This guide on steamed asparagus will never have you eating mushy, overcooked asparagus again. Great if you’re cutting down on oil but still a fan of texture!
Steamed asparagus is one of those easy side dishes that never gets old. It’s a foolproof way to cook up fresh asparagus without all the extra fat and calories you need to sauté it in a skillet on the stove top. What’s better? You can use the leftovers for everything from salad toppers to quick stir fry.
Trimming Asparagus 101
Not sure how to properly trim your asparagus? See our quick-hitter guide below.
- Rinse the Asparagus – Hold the asparagus stalks under cool water to rinse off any grime.
- Trim the Asparagus – With a sharp knife, slice off the woody ends of each stalk. Alternatively, snap the spears and the woody stalk will break off naturally.
- Dry the Asparagus – Pat the asparagus dry with a paper towel.
The Best Way to Steam Asparagus
With the help of a handy steamer, perfectly crisp-tender asparagus is a no-brainer. Check out how to make this easy recipe below.
- Season & Boil the Water: First, add water, salt, and butter into a steamer pot and bring it to a boil. Place the steamer basket inside.
- Trim the Asparagus: Next, trim the stalks and place asparagus in the steamer basket;
- Steam the Asparagus: Allow the asparagus to steam until tender (about 5 minutes). Enjoy!
Need a good steamer recommendation? This steamer by All-Clad is a really good one!
A Couple of Handy Tips for Steamed Asparagus
Below, find a couple of handy tips for the best steamed asparagus straight from our test kitchen.
- Increase the cooking time for thicker asparagus. If the spears are super thick, give them a couple more minutes to steam.
- Check the asparagus after 5 minutes. No matter what, check the asparagus after 5 minutes to make sure it’s not overcooking.
- Only add in about an inch of water. You don’t need a ton of water to create a nice steaming effect. About an inch of water will do. You don’t want the water line to be so high that the asparagus boil!
Don’t have a steamer basket? If you don’t have a steamer basket, simply place a fine mesh sieve on top of the pot and place the asparagus inside. Pop the lid on top and – bam – you have a steamer!
How to Make Steamed Asparagus in an Instant Pot
Want to put your Instant Pot to work? You can make steamed asparagus in your pressure cooker too!
- Assemble the Asparagus: First, place the asparagus in the steaming rack and pop it inside the pot. Add in the water.
- Seal the Instant Pot: Next, lock the lid and turn the valve to the sealing position.
- Steam the Asparagus: Next, press the steam setting and set the time to 3 minutes. Once the timer beeps, carefully quick release the steam.
- Season the Asparagus: Remove the asparagus and season as you wish. Enjoy!
Ideas for Serving Steamed Asparagus
Our favorite way to serve steamed asparagus is alongside a savory protein like brown sugar glazed salmon or air fryer shrimp. If you’re a big fan of leafy greens, you can cool it down, dice it up, and sprinkle it over a garden salad or a berry spinach salad. Leftovers are also great for throwing into quick stir fry!
Hot Tip: Dress up your steamed asparagus with roasted garlic, freshly cracked pepper, lemon juice, melted butter, slivered almonds, or a drizzle of high-quality olive oil.
All You Need to Know About Storing & Reheating
- Storing: To keep steamed asparagus on hand for 3-5 days, keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Reheating: The best way to reheat steamed asparagus is in a bowl in the microwave with a damp paper towel draped over the top. About 1-2 minutes will do the trick.
Is it better to boil or steam asparagus?
Boiled asparagus tends to turn soggy, while steamed asparagus has a much better chance of maintaining a bit of a bit. If you do boil asparagus, make sure to pull it out once it’s fork tender but still a little firm.
Do asparagus need to be soaked?
Some people like to soak asparagus before cooking it as a way to clean it, but a simple rinse under cold water will be more than enough.
Can cooked asparagus be frozen?
As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid freezing cooked vegetables. Upon thawing, they tend to turn limp and soggy.
What makes asparagus mushy?
Over steaming the asparagus is a quick way to make it mushy.
Other Tasty Asparagus Recipes to Try
- Crispy Baked Parmesan Asparagus – Asparagus stalks baked with parmesan
- How to Steam Asparagus – Guide on perfectly steamed stalks
- How to Grill Asparagus (Foil Hack) – Easy grilled asparagus
- The BEST Sautéed Asparagus Recipe – Perfectly tender skillet asparagus
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 tsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add water, salt, and butter into a steamer pot. Bring it to a boil and place the steamer basket into the pot.
- Trim the rough edges off of the asparagus stalks. Lift the steamer basket up slightly and place the spears inside.
- Steam asparagus for about 5 minutes or until tender. Depending on the thickness of asparagus you may need to steam them longer.