This Baked Asparagus Recipe is a favorite way of making the healthy vegetable in my house. If you are trying to figure out how to cook asparagus in the oven, you will find perfectly roasted asparagus is one of the best cooking methods.
It doesn't get much easier than this simple side dish recipe. The recipe is also gluten free and low carb so it fits in with most dietary restrictions. Sprinkle oven roasted asparagus with Parmesan cheese or serve with lemon slices and enjoy.
My eight year old daughter can gobble through a platter of baked or roasted asparagus with gusto. It is one of our favorite side dishes in our house.
While the vegetable can be found in grocers year round asparagus season is in the spring and again in the fall. That is when you will find the nicest spears at the best price.
Are You Cooking Asparagus Wrong?
When I hear people recoil at the thought of eating asparagus, the first thing I ask them is how they have had it cooked. Inevitably they have been victims of overcooked asparagus spears, boiled to the point of near mush or baked until tough and stringy. No wonder they think they don't like the vegetable.
What they don't realize is even those of us who love eating asparagus would push those spears to the edge of our plates as well. The slightly crispy asparagus that results from roasting asparagus is delicious and makes converts!
Baked Asparagus (Why Bake)
One of the best ways to cook a fresh bunch of asparagus is by baking it. While I also grilled asparagus with olive oil, fresh minced garlic and seasoning, the flames can cause the more delicate bud section of the spears to singe or dry out if precautions are not taken. In contrast, baked asparagus is pretty easy to monitor, and the stalk can reach the preferred level of semi-tenderness while the bud is still nice to serve. Oven roasted asparagus is a great choice for beginner cooks.
Oven Roasted Asparagus
The Oven Roasted asparagus recipe is essentially the same as baked, just done at a higher temperature for a little less time.
Now steaming is also an easy way to cook asparagus too, but unless I am planning to sauce my spears or add the vegetable to a dish and want it cooked first, that is not my go-to method. I prefer baking asparagus rather than steaming for the most part. When I bake fresh asparagus, I often do so with a simple seasoned marinade or dressing. The oven roasted asparagus is ready to eat, immediately after cooking.
The spears often end out more of an appetizer in my house than just a healthy side dish, since my daughter stalks the kitchen awaiting them, as soon as she knows they are in the oven.
How to Bake Asparagus in the Oven
Learning how to make asparagus in the oven is super easy. Let's make some!
You Will Need
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus spears 1 -1 ½ pounds
- 2 tsp olive oil
- sea salt or Kosher salt and black pepper , to taste
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic , minced or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese ** optional
Toss the asparagus in 2 tablespoons of Italian dressing if you prefer.
Start with a preheated oven at 375 degrees F.
While the oven is warming, snap or cut off the woody ends of the fresh asparagus stalks. Then place the spears in a shallow dish.
Mix together the olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour over asparagus, toss until coated.
Spread the spears out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes (narrow spears) 10-12 minutes (fat spears).
Then toss in pan and return to oven to bake for another 6-8 minutes. (If you are making Parmesan Baked Asparagus, add the grated Parmesan cheese to the cooked asparagus now.)
Serve with your favorite entrees!
Here is a picture of the dressing coated asparagus before it went in the oven.
How Long to Bake Asparagus at 375 Degrees
Other than what temperature to cook it at the biggest question you will have is how long to bake the vegetable. This can be done various ways, but foremost in my mind is always not to overcook it. It can quickly become mushy with wet cooking techniques, or dried-out if baked, broiled or grilled too long. Cooking times will vary based on the thickness of the asparagus and of course the cooking temperature. We are looking for a tender spears, yet with a slight snap to them when you take a bite. I prefer to bake asparagus at 375 degrees myself.
When making asparagus in the oven at 375 degrees :
- Thin asparagus spears (pencil thick)- total cook time 16-20 min
- Thick asparagus spears- total cooking time 20-22 min
How Long to Roast Asparagus at 425 degrees
When making roasted asparagus the only difference in roasting is temperature and cooking time. Of course, roasting at higher temps cook the spears faster.
- Narrow asparagus will have a cook time as low as 12 minutes, but more likely closer to 14-16 minutes.
- Thick spears will cook in 15-18 minutes at 425 degrees.
The oven time will vary based on your doneness preference, actual thickness of the spears and accuracy of your oven thermostat. In general, you are looking for tender crisp spears that are mostly still green with just a tinge of brown.
For a different spin on roasted asparagus, try my Balsamic Roasted Asparagus & Tomato with Blue Cheese.
If you love asparagus as much as we do try my Sauteed Asparagus with Mushrooms, Cheesy Baked Asparagus or Alton Brown's suggestion and zap your salted spears in the microwave wrapped in wet paper towels for 3-4 minutes. Surprisingly this results in nicely cooked spears. I personally rarely steam asparagus, but it is a nice hack when you need a single side dish serving fast. As far as boiling is concerned... just don't do it. It's an affront to the vegetable.
Tip: Line the baking pan with parchment or aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
There are so many flavor choices when making the is vegetable in the oven. Here are just a few twists for you.
- Drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some fresh chopped herbs
- Baste the spears with melted butter and top with lemon zest, sea salt and ground black pepper
- Sprinkle on grated Parmesan cheese and Italian seasonings for Parmesan asparagus
- Toss the spears in pesto sauce to bake
It is important to know when your asparagus is done cooking because it can turn mushy and stringy when over cooked. When done the spears will be semi-tender, yet still maintain most of their bright green color. Raw asparagus will not make you sick, so don't worry about slightly undercooking.
Leftovers can be placed in and airtight container or plastic bag. They will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. [ref USDA]
Baked Asparagus Recipe
- 1 fresh asparagus bunch 1 -1 ½ pounds
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- salt and pepper , to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese *** optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Snap or cut off the woody ends of the asparagus spears. Then place spears in a shallow dish.
- Mix the dressing ingredients the toss with the asparagus to coat.
- Spread the spears out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 9-10 minutes (narrow spears) 10-12 minutes (fat spears). Then toss in pan (add Parmesan if using) and return to oven to bake for another 6-8 minutes.
- Plate, season with salt, and serve.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. and roast for 12- 15 minutes total for then spears and 15-18 minutes for fat ones.