Learn how to blanch asparagus! It’s a foolproof method that yields the most vibrant and tender asparagus you’ve ever had. Ready in 10 minutes or less and a delicious side dish, mix-in for salads and risotto, or topping on a grain bowl.
Blanching is one of the easiest cooking methods you can learn. Just boil the veggies, chill them in an ice bath, then enjoy!
While you can blanch all kinds of vegetables, this guide teaches you how to blanch asparagus to bright green and tender-crisp perfection. It’s a foolproof way to cook asparagus that both beginners and pros can master!
Why you’ll love it
Forget everything you know about sad, limp, and over-cooked asparagus. Blanching is all about preserving the veggies’ bright green colors and tender-crisp texture in 10 minutes or less!
Best of all, you can serve blanched asparagus with everything. I love serving it as a simple spring or summer side dish with Smoked Burgers, using it as a topping on a bowl of Simple Risotto, or folding it into a warm salad, pasta, or grain bowl for extra nutrients. The options are endless!
What is blanching?
Blanching is a foolproof cooking method that requires you to quickly cook vegetables in salted boiling water before immediately transferring them to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. It’s the best method to turn to when you want vibrant-looking vegetables that aren’t over or undercooked.
Tips for buying asparagus
Look for fresh asparagus that’s in season (from February to June here in North America). The spears should be firm, crisp, and bright green with tightly closed tips. Both thin and thick spears work well for blanching.
How to blanch asparagus
Prepare your asparagus by trimming and discarding the woody ends. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice water and bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Once boiling, add the asparagus to the pot. Cook until just tender.
Drain the cooked asparagus, then transfer it to a bowl of ice water. Let it chill for 1 minute, then serve.
Tips and tricks
- Trim the asparagus on the end where the stock turns from white to green. The easiest way to do this is to line up the spears in a row and slice off the ends all at once.
- Salting the boiling water will always yield tastier asparagus!
- A shorter cook time (1 to 2 minutes) yields firmer, more tender asparagus while a longer cook time (3 to 4 minutes) yields softer asparagus.
- Remember to adjust the boiling time based on the thickness of the asparagus spears (thicker spears take longer to become al dente).
- A fork should be able to pierce through the asparagus but still feel some resistance after it’s done boiling. This is how you’ll know it’s cooked properly.
- After chilling, dry the asparagus on a paper towel-lined plate.
Your blanched asparagus is delicious on its own or you can jazz it up with toppings! I like to dress the plate of asparagus with:
- Olive Oil + Lemon Zest/Juice + Flaky Salt
- Shaved Parmesan
- Compound Butter
- Toasted Breadcrumbs
- Minced Garlic
- Crushed and Toasted Nuts
- Bacon Salt
- Crispy Prosciutto
- Any of These 15+ Sauces For Asparagus
Figuring out how to serve blanched asparagus is the hard part of this recipe. It’s great as a spring and summer side dish or added to grain bowls, pasta, and warm salads for bulk! Try it with any of these recipes when you want to put a well-balanced meal together:
- Spring Pea Risotto
- Shake and Bake Pork Chops
- Easy Roasted Chicken
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Lemon Risotto
- Slow Cooker Osso Buco
- Easy Lemon Pasta
- Cauliflower Chickpea Salad
- Broiled Lamb Chops
If you end up with leftover cooked asparagus, store it in an airtight container or ziplock bag in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze blanched asparagus for up to 3 months.
Reheat the asparagus in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave, keeping in mind that it will soften very quickly if cooked too long.
More ‘how-to’ guides
- How to Freeze Basil
- Quick Pickled Onions
- How to Cut Vegetable Sticks
- How to Saute Onions
- