Roasted Asparagus is the first green vegetable I loved as a kid. With its tender stalks and crispy tips, baked asparagus has the potential to open the way for more vegetables on your plate!
My Grammy introduced me to roasted asparagus. She’d let me help snap off the ends to prep it for cooking.
Later when I was old enough, she passed me the potholder and let me wiggle the pan halfway through cooking so that the asparagus would roast evenly.
I loved watching the asparagus spears roll a bit in the olive oil, then caramelize under the oven’s heat.
Could it have been that my Grammy usually turned it into roasted asparagus Parmesan? Surely that couldn’t have hurt.
Today, roasted vegetables are on the menu almost nightly in our home.
We shift between Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Zucchini, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, and even roasted Cabbage Steaks depending upon the season and how long I have for dinner prep.
If you love roasted vegetables, don’t miss the Ultimate Roasted Vegetable Guide (with key tips, ways to use leftovers, and fresh ways to flavor them) in my cookbook!
When it comes to roasted vegetables that can be on the table fast, roasted asparagus is hard to beat.
At 425 degrees F, roasted asparagus cooks in 9 to 15 minutes, depending upon the size of your stalks.
Combine the quick cook time with how fast asparagus is to prep, and you have the makings for a go-to healthy side pronto.
I’m a fanatic for vegetables with stellar texture. This is the absolute best way to roast asparagus.
With how fast it’s ready, you are going to be making it a lot. I’ve included a few of my favorite ways to season roasted asparagus below, so you can keep yours feeling exciting and new.
Tips to Perfect Roasted Asparagus
Baking perfect roast asparagus comes down to a few easy but essential tips.
Trim the Asparagus Properly
The ends of asparagus are tough and woody and must be removed prior to roasting.
If you’ve been wondering why your roasted asparagus is stringy, likely you left on too much of the tough, woody end.
How to Prep Asparagus for Roasting
There are two ways to trim asparagus:
- Bend and Break (best method!). Hold the top of the stem in one hand and grip it near the base with the other. Briskly bend and the asparagus will naturally snap in the right place. It’s almost like magic and very satisfying. (Feel free to channel Legally Blonde and refer to this method as the “bend and snap.”)
- Cut the Bunch (fastest method). Hold the entire bunch of asparagus in one hand (this works very well if it’s still rubber-banded together) and trim off the ends about 1 1/2 inches or so from the bottom.
While cutting the entire bunch of asparagus at once is fastest, the results do not turn out as well as if you bend and break each spear individually.
Every stalk of asparagus has a slightly different breaking point where the woody end starts. If you cut the whole bunch at once, you’ll waste edible flesh of some spears, while missing the woody parts of others, resulting in a few stringy bites.
Don’t Crowd the Pan
If you crowd the pan, the air won’t circulate properly and the vegetables will steam instead of roast and won’t become as crispy.
For perfect, crispy asparagus, make sure the spears aren’t touching one another.
If you are roasting more asparagus than will fit on your pan in a single layer without the asparagus touching, divide it between two pans. Roast the pans in the upper and lower thirds of your oven, switching their positions halfway through.
Season and Oil
Proper seasoning is critical to helping food taste its best, and roasted vegetables are no exception.
Be sure to use kosher salt (which has a better, more natural taste than table salt) at a minimum.
For more variation, add black pepper or try one of the other recipe variations listed below.
As with proper seasoning, make sure you use enough olive oil to give the spears a light coating on all sides. If you don’t, the spears’ tender tips (the best part!) will burn.
Roasting is one of the healthiest ways to cook asparagus. Don’t worry about using olive oil; it’s critical to making it taste delicious (meaning you will eat more of those nutrient-dense servings!). Plus olive oil is high in antioxidants and beneficial fats.
Roast at a High Temperature
I tested roasted asparagus at 350, 375, 400, 425, and 450.
- 425 degrees F is the ideal oven temperature for roasting asparagus. The high heat yields the crispy outside, caramelized inside texture we are looking for, without burning the spears.
If you are baking other dishes with the asparagus in the oven and need to tweak the oven temperature to accommodate, my second recommendation would be asparagus at 400.
If you overcook asparagus, it will become mushy and it can burn. It happens more quickly than you’d expect.
- The best way to tell if asparagus is done and to keep it from becoming soggy is to pierce it with a fork. As soon as the fork can pierce the stalks easily, the asparagus is done.
