Oven roasting asparagus is one of the easiest methods of preparing it. Just adjust the time you bake it for based on your oven temperature and the thickness of your stalks.
How Long To Bake Asparagus?
You can decide how long to bake your asparagus by choosing your oven temperature and using the thickness of the spears as a guideline.
As a general rule if you have medium or large stalks you can count on 25-30 minutes for stalks laid out in a single layer on a sheet pan. You can check the chart below for other cooking times and temperatures.
But... you have other options as well! There is an almost 'fix it and forget it' Oven Roasted Asparagus method that I will tell you about that will give you tender, lovely stalks every time.
But before that here is how to clean and trim your asparagus stalks.
Preparing Asparagus For Cooking in the Oven
How to Clean Asparagus
Clean your asparagus by rinsing it well under running water. Don't skimp on this step because asparagus is grown in very sand soil and grit can get caught in the stems and tips quite easily.
Asparagus is famous for the bottom of the stalks being tough and woody. These ends need to be trimmed and there are 2 common ways to do this.
The first is to simply trim the stems where the green colour starts to lighten and turn to white.
I personally find the second 'bend and snap' approach a more reliable method to really find where the tender stem starts to turn tough and woody. Simply hold the tip end of the stalk just below the tip with one hand and the other end in your other hand. Bend the stalk gently and it will naturally snap where where the tender stem stops.
Do You Need To Peel Asparagus?
If your asparagus is slender and any woody part of the stalk has been removed there is no need to peel the outer 'skin' of the stalks.
I personally have never peeled asparagus stalks (and this comes from someone who peels broccoli stalks!) but some recommend peeling the bottom third of thick stalks. Your choice...
Preparing Asparagus for Oven Baking
A very common method of preparing asparagus for baking or roasting is to coat the stalks in olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt.
You will want to bake the asparagus in a single layer. Lining a baking tray with parchent paper will make clean up a breeze but it is not necessary if the asparagus is coated in oil.
Oven Times For Roasting Asparagus
|* Times are approximate and can vary with the
thickness of your stalks. Times should produce
'tender, crisp' texture for mediums stalks. Check
and add time if desired.
**see Notes in Fix it and Forget It Section
Here is the Fix It And Forget It' Method I promised earlier!
Fix It And Forget It Method For Oven Roasting Asparagus
It is very easy to overcook asparagus and it is just not appetizing if it gets to the overcooked 'mushy' stage. This approach of low and slow baking is quite forgiving timewise so it might work well:
- if you are entertaining and busy with guests leading up to dinner
- if you are BBQing and busy outside with other parts of the meal
- if you are using your oven for other parts of your meal and want to do it all in the oven.
After you have cleaned and trimmed your asparagus, toss the stalks in some olive oil to coat and sprinkle them with sea salt.
Place the stalks in the center of a piece of parchment paper large enough to wrap it up completely. The stalks don't have to be in a single layer here -they can be 2-3 stalks deep to wrap the asparagus. You could tie the bundle to seal it but it is not necessary if your ends are long enough to tuck under completely. The bundle needs to be 'sealed' because in effect we are going to 'steam' the asparagus stalks in the oven. Then we are going to bake the bundle low and slow.....Allow 30 minutes for slender stalks or tender crisp thicker stalks. Thick stalks (finger size) can go up to an hour. They will be soft but not 'overdone soft'. They key is to bake at a low temperature - 325 degrees F!
So... clean and snap the asparagus, wrap it up securely in parchment paper- a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and you're done! A squirt of lemon is always a welcome topping once out of the oven.
Use the chart above if you want to roast your asparagus for shorter periods at higher temperature.
What Should I Serve With Asparagus?
- Asparagus is delicious with just a squirt of fresh lemon juice
- Asparagus shines with a Bearnaise or Hollandaise sauce. (Especially if you are also serving beef tenderloin!)
