How to Steam Asparagus

Difficulty level: Medium

AsparagusAsparagus 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 three 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. Save the non-tip end for vegetable stock.
  • Repeat with remaining asparagus.
  • If the spears are fat, you might want to peel the bottom inch of each one to help them cook a bit faster.

Method 1

  1. Create a fake steamer: add a few inches of water to a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven and bring to a boil.
  2. Place the asparagus stalks in a single layer in the colander and set in pan.
  3. Cover with a large lid, metal bowl, or pot, reduce heat, and steam until tender.

Method 2

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

Method 3

  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.


Recipes with asparagus

How to steam asparagus