How to Make Roasted Asparagus
Asparagus is one of the easiest vegetables to roast.
In the spring when it’s in peak season, we make it twice a week.
Asparagus is also good for you! It’s low in calories and rich in fiber, folate, and numerous vitamins.
I think we all should cook it more often, don’t you?
- Remove the woody ends of the asparagus (see “How to Prep Asparagus for Roasting” above for more details).
- Place on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil and seasonings.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 9 to 11 minutes (thin stalks) or 15 to 20 minutes (thick stalks). Finish with your desired toppings, and ENJOY!
Here are some tasty ways to season roasted asparagus.
- Roasted Asparagus Parmesan. Sprinkle the roasted asparagus with freshly grated Parmesan cheese just before serving. You also can sprinkle on the cheese, then pop the asparagus back into the oven for a minute or two if you’d like the cheese more melty.
- Roasted Asparagus with Lemon. Add a thinly sliced lemon to the pan with the asparagus prior to roasting. Finish the dish with an extra squeeze of lemon juice and lemon zest.
- Spicy Roasted Asparagus. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes. This variation is especially good combined with the lemon and Parmesan suggested above.
- Balsamic Roasted Asparagus. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar during the last few minutes of cooking.
- Herbed Roasted Asparagus. Add dried herbs like basil, oregano, or Italian seasoning (before roasting) or finish with chopped fresh herbs (after roasting).
- Nutty Roasted Asparagus. Top the asparagus with a sprinkle of toasted slivered almonds, chopped toasted pecans, or toasted pine nuts.
- Caramelized Onion Roasted Asparagus. Caramelize 1 large red onion. Place the asparagus on a serving platter and top with the onion.
Prefer to make asparagus on the grill instead? Try this scrumptious Grilled Asparagus recipe.
- To Store. Refrigerate asparagus in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
To extend the life of your fresh (uncooked) asparagus spears, start by removing the woody stems. Then, place your trimmed spears in a glass or jar with an inch or two of water. Place a plastic bag over the top of the spears, then refrigerate them for up to 5 days. Replace the water as needed.
Use leftovers for this delicious Scrambled Egg Toast with Roasted Asparagus. Take a note from this Avocado Pasta, and toss your roasted asparagus with a pasta dish (Pasta al Limone would be tasty with asparagus). Finish off a pizza with leftover asparagus (we love using ours for this Spicy Turkey, Leek and Asparagus Pizza).
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Rimmed Baking Sheet. Ideal for making roasted asparagus.
- Citrus Juicer. My easy method for juicing lemons and limes.
- Parchment Paper. Makes cleanup a breeze.
If you have vegetable skeptics in your family, this roasted asparagus can be a gateway for them, the way it was for me (this Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is likely to help your cause too).
With its fast prep, tender stalks, and crispy tips, I hope this simple, spectacular roasted vegetable becomes as regular on your menu as it is on ours this time of year.
FOR THE ASPARAGUS:
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dried basil or thyme* (optional—see "toppings" below for amounts)
TOPPINGS (optional; pick one, two, or your mix of choice):
- Lemon zest and juice
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Thyme: 1 teaspoon fresh or slightly heaped 1/4 teaspoon dried
- Basil: 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
- Drizzle balsamic reduction or aged balsamic vinegar
- Drizzle of melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a rimmed baking with parchment paper or lightly coat with non-stick spray.
- Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus by holding the stem end in one hand and gripping it near the base with the other. Briskly bend and the asparagus will naturally snap in the right place (I find this task very satisfying). Discard the stem ends.
- Arrange the asparagus on the baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and any dried herbs you are using. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer.
- Bake the asparagus for 9 to 11 minutes (for thin stalks) or 15 to 20 minutes (for thicker stalks), just until it easily pierces with a fork.
- Sprinkle the asparagus with your toppings of choice. My favorite is lemon zest and juice, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.
- *If using dried herbs (see suggested amounts in “toppings”), add them with the salt prior to roasting; if using fresh herbs, sprinkle them on after the asparagus is finished roasting.
- If doubling the recipe, divide the asparagus between two baking sheets to ensure it has room to roast in a single layer. Bake in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, switching the pans’ positions in the upper and lower racks halfway through.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate asparagus in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: I don’t recommend freezing asparagus, as it becomes mushy. If you must, freeze asparagus in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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