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How to Cook Asparagus

Updated on July 18, 2009

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and fortunately it is very easy to cook. My favorite method is roasting asparagus, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but you can also steam asparagus, toss it on the grille or sauté it in a pan.

In case you've never cooked asparagus before, I'll quickly outline what you need to do to prepare it for cooking and then list a few simple methods of how to cook asparagus and you can take your pick. All of these are very simple ways to prepare asparagus and you can always mix things up a bit by adding some garlic or a little marinade to the stalks.

Before you cook your asparagus, you need to first rinse it off to get any extra sand off of it (it grows in sandy soil) and then you need to remove the woody stems which are not very tasty since they are rather fibrous.

Preparing Asparagus for cooking

You can either cut off a couple of inches of the stalk or, preferably, you can simply bend each spear until it breaks at its natural breaking point. Using the breaking method will make sure that you end up with nice tender spears of asparagus without any waste.

You'll find that you lose more of the stalk with thicker asparagus than with the young thin spears

How to Steam Asparagus

Steaming asparagus is quick and easy. If you want to get fancy though, you can buy a special asparagus steamer that will allow for steaming the asparagus upright. A steamer basket will also do the trick nicely though and costs a lot less.

Once you have removed the woody stems and washed your spears, place them in the steamer basket, put some water in the bottom of your saucepan and place the steamer inside it. Put the lid on and let them steam. Depending on how tender you want your spears, they should be ready in about 2-3 minutes. They'll be done when they've turned bright green and are fork tender.

If you don't have steamer basket, you can bundle the asparagus together with some twine and stand them upright in a pot with about an inch of water in it. This will ensure that the tips of the asparagus are steamed and not boiled.

Roasted Asparagus  Photo by: flickr.com/photos/laurelfan/
Roasted Asparagus Photo by: flickr.com/photos/laurelfan/

How to Roast Asparagus

My favorite method for cooking asparagus is roasting and eight times out of 10 this is how I will cook it. The other two times I will grille it :)

Here's what I usually do:

Quick Roasted Asparagus

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Dump asparagus spears on baking tray
  3. Drizzle with plenty of olive oil
  4. Toss asparagus spears to coat in olive oil
  5. Spread them out on baking tray evenly
  6. Sprinkle sea salt (or kosher salt) on asparagus
  7. Grind pepper over aspargus
  8. Sprinkle bits of chopped garlic over asparagus
  9. Stick in the oven and cook for about 10-15 minutes

I usually let them cook until the asparagus is sizzling in the oil and there's a bit of browning. If you like yours a little crisper, you can take them out after they've turned bright green.

Once they are out of the oven, you can squeeze some lemon on them or shred some parmesan cheese over them or sprinkled some balsamic vinegraite or caesar dressing.

Check out the video below for a nice Roasted Asparagus recipe that's easy to follow.

Easy Roasted Asparagus

Ina Paarman's Fresh Asparagus

Pan Seared Asparagus

Other Ways to Cook Asparagus

For grilling, I basically do everything exactly the same as for roasting, except I lay the asparagus out on some aluminum foil and then place the whole thing on the grille. Be sure to put your grille lid down while cooking.

Grilling should be faster than roasting if your grille is nice and hot. So check the asparagus in about 3-5 minutes.

Alternatively you can spear stalks together with some wooden spears to form a raft and lay them on the grille and just brush some warm butter across them and maybe a little garlic.

There's a ton of other quick and easy methods for cooking asparagus as well. You can also sauté in pan, boil them or do a stir fry.

To get some more ideas, check out the additional videos for Ina Paarman's method of pan frying asparagus that looks delicious and the video for pan seared asparagus that looks very yummy.

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    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

      Great asparagus tips, one of the reasons I like asparagus is that it is finger food, you can just pick it up and eat.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I have never roasted asparagus, but the video and your instructions are awesome, and I will try that. Seems as though the roasting brings out a special flavor.

      My favorite way to eat this delicacy is to buy the thinnest spears (I used to grow them but that was a long time ago), bend them to take off the woody parts, as you say, and then steam them for about 2 minutes, starting with the water boiling already. Then chill them quickly in a large pan of water and ice cubes, turn them out onto a towel, and serve with ... nothing!

      Like Bob says, finger food.

      Great hub!

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 8 years ago from Boston

      I agree with you, Bob. Best way to eat is with the fingers :)

      Sally, roasting is really delicious. You should definitely try it out. I like the really thin spears too!

