How to Roast Asparagus

5 from 3 votes

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Roasting asparagus is my favorite way to cook asparagus during the cooler months, whether you cook them to al dente or super tender. They get golden and the high heat brings out the natural sugars in the vegetable.

Parchment paper with a line of Roasted Asparagus.

Come spring, a roasted asparagus dish makes an appearance on our table a couple of times a week. While asparagus takes to all kinds of cooking methods, roasting is definitely my favorite especially during the winter months. The high heat deepens the flavor of the vegetable, and all those nutrients stay right in the asparagus where they belong. Whether you like them cooked al dente (Italian for “to the tooth,” meaning with a bit of firmness) or to a softer consistency, roasted asparagus takes on a sweetness that is very appealing, especially when salted just right.

Funnily enough, when my younger son Charlie was little, he didn’t like the tips of the asparagus, so he chomped his way all the way up the stalk and left the perfect little pointed tops for one of us to pick off of his plate. Luckily, his older brother Jack really liked the tips.

Roasted asparagus is a great side for many dishes, including Chicken Piccata and Fall-Apart Roasted Pork Shoulder with Rosemary, Mustard, and Garlic.

Roasted Asparagus on parchment paper.

How to Roast Asparagus: Roasting asparagus is probably my favorite ways to cook asparagus. The high heat concentrates the flavor and brings out the natural sugars in the vegetable.

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FAQs

Which are better for roasting, thick or thin asparagus?

It’s simply a matter of preference. The thin ones just need the bottom inch or so cut off and will roast in about 7 to 12 minutes. The fatter ones take longer to cook (anywhere from 10 to 16 minutes) but are more substantial to bite into. You might want to peel the thick skin from the bottom of thicker stalks, as well as trim the bottom inch or two. Read on for the best way to prepare asparagus for cooking.

Peeling Asparagus for Roasting

You’ll be rewarded with tender asparagus from stem to stern if you peel off the thick skin towards the bottom of the stalk before roasting the asparagus. After trimming the bottom inch or so off the asparagus, take a vegetable peeler and peel the green outer layer off from the bottom 3-ish inches of the stalk. If you don’t feel like doing this, you can just snap off 3 inches from the bottoms instead of 1, but in the spirit of reducing food waste, I don’t recommend it. Grab that peeler.

Woman cutting and peeling fresh asparagus stalks.

The Benefits of Roasting Asparagus

Other than grilled asparagus, roasting is probably my favorite way to cook asparagus. The main advantage is that you can’t lose it between the grates (yes, I know they make grill pans for this purpose — sometimes I’m just too lazy to find mine). The natural sugars in the vegetables are concentrated by the high heat (which is why roasting is one of the greatest cooking methods, period), and the spears turn a nice golden brown in spots.

How to Roast Asparagus

  1. Add oil: Toss the asparagus with the oil, making sure it’s nicely and evenly coated.
Tossing fresh asparagus with oil on parchment-lined pan.
  1. Season: Sprinkle over some kosher salt and freshly ground pepper if desired.
Person sprinkling salt onto a lined baking sheet of Asparagus.
  1. Roast the asparagus: Roast at 425 degrees F. If your oven is set to 400 or 450 degrees, that’s fine. Just adjust the cooking time up or down accordingly by a few minutes.
Parchment paper with a line of Roasted Asparagus.

How Long to Roast Asparagus

The roasting time for thin stalks at 425 degrees is about 8 to 10 minutes for thin stalks and 10 to 14 minutes for thick stalks. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the stalks and how you like your asparagus cooked. Keep in mind that the asparagus will continue to “cook” after they leave the oven, especially if you leave them on the hot tray. Take them out just before they are as cooked as you would ultimately like them to be.

Many people like their asparagus al dente, which basically means crisp-tender. But you should cook your vegetables to your preferred softness or crispness. And remember they will continue to soften once you remove them from the oven.

Roasted Asparagus with salt and pepper on parchment paper.

Leftovers and Storage

Leftover roasted asparagus can be stored in a container in the fridge for up to 4 days, if they were quite fresh when you cooked them. You can warm them in a 350-degree oven until warmed through, but they will get softer as they reheat. They can also be reheated in the microwave. But also consider eating them at room temperature or even cold. Leftover roasted asparagus is also great sliced and added to soups and salads.

Tips for Roasting Asparagus

  • You can line the pan with parchment paper or foil, which helps make clean-up very easy. I am quite obsessed with my big package of precut baking sheet-sized pieces of parchment paper. I think it’s my favorite shortcut prep tool in the kitchen.
  • Remember that the asparagus will continue to soften after they are removed from the oven, so take them out a minute or two before they reach your intended level of doneness.

What to Serve With Roasted Asparagus

You can serve them very plain, and they will be delicious. Or, squeeze the lemon over all or some of the asparagus and sprinkle on the capers. Another thing to do to make them special is to drizzle them with a sauce. Try one of these sauces, served either at room temperature or warm: Sesame Drizzle, Spicy Drizzle, Chimichurri Sauce, Sriracha Sauce, or Simplest Fresh Herb Sauce. Or try this variation pictured below: Garlicky Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan.

Garlicky Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan on plate with chicken and rice.
Garlicky Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan

Also, a plate of room-temperature asparagus tossed with a bit of homemade vinaigrette dressing recipe is a pretty elegant spring side.

What to Serve With Roasted Asparagus

More Roasted Asparagus Recipes

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5 from 3 votes

Roasted Asparagus

Roasting asparagus is my favorite way to cook asparagus during the cooler months, whether you cook them to al dente or super tender. They get golden and the high heat brings out the natural sugars in the vegetable.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 People
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ pounds asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon minced capers (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  • Place the asparagus in a baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Don’t worry about finding a pan large enough to hold the asparagus in one layer — the stalks can overlap a bit. Drizzle the olive oil over them and toss gently to coat the asparagus evenly. Sprinkle on the salt, and toss again.
  • Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes for thin stalks and 10 to 14 for thick ones. If they overlap, just give them a little shuffle with a spatula halfway through the cooking time so they all have a chance to brown a bit. Remember that they will continue to cook a bit after you remove them from the oven, so take them out while they’re still a little firmer than you would like.

Notes

  • You can line the pan with parchment paper or foil, which helps make clean-up very easy. I am quite obsessed with my big package of precut baking sheet-sized pieces of parchment paper. I think it’s my favorite shortcut prep tool in the kitchen.
  • Remember that the asparagus will continue to soften after they are removed from the oven, so take them out a minute or two before they reach your intended level of doneness.

Nutrition

Calories: 64kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 390mg, Potassium: 229mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 857IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 2mg
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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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1 Comment

  1. Annie says:

    My family loves asparagus because of this recipe. My MIL asks me to make it when we cook together, perfect gateway recipe.