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.

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  • Amn

    This is my except I sort asparagus by size, start with large and continue to add until you add skinniest, cook one more minutes, strain and put in cold water…stays beautifully green

  • Casey

    Leave the rubber band on. Cut The Woody bottom off, stand them up in a tall pot in an inch of water and boil to your liking. The tips will stay firm and the stems will cook thoroughly.

  • Bettye W.

    Asparagus on top of the stove is better cooked vertical….. ends down; yes there is a vertical asparagus cooker. In lieu of one, I use a stop top coffee pot. about 1/4 full of water; bring to a boil; add asparagus; cover and cook until crisp tender. Yes, cooking time depends on size of the stems.

  • Phachita Moore

    like the recipe but I gave you the wrong email address. It’s…
    [email protected]

  • Jane

    Once asparagus is au point, I throw in a handful of ice cubes. (I also only use salt in the water, but look forward to trying lemon peel.)

  • Ninfa

    Tasty flavor

  • Bebe

    I cook it about this way. So easy. Skip the salt, skip the lid. Boil enough water in a large skillet to just cover the asparagus. Drop in the asparagus (I do peel mine for my husband!), and then keep an eye on it. When the asparagus stalk bends, it is done. I pull them out as they “bend”, drain them briefly on a paper towel on a platter, remove the towel, add some butter and slip the platter in a just-warm oven to hold until everything else is ready.

    • Bebe

      PS. Lower heat to simmer after asparagus is in skillet.

  • Judy

    asparagus tart? how do I make that?