Creamy Asparagus Casserole with Lemony Breadcrumbs

published Feb 26, 2023
Asparagus Casserole Recipe

This creamy, cheesy casserole is the perfect way to eat peak-spring asparagus.


Prep10 minutes

Cook20 minutes to 25 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Asparagus casserole in a baking dish and serving spoon.
Credit: Kelli Foster

When I’m fighting the clock to get dinner on the table, a quick pan of sautéed asparagus or steamed asparagus just can’t be beat. But all those other evenings when I want to celebrate sweet spring asparagus with a fancy side dish that the whole table is sure to be smitten with, I turn to asparagus casserole.

It has all the classic comfort you’d expect from a creamy, cheesy casserole, but with a bright, fresh twist that keeps it in check — plenty of lemon zest in the crisp breadcrumb topping for a vibrant pop of flavor that plays well with the creamy Gruyère sauce. Those tender-crisp spears of asparagus are the star of this dish, which is easy enough to pull together on a weeknight, yet special enough for a holiday spread.

Should I Soak or Cook Asparagus Before Baking?

Nope! There’s no need to soak or cook the asparagus before baking; it cooks right in the casserole.

@thekitchn This creamy, cheesy casserole is the perfect way to eat asparagus this spring! #thekitchn #asparagus #asparagusrecipe #springrecipes #casserole #casserolerecipe ♬ Simple Hit – Dombresky

The 3 Components of Asparagus Casserole

There are three distinct components of this springy casserole.

  1. Asparagus. Thick asparagus is your best choice here, and you’ll need two bunches (about two pounds).
  2. Creamy, cheesy sauce. The asparagus is baked in a rich and creamy Gruyère cheese sauce, spiked with garlic, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of nutmeg.
  3. Crunchy breadcrumb topping. A buttery, golden-brown panko breadcrumb topping flecked with bright lemon zest blankets the casserole for a crunchy bite.

What to Serve with Asparagus Casserole?

Asparagus casserole is an easy side dish to serve with whatever you’re making for a weeknight dinner, yet it feels special enough to warrant a place on your holiday table. It makes a great partner to all of these main dishes.

Asparagus Casserole Recipe

This creamy, cheesy casserole is the perfect way to eat peak-spring asparagus.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info


  • Cooking spray

  • 2 bunches

    asparagus, preferably thick-cut (about 2 pounds total)

  • 3 cloves


  • 4 ounces

    Gruyère cheese

  • 1

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided

  • 6 tablespoons

    (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground or grated nutmeg


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.

  2. Trim the ends from 2 bunches asparagus. Place crosswise in the baking dish. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Grate 4 ounces Gruyère cheese (about 1 1/2 cups) on the large holes of a box grater.

  3. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon into a medium bowl; reserve the lemon for another use. Add 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt to the lemon zest. Stir to combine.

  4. Melt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Transfer 2 tablespoons into the breadcrumb mixture. Stir to coat the breadcrumbs.

  5. Add the garlic to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and stir constantly for 1 minute to cook out the floury taste. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in 2 cups whole or 2% milk and stir until smooth and the flour is completely dissolved. Bring just to a full simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently.

  6. Add the Gruyère, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the remaining 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.

  7. Pour the sauce evenly across the center of the asparagus. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.

  8. Bake until the asparagus is tender and vibrant green, and the sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.