How to Cook Asparagus Perfectly Every Time!

Cook Asparagus

Asparagus can be intimidating to cook. If you don’t know how to cook asparagus just right, it might become overcooked and woody, or completely raw and inedible. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to cook asparagus perfectly every time! It’s quick and easy to do, once you know how!

What is the best way to cook asparagus?

A lot of people think that the best way to cook asparagus is by boiling it. That might work for some, but boiling can actually cause the asparagus to lose its flavor and turn out soggy. Other people swear by steaming it, but you have to stand there and watch it closely so it doesn't overcook and turn mushy. The best way is probably pan-frying the spears with a little bit of olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper (though you'll want them nice and tender first). Pan-frying keeps all the natural flavors of the vegetable intact while giving you plenty of great texture with a crispy outer edge.

Tips for Cooking Asparagus

1. Heat a non-stick pan or pot with oil over medium-high heat. 

2. Once hot, add a few tablespoons of water and cover for about 30 seconds (you can also steam). 

3. Remove the lid, place your asparagus in the pan, then cook each side for 2 minutes or until it reaches desired texture.

Cooking Methods

If you like your asparagus more cooked than raw, there are a few methods you can try. 

-Sauté it in olive oil with garlic, shallots, or onion for about 5 minutes until just barely cooked through. Add salt and pepper before turning off the heat. 

-Put them on a foil-lined pan under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven once they have reached desired tenderness and top with fresh lemon juice and fresh herbs like thyme or basil, salt, and pepper. 

-Blanch them in boiling water for 4 minutes then shock them in an ice water bath before sautéing with olive oil over high heat for 2 minutes - removing after a minute so they're still crispy but cooked through

Oven-Baked Asparagus

Heat oven to 425°. Spread 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable stock in a 9×13-inch pan. Trim ends off 2 pounds of fresh asparagus spears and cut into thirds if thick; halve or leave whole, if thin. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the broth mixture. Arrange asparagus pieces over the surface of the broth mixture in a single layer without overlapping them (they can touch). Pour any remaining broth over spears and sprinkle with pepper, but don't stir. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until the thickest spear is tender (cut one spear in half to test for doneness).

Grilled Asparagus

-Cut off the hard ends of the stalks, or peel them if you want a more elegant dish.

-Place the asparagus on your grill's cooking surface with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill for two minutes on each side and then turn over again before taking off the grill. As soon as it is out of the grill, immediately dress it up with Parmesan cheese and some fresh lemon juice. Enjoy it while it's hot!

Steamed Asparagus

The easiest way to cook asparagus is simply by boiling water in a pan and placing the green vegetable into a pot of boiling water. Steaming is also an option and it is a great way to infuse some additional flavor into your asparagus. In order to steam, you will want a steamer pot with a perforated surface inside that helps the vegetables cook evenly while avoiding liquid from splashing onto them during cooking. Finally, grilling or roasting is another great option for cooking vegetables such as asparagus.

Health Benefits of Asparagus

Did you know that not only is asparagus a vegetable, but it's also a powerhouse when it comes to your health? Here are some amazing benefits of this veggie: 

-Ridiculously high in Vitamin K (one cup of cooked asparagus contains 3x the daily recommended intake) 

-Loaded with Vitamin C (8x more than an orange) 

-Promotes digestive health (it's an excellent source of insoluble fiber and it has a high amount of the essential mineral magnesium which is important for relieving constipation) 

-Promotes bone health (high in manganese and bone-building Vitamin K) 

And those are just some of the many benefits.

Side Dish Recipes with Asparagus

One of the easiest and quickest ways to prepare asparagus is by steaming them. Fill a pot with about an inch of water, and add about a teaspoon of salt for every four quarts. Set your stovetop heat on high, and bring the water up to a rolling boil. Add your peeled stalks and cover the pot, reducing the heat until it's simmering. Cook the asparagus for two minutes, or until they turn bright green (depending on thickness) then remove from heat.

Extra Tips for Storing and Buying Fresh Asparagus

Fresh is always best. For the freshest, look for bright green tips with compact heads and stems. If you're not sure what's fresh, feel free to ask. In terms of storing, don't wash them and store them in a plastic bag in the fridge for about 3-4 days.

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