Here’s how to cook asparagus so that it’s full of flavor! It’s easy to cook roasted, grilled, sauteed and steamed: then spritz with lemon and serve.
Hello asparagus fans! If you’re looking for the best way to cook this healthy veggie, you’re in the right place. Asparagus is easily overcooked, making it mushy and bitter. But if you cook it correctly, it’s beautifully bright green and tender, with a mild and sweet flavor. Alex and I have found the best ways to cook asparagus are roasted and sauteed. But it’s also tasty steamed. Here are all our favorite ways to prepare it!
How to cook asparagus: the best ways!
Or try it raw, shaved into ribbons!
Did you know that you you don’t have to cook asparagus at all? You can eat it raw! Now, you might think it would taste extraordinarily bitter. But not at all! The flavor of raw shaved asparagus is fresh and light, more sweet than bitter. It’s perfect topped with a lemon vinaigrette and Parmesan shavings in our Shaved Asparagus Salad. Here’s how to shave asparagus:
- Place the asparagus spear on a cutting board. Don’t hold it in the air! It bends under the weight of a peeler. Place it on a cutting board instead.
- Shave from the tip to the base. With a vegetable peeler, shave each spear from the from from the tip to the base. This is important, because otherwise the asparagus can break off. It takes a little practice, but is easy once you get the hang of it!
- Add flavor. Mix with olive oil and salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest if you have it, and it’s an easy side dish.
Want to learn to cook more vegetables? Go to How to Cook Vegetables.
More great asparagus recipes
Want more ways to cook asparagus? Here are some of our favorites:
- In salad! Try our Asparagus Salad with Feta.
- In tacos! Try Scrambled Egg & Asparagus Tacos.
- In risotto! Try Asparagus Risotto.
- In pasta! Try Orecchiette with Lemon Asparagus or Vegan Pasta Primavera.
- In a frittata! Try Asparagus Frittata with Feta.
Here’s how to cook asparagus so that it’s full of flavor! It’s easy to cook roasted, sauteed and steamed: then spritz with lemon and serve.
- 1 pound asparagus
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
- Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Wash and dry the asparagus. Cut off the tough bottom ends of the stalks.
- Roasted: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the whole asparagus stalks to a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the zest of 1/2 lemon and mix with your hands. Thinly slice 4 lemon wheels from the lemon, then add them right on the tray. Sprinkle everything with Parmesan cheese (optional). Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until tender when pierced by a fork at the thickest part. The timing will depend on the thickness of the asparagus spears.
- Sauteede: Cut the stalks into bite-sized pieces. In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add the asparagus, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the largest pieces are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Taste and remove when it’s just tender and still bright green, but not crunchy. When the asparagus is done, remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon lemon juice plus the zest of 1/2 lemon. Add optional Parmesan if desired.
- Grilled: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat (375 to 450 degrees). In a bowl, mix the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of fresh ground black pepper. Place the asparagus directly on the grill grates and grill for about 3 to 4 minutes until charred and tender, turning once. Remove from the grill and spritz with lemon juice from wedges from 1/2 of the lemon.
- Steamed: Cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces. Add water to a pot so that the surface is right under the steamer basket. Add the steamer basket and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, add the asparagus. Steam with the lid on for about 2 to 5 minutes until crisp tender and the thickest portion, taste testing with a fork to assess doneness. Carefully remove the asparagus to a bowl, draining away any water. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Various
- Cuisine: Vegetables
Keywords: How to cook asparagus
There are lots of reasons to eat these healthy green stalks! Here are a few great reasons to add this steamed asparagus to your weekly repertoire:
- Great source of fiber: 1 cup of cooked asparagus has 4 grams of fiber. (Source)
- High in protein for a green vegetable: 1 cup also has 4 grams protein. (Source) That’s a similar level to broccoli and potatoes.
- Can aid in eye and hair health and may have potential anti-aging properties. (Source)
Last updated: May 2020
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.