- I served my 'Fix it and Forget It' asparagus with Roast Lamb with White Wine and Major Grey's and Potatoes Anna Light. I made the whole dinner in the oven. You just have to coordinate your timing to get everything in and out at the right time. Put the lamb and potatoes in first and 30 minutes before they are done put the asparagus in on the upper rack. When you remove the lamb and potatoes to rest leave the asparagus for another 15 minutes or so.
Other Ways to Prepare Asparagus
- Air Fryer Asparagus Fries With Garlic Dipping Sauce
- Asparagus with Olive Gremolata
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Asparagus and Hazelnuts
- Asparagus Soup with Parmesan Custard
- Air Fryer Asparagus With Prosciutto
Wine Pairing for Asparagus
Asparagus can be difficult to pair wine with effectively. Sauvignon Blanc is the classic pairing with asparagus. A Sancerre, if that is in your snack bracket, is a match made in heaven! However, the herbal notes and the acidity of any Sauvignon Blanc will work with the asparagus and the lemon accent.
A good quality Pinot Grigio with 'green' herbal notes could work as well.
Or as an alternative I would suggest a Muscadet Sevre et Maine or Vinho Verde.. the clean, crisp freshness of both of these wines will not fight with the asparagus flavor and will stand up to the lemon accent as well.
Oven Roasted Asparagus
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- drizzle of olive oil
- slice of lemon
- pinch of sea salt
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (See notes below for different oven temperatures).
- Clean asparagus and snap off woody ends.
- Wrap spears in parchment paper, tucking the ends under so the packet remains closed during roasting. Wrapping is not necessary if you are roasting at temperatures higher than 325℉.
- Drizzle olive oil over spears, sprinkle with sea salt and toss in lemon slice.
- Roast 30 to 60 minutes depending on how 'al dente' you like your asparagus.
This can vary widely depending on what else you are serving but generally 4-6 medium spears per person or about 3 -4 oz per person. A pound of asparagus would provide 4-5 servings.
Asparagus is considered an healthy addition to your diet according to Eating Well. A 4oz serving of plain asparagus has only about 23 calories; has only .01 grams of fat; 229 grams of potassium and 2.4 grams of fat. It is also considered a good source of Vitamin C and Folate.
Cooking times are contained in this chart in the post above.
I don't think peeling asparagus is necessary if you have rinsed your asparagus thoroughly and used the bend and snap method to remove the woody portion at the bottom. Some chefs suggest peeling the bottom third of medium to large stalks after having trimmed an inch or so off the bottom to remove the woody portion.
I don't think randomly cutting off an "inch or so" is a good way to trim asparagus. Hitting they woody portion of asparagus takes all the joy out of those tender spears you were enjoy up to that point. I prefer holding the tip in one hand and the woody end in the other. Bend and the stalk will naturally snap at the point where the tenderness ends. And... you will see that it is not an inch or so consistently. Some stalks are a few inches more than other. The 'bend and snap' method also makes it totally unnecessary, in my opinion, to peel the asparagus stalk.
Many people do not want to waste the woody ends of asparagus. And sometimes you have quite a pile of them. I have tried making soup with them and while the flavour is transmitted I could not get rid of the woody texture no matter how much simmering and straining I did. Forager Chef suggests a method blending the ends before and after cooking. I have not tried this approach.
Other people suggest dehydrating them and grinding them to a powder but again, I have not tried this.
If you are going to use your asparagus within a day or so simply wet a paper towel, so it is damp, not dripping, and wrap the woody end of the asparagus bunch. Put the asparagus in a zip lock bag and store in the crisper section 24-48 hours. To store longer, trim an inch off the stalks (easier to do if you leave the elastic band on your bunch) and then remove the rubber band and stand the asparagus in a vase or jar with and inch or 2 of water. This is similar to how it is stored in the supermarket, standing in water. But you are going to put a bag loosely over the top of the bunch and store it in you fridge. Use within 5-7 days and change water if it gets cloudy.
Asparagus has a tendency to go soggy, especially if it has been over cooked. Best to store leftovers in the fridge and use within 24 hours.