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

      I too, love asparagus and munch them raw down the stalk til it's no longer tender,,,YUM

      Your hub is very well laid out and prepared...thank you!!

    • einron profile image

      einron 8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      I love the video. I recently received word that asparagus can cure cancer. First, you have to cook the asparasus in water. After it is cooked, puree the asparagus and put the puree in the fridge. Take two tablespoons in the morning and two tablespoons in the evening. Viola and you will be cured.

      'Asparagus for Cancer' printed on Cancer News Journal, December 1979. Discovered by Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S.

      Case 1.Hodgkin's

    • profile image

      Paul Felix 8 years ago

      I enjoyed reading about the Asparagus the roasted asparagus sounds excellent I was wondering if you ever tried letting them cool down all the way and dipping them in real mayo (mayonaise)just using the tips try it its great

    • CarpetDiem profile image

      CarpetDiem 8 years ago from Southern California

      I love asparagus. BBQing is my favorite method, though I put it in a comlete aluminum foil pouch (with olive oil and lemon). During the winter we steam it - there the key is not to oversteam it. I actually clicked through to this hub because I thought you might have the secret to preparing it so that it didn't result in the distinctive smell later on :) any ideas on that?

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 8 years ago from Boston

      Hahha! No, unfortunately I think we are stuck with that distinctive odor :)

    • Sally Dillon profile image

      Sally Dillon 8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thank you for a great new way to cook asparagus! I've roasted plenty of other vegies, but never thought of asparagus!

    • Annette Rozen profile image

      Ann Martin 8 years ago

      Loved reading your hub. my aspargus often come out soggy when i steam them. Ive got to try your grilling method

    • queen cleopatra profile image

      queen cleopatra 8 years ago

      I like crunchy veggies like asparagus. Though I don't cook it because I don't know how. Thanks to your hub, I can buy raw asparagus and cook them as per your instructions--and get the crunchiness that I taste from restaurant-bought asparagus.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

      Yum, I love asparagus and your roasting it sounds delicious too. I used to pick wild asparagus on the way home from school and my mother would fix creamed asparagus on toast for breakfast next day. I loved it!

    • profile image

      marlene keith 7 years ago

      ok, im 66 years old, love asparagus and believe it or not, i have never fixed it, ..so i came on this computor to find how to cook it and tonight i shall be roasting them in the oven, ,,now what do i prepare with it,,???? i have cfs and fibro so i dont feel like cooking very often so when i do i want something special...lobster,,i guess, dont have any, not going to the store so what else.--hummmmmmm,checked the freezer, im guessing hot dogs wont work,,,lol..,,

    • ThePartyAnimal profile image

      ThePartyAnimal 7 years ago

      I love asparagus and I roast mine, but add a little Parmesan cheese on top too - so yummy

    • kea profile image

      kea 7 years ago

      Great tips! Asparagus rocks.

    • virodrig profile image

      virodrig 7 years ago

      Very informative. I especially like how you added more then one way to cook them and the videos and pictures add even more depth to the whole article. Great job

    • profile image

      Derek 7 years ago

      Awesome! I'm gonna use the oven method tonight! Thank you!

    • profile image

      Kristin 7 years ago

      I Love Love Love the videos you've attached! Im a beginner cook so its much more helpful to see it rather then just reading directions! I'm adding this page to my favorites! :)

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 7 years ago

      Thanx, love asparagus : )

    • profile image

      shauna 7 years ago

      Thank you so much for posting. Tonight was my first time ever cooking asparagus! I must say....it turned out FANTASTIC! I roasted them in the oven. They were so sweet. Thank you again.

    • scaffolding tower profile image

      scaffolding tower 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      I was searching for vegetarian dishes when I found your hub. Good stuff.

    • profile image

      Catman raw tooth 7 years ago

      Asparagus is yummy!

    • profile image

      kelly conner 7 years ago

      Im gonna try the asparagus in the oven tonight. The only other way i know how to cook it is in the ziplock steam bags but i think this is going to be better.

    • profile image

      brooks 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this...this is exactly what I was looking for as I was unsure about how to trim it correctly. I appreciate it!!!

    • profile image

      tina 7 years ago

      i have cooked it tonight in the oven and my picky 14 yr old loves it i do to i think we have found another veggie that we can cook for dinner

    • profile image

      chiquita 7 years ago

      THANK GOD FOR PEOPLE THAT KNOW HOW TO COOK! LOVE THE ROAST METHOD! THANKS FOR SHARING!

