How to Cook Asparagus

Our Test Kitchen explains how to boil and roast asparagus for a fresh, bright springtime side.

If you think butter’s always better, cook your asparagus in the oven with a couple of tablespoons. Going for a light and fresh take? Boiling’s your bet. Either way, you’re just an ingredient or two away from perfectly cooked spears. Learning how to cook asparagus well is something you’ll never regret. The farm fresh ingredient works great in breakfasts (like this overnight asparagus strata), as a side or incorporated into one of our favorite asparagus dinner recipes.

Expert Tips from the Taste of Home Test Kitchen

How to choose asparagus

April and May are peak asparagus months. Look for firm, straight, uniform-size spears. The tips should be closed with crisp stalks.

How to prep it

Rinse stalks well in cold water. Snap off stalk ends as far down as they will easily break when gently bent, or cut off the tough white portion. If stalks are large, use a vegetable peeler to gently peel the tough area of the stalk from the end to just below the tip. If tips are large, scrape off scales with a knife. For more tips, follow our step-by-step guide.

How to store it

It’s best to use asparagus within a few days of purchase. For a little longer storage, place bundled stalks upright in a bowl filled with 1 inch of water, like flowers in a vase; refrigerate. Or wrap the cut ends in moist paper towels. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate. To clean, soak asparagus in cold water.

Ready to cook? Try our grilled bacon-wrapped asparagus.

How to freeze it

When fresh asparagus is plentiful and inexpensive, stock up. Blanch, cool and store it covered with water in containers in the freezer. When thawed, it tastes just like fresh-picked.


How to Roast Asparagus

You’ll need:

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • Foil
  • Baking sheet
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place 1 pound of asparagus and 2 tablespoons butter on a large piece of foil.
  2. Bring long edges of foil together and fold over to seal. Crimp ends tightly.
  3. Place foil packet on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender.
  5. Carefully open foil to allow steam to escape.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve.

How to Boil Asparagus

You’ll need:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • Water
  • 1 Teaspoon salt

Equipment:

  • Medium saucepan
  • Colander
  1. Fill saucepan with water (about ¾ full).
  2. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water.
  3. Bring water to a boil.
  4. Add the asparagus and boil for 8 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.
  5. Drain in a colander. Do not rinse.
  6. Serve.

That’s it! Simple methods like these let your fresh veggies shine. Whether you need to know how to cook asparagus in the oven, or how to boil it, learning how to cook asparagus spears is deliciously easy. Serve with an extra sunny brunch or as a side with steak or salmon. Soak up the praise.

Try these yummy asparagus recipes tonight.
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James Schend
As Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversees the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and manages all food content for Trusted Media Brands. Prior to this position, James worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, he has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.
Elizabeth Harris
Liz is an unapologetic homebody who loves bowling and beers almost as much as food and fitness. The highlight of her week is making cheesy popcorn for her family on movie night. She's been hooked on Taste of Home since interning for the magazine in 2010.