Best Ways To Cook Asparagus: Top 5 Methods Most Recommended By Experts

Delicious and packed with nutritional benefits, asparagus is a great vegetable to add to your weekly rotation if you haven’t already. The bright, fresh, and widely available veggie is a low-calorie food packed with vitamins, and flavor. Whether it’s out on the grill or crisping up in the oven, finding the best ways to cook asparagus can make it even easier to implement into your health routine.

Some components of asparagus make for a great prebiotic, as explained in a recent study. Research has found that specific prebiotics enhance mineral absorption, immune function, and digestion, help regulate blood sugar, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

While asparagus is a household name, many Americans haven’t quite warmed up to it yet, with some surveyed ranking it as one of their least favorite vegetables. However, asparagus, like many other vegetables, is a blank canvas – the flavor largely dependent on the way it’s cooked and served, so don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!

Ready to put on your chef’s hat? StudyFinds searched through 10 expert websites to find the top five best ways to cook asparagus, a beautifully versatile vegetable. So what are you waiting for? Go grab some asparagus and get cooking.

The List: Best Ways to Cook Asparagus, According to Chefs

1. Baked/Roasted Asparagus in the Oven 

Arguably the most simple method of preparing asparagus is to preheat your oven and pop it right in there. With fool-proof temperature and timing, your asparagus will come out perfect every time, without skimping on the flavor. “Perhaps one of the easiest ways to prepare asparagus, this technique imparts toasty, rich flavor to those green stalks,” writes Food Network.

A tray of asparagus seasoned with lemon
A tray of asparagus seasoned with lemon (Photo by Christina Rumpf on Unsplash)

As per Food Network’s recipe, just transfer asparagus to a baking sheet and toss to coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, then roast the asparagus until lightly browned, 6 to 7 minutes (or longer, depending on the thickness).

“Roasting asparagus allows for a slight caramelizing of the vegetable’s skin, and it’s just luscious. It’s also a fast way to get delicious asparagus on the table without standing at the stove,” says New York Times Cooking.

Baked asparagus makes for a great side dish, but also can be a main plate accompanied with any protein on top. “If everything went right (and there should be no reason it didn’t), the asparagus will sizzle and start browning as soon as it hits the pan,” adds Serious Eats. “Sprinkle with some lemon or a good cheese, or try it with a fried egg.”

2. Sautéed Asparagus on the Stovetop

Cooking a protein over the stovetop but looking to brighten up your dish? No need to dirty another dish, throw your asparagus into the pan for a quick sauté that’s full of crunch and flavor. 

Abstract image of asparagus and other vegetables in a pan
Abstract image of asparagus and other vegetables in a pan (Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

“Sautéing is one of the fastest ways to prepare asparagus in a flash. To sauté your spears, cut cleaned asparagus into 2-inch pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet (or heat 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat). Add cut-up asparagus and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender,” explains Better Homes and Gardens.

Asparagus make a great addition to a stir-fry as well so feel free to use a wok if you have one! “Sauteing asparagus imparts roasty flavor on the outside while preserving asparagus’ fresh snap,” adds Food Network.

While perfectly delicious with a drizzle of oil or butter and some salt, recipe developers say adding some herbs adds just the right touch. “Throwing some chopped herbs or sliced chiles into the pan adds wonderful flavor. Both of these methods produce juicy asparagus that retains its crunch,” points out New York Times Cooking.

3. Grilled Asparagus on the Barbecue

Asparagus is a vegetable that takes wonderfully to the smokey and charred nature of barbeque cooking. “Heat grill (or grill pan) to medium-high. In a large bowl, toss asparagus lightly in oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill until tender and charred on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, turning occasionally,” explains Serious Eats.

Someone grilling meats and asparagus
Someone grilling meats and asparagus (Photo by Stephanie McCabe on Unsplash)

If you have a thicker variety of asparagus, grilling is the way to go as it cooks quickly while crisping up on the outside. “Fat asparagus is good for roasting or grilling, and best when you want to serve whole spears,” says New York Times Cooking.

Looking for a great pairing so that you can make a complete meal while outside grilling? Experts love asparagus paired with fresh salmon on the barbeque! “We found that the best way to grill asparagus is to lay it right on the grill grates at an angle–no foil packet or grilling basket necessary,” adds Food Network.

4. Blanched Asparagus 

It doesn’t get much easier than throwing asparagus into a pot of boiling water and calling it a day. “When cooking asparagus, you can tie them into little bundles, which makes them easier to remove from the water. Drop these bundles or individual spears into some boiling water, cover and cook for three to five minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears,” writes Jamie Oliver.

Asparagus
Asparagus (Photo by Alisa Golovinska on Unsplash0

The result is tender and oil-free, if you’re looking to optimize the health benefits of asparagus. “We use this method in our cream of asparagus soup, and it makes the puree the most beautiful color,” says Delish.

The options are limitless regarding how you choose to serve it after blanching, the dish can quite literally go with anything. “Simply steamed or simmered asparagus is delicious, and you can dress the spears however you like: in a bagna cauda, or a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil, or nothing at all. These are very easy cooking methods, and any size spear will work,” points out New York Times Cooking.

5. Steamed Asparagus 

Fresh, no-fuss, and absurdly healthy, steaming asparagus gives you fresh veggies on the table without the extra work. “Blanched or steamed asparagus is a great way to let its natural, delicate flavors come through, and it’s what I usually do to very thin stalks (such as in this vibrant spring salad),” states Serious Eats.

Asparagus on a cutting board
Asparagus on a cutting board (Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash)

If you’re looking to use asparagus in a cold dish, it’s also a great method as it’s equally as delicious cold as it is hot. “You can eat it hot, but I actually prefer it cold, dunking it in a bowl of ice water directly from the boiling pot as soon as its hit the tenderness level I’m looking for. When boiling asparagus, use a large amount of well-salted water at a rolling boil,” adds Food Network.

Not a lot of time on your hands? Steaming asparagus is also the most practical way to cook when you’re in a rush. “To steam, place the spears in a steaming basket with a little water underneath. Cover and cook for three minutes,” advises Jamie Oliver. Yes, it’s as simple as that!

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. 

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About the Author

Meaghan Babaker

Meaghan Babaker is a journalist and freelance writer previously based out of New York City while working for CBS New York, CBS Local and MSNBC. After moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 2016, she went on to write for Digital Luxury Group, The Travel Corporation and other international publications before joining the editorial team at StudyFinds.

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