How Long to Boil Asparagus?

How Long to Boil Asparagus

Asparagus is the first vegetable I was able to get my kids to actually eat! I was on my own quest to start eating more vegetables, so I started experimenting with boiling asparagus. What I learned was that when I boil asparagus for the right amount of time, no more and no less, I end up with a tender and sweet side dish that I forget is healthy for me!

It’s easy to overboil asparagus, so it’s crucial to follow the exact boiling times!

I’ve perfected a boiling guide for asparagus over the years. Whether you like your asparagus with a crisp, or you like to softly bite into it, I got you covered. So, read on to learn more!

So, how long will it take to boil asparagus?

It will take approximately 3 to 10 minutes to boil asparagus, depending on how many stems you have and the thickness. The thicker the asparagus is, the longer it will take to boil. The thinner stems will take less time to boil.

Here is the boiling times I go by!

  • 3 to 4 minutes in the skillet (thinner stems)
  • 5 to 6 minutes in the skillet (thicker stems)
  • 7 to 8 minutes boiling in the pot (thinner stems)
  • 9 to 10 minutes boiling in the pot (thicker stems)

Storing Asparagus in the Refrigerator

When buying asparagus at the grocery store, it’s best to use it within a few days, otherwise it can get slimy. But here’s a trick I learned! Grab two tall glasses and fill each one half full with water. Grab half the asparagus and place the bottoms in the water in the glass. Do the same for the other one. Cover gently with saran wrap. This adds a few days shelf life to your asparagus.

When you’re ready to boil the asparagus, make sure you thoroughly rinse with cool water first!

How to Boil Asparagus: A Step by Step Guide

I have two methods to boiling asparagus. One is in the skillet, and one is boiling in a pot.

Method 1: Skillet (My favorite method)

Step 1: Prepare your asparagus. This includes rinsing the asparagus under cool running water to get any bacteria or debris off. I also recommend cutting off the bottoms. These will usually be a white color at the bottom.

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Step 2: Place asparagus in the skillet in an inch of water. Add half a stick of butter and a dash of salt for flavoring.

Step 3: Turn to a medium heat. Once boiling, let boil for 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 4: Check softness. Take a fork and pierce one of the asparagus stems. Is it easy to go though or hard? That will tell you how tender they are. Boiling at 3 to 5 minutes will get you a medium firm. If you require more cooking time, cook an additional minute as needed.

Step 5: Drain. Drain the asparagus from the water.

Step 6: Season and serve! I usually don’t put too much seasoning on my asparagus. I have found that garlic powder and pepper do just fine!

Note: As the asparagus boils in the skillet, the water will start to evaporate. That’s normal. The skillet will help cook the asparagus to a crispy brown.

Method 2: Pot (My 2nd preferred method)

Step 1: Prepare your asparagus. Prepare your asparagus the same way as mentioned above. First, you’ll need to rinse it under cool, running water. Then cut off the white bottoms. Probably about an inch total.

Step 2: Boil a pot of water. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil without the asparagus in it. Add a dash of salt for flavor if desired.

Step 3: Add in the asparagus. When the water starts to boil, add in the asparagus.

Step 4: Check softness. Take a fork and pierce one of the asparagus stems. Is it easy to go though or hard? That will tell you how tender they are. Boiling at the times I have provided will get you a medium firm. If you require more cooking time, cook an additional minute as needed.

Step 5: Drain. Drain the asparagus from the water.

Step 6: Season and serve! Sometimes melted cheese makes a great topping on boiled asparagus!

Tips for Boiling the Best Asparagus

Here are my best tips when boiling asparagus!

  • Cut in half prior to boiling. After slicing the bottoms off, cut the asparagus stems in half. This helps cut off boiling time and ensure the asparagus cooks evenly! It also cuts down on waste for those light eaters.
  • Eat within a few days of purchase. The freshest asparagus always tastes the best. If you’ve noticed the tips start to get a little slimy, rinse them off with cool water and boil immediately for best results!
  • The longer you boil, the softer the asparagus becomes. If you like your asparagus on the softer side, leave it in the boiling water a little longer. If you like it firmer, keep it in the water for only as long as you have too. Be careful of leaving the asparagus in for too long though! It can become stringy and too mushy!
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Seasoning Boiled Asparagus

Here is one of my favorite ways to season boiled asparagus!

  1. Cut your asparagus into inch bitesize pieces.
  2. Drizzle some olive oil on them and mix well with a spoon.
  3. Sprinkle some garlic powder and pepper on top and mix again
  4. Eat and enjoy!

Wrapping Up

This concludes today’s topic of how long it takes to boil asparagus. As you can see above, it’s not a straight cut answer, but it’s not as difficult as some make it out to be either!

You just have to choose which way you want to boil your asparagus, whether in the skillet for a crispier taste or boiled in a pot for a more tender texture. Then you just season and enjoy with your meal!

Which method are you going to try next? Let me know in the comments below!