.

Cook time will vary depending on thickness of the broccoli florets and desired crunchiness. At 5 minutes and slightly over you start venturing into burnt territory so err on the side of caution and stop cooking early if needed.

Eat immediately. The cheese sauce is delicious but doesn’t do well sitting for a while

You don't need an air fryer for this recipe. You can roast conventionally and add the cheese sauce.

Frozen broccoli is just fine, as air fryer is perfect for cooking frozen veggies.

MASTERING CHEESE SAUCE

Start with a roux. This is critical to quality cheese sauce. But this isn’t a gumbo roux, as you don’t actually want to brown it. Use butter for your roux to get rid of the floury taste

Make sure your cheese and cream are at room temperature before heating. Adding cold ingredients to a roux leads to clumpy congealed cheese.

Don’t set your stovetop too high. Medium-low is good, you just want the pan just hot enough for the cheese to melt, not any hotter.

Remove the pan from heat before adding the cheese. Don’t worry the milk/cream will be plenty hot enough to melt the cheese. The cheese will get really grainy or even start to separate if it gets too hot.

Add cheese in batches vs all at one time. This makes melting easier so you get more of a creamier melt.

Stir the mixture constantly until the cheese is melted fully and incorporated into your sauce. Frequent stirring also ensures the cheese doesn’t burn. 

If sauce is too thick, whisk in more milk. If too thin, then add more cheese.

Serve the sauce immediately. It will develop that unattractive film on top if it sits. So don’t make it until the dish you plan to use it for is ready.

MORE RECIPES

Oven Roasted Whole Broccoli Head

Air Fryer Roasted Broccolini

Air Fryer Mahi Mahi

Baked Mac and Cheese

Southern Candied Yams

Easy Roasted Broccoli w/ Garlic

Smoked Whole Cauliflower

MAKE THIS CHEESY BROCCOLI DISH

If you make this cheesy air fryer broccoli recipe or any other from the site, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

broccoli topped with cheese sauce on white plate

Air Fryer Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

Air fryer broccoli recipe featuring florets simply seasoned, air fried quickly, and then topped with a creamy, delicious cheddar + Manchego cheese sauce.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 709kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Equipment

Ingredients

For the Broccoli

  • 1 Broccoli head cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Black Pepper

For the Cheese Sauce

  • 3 tablespoon Butter
  • 3 tablespoon Flour
  • 1 ½ cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoon All spice
  • ½ tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard Powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese grated
  • ½ cup Manchego Cheese grated

Instructions

For the Broccoli

  • Pre-heat the air fryer to 330 degrees F
  • Season broccoli with olive oil, salt, and pepper
  • Air fry 3-5 minutes depending on desired crunch and thickness

For the Cheese Sauce

  • Melt butter in a sauce pan/skillet then add flour and cook 2 minutes stirring consistently. Add cream, Worcestershire sauce, and spices mixing well.
  • Add in both cheese and stir well to combine cooking to a creamy consistency.
  • Serve the broccoli topped with the cheese sauce

Notes

Most cheese sauces use just one cheese but I wanted a bit more complexity of flavor so blended the sharp cheddar with the complex but approachable and sweeter Manchego.
If time permits pre-heat your air fryer.
Cook time will vary depending on thickness of the broccoli florets and desired crunchiness. At 5 minutes and slightly over you start venturing into burnt territory so err on the side of caution and stop cooking early if needed.
Eat immediately. The cheese sauce is delicious but doesn’t do well sitting for a while
You don't need an air fryer for this recipe. You can roast conventionally and add the cheese sauce.
PERFECT CHEESE SAUCE:
Start with a roux. This is critical to quality cheese sauce. But this isn’t a gumbo roux, as you don’t actually want to brown it. Use butter for your roux to get rid of the floury taste
Make sure your cheese and cream are at room temperature before heating. Adding cold ingredients to a roux leads to clumpy congealed cheese.
Don’t set your stovetop too high. Medium-low is good, you just want the pan just hot enough for the cheese to melt, not any hotter.
Remove the pan from heat before adding the cheese. Don’t worry the milk/cream will be plenty hot enough to melt the cheese. The cheese will get really grainy or even start to separate if it gets too hot.
Add cheese in batches vs all at one time. This makes melting easier so you get more of a creamier melt.
Stir the mixture constantly until the cheese is melted fully and incorporated into your sauce. Frequent stirring also ensures the cheese doesn’t burn. 
If sauce is too thick, whisk in more milk. If too thin, then add more cheese.
Serve the sauce immediately. It will develop that unattractive film on top if it sits. So don’t make it until the dish you plan to use it for is ready.

Nutrition

Calories: 709kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 37g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 2790mg | Potassium: 658mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3304IU | Vitamin C: 137mg | Calcium: 504mg | Iron: 2mg
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Recipe Rating




Veronika Sykorova

Monday 21st of September 2020

Yum that sounds so good! I posted a broccoli recipe a few weeks back and it immediately because one of the most popular posts on the blog haha. Love cauliflower!

Jo

Monday 21st of September 2020

I recenlty posted my cheddar cheese sauce recipe on my blog. We had it with nachos but I was thinking of making roasted broccoli just for myself to have it with the sauce. This recipe comes so handy at the perfect time. Love those delicous charred bits on broccoli. The best way to eat broccoli is with cheese sauce :D

Marwin Brown

Monday 21st of September 2020

Now I want nachos!

Jagruti's Cooking Odyssey

Monday 21st of September 2020

We are trying so many new recipes using our air fryer, now adding this one too! Such a delicious and comforting recipe.

Debbie

Sunday 20th of September 2020

Wow, I would have never thought about putting broccoli in the air fryer . Such a great idea i need to try . I love your combination of cheese and your explanation makes this sound easy enough even my daughter could make this. I am so excited to try this broccoli and cheese.

Elaine

Sunday 20th of September 2020

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy broccoli, and this is one of them. Can't wait to make a big bowl some time soon!