How to Cook Asparagus 9 Ways
These methods for how to cook asparagus come straight from our Test Kitchen. From roasting and grilling to sauteeing and air-frying, there's something for every preferred way of cooking.
When spring rolls around, there’s nothing better than spears of fresh asparagus to accompany a weekend brunch or weeknight dinner. And with dozens of asparagus recipes that call for different cooking methods, it’s worth learning how to cook asparagus using various techniques.
From oven and stovetop methods to grilling to Instant Pot cooking, this guide will help you master multiple ways to cook asparagus.
How to Cook Asparagus in the Oven
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Whether you’re roasting or broiling, cooking asparagus in the oven is one of the most popular methods.
How to Roast Asparagus
This Roasted Asparagus recipe serves 12 people. To make it, preheat the oven to 400°F and arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes until crisp-tender.
For more ideas, try these other roasted asparagus recipes.
How to Broil Asparagus
This Balsamic Broiled Asparagus recipe is quick to make and serves four people. To start, coat the asparagus in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Then arrange it in a single layer on a baking sheet and place it about 4 inches under the broiler. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.
How to Cook Asparagus on the Stove
From blanching and boiling to sauteeing and steaming, there are many ways to cook asparagus on the stove.
How to Blanch Asparagus
To blanch asparagus, briefly boil it before transferring it to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. You’ll want to blanch asparagus before freezing it or pickling it. (Here’s how to make pickled asparagus.)
Some recipes, like this Asparagus with Horseradish Dip, call for blanching as the main cooking method.
How to Boil Asparagus
To make boiled asparagus, start by bringing a saucepan of water to a boil. Next, add the asparagus and boil for 8 minutes or until it’s tender. Drain in a colander and do not rinse.
Editor’s tip: Be careful not to overcook the asparagus when you’re boiling it—otherwise it’ll turn into a mushy mess!
How to Saute Asparagus
This Sauteed Asparagus with Mushrooms recipe only takes 15 minutes to make and serves four people. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus (and mushrooms, if you’d like) and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes or until tender.
How to Steam Asparagus
You can steam asparagus in a frying pan or skillet, like in this Garlic Parmesan Asparagus recipe. Simply fill a large skillet with about 1/2 inch of water and bring it to a boil. Add the asparagus, and cover and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes until it reaches your ideal tenderness. Then drain, season and serve!
Other Ways to Cook Asparagus
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Between grilling, air-frying and cooking in an Instant Pot, some of the best ways to cook asparagus use appliances other than your oven and stove.
How to Grill Asparagus
This Grilled Asparagus recipe takes 20 minutes to make and serves four. Slathered with barbecue sauce, it’s the perfect side for a summer cookout.
Start by boiling the asparagus in a large skillet for 4 to 6 minutes. Then grill the spears uncovered over medium heat for 2 minutes, turning them once. Slather on barbecue sauce and grill for 2 additional minutes.
For another grilled asparagus recipe, try Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus.
How to Air-Fry Asparagus
To make our Air-Fryer Asparagus recipe, preheat your air fryer to 375°F. Coat the asparagus in a mixture of mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon zest, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on a greased tray in the air-fryer basket and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned.
Editor’s tip: Cooking asparagus in an air fryer is very similar to roasting or broiling it. If you’re looking for something more deep-fried, try our Fried Asparagus recipe.
How to Cook Asparagus in an Instant Pot
Cooking asparagus in an Instant Pot is a way of steaming it. Arrange the asparagus on the steaming rack of your Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Close and seal the lid, and set the time to zero minutes on high pressure. By the time the pressure builds, your asparagus will be perfectly steamed.
(Learn more about how to cook asparagus in an Instant Pot.)
Tips for Cooking Asparagus
These asparagus tips come from our culinary experts in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen.
How to Choose Asparagus
April and May are peak months for picking up asparagus at the grocery store or farmers market. Look for firm, straight spears with closed tips and crisp stalks. You’re likely accustomed to green asparagus, but look for white asparagus, too!
How to Prepare Asparagus
Rinse the stalks well in cold water. Snap off the ends as far down as they will easily break when you gently bend them, or cut off the tough white portion. If you’re working with large stalks, use a vegetable peeler to gently peel the tough area of the stalk from the end to just below the tip. If the tips are large, scrape off some scales with a knife.
For more tips, follow our step-by-step guide to how to prepare asparagus.
How to Store Asparagus
It’s best to use asparagus within a few days of purchasing it. To store it for a bit longer, place bundled stalks upright in a cup filled with 1 inch of water (like flowers in a vase) and refrigerate. Or, wrap the cut ends in moist paper towels, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
How to Freeze Asparagus
Stock up on asparagus in the spring, when it’s plentiful and inexpensive. Then, freeze it to use throughout the fall and winter.
To freeze asparagus, blanch it first. Next, let it cool and store it covered with water in containers in the freezer. Once you thaw it, it’ll taste fresh-picked.
Recipes to Add Asparagus To
The methods listed above are great when it comes to cooking asparagus on its own for a side dish. But there are more ways to use asparagus—you can also incorporate it into dishes like salads, pastas and stir-fries.