The Best Way to Boil Asparagus

Here's the quickest and easiest way to cook asparagus on the stovetop! Takes only 10 minutes tops.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4


  • 1/2 pound asparagus (or up to a pound), thin, medium, or large
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half (optional)
  • 1 strip of lemon peel (optional)


1 Prep the asparagus: Snap or cut off any woody bottoms of the asparagus spears. If working with medium sized or large asparagus, if you want (for a fancy presentation) you can use a vegetable peeler to peel the outside of the lower inch or two of the asparagus.

2 Heat water in a large skillet: Fill a large, wide skillet with about 3/4-inch of water. Add salt. Add the cut garlic and lemon peel if using. Bring the water to a boil on high heat.

3 Boil the asparagus: Add the asparagus in an even layer. If the water doesn't cover the asparagus, cover the pan. If using thin asparagus, cook only for 1 to 2 minutes. Medium asparagus, 5 minutes. Large asparagus 6 to 7 minutes.

4 Rinse with cool water: Rinse briefly with cold water to stop the cooking and then transfer to a serving dish.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil or butter to serve.