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How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan

Sometimes the simple ways are the best way. Today I’m going to show you how to cook asparagus in a pan.

I like the crunchy texture of asparagus, and while it’s not my favorite vegetable, I know it’s really good for me. So, I’m always looking for different ways to cook it up and, of course, easy ways to make the veggie.

Once you know how to cook fresh asparagus in a pan, you have one of the simplest ways to make this vegetable. Asparagus makes a good partner with mashed potatoes, grilled chicken, baked fish, and much more. I like to throw it into a vegetable medley as well, but to make the asparagus extra special, it’s not a bad idea to cook it up separately in a pan.

How to Cook Asparagus in a Frying Pan

Let me share this really simple method with you for how to cook asparagus in the pan the healthy and fast way. Start by putting it in a skillet on the stove top and turn down the heat to medium hot. I put a quarter cup of butter in there and allow it to melt. Once the butter melts, I add in quarter teaspoon of black pepper, and then put a teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of olive oil in.

From there, I add in 3 minced garlic cloves and allow them to cook for about a minute. I don’t want them to brown just yet. Then, I add in half a pound of fresh asparagus spears that have been trimmed. I slice off the bottom end to make sure they are washed and clean before I throw them into my pan.

How long to cook asparagus in a pan? Take about 10 minutes to cook them on medium high heat. You don’t need to adjust the heat for this cooking method, but you do need to turn the asparagus over to ensure that they cook all the way through. You can turn them over once about halfway through or turn them a few times throughout the cooking process.

Once they’re done cooking, you may want to add a little more salt for seasoning and then serve them hot and fresh.

How to Cook Asparagus in a Pan with Water

Now, let’s look at another way to cook asparagus. This time, I’m leaving off the oil entirely and cooking them in a pan with water. You may have seen this method in a “how to cook asparagus in pan” YouTube video when you searched for healthy ways to make asparagus. That’s really why you’d want to cook your asparagus in water, leaving off the oil. You definitely get less cholesterol and you’re essentially boiling the asparagus. This hydrates them and makes them tender and juicy.

Like the pan-fried method, this takes about 10 minutes, so I still consider it a very quick and easy way to cook asparagus. You probably want to trim off the bottom end of the asparagus, which is the part opposite the pointy spear tip. Make sure you wash your asparagus as well, as there could be some dirt or other debris on it, and even bugs.

If you are cooking the asparagus with water in a pan, you’ll want to cover your pan for faster boiling. If you don’t do that, the steam will escape and your asparagus may dry out or may not cook as quickly. Make sure you’re using a pan that has a cover that can seal the pan tightly.

You want to add enough water to the pan to cover the asparagus. You can salt the water if you want or you can wait to salt the asparagus and when it comes out of the water.

So, put your asparagus spears into the pan in a flat and even layer. Make sure there is no asparagus overlapping one another. Pour in enough water to cover the asparagus completely and then cover the pan with a lid. Turn the heat on medium high and cook for 10 minutes. You do not need to turn over the asparagus at all during this cooking time, as the water helps it to cook evenly and prevents it from burning on the bottom.

How to Cook White Asparagus in a Pan

There’s another kind of asparagus called white asparagus that isn’t very common. You’ll cook this a little bit differently, and you should know it tends to be thicker than the regular green asparagus you are used to. This can be cooked a few different ways as well, including steamed, boiled, or pan fried. I’m going to share with you the pan frying method.

First clean and wash this asparagus and peel off the outer layer. White asparagus needs to be peeled to about 2 to 4 centimeters from the upper tip. You can break off the end by hand easily or use a knife.

For one bunch of asparagus, you’ll need about a teaspoon and a half of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Cook those up on low heat in a pan and then put your asparagus in there. Make sure to put it in a flat, single layer with no overlap. Roast it in the pan for about three minutes on one side and then you can flip it over.

Cook the asparagus for a few more minutes, and you should add about half a glass of water to it as well while it cooks on the second side. Also cover your pan for the second half of the cooking process. You want to keep cooking until this asparagus becomes tender and you can poke it with a fork without much resistance. How long it takes to cook will depend on how thick your asparagus is.

Closing Thoughts

There are a number of different ways you can cook asparagus, and what I’ve shared with you are mostly very simple methods. You can add to these and modify them as you like, and I really just wanted to give you some basic methods for cooking asparagus on the stove top in a pan.

You can use the same method for how to cook bacon wrapped asparagus in a pan that I shared with you in the first section’s directions in this article. Cooking the bacon and asparagus in a little oil or butter allows it to fry nicely and get a great texture. Just be careful you don’t have your heat up too high so that the bacon does not burn. Depending on the bacon you’re using, you may want to cook on a low heat and kind of slow cook your asparagus and bacon in the pan. Just to be on the safe side, some people will cook the bacon and asparagus separately and then wrap the bacon around the asparagus to cook them together for a minute or two.

You can also use the same methods for how to cook asparagus in a pan with balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gives it a very different flavor and makes it more acidic. You could use the vinegar in place of oil, butter, and water and simply follow the direction from the beginning of the article.

Written by Pauline

I'm Pauline, a mother of four grown children, my passion for cooking stemmed from the joy i get cooking for my family. I love to try new dishes, especially when dining out but creating and sharing my own recipes is my favourite thing to do!

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