Learn how to cook asparagus on the stovetop in less than 15 minutes with optional ingredients for flavoring. This quick and easy Stovetop Asparagus is a great side dish for spring and the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal. 

Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, it’s great roasted, made in the air fryer or cooked in a pan with butter, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. I make stovetop asparagus almost every week, and the whole family LOVES it!

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When preparing vegetables, I’ve noticed that usually the simplest methods are often the most flavorful. This recipe is absolutely proof! It’s a basic recipe for how to cook asparagus in a pan. Yes, it’s easy, but SO good. This side dish takes less than 15 minutes to throw together and is wonderful paired with everything from pasta to tofu

Asparagus spears on a white plate with parmesan cheese.

Ingredients needed

No surprise here, this asparagus on stovetop uses very simple ingredients. Put them together and you get an incredibly flavorful side dish! This is what you’ll need:

  • Asparagus. the star of this recipe, of course! See the frequently asked questions section for how to choose the best asparagus when shopping.
  • Water. for steaming the asparagus recipe stovetop.
  • Optional additions. to make this asparagus super tasty, we like to add butter, garlic powder, a squeeze of lemon juice and parmesan cheese. Feel free to use vegan butter and parmesan as desired.
  • Salt & pepper. to bring all of the flavors together.

How to trim asparagus

The bottom or “stem” of asparagus stalks tend to be tough and woody, and isn’t very enjoyable to eat. To determine where to trim your asparagus, take a stalk and bend it. Wherever the stalk snaps (usually about 1-inch from the bottom) is where the tender part starts and the tough part ends. From there, you can continue snapping or line up all your asparagus stalks and trim the bottom off in the same spot as where your original piece of asparagus snapped. See the video for a visual.

How to make this recipe

  1. Prep. Once you’ve cut the white ends off of the asparagus, place the stalks into a large skillet.
  2. Cook. Pour in the water and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover the skillet and cook until the asparagus is tender to your liking. Thicker asparagus will take 5-7 minutes and thinner asparagus may only need 2 minutes. If all of the water evaporates, you can add in another 1 to 2 tablespoons.
  3. Optional step. Remove from the heat and drain out any remaining water. For buttery garlic asparagus, place the spears in the dry skillet over medium heat and add in the butter as well as a sprinkle of garlic powder. Cook until the butter is fully melted and toss to coat all of the asparagus.
  4. Garnish + serve. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or other shredded cheese and lemon juice as desired! Enjoy!
Cooking asparagus in a large skillet.

Frequently asked questions

What are the health benefits of asparagus?

Asparagus contains a variety of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, C and K. It also contains folate, iron, copper and calcium. Asparagus is high fiber and low calorie and is also low in carbohydrates. Read about more benefits here.

How to choose asparagus from the store?

Look for straight (not saggy), plump asparagus spears. Avoid asparagus with dry or split ends. You can choose thin or thick stems. Thinner stems are sweeter and more tender. Thicker stems have a stronger asparagus flavor and a more “meaty” texture.

How to know when asparagus is fully cooked?

Asparagus is done cooking when it’s bright green and tender but still has a slight bite to it. You can pierce the spears with a fork or take a quick bite of one to gauge how crisp-tender they are.

  • If it’s difficult to chew, it’s undercooked.
  • If it’s mushy, it’s overcooked. 

Tips for storing asparagus

The best way to store uncooked asparagus is placed in a jar with water as though they were a bunch of flowers. Add a few inches of water to a jar that can hold all of the spears, place the asparagus in the jar stem-side down. Loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag and store it in the fridge. If stored in this manner, asparagus should keep fresh up to 5-6 days.

Asparagus is best served when it’s freshly cooked, but it will keep at room temperature for up to 1 hour or up to 4 days in the refrigerator (gently reheat before serving).

 

Parmesan asparagus on a white plate.

I hope your family enjoys this stovetop asparagus as much as my family does! As usual, if you end up making this recipe, please snap a quick photo and tag me on Instagram @foodwithfeeling! I always love to see what y’all are making from the blog.

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Cooked asparagus on a plate with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Stovetop Asparagus


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  • Author: Brita Britnell
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 small servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Learn how to cook asparagus on the stovetop in less than 15 minutes with optional ingredients for flavoring. This quick and easy Stovetop Asparagus is a great side dish for spring and the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 pound of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1/4 cup of water for steaming
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Optional for serving:

  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Shredded parmesan or other cheese

Instructions

  1. Cut the white ends off of the asparagus (see video for reference) and place into a large skillet.
  2. Pour in the water and lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover the skillet and cook until the asparagus is tender to your liking. Thicker asparagus will take 5-7 minutes and thinner asparagus may only need 2 minutes. If all of the water evaporates, you can add in another 1 to 2 tablespoons.
  3. Remove from the heat and drain out any remaining water. Optional step: place the asparagus in the dry skillet over medium heat and add in the butter as well as a sprinkle of garlic powder. Cook until the butter is fully melted and toss to coat all of the asparagus.
  4. Garnish with shredded cheese and lemon juice as desired!

Notes

Asparagus is best served when it’s freshly cooked, but it will keep at room temperature for up to 1 hour or up to 4 days in the refrigerator (gently reheat before serving).

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: side
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American