How to Cook Asparagus in Your Instant Pot or Air Fryer
Put your gadgets to work! Test Kitchen experts break down how to cook asparagus using the latest cooking methods.
Asparagus is one of our favorite spring vegetables because you can do so much with it. The spears are good steamed, wrapped in prosciutto or thinly shaved and tossed raw onto a salad. Top the spears with hard-boiled eggs or serve them simply dressed with olive oil and salt; whip up a tasty dipping sauce or smother it in homemade hollandaise.
It seems that no matter what you do, this fresh green vegetable will be delicious and sweet!
How to Choose Asparagus
Look for brightly colored, firm stems that aren’t too dried out on the bottom. If you can find a bundle with medium-sized spears, they won’t overcook as easily as the pencil-thin ones (the super-fat spears are the only kind you’ll want to peel before cooking). Then, snap off the woody ends and start cooking using one of these simple techniques.
How to Cook Asparagus in an Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is my go-to appliance for steaming vegetables. Steaming not only locks in the bright green color of the asparagus, but it also gives it a pleasantly soft bite. Use the Instant Pot to prepare asparagus for appetizers, side dishes or salads.
You can also steam asparagus ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to eat. Just let the asparagus come to room temperature before serving—ice-cold asparagus doesn’t taste that great.
- Place the asparagus on a steaming rack inside the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Close the lid and make sure the venting knob is set to Sealing.
- Press the Manual button and set the time to ZERO minutes on High Pressure. (You can cook for 1 minute if your asparagus spears are very thick.)
- When the Instant Pot beeps that it’s finished, carefully release the steam using the Quick Release method by turning the knob to Venting.
- Remove the asparagus from the Instant Pot and dress it with a sprinkle of kosher salt and pepper and a splash of olive oil.
How to Cook Asparagus in an Air Fryer
We love our air fryer! It’s a healthier alternative to deep fried foods. Use the air fryer to quickly and easily cook crispy (yet tender) asparagus. We’ve even wrapped the bundles in bacon, which always makes everything better.
- If using a batter, roll the asparagus spears in all-purpose flour until they’re lightly coated. Dip them into a bowl containing a beaten egg and dredge them in panko bread crumbs. If skipping the batter, toss the spears in a teaspoon of olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. You can wrap a few spears of asparagus with thinly-sliced bacon, too, if you wish.
- No matter how you’ve prepared them, place the asparagus in a single layer in the basket, leaving enough space so they don’t touch. Bake at 400° F for 8 minutes.