How To Cook Asparagus: 4 Easy Ways

By Alexandra Caspero on March 30, 2023
Learn the best way to cook asparagus-- how to cook asparagus in the oven, sautéed, grilled and steamed

Learn how to cook asparagus like a chef! We’ll cover how to cook asparagus in the oven, steamed on the stove, sautéed in a pan, and blanch.

I’ll even share a few asparagus recipes to go along with each of the cooking methods. If you want to learn how to make asparagus, this detailed overview will teach you everything you need to know.

I think asparagus is one of those vegetables that you either really love or really dislike.

Thankfully, I’m a huge asparagus fan! There are just so many things you can make with this vegetable! Asparagus is also easy to grow in your own backyard– learn how to plant and grow asparagus.

Health Benefits Of Eating Asparagus

Before I jump into all the ways you can cook asparagus, I want to share a little bit of on the health benefits of eating asparagus.

Asparagus is relatively low in calories and packed with nutritional goodness. It contains iron, zinc, Vitamin C, and vitamin K. Asparagus is high in folate, an important nutrient for all of us, especially those planning on becoming pregnant or pregnant, as it aids in brain and spine development.

In addition to being delicious, asparagus is also packed with a prebiotic fiber called inulin that may aid in the health of the gut and improve digestion.

Vegetable Orzo Salad With Tomatoes And Cooked Asparagus

How To Cook Asparagus: 4 Different Ways

When asparagus is cooked well, it’s fantastic, and when it’s not, it’s mushy, smelly, and disgusting. Consider this your prime lesson on how to cook asparagus every which way: in the oven, steamed on the stove, in a pan, and blanched.

How To Properly Clean And Prep Asparagus For Cooking

Before you start cooking the asparagus, it’s important to clean and prep the asparagus. Here’s how to do that. 

First, add the asparagus spears to a bowl and colander. Run the veggies underneath some cold water to rinse. Then, hold the spear at either end and slightly bend it. The ends will naturally snap off. You can also use a knife to cut off the woody ends of the asparagus.

Once you’ve prepped the asparagus, dry them off before you start to cook them.

If you are using asparagus raw, like in my shaved asparagus spring salad, then you’ll want to use a vegetable peeler to thinly shave the asparagus. Asparagus can be eaten raw, but because it has such an assertive taste, it needs to be thinly shaved.

How To Cook Asparagus On The Stove

How To Cook Asparagus In The Oven

To cook asparagus in the oven, heat the oven to 425 F and follow the prep instructions listed above.

Add the asparagus to a baking sheet then drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Using tongs or your hands, coat the spears and then arrange them into a single layer.

Place the sheet into the oven and roast anywhere from 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned, flipping the asparagus halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Baked Asparagus Flavor Tip

Sprinkle the baked spears with shredded parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast to keep it vegan).

One dish I highly recommend making is this spring asparagus tart in the oven. This recipe calls for buttery puff pastry and a delicious homemade garlic spread that works perfectly with the roasted asparagus.

Looking to make grilled asparagus? 

This same method can be used to cook asparagus on a grill using a grill basket or aluminum foil. Rub the asparagus spears with olive oil and seasonings, then place in a grill basket or on aluminum foil onto the grill.

How To Cook Asparagus In The Oven

How To Steam Asparagus On The Stove

To steam asparagus on the stove, fill a shallow pan with about 1 inch of water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt.

Place a steamer insert over the pan and bring the water to a boil. Put the asparagus in a single layer into the steamer and steam for up to 5 minutes for thicker spears and 3 minutes for thinner spears. 

Steamed Asparagus Flavor Tip

Season the steamed asparagus with your favorite herb seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil.

This recipe for lemon tarragon asparagus uses the steaming method but with a flavorful twist! The spears are dressed with fresh lemon juice and tarragon and combined with the tang of minced garlic and dijon mustard. It’s scrumptious when served with grilled salmon.

Bowl Of Asparagus And Mint To Make A Spring Panzanella Salad

How To Cook Asparagus In A Pan

To cook asparagus in a skillet, cut the spears into 2-inch sections after rinsing and trimming the asparagus. 

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, typically 6-8 minutes for thick spears and 4-5 minutes for thin spears. 

Sauteed Asparagus Flavor Tip

Add fresh chopped basil towards the end of cooking. Then, sauté and add a squeeze of lemon juice on top before serving. If you don’t have basil, other fresh herbs like parsley or tarragon work. 

One of my favorite brunch recipes uses this method of cooking asparagus in the pan to make vegan eggs benedict. The asparagus spears add a nice bite with the tofu “egg”, tomato slices, and homemade hollandaise sauce. It’s so delicious!

How To Cook Asparagus In A Pan With Lemon

How To Blanch Asparagus

If you’ve ever wondered how to keep that beautiful bright green color, the secret is blanching! Blanching stops enzyme activity and keeps asparagus in its natural color, instead of turning brown.  Blanched asparagus is fantastic in salads, frittatas, or any dish where you want to keep the vibrant green color.

To blanch asparagus, prepare the asparagus by rinsing, trimming, and cutting it into pieces or whole sections.

Next, prepare an ice bath by placing a bunch of ice cubes and water in a large bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil and then add the asparagus to the pot.

Cook for 2 minutes, then transfer the asparagus to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Once cooled, remove the asparagus and pat dry with a towel.

Blanched Asparagus Flavor Tip

Blanching is a great way to preserve the green color and flavor of asparagus. Serve chilled with your favorite dips, like this lemon feta dipcurry dipping sauce, or Instant Pot hummus!

