The Perfect Sauteed Asparagus

5 from 12 votes
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Learn how to saute asparagus – with just four ingredients, my pan-fried asparagus is an easy and delicious side dish that can add a boost of goodness to any meal.

Sautéed asparagus in a large pan

Sauteed asparagus with garlic might just be my favorite side dish. There’s plenty to be said for the humble potato or indeed, any other veggie, but sauteed asparagus holds a special place in my heart. Not only is it delicious, but I find sautéing to be the quickest, easiest (and most delicious) way of preparing this green goddess vegetable. And even if sautéing is not your thing, I’ve got a handy guide for a variety of other preparation methods, from air frying to pickling.

Working out how to cook asparagus in a pan may seem daunting. But it’s actually one of the most flavorful ways to prepare asparagus. Sauteing – which involves gripping the handle of a pan and making jerking movements to move the veggies around as they cook – uses the delicious flavors of butter, salt and pepper, and garlic to bring out the natural nuttiness and sweetness in the vegetables.

A serving of sautéed asparagus with a lemon slice in a white plate

No matter how you decide to make sauteed asparagus, you can be sure you’re getting an abundance of goodness in every bite. This sauteed asparagus recipe is low calorie and high in antioxidants and Vitamins A, C, and K. They have also been shown to support digestion, lower blood pressure and support prenatal health.

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The Ingredients

  • Asparagus: The star of all asparagus recipes. For the best pan-seared asparagus, you’ll want to get fresh asparagus stalks. You can use frozen or canned, but fresh is definitely best. 
  • Butter: You can use olive oil, flavored oil, or a dairy-free butter alternative if you prefer.
  • Salt & black pepper: Classic seasonings that will bring out the natural flavor of fried asparagus along with the butter.
  • Garlic: Use fresh cloves, but if you’re in a pinch, garlic oil will do just fine. The garlic will need to be minced or chopped before using.

For an optional, cheesy twist on the classic sautéed asparagus recipe, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and, if wanted, with some lemon zest. 

Ingredients for sautéed asparagus

How to Make Sauteed Asparagus

Learning how to pan fry asparagus is very quick and simple. There are just two main steps for how to saute asparagus – prep the stalks, then sautee them with butter (or oil) in a large skillet.

Chef’s Tips For the Best Sauteed Asparagus

  • This recipe is great for when asparagus is in season. This vegetable is found year-round in grocery stores but its peak season is February to June.
  • Choose the young asparagus or medium-sized stalks for stovetop sauteed asparagus. They are much more tender and perfect for this asparagus recipe. 
  • If the asparagus spears are thick, that means they’re old. They are not bad, they are just a bit tougher and will therefore take longer to cook. To ensure perfectly pan roasted asparagus, peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler and remove the outer layer of the stem. This will leave the tender stem behind.
  • Cook time will vary based on how thick or thin asparagus is. So keep an eye on them.

How Do You Cut Asparagus

Clean the asparagus stalks and pat dry, removing the woody ends if needed. Chop the stalks with a knife into 3 or 4 evenly-sized pieces – approximately 1-2 inch pieces.

If you are using garlic, now’s the time to grate or mince it.

Chopped asparagus on a cutting board

Does Asparagus Need to Be Blanched Before Sauteing

Blanching is a method by which a vegetable is cooked briefly in boiling water and then transferred to ice water to stop cooking and maintain its color. For most easy sauteed asparagus recipes, you don’t need to blanch. The asparagus won’t lose its bright green color when cooked in a pan or skillet. Blanching is a better option if you’re boiling your asparagus.

How Long to Saute Asparagus

How long to sauté asparagus will depend on the size and tenderness of your stalks.

To begin, melt the butter (or add olive oil) in a pan over medium-high heat, then add the asparagus. Cook for 5-10 minutes until tender. At the last minute, add salt, pepper, and minced garlic (this is so the garlic doesn’t burn). Sautee for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and serve.

