How to Cook Asparagus Any Way You Like

updated Jan 28, 2020
How To Cook Asparagus

The easiest way to roast asparagus in the oven.


Prep2 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The return of fresh asparagus to the farmers market is my favorite sign that spring has sprung. That moment will be here before we know it, so it’s time to start thinking about how you want to cook it once you get your hands on those gorgeous green stalks.

The beauty of asparagus is that it lends itself to a lot of different cooking methods, and we’re laying out all them in one handy spot. Consider this your asparagus cheat sheet to get you through spring.

Step One: Choose the Best Bunch of Asparagus

Whether you’re shopping in the produce section of your grocery store or at the farmers market, asparagus is most often sold in one-pound bundles, which include anywhere from 18 to 24 spears depending on size and thickness.

When shopping, it’s helpful at have a loose game plan for your asparagus, as that can help you decide between thin or thick spears.

  • Thin spears take well to being blanched for a salad, steamed, sautéed, and eaten raw.
  • Thick spears are the better choice for grilling and roasting, and are also nice for steaming.

Regardless of thickness, choose a bunch of asparagus with plump, straight stems, and avoid any with wrinkly stems or dry, split, or excessively woody ends.

More About Buying and Storing Asparagus

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How to Sauté Asparagus

Cut 1 pound asparagus (rinsed and trimmed) into 2-inch pieces.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add the asparagus and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring until tender, 3 to 4 minutes for thin spears, or 6 to 8 minutes for thick spears.

How to Blanch Asparagus

Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Bring a wide pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add 1 pound asparagus (trimmed), whole or in pieces. Cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the asparagus to the water bath. Once cool, remove from the water bath and pat dry.

How to Steam Asparagus on the Stovetop

Add 1 inch of water and 2 teaspoons kosher salt to a wide, shallow pot or high-sided pan, and place a steamer insert in the pot. Bring the water to a boil.

Place 1 pound whole asparagus spears (rinsed and trimmed) in a single layer in the steamer, working in batches if necessary. Cover and cook until knife-tender, 2 to 3 minutes for thin spears and 4 to 5 minutes for thick spears.

How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave

Dampen 4 paper towels and place on a large plate. Top with 1 pound asparagus (rinsed and trimmed) in a single layer, and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Roll the paper towels and asparagus into a spiral bundle. Microwave on high for 3 minutes.

How to Grill Asparagus

Drizzle 1 pound thick asparagus (rinsed, trimmed, and dried) with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Thread two skewers (soaked if wooden) through five to six asparagus spears to hold them together. Cook over direct high heat for 4 minutes. Flip with tongs and cook another 2 to 4 minutes on the other side.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How To Cook Asparagus

The easiest way to roast asparagus in the oven.

Prep time 2 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1 pound

    asparagus, rinsed, trimmed, and dried

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt


  1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425°F.

  2. Prepare the asparagus. Place the asparagus on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with the oil, and season with the salt. Use your hands to coat the asparagus and arrange in a single layer.

  3. Roast the asparagus. Roast, flipping halfway through, until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes total, depending on thickness.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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