How to Cook Asparagus (Our 7 Best Methods)

Find out how you can cook delicious fresh asparagus in six unique ways! These methods include roasting, steaming, boiling, sautéing, pan-roasting, and broiling. Each cooking method produces savory green spears that burst with amazing flavors. Best of all, this fiber-filled veggie fully cooks in only minutes, making it the perfect healthy side dish

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Fresh raw asparagus spears have a crisp texture and unique sweetness. By cooking these greens, you can unlock a new world of flavor. And the thing about asparagus is that they don’t need a lot of seasoning to come out amazing, just a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.

how to cook asparagus

How to Cook Appetizing Asparagus

You can prepare asparagus in the oven, on a stovetop, or even on the grill for those outdoor chefs. The char you get from a grill delivers a smoky flavor that’s second to none. And as for steaming, this method keeps your asparagus spear looking plump and vibrant green. Each technique offers unique flavors and textures, depending on what you are in the mood for and which happens to be the most convenient. You can also add seasonings such as parmesan cheese, fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, melted butter, and much more.

Boiling Asparagus

  • Pour your salted water into a large pot.
  • Once the water begins to boil, add your asparagus to the pot.
  • Boil between 1-3 minutes until the asparagus has a bright green color and tender texture.
  • Shock your asparagus in a pot of ice water to pause them from cooking further if you’re not eating them straight away.

Steaming Asparagus

  • Put your asparagus into the steamer basket, then cover.
  • Steam on high heat. After the steam forms, continue cooking for 2-4 minutes until the asparagus turns bright green and tender.
  • Shock in a bath of ice water to halt the cooking process if you’re not eating them immediately.

Roasting Asparagus

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Coat your asparagus in olive oil, then sprinkle some salt and pepper.
  • Roast for around 10 minutes. Shake the pan at the 5-minute mark.
  • Your roasted asparagus tips should appear browned and texture nice and tender.

Sautéing Asparagus

how to make asparagus

  • Cut your asparagus into 2-inch length pieces.
  • Set them in a pan on the stovetop with butter or olive oil, then set the temperature to high heat.
  • Sauté your asparagus lightly for 3-5 minutes until they brown and become tender.
  • Season them with a bit of salt and pepper.
  • You can use the same method if cooking in a wok for stir-fry recipes.

Broiling Asparagus

  • Turn on the broil setting in your oven.
  • Coat your asparagus using oil, pepper, and salt, then transfer them to a cookie sheet tray.
  • Cook asparagus about 6 inches from the oven’s top heating element.
  • Broil for 8-10 minutes until your asparagus turns slightly brown with a tender texture.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus

  • Set a large pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add butter and olive oil.
  • Add your asparagus and coat them in the butter and oil.
  • Cover and allow them to roast for 3 minutes until the asparagus turn bright green but still has a crisp texture (not soft).
  • Remove the cover and set the heat to high.
  • Season your asparagus with pepper and salt.
  • Sear the sticks for 3-5 minutes, moving them around with tongs until they brown.

How to Pick the Best Asparagus

cooking asparagus

When shopping for asparagus, it is ideal to purchase them from a local farmers market or produce stand. This will ensure the freshest product, as well as the most sustainable and organic options. If purchasing from a grocery store, look for organic or sustainably-grown asparagus.

Avoid any asparagus that has yellowing or wilting tips, as this indicates it is no longer fresh. If possible, it is best to purchase asparagus with the roots still attached, as this is a strong indication of freshness. It is also ideal to buy asparagus of equal size and thickness for even cooking. Lastly, look for thick asparagus with thicker stalks, as they are more tender stalks with the best flavor and texture.

How to Store Asparagus

Storing asparagus is both easy and important to ensure that it stays fresh and flavorful. Fresh, uncooked asparagus should be kept in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Wrap the ends of the asparagus in a damp paper towel and store it in a plastic bag or container. It should keep for up to four days.

Cooked asparagus can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you want to store it for longer, it can be frozen for up to a year. To freeze asparagus, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for about two hours. Once it is frozen, transfer it to a sealed container or a freezer bag. When you are ready to use the asparagus, thaw it in the refrigerator or cook it directly from frozen.

Preparing Asparagus

The lower portion of the asparagus stalk should be cut off, as it is not suitable for eating. Find the natural breaking point by grasping the middle and bottom of the spear and breaking it in two. This will serve as a guide for trimming the other spears.

Utilizing a vegetable peeler to shave off the outer skin can help reduce any waste and should also be washed prior to cooking. For best results, use a towel if cooking with dry-heat methods, such as roasting or sauteing, to avoid steaming instead of browning. This will ensure that the asparagus is flavorful and delicious.