    • profile image

      Crystal 7 years ago

      Thanks for the Tips. Me and my grandmother tried it today.. They came out real good! :D

    • profile image

      calimami 7 years ago

      roasted asparagus is wonderful. also try roasted or grilled cactus (prickly pear or nopalitos) for a similar taste sensation. que bueno!

    • GeneralHowitzer profile image

      Gener Geminiano 7 years ago from Land of Salt, Philippines

      Just included this wonderful hub of yours in my latest article about asparagus. I hope I hope I have your blessings otherwise I am getting rid of your link in my hub.

    • Jennifer Bhala profile image

      Jennifer Bhala 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Great and delicious sounding idea. I will try that this week. Olive oil salt pepper and garlic. Yummy. I usually boil them for a minute or two but your way sounds tastier.

    • profile image

      Whitney 6 years ago

      I recently bought some fresh asparagus and had no clue how to cook it. Thanks to your page, I am roasting some right now. Your page is very well set up. Thank you!

    • Moon Daisy profile image

      Moon Daisy 6 years ago from London

      Very useful hub, thanks! I just googled how to cook asparagus and your hub came up second on the list. It's now steaming away, and soon we will be enjoying it with some butter. :)

    • profile image

      janey 6 years ago

      thanx for the tip will try roasting in oven. will let you know how i get on. bear in mind i am the worlds worst cook!

    • profile image

      Von 6 years ago

      Thanks soooo much for such an easy to use site and great video. I am going to roast asparagus for the first time tonight. Yay.

    • profile image

      Jean 6 years ago

      Great to know - never cooked it before - will roast it tonight!

    • profile image

      s.k. 6 years ago

      For your potato chip recipe would be even better if you sprinkled oregano with salt over all the chips both sides.

    • profile image

      Debby 6 years ago

      I normally steam mine in the microwave but I tried your roasting techn tonight and it was awesome! I will never steam it again and will never buy canned again! Thanks! Yummy :-)

    • profile image

      Brians Roar 6 years ago

      Good job...I will try it tonight with some chicken parm. for my wifes birthday dinner....

    • profile image

      Em 6 years ago

      Thanks so much for the fantastic video! I'm not a natural in the kitchen, so all the extra helpful hints are very useful :D Can't wait to make this for dinner tonight!

    • profile image

      Gillian 6 years ago

      I love your page, also have never cooked asparagus before and I googled and your page came up!! I am really impressed by your simple recipes and all of the positive comments! I am roasting it right now, I can't wait to try it! Thanks!! :)

    • profile image

      BUCKQD 6 years ago

      HI THERE! I WAS GOOGLING 4 AN ASPARAGUS RECIPE,,,,VOILA` I CAME ACROSS U,AND UR'S!!! NOW I NOT ONLY HAVE 3 GREAT RECIPES~I JOINED,SO I COULD THANK YOU,AND NOW MAY BECOME A **HUBBER**, THIS IS SO FUNNY. I WAS ONLY LOOKING FOR A RECIPE,AND HAVE ENTERED A WHOLE NEW WORLD~~YAYAY!! THANKS EMBITCA!!! OH! I AM ALSO NOW FOLLOWING YOU~~ ;-)

    • profile image

      Killer Shark Marketing 6 years ago

      Great advice on putting it in the over. I'm trying it right now.. just minus the fresh garlic. I just don't have any handy, so I'm using garlic salt.

      I'm gonna sear it sometime, never even knew you can do that!

    • profile image

      cloud9 6 years ago

      reading the ways to cook asparagus makes my mouth water....awesome...

    • profile image

      KT 6 years ago

      Tried roasting asparagus after seeing your video... Awesome!!Thanks :)

    • profile image

      Crissy 6 years ago

      I have never cooked asparagus but now I know how...thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Linda 6 years ago

      I've never cooked it before, but it sounds great. I'm trying it tonight.

    • profile image

      Katie 6 years ago

      I like my asparagus crunchier, so I only cooked it for 15 minutes, which was still too long for me. But though kinda soft, it was still delicious.

      My other favorite way to cook asparagus is to pan sauté it with some minced garlic and olive oil.

    • profile image

      bailey 6 years ago

      i like them alot

    • profile image

      Kia 6 years ago

      I just tried the roasted asparagus and it was amazing, Two thumbs up on this recipe!!!

    • profile image

      steve j 6 years ago

      i tried the roasted asparagus last night, and they were as good as any restaurants

    • profile image

      Malaika 6 years ago

      Never cooked it before trying to eat healiter.....It turned out really great!!!!

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      This sounds so delicious. I am hungry right now and I wish I had some asparagus to cook!