Steps for sautéing asparagus

What to Serve with Sauteed Asparagus

My asparagus sauteed is the perfect way to add some veggies to every meal of the day.

Easy dinners, like a classic roasted chicken, salmon, steak, and other protein are always improved by sauteed asparagus. Sauteed asparagus is a great compliment to seafood – I love it with my Crispy Baked Coconut Shrimp. It’s also easy to add to a bowl of your favorite pasta in small pieces, from a comforting bowl of pasta or even egg-fried rice.

Pan-seared asparagus goes great with pine nuts, almonds, thyme, parsley, and other fresh herbs – you can accompany it with your favorites. And of course, you can make parmesan sauteed asparagus when you top it with parmesan cheese at the end of cooking.

But, my favorite way to get sauteed asparagus into my meals? Serving it at breakfast. Pan fry some asparagus in the morning to serve with my Turkish poached eggs, a classic plate of fluffy scrambled eggs, or a brunch favorite, Eggs Benedict, with delicious hollandaise sauce.

A serving of sautéed asparagus in a white plate

Can You Freeze Sauteed Asparagus?

Yes! In fact, sauteed asparagus recipes will actually fare rather well in the freezer once fully cooked. If you’re planning on freezing sauteed asparagus, you’ll want to blanch it before you sauté. This will keep the stalks tender after they’ve been cooked. Once blanched, place on a tray and allow to freeze separately before transferring to a freezer-safe container or bag.

More Healthy Side Dish Recipes

If you try this stove top sautee asparagus recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and feel free to tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

The Perfect Sauteed Asparagus

5 from 12 votes
By: Samira
Learn how to saute asparagus – with just four ingredients, my pan-fried asparagus is an easy and delicious side dish that can add a boost of goodness to any meal.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 
 

  • 14 oz asparagus
  • 1.5 Tbsp butter OR olive oil, flavored oil, or a dairy-free butter alternative
  • 0.28 oz garlic 2 cloves; optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • lemon juice of 1/2 lemon; to serve with

Instructions 

  • Clean the asparagus stalks and pat dry, removing the woody ends if needed. Chop the stalks into 3 or 4 pieces – approximately 1-2 inch pieces.
  • If you are using garlic, now's the time to grate or mince it.
  • Melt the butter (or add olive oil) in a pan over medium-high heat, then add the asparagus. Cook for 5-10 minutes until tender.
    How long to sauté asparagus will depend on the size and tenderness of your stalks – for very thin stalks, cook 3-5 minutes. For very thick stalks, sautee them for 8-10 minutes.
  • At the last minute, add salt, pepper, and garlic (this is so the garlic doesn't burn). Sautee for 1-2 minutes, then serve.

Notes

Does asparagus need to be blanched before sauteing? Blanching is a method by which a vegetable is cooked briefly in boiling water and then transferred to ice water to stop cooking and maintain its color. For most sautéed asparagus recipes, you don’t need to blanch as the asparagus won’t lose any color when cooked in a pan or skillet. Blanching is a better option if you’re boiling your asparagus.
Chef’s Tips For the Best Sauteed Asparagus
  • This recipe is great for when asparagus is in season. This vegetable is found year-round but its peak season is April-June.
  • Choose the young asparagus or medium-sized stalks for stovetop sauteed asparagus. They are much more tender and perfect for this asparagus recipe. 
  • If the stalks are thick, that means they’re old. They are not bad, they are just a bit tougher and will therefore take longer to cook. To ensure perfectly pan-roasted asparagus, peel the stalks with a vegetable peeler and remove the outer layer of the stem. This will leave the tender stem behind.
 
Check the blog post for tips on how to freeze sauteed asparagus and lots of serving recommendations!
Course: Side
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Freezer friendly: 10-12 Months
Shelf life: 3-5 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Sodium: 331mg, Potassium: 211mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 884IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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