Asparagus’ Nutritional Value

Nutrition facts from the USDA National Nutrient Database say 1 cup or 134 grams of green asparagus contains:

  • Protein: 3.88 grams
  • Calories: 27 grams
  • Fat: 0.12 grams
  • Fiber: 2.1 grams
  • Sugar: 1.88 grams

The Many Health Benefits of Eating Asparagus

You might be shocked to learn that Asparagus officinalis is a perennial flowering plant. Not only are the tips edible, but the entire stem is tender and rich in micronutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, B vitamins, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.

The Different Ways of Adding Asparagus to Dishes

  • Drizzle your steamed asparagus with some homemade hollandaise sauce.
  • Dice your asparagus into rings and use it in quiche, a breakfast casserole, or frittata.
  • One great oven-roasted asparagus recipe involves wrapping your asparagus in bacon, then letting them roast!
  • Toss your asparagus with pesto sauce and pasta.
  • You can also cook roasted asparagus in your air fryer.
  • You can also grill asparagus easily, and the smokey flavor of grilled asparagus is second to none. Avoid using thin asparagus for grilling.
  • Dip your asparagus in seasoned breading and bake or deep-fry it for mind-blowing asparagus fries.
  • Stuff your asparagus inside chicken breasts with some mozzarella for a delicious one-pan baked asparagus meal.

Is It Possible to Rehydrate Asparagus Once It’s Gone Limp?

Absolutely! The fridge can dry out your asparagus, and since it has so much natural moisture, it’s best to store them in the fridge for maximum freshness. If your spears are beginning to get a little limp, but they are not mushy or too old, you can rehydrate them.

First, trim off the tough ends, then place the spears in about 1 inch of water. Using plastic wrap, cover up the tips and refrigerate overnight. The next day your spears should return to a healthy texture.

How to Cook Appetizing Asparagus

how to prepare asparagus

how to cook asparagus

How to Cook Asparagus

Find out how you can cook delicious asparagus in six unique ways! These methods include roasting, steaming, boiling, sautéing, pan-roasting, and broiling.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 53 kcal

Ingredients
  

Steaming

  • 1 lb. trimmed asparagus spears
  • Water just enough to coat the bottom of the pot

Boiling

  • 1 lb. trimmed asparagus spears
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Sautéing

  • 1 lb. asparagus spears
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • tsp freshly ground black pepper

Roasting

  • 1 lb. trimmed asparagus spears
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt season to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper season to taste

Pan-Roasting

  • 1 lb. asparagus spears
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

Steaming

  • Cut away the bottom portions of the asparagus spears, approximately 1-2 inches in length.
  • Put a pot of water on the stove and make sure the level stays below the steaming basket. To steam asparagus put the basket in the pot and put the lid on. Turn the heat up and wait until the water is steaming.
  • Bring the asparagus to a boil and simmer until the vegetable is vibrant in color and soft when pierced with a fork, approximately 2-4 minutes.
  • To ensure maximum freshness, quickly submerge steamed asparagus in a bowl of cold water after cooking. When you are ready to enjoy it, heat the asparagus up again and add your favorite seasonings.

Boiling

  • Cut away the bottom portions of the asparagus spears, approximately 1-2 inches in length.
  • Place the asparagus in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water.
  • To prepare asparagus, heat it until it turns a vivid green and is tender to the touch when pierced with a fork, usually taking 1-3 minutes.
  • To ensure maximum freshness, quickly submerge steamed asparagus in a bowl of cold water after cooking. When you are ready to enjoy it, heat the asparagus up again and add your favorite seasonings.

Sautéing

  • Remove the woody ends of the asparagus stalks and slice them into two-inch sections.
  • Put the pan on the stove and turn the heat up to medium-high. You can also use a wok if you are planning to do some stir-frying.
  • When the pan has heated up, pour in some olive oil or butter to create a cooking surface.
  • Introduce the asparagus into the pan and cook until tender and lightly browned, taking roughly 3-5 minutes.
  • Add flavor to your sauteed asparagus by seasoning it with a dash of salt and pepper.

Roasting

  • Place the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to a temperature of 400°F.
  • Before you roast asparagus, cut away the lower part of the stalks, removing 1-2 inches.
  • Put the asparagus on a baking sheet, drizzle it with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the tray with aluminum foil to make it easier to clean afterward.
  • Cook the food at a high temperature for a short duration of time. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • Continue roasting for an additional 3-5 minutes until the roast asparagus become lightly brown and tender.

Pan-Roasting

  • Cut away the bottom portions of the asparagus spears, approximately 1-2 inches in length.
  • In a skillet, set the stove to medium-high and heat it up.
  • Pour in the olive oil and butter and let it melt. After that, put in the asparagus.
  • Gently grasp the asparagus with a pair of tongs and dip it in the mixture of oil and butter.
  • Simmer the asparagus until vibrant and tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, then crank up the heat. Discard lid.
  • Sear your asparagus for 3-5 minutes, turning with tongs as required, until it has a nice browned exterior.

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcalCarbohydrates: 4gFat: 3g
Keyword how to cook asparagus
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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