How to Cook Asparagus

Recipe From Dr. Mercola Fact Checked

Asparagus can make any meal feel a little more special, since it’s considered a delicacy in the vegetable world.1 It’s among the most nutritionally balanced vegetables, as it’s low in fat, sodium and cholesterol, but packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals. One of the most notable health benefits of asparagus is its high B vitamin content, particularly folate, a vitamin that promotes the production of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine — this is why asparagus is known as the “feel-good” vegetable. It’s also an excellent source of:2

Vitamin K


Vitamin A

Vitamin C






For most people, the go-to method for cooking asparagus is steaming, but there are many other ways to cook this versatile vegetable — it can be simmered, roasted, grilled, sautéed and more. You can even eat it raw in a salad. Asparagus also complements a variety of seasonings, from simple salt and pepper to boldly flavored spicy sauces.3

Asparagus Nutrition Facts

If you want to know more about the nutritional value of asparagus, take a look at the nutrition facts table below:4


Serving Size: 1 cup, cut pieces — 134g
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 27 1%
Calories from Fat    
Total Fat 0.16 g 0%
Saturated Fat 0.054g 0%
Trans Fat    
Cholesterol 0.0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 5.2.6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2.8g 11%
Sugar 2.52g  
Protein 2.95g 0%
Choline 21.4g  
Calcium 32mg  
Vitamin C 15.4mg  
Iron 2.87mg  

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

How Long Does It Take to Cook Asparagus? 

The cooking time for asparagus depends on its thickness, as well as on the cooking method. It can be cooked as quickly as five minutes or as long as 15 minutes. Whichever cooking method you choose, make sure that you don’t cook asparagus for too long to keep it from becoming soggy.5

How to Prepare Asparagus for Cooking

Some people don’t like eating asparagus because of its distinctly woody taste, but this could be avoided by simply taking the time to prepare asparagus properly before cooking. Follow these tips to ensure that you don’t end up with an unsavory dish:6,7

  • Rinse and pat dry — Asparagus is harvested from the ground, so make sure you rinse it well to get rid of any dirt, then pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Break off the bottom end — Hold the asparagus spear firmly on its bottom end then bend it until it snaps off. The spear naturally snaps at the point where the tough, woody portion ends and the softer part of the stalk begins. If you want the spears to have even lengths, you can trim the bottom end with a knife. 
  • Peel the skin — If you want your asparagus to be more tender, edible and presentable, you should peel off its skin. Place the asparagus spear on a flat surface to prevent it from bending while you’re peeling. Using a sharp peeler or paring knife, carefully peel off the skin until the lighter green or white part of the spear is exposed.

How to Bake Asparagus

Did you know that there’s a difference between baking and roasting, despite these terms being used interchangeably in today’s kitchens? The primary difference between these two cooking methods lies in the temperature setting.

Roasting usually occurs at a temperature of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit to allow the surface of the asparagus to caramelize, whereas baking involves an oven temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.8 Now that you know the difference between baking and roasting, follow this method from Genius Kitchen to bake your asparagus perfectly:9

Baked Asparagus

Cook time: 12 minutes



  1. Put the prepped asparagus spears in a baking pan or dish.
  2. Drizzle coconut oil over the spears, and then add other seasonings like sesame seeds, salt and pepper to your liking.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until fork tender.

A Guide to Roasting Asparagus

Aside from steaming, another popular method for cooking asparagus is roasting. Keep in mind that the key to roasting is high heat. Here’s how to roast your asparagus spears to perfection, according to The Spruce Eats:10

Roasted Asparagus

Cook time: 10 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread the asparagus spears on a baking pan, drizzle coconut oil on top and then place the pan in the oven.
  3. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until the spears are brown and tender.
  4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and lemon juice before serving to add flavor.

Broiling: Another Great Way to Cook Asparagus in the Oven

Whether you’re tired of the usual oven-roasted asparagus or simply looking for other ideas on how to cook asparagus in the oven, broiling is a cooking method that you should give a try. It requires shorter cooking times than roasting or baking, so it’s perfect if you want to cook a quick meal. Follow these steps from Epicurious:11

How to Broil Asparagus in the Oven

Cook time: 10 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the asparagus on a roasting pan, drizzle with a bit coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
  3. Place in the oven, under the broiler, and cook for around five to 10 minutes.