    • profile image

      Jeff 6 years ago

      Grilling asparagus is the bomb!!! Wash and cut the stalks, thinner asparagus is more tender. I grill mine in foil, adding a mixture of homemade lemon butter sauce, and some sea salt with black pepper for taste. Yum!! Try this for your next cook-out!

    • profile image

      Pork Chop 6 years ago

      I tried roasting them and it was Fantastic!!!!!!

      PARTY IN MY MOUTH!!!

      Great Job!

    • profile image

      Chef wannabe 6 years ago

      OMG! This is the first time I've roasted asparagus! Delicious! I tossed them in evoo with salt and pepper, roasted for 10 mins and then drizzles in balsamic vinegar! I wanna eat them all but unfortunately I have to save some for my husband! Thanks for sharing this cookin technique!

    • profile image

      Jennifer Jagger 6 years ago

      I just roast the asparagus, it was delicious. Thank you very much.

    • profile image

      dia3766 6 years ago

      i am going to cook it for the first time. I hope my husband will eat it. knowing him he will call it a tree lol

    • Lissa101 profile image

      Lissa101 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Great hub, I love asparagus and have been looking for some recipies. I will try the roasting method, sounds very nice.

    • profile image

      JillsGot5 5 years ago

      Wow great recipe. It was quick, easy and delicious! Thanks for sharing. My husband and kids loved it as well.

    • profile image

      margaret armstead 5 years ago

      just came back from spain and in a tapas bar we had asparagus with bacon wrap round it was delicious but wasn't sure whether it was grilled or roasted. can you help?

    • embitca profile image
      Author

      Emma 5 years ago from Boston

      Margaret, my guess is you could do it either way.

    • profile image

      Ed Perkins 5 years ago

      All you need to do is 1> Chill the can in refridgerator for about one hour, 2> Open can and drain, 3> Slide can contents onto a saucer, 4> Spread a little mayonaise on them and EAT!! I could never wait long enough to cook them myself.

    • profile image

      JANICE H. 5 years ago

      Just realized my husband loves asparagus. Went to the market buying asparagus, not knowing how to cook it. Googled "how to cook asparagus". And God spoke to me through you. Will roast tonight, wish me luck. Love your video that helps.

    • profile image

      Nia Avery 5 years ago

      this recipe turned out great!!! best tasting asparagus i have yet had!!!

    • profile image

      Emma l 5 years ago

      thanks for the tips, im going to roast asparagus tonight!

    • profile image

      Tami T. 5 years ago

      This was my first time cooking asparagus and it turned out great. The recipe was so easy and it tasted great! I will be using this recipe allot!

    • profile image

      Marilena P 5 years ago

      White asparagus prep as the green one and even more delicious. As a side dish, no need for the cheese but I use fine chopped parsley.

    • profile image

      Candi W 5 years ago

      Roasted as per your directions and my husband said it was the best he ever had. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      kerry 5 years ago

      hey this was really helpful, thanks for the tips :)

    • profile image

      Nikki 5 years ago

      I've never before cooked asparagus so I tried the roasted recipe...omg...the asparagus was so good!!! My family absolutely loved it!! Thanks.

    • profile image

      vicky 5 years ago

      i work as a cook at nursing home and they changed my menu for today to asparagus and ive never cooked it before so thx for the roasting tip because it looks easier to do for 100 ppl, im using this technique today so wish me some luck!

    • profile image

      Dan 5 years ago

      Awesome tips! I prepared this tonight for my family and was considered a local hero for it! Never have we had asparagus that was so good. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Sylvia 5 years ago

      We had never cooked asparagus before. We tried your roasted recipe and it is the best. We loved the great taste. THANK YOU for posting this video

    • profile image

      Zek202 5 years ago

      I usually cook them by steaming them in a big frying pan covered with a lid and just a little bit of water. They do not boil and cook really fast. I put 2 spears down first then put the others on top at right angle to elevate the spears above the water. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes. I will try roasted method.

    • profile image

      name unknown 5 years ago

      I've never cooked or tried asparagus before i am trying tonight with fush hope it taste as good as ye made it sound and look xxxx :D

    • profile image

      Just Me 5 years ago

      Excellent roasted!

    • profile image

      Frank 4 years ago

      I had asparagus at a potluck, and it had been roasted like you did, but they had drizzled a Hollandaise Sauce over it. Yummy!!!

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

      Asparagus is also one of my favorites, especially when roasted. I usually add a little balsamic as well, but there are endless ways to dress it up!

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