How to Steam Asparagus

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One of the simplest ways to cook asparagus is to steam it. This method is especially great for cutting out added fats. Learn how to steam asparagus with these instructions.

This method consistently delivers a vibrant green, tender crisp side dish that is bursting with flavor. If you shudder at the thought of mushy veggies, you’re going to love the way this turns out!

Asparagus in square dish

Steamed Asparagus

Bear these things in mind when making steamed asparagus:

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First, rinse and dry the asparagus. Trim off the bottom inch or so of each spear. You can steam them whole or continue cutting them into uniform pieces.

If you have larger in diameter or “older” asparagus go ahead and use a vegetable peeler (I like this one a lot!) and just take off that outside layer. This is the part that can get tough and woody as it grows.

Second, use a timer so that you don’t oversteam them. If you cook them for too long, you’ll deplete their flavor and get a mushy mess.

Third, pull the asparagus off the heat when they have just the slightest bit of crunch remaining. They will continue to cook from the remaining heat.

Asparagus in steamer pan

How to Steam Asparagus

Here are the directions for how to steam asparagus:

Prep the pot: Add two inches of water. Insert the steamer basket. You can also use a metal strainer or colander. The water should be completely under the basket. If you can see the standing water over the bottom of the basket, pour some out. 

Boil the water: Set the pot over a burner and turn it to high. Cover the pot. When you hear the water boiling rapidly, lift the cover to check. If steam billows out, it’s ready.

Steaming Asparagus: Place the asparagus into the steamer basket. Cover the pot again, and lower the heat setting to medium. Now, set the timer.

Cooked asparagus

How Long to Steam Asparagus

Not sure how long to steam asparagus? That depends on the diameter of your spears, how tender you want them, etc. Expect for it to take between 3 to 6 minutes.

Start checking the spears after 2 minutes of steaming. You can use the tip of a sharp knife or a fork to test for tenderness, but I find it more effective to do a taste test.

Just like with green beans, this is a vegetable whose flavor should be prioritized over tenderness when. If they’re still grassy, let them steam for another 30 seconds.

Cooked asparagus on plate

I can’t overstate the importance of testing with a fork and also tasting the vegetables when trying new cooking methods.

We prefer our vegetables more firm than soft, with a solid bite to them. If you prefer your vegetables to be a bit more cooked, just add a minute or two to the provided cooking times. It’s always better to err on the side of undercooked versus overdone.

Keep in mind that cooking times are estimates and adjust them to be exactly what you like best.

Asparagus can be seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper, or you can spruce it up with olive oil, lemon juice, or whatever sauce you like best.

There are so many great ways to cook asparagus! Once you’ve mastered steaming, you may want to try air fryingroastinggrillingsauteeing, or even boiling it.

Cooked asparagus

How to Steam Asparagus

One of the fastest and easiest ways to cook asparagus is to simply steam it.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound asparagus cut into spears
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper adjust to taste


  • Bring one to two inches of water to boil.
  • Place the asparagus in a steamer basket and put the basket into the pot of boiling water. Cover, and lower the heat to medium. Steam for 3-6 minutes, depending on size.
  • Remove from the heat when the asparagus is bright green and still slightly firm. Season with salt and pepper.


I’ve tested steaming asparagus as spears and as bite-sized pieces. I find that the ends of each spear cook better when cut into bite-sized pieces. However, the full-length spears are prettier and worth the extra minute or two of cooking time if that is your preference. 


Calories: 23kcal · Carbohydrates: 4g · Protein: 3g · Fat: 1g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 293mg · Potassium: 231mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 2g · Vitamin A: 858IU · Vitamin C: 6mg · Calcium: 28mg · Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @bestvegetablerecipes or tag #bestvegetablerecipes!
Steamed Asparagus in pot
Steamed asparagus in square dish

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