How to Steam Asparagus

Difficulty level: Medium

Asparagus is a rather delicate vegetable, and steaming it correctly so that that stalks are done but the tips aren’t soggy can be a real challenge. Here are two tried-and-tested techniques for perfectly-steamed asparagus for those of us without a steaming basket.


  • Wash the asparagus.
  • Hold a stalk with a hand at each end.
  • Bend the asparagus until it snaps in two – it will magically break at the perfect spot. Repeat with remaining asparagus, and save the non-tip ends for vegetable stock.
  • If the spears are fat, you might want to peel the bottom inch of each one.

Method 1

  1. In a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven, bring 1 inch of water to a boil.
  2. Tie the asparagus stalks together with white string.
  3. Stand asparagus in the water, tips up.
  4. Cover with a large bowl or pot, reduce heat, and steam until tender.

Method 2

  1. In a large saucepan, skillet, or Dutch oven, bring ½ inch of water to a boil.
  2. Add a single layer of asparagus.
  3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender.

Cooking Time

Asparagus takes about 2-5 minutes to cook, depending on size and freshness. As soon as it turns bright green, it’s ready.

Asparagus recipes

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