How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

Grilling not only adds a smoky taste to asparagus, but it also helps enhance its grassy flavor. Follow this method from Huffington Post when grilling asparagus spears:12

How to Make Grilled Asparagus

Cook time: 10 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt


  1. Brush the asparagus spears with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. On a heated grill, lay the asparagus spears perpendicular to the wires on the rack. Cook for seven to 10 minutes.

How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan or Skillet

Sautéing or stir-frying is recommended for thinner asparagus spears or stalks that have been cut into 1- to 2-inch lengths. Follow this method from The Spruce Eats when making a sautéed or fried asparagus dish:13

Proper Way to Cook Asparagus in a Pan or Skillet

Cook time: 5 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Coconut oil


  1. In a large frying pan or skillet, heat a bit of coconut oil over high heat.
  2. Toss in the asparagus and then cook until the stalks are tender and browned, stirring constantly, around three to five minutes.
If you plan to add seasoning and aromatics like ginger, garlic and onion, put them in the pan and allow them to cook for a minute before adding in the asparagus spears.

How to Cook Steamed Asparagus

Steamed asparagus makes for a versatile ingredient, since you can season it however you like: with butter, lemon juice or hollandaise sauce. Steaming is also a very easy cooking method that will work on any asparagus size. Follow these steps from The New York Times to steam asparagus spears properly:14

How to Make Steamed Asparagus

Cook time: 3 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Salt
  • Water


  1. In a pot with a steamer insert, boil up to an inch of salted water.
  2. Place a single layer of asparagus spears on the steamer insert. Be careful not to cook too many asparagus spears at a time. Cover the pot and then cook the asparagus for about three minutes.
  3. Remove the spears from the steamer insert using a slotted spoon or tongs, and then blot away the excess water with a towel.

Boiling Asparagus the Proper Way

If you don’t have a steamer, you can simply cook asparagus in boiling water. Follow this method from All Recipes:15

How to Boil Asparagus

Cook time: 4 minutes


  • Asparagus, trimmed
  • Salt
  • Water


  1. Boil a few inches of salted water in a wide pot. Make sure there’s enough water to cover the entire surface of the asparagus stalks.
  2. Add in the asparagus stalks, and allow them to cook for two to four minutes, depending on their size. Avoid piling up the asparagus to allow them to cook evenly.
  3. Remove the spears from the pot and then blot off the excess water with a paper towel.

Other Ways to Cook Asparagus on Stove Top

Aside from sautéing, steaming and boiling, you may also blanch and pan-roast asparagus on a stove top. Blanched asparagus complements a variety of dishes, while pan-roasted asparagus gives you the caramelized texture of roasted vegetable, without the hassle of using an oven or grill. Here’s how to do these two methods:

  • Blanching — Simply submerge the asparagus spears in a large pot of boiling salted water, remove them from the pot after three minutes and then immediately spread them out or place them in ice water to cool.16
  • Pan-roasting — Using a large frying pan, cook the asparagus spears in a bit of coconut oil over high heat. Cover the pan and allow the asparagus to cook until browned and tender, shaking the pan every now and then.17

Asparagus Recipes You Can Try at Home

Now that you know the proper way to prepare asparagus spears and the different methods to cook them, put your new culinary skills to the test by recreating these delicious and nutrient-packed asparagus recipes:

Hearty Asparagus Soup With Crispy Bacon Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 25 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed
  • 1/2 pound cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 slices of rindless bacon
serving size Serving Size: 4


  1. Melt the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, or until translucent.
  2. Stir in the garlic and cook for one minute, or until softened.
  3. Add the asparagus and cauliflower and stir for one minute, then pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for two minutes. Remove four asparagus spears and reserve.
  4. Continue to cook the soup for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
  5. Add the parsley and blend with a hand-held blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Place the bacon on a baking tray and roast for five minutes, flip the bacon over and roast for another five minutes or until golden and crisp. Cut into bite-sized pieces and set aside, keeping warm.
  8. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and add some crispy bacon. Cut the reserved asparagus spears in half lengthwise, then cut into one-half-inch lengths and add a few pieces to each bowl to finish.