Shaved Asparagus Spring Salad

Healthy Asparagus Recipes

While the four cooking methods listed above are some of the most common ways to cook asparagus, there are still a few other ways to enjoy them. We love asparagus in pasta salads, stir-fries, or grilled alongside veggies in a basket. Take a look at these recipes listed below to try to find new ways to eat asparagus:

How To Store Asparagus

Extend the life of your asparagus by placing the spears upright in a glass of 1-2 inches of water in the fridge. This helps keep the spears hydrated and will keep them fresh for up to one week in the fridge.

When you’re ready to cook them, you need to remove the woody ends. To do this quickly, follow the instructions listed above on how to clean and prep the asparagus.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long to cook asparagus?

This will vary by the method that you choose. Blanched asparagus takes 2 minutes to cook. Sauteed asparagus will take 5-8 minutes, and roasted asparagus will take 12-15 minutes.

How to prepare asparagus?

To prepare asparagus, start by washing the spears and trimming off the tough ends. Then, you can either saute or steam them until tender-crisp.

How to clean asparagus?

To clean asparagus, begin by rinsing the spears under cold water to remove any dirt or debris. Place them in a bowl of water for a few minutes to soak and loosen any remaining dirt. Trim off the tough ends by bending the spear until it naturally snaps. Your asparagus is now clean and ready to cook or enjoy raw in salads.

How To Cook Roasted Asparagus In The Oven

So, What’s The Best Way To Cook Asparagus?

The short answer? However you like your asparagus! There is no one best way to cook asparagus, but I’m partial to either sautéed or roasted. Long-time readers will know I’m a sucker for any vegetable that’s roasted. In fact, I will double any roasted asparagus batch I make, fully knowing that I’ll end up eating half of it before I place it on the table.

Looking For More Recipe Ideas?

If you are looking to dive deep into starting a healthier lifestyle, I just released a new 7-day email course on “The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Protein” with 40 new recipes– and it’s FREE! You’ll learn everything there is to know about plant-based protein options and how to incorporate them into your everyday recipes.

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Homemade Asaparagus

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Homemade Asaparagus

How to Cook Asparagus

  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

How to Cook Asparagus! Learn the best way to cook asparagus– how to cook asparagus in the oven, sautéed, grilled and steamed.


  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alexandra Caspero
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: oven, stove, pan
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed
  • olive oil, depending on method used
  • salt and pepper, depending on method used

Instructions

How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

  1. Heat oven to 425F and rinse and trim the asparagus. Add the asparagus to a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Using tongs or your hands coat the spears and then arrange into a single layer. Place the sheet into the oven and roast anywhere from 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Flip the asparagus halfway through to ensure even cooking.

How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan

  1. Cut the spears into 2-inch sections. Take a large skillet and heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Once the olive oil slides like water in the pan, add the asparagus and a pinch of salt. Cook until tender, typically 6-8 minutes for thick spears and 4-5 minutes for thin spears.

How to Blanch Asparagus

  1. Prepare the asparagus by rinsing, trimming, and cutting into pieces or whole sections. Next, prepare an ice bath by placing a bunch of ice cubes and water in a large bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil then add asparagus to pot and cook for about 1 minute. Transfer the asparagus to the ice bath with a slotted spoon. Once cooled, remove the asparagus and pat dry with a towel.

How to Cook Asparagus on the Stove

  1. Using a shallow pan, fill with about 1 inch of water and 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Place the steamer insert over the pan and bring the water to a boil. After rinsing and trimming the asparagus spears, place them in a single layer into the steamer. Allow the spears to cook for up to 5 minutes with thicker spears and up to 3 minutes for thinner spears.

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This How to Cook Asparagus article first appeared on Delish Knowledge

Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Leslie
      May 19, 2023 AT 12:17 pm

      These recipes made me fall in love with asparagus all over again.






    2. Kenny
      May 18, 2023 AT 3:09 pm

      Very much enjoyed the pan asparagus. Is there a grill version?






    3. Tyler
      May 18, 2023 AT 1:50 pm

      My wife loved the blanched asparagus I made for dinner last night! She also laughed that I even knew what blanched means! Thanks for the tip!






    4. Lenny
      April 25, 2023 AT 8:07 am

      This pan asparagus went great with some salmon. Will try the others next.






    5. Sue
      April 22, 2023 AT 8:35 pm

      Just made the stovetop version with lemon and tarragon. Fantastic!






    6. Tanya J.
      April 21, 2023 AT 12:49 pm

      Making it tonight!






    7. Cindy Mae
      April 21, 2023 AT 12:48 pm

      This is a great reminder for me to pick up a bundle the next time I’m at store. I love asparagus!






    8. Tommy
      April 21, 2023 AT 12:47 pm

      Glad I found these recipes just in time for grill season.






    9. Ismaila Yakubu
      April 17, 2022 AT 11:30 am

      I will love to know more about the health benefits of Asparagus, am struggling to buy it in Nigeria, it’s really an uphill task trying to get it in Nigeria because it’s not cultivated here. But I leaned that continuous intake of asparagus could cure cancer, is it true?
      Best regards
      Ismaila Yakubu






      1. Alex
        April 17, 2022 AT 12:41 pm

        Hi Ismalia, thanks for the comment. Asparagus is rich in many phytonutrients, but there is no evidence to support the claim that asparagus can cure cancer.

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