Learn how to cook asparagus with this 3-part guide! Blanched, grilled, raw, or roasted, it's a delicious spring side dish or fresh ingredient.
What’s your favorite method for how to cook asparagus? For me, choosing just one is impossible, because asparagus totally transforms depending on how you prepare it. When you roast it in the oven, its tips turn perfectly crisp and golden brown. When you blanch it, it comes out vibrant green and fresh, and when you grill it, it becomes wonderfully charred and juicy. Can I pick all three?
Below, you’ll find my best tips on these techniques for how to cook asparagus. If you already love asparagus, I hope you also love this handy guide. If you don’t love it, I encourage you to try preparing it in a new way. Who knows, if you’ve always had it steamed, you might like it grilled, roasted, or even raw!
Oven roasted asparagus is one of the key ingredients in my mom’s spring breakfast casserole, but it’s also delicious on its own as a spring side. It couldn’t be easier to make! These 4 steps will yield perfect baked asparagus:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the tough woody ends off the bottom of the spears – these guys are not easy to eat, and even roasting won’t make them tender enough to chew.
- Toss the whole spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving an inch or so of space between each one. The space ensures that they’ll crisp up – and not steam – in the oven.
- Bake for 12 minutes, until the spears are lightly crisp and tender. Enjoy them whole with a squeeze of lemon, or chop them and toss them into eggs, pastas, salads, and more!
If you’ve never grilled asparagus before, you’re going to love it! The spears come out tender and lightly charred, and the process is really simple:
- First, snap off the woody ends.
- Then, lightly toss the trimmed spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Grill for 6 to 8 minutes on a grill preheated to medium, flipping halfway through.
- Your asparagus is ready when it’s tender and lightly charred.
Use grilled asparagus in this spring farro salad, or serve it on its own as a simple side dish. I love to grill lemon halves along with the veggies (pictured at the bottom of this post). I’ll serve grilled asparagus with generous squeezes of juice from the charred lemons!
I love adding chopped blanched asparagus to spring salads or folding it into scrambled eggs. To make it, follow these easy steps:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and set a bowl of ice water nearby.
- Chop your spears into 1-inch chunks, discarding any tough, woody ends.
- Drop the chopped veggies into the boiling water, and blanch them for about 1 minute, until tender but still bright green.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the blanched veggies from the pot to the ice water, and let it chill for 1 minute.
- Drain, pat dry, and enjoy!
But wait, there are more ways to cook asparagus!
Blanching, roasting, and grilling are my three go-to cooking methods, but you can also sauté asparagus for a frittata or pasta or poach whole spears for a quick dinner side dish. I even like it simmered into soup. Alternatively, don’t cook it at all! Use a vegetable peeler to shave thick spears into ribbons to make a salad with olive oil and lemon, or use the ribbons on pizza or toast.
How to Cook Asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Lemon wedges, for squeezing
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roasted: Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread them onto the baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the spears are lightly crisp and tender. Squeeze with lemon and serve.
- Grilled: Preheat a grill to medium. Toss the spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper and grill 6 to 8 minutes, flipping or rolling halfway through. Squeeze with lemon and serve. Tip: grill lemon halves and use the charred lemons for squeezing.
- Blanched: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water nearby. Chop the spears into 1-inch pieces and drop them into the boiling water for about 1 minute, or until tender but still bright green. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the blanched asparagus to the ice water and chill for 1 minute. Drain, pat dry, and toss into salads, pastas, or squeeze with lemon and enjoy!