Delectable Asparagus With Soft-Boiled Eggs, Capers and Bone Marrow Broth

Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 5 minutes Total time: 35 minutes


  • 2 pounds of beef marrowbones, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 1/4 cups of organic beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 bunches of asparagus, trimmed
  • 4 organic free-range eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, plus extra as needed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of baby capers, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
  • Sorrel (preferably red-vein)
serving size Serving Size: 4


  1. To make the bone marrow broth, remove the marrow from the bones, slice the marrow into one-half inch-thick pieces and set aside.
  2. Heat the beef stock in a saucepan for 15 to 30 minutes over medium heat and reduce by just over half, or until 1 1/2 cups remain. Add the vinegar, thyme, sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste; set aside and keep warm.
  3. Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water until tender but still slightly crisp, about one minute, then drain. Plunge in cold water to stop the asparagus from cooking further, and then set aside.
  4. To prepare the eggs, bring a pot filled with water to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the whole eggs with shells to the pot. Cook for five minutes (for soft-boiled), or adjust the cooking time to your liking. Remove with a slotted spoon and then peel off the shells.
  5. Warm a frying pan over medium heat, gently heat the oil, and then add the garlic and cook until it starts to brown, about one minute. Add the asparagus, capers, salt and pepper, then cook, tossing the spears in the pan until the asparagus turns slightly golden all over, for about 30 seconds.
  6. To finish the bone marrow broth: In another frying pan over medium heat, add a little oil and pan-fry the bone marrow for 30 seconds on each side, or until lightly browned. Add the reduced broth to the bone marrow and bring to a boil, then remove from the heat.

To serve, divide the asparagus among four serving plates and spoon over the caper dressing from the pan. Cut the eggs in half and top the asparagus with the egg halves. Garnish with pine nuts and sorrel, spoon over a generous portion of the bone marrow reduction and finish with freshly cracked black pepper to serve.

Crispy Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Total time: 25 minutes


  • 36 pieces fresh asparagus spears
  • 12 slices of bacon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
serving size Serving Size: 12 bundles


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees, and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Wrap three asparagus spears with a single slice of bacon in one even spiral layer, and then place them on the baking sheet. Repeat this step with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Drizzle with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper before cooking for 20 to 25 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Perfect Keto18)

What to Keep in Mind When Selecting and Storing Asparagus

To create a delicious asparagus dish, you have to choose the freshest asparagus stalks. Look for stalks that are firm and straight, not limp. They should also be rich green, with a smooth texture — avoid asparagus stalks with wrinkled stems and soft and mushy tips. If you have an abundance of asparagus that you’d like to preserve for later, be sure to keep their bottom ends moist and the rest of their stalks dry. Stand them upright in a glass of water and cover them with a paper towel. You can store asparagus in the refrigerator for up to three to four days.19

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Asparagus

Q: How do you cook fresh or frozen asparagus to make it perfectly crispy and succulent?

A: There are many ways to turn fresh or frozen asparagus into a delicious meal. Some of the popular cooking methods include steaming, boiling, roasting, grilling and sautéing. Whichever method you choose, the key to keeping the stalks crunchy is by cooking them for a short amount of time.20 The cooking time for asparagus is usually between five and 15 minutes, depending on the stalk’s size and the cooking method. Avoid cooking the stalks for longer than 15 minutes, since they may turn mushy and gray.21

Q: How many calories are there in asparagus cooked in olive oil?

A: According to MyFitnessPal, a pound of grilled asparagus in olive oil contains 53 calories.22

Q: How do you clean and cook asparagus?

A: Give the asparagus stalks a quick rinse before cooking to get rid of any dirt, and then pat them dry with a paper towel. Don’t forget to remove their tough and fibrous bottom ends. You may also opt to peel their outer skin, especially if the stalks are thick. After you’ve cleaned and prepared the asparagus stalks, they’re now ready for cooking. You can follow any of the cooking methods mentioned above.23,24

Q: Can you boil asparagus in water?

A: Yes, boiling is one of the most common ways to cook asparagus.25

Q: Do you have to peel asparagus before cooking?

A: No, you don’t need to peel asparagus, although adding this step in the preparation process is a good idea, as it makes the asparagus stalks more tender, edible and presentable.26

Q: Can you eat the tips of asparagus?

A: Yes, asparagus tips are edible. It’s the bottom ends of the asparagus that are usually discarded, since they taste woody and lack moisture.27

Q: Can you eat raw asparagus?

A: Yes, you can eat asparagus raw. This nutritious vegetable actually makes for a great fresh salad.28

Q: Can asparagus go bad?

A: Just like every other vegetable, asparagus can go bad if not properly stored. If you want to prolong its shelf life, place it upright in a glass of water and store it inside the refrigerator.29

+ Sources and References