Why Grill Asparagus?
The smoky flavor, the char marks. Tender, but still with a little crunch. Grilled asparagus is seriously so good! I could eat it like French fries (and have).
The best thing about grilling asparagus? It’s so easy. You don't need anything more than thick asparagus spears, olive oil, salt, and a hot grill. It just takes a few minutes to get some char.
More Ways to Enjoy Asparagus
How to Buy and Store the Best Asparagus
The best, freshest asparagus is what you can buy seasonally from a local farmer (or grow in your own kitchen garden). To ensure you're buying fresh asparagus—in or out of season—follow these tips.
- Check the tips. They should be firm and springy. If they are soft, move on to another bunch.
- Check the stalks, They should be firm. If they are soft and rubbery, they aren't fresh.
- Check the ends. If they are woody, it's not the best, but it's okay. You'll be removing the ends. Shriveled or split ends indicate the asparagus is past its prime.
To store asparagus, first remove the rubber band if there is one around the stems. Remove any packaging. Then, treat the asparagus like flowers. Trim about a half inch from the bottom of each stalk and refrigerate in a container of water. This will keep the stalks fresh for 2 or 3 days.
For a simpler method, remove the rubber band or any wrapping, and wrap a damp paper towel around the stems of the asparagus stalks. Place in a plastic bag, and store in your refrigerator's vegetable drawer.
How Long to Grill Asparagus
Asparagus doesn't take long to grill, but the thickness of your asparagus will affect how long it will be on the grill. Three or four minutes should do it for thicker stalks; two or three minutes for thinner stalks—although we prefer thicker stalks for grilling so they don't dry out so easily. If you'd like more char on your asparagus, leave it on for the extra minute.
Just keep in mind, the longer you leave the asparagus on the grill, the more you risk it becoming soggy and limp.
Not sure about grills? We can help with that! See our post on The Best Grills to Buy.
Ways to Season Grilled Asparagus
A simple squeeze of lemon after grilling may be all the additional seasoning you'll want, but if you want a little more, try one of these seasonings (a little goes a long way).
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
- Balsamic vinegar (add a few dashes to the olive oil)
- Lemon pepper seasoning
- Shredded Parmesan
What to Grill With Asparagus
If you have the grill hot, you might as well put it to work!
- Grilled Salmon with Mango Cucumber Salsa
- Grilled Flank Steak with Mushrooms
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Grilled Salmon with Peach Salsa
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Thick asparagus work best for grilling; get the chubbiest spears you can. Thin spears will dry out before they get a good char.
- 1 pound thick asparagus spears
- 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
Preheat your grill:
Set the grill for high, direct heat.
Prep and season the asparagus:
Prepare the asparagus by breaking or cutting off any tough bottom ends (you can save them for stock, or discard).
Place the asparagus in a pan (to contain the spears while you put them on and take them off the grill).
Coat them with olive oil and sprinkle salt over them.
Grill the asparagus:
Brush the grill grates lightly with olive oil. Place the asparagus spears on the grill so that the thickest ends are aimed toward the hottest part of the grill.
(Alternatively, you can use a grill pan, heat on high.)
Grill the asparagus spears for 2-4 minutes, until lightly charred and just fork tender, turning them often so that they brown on all sides.
Remove from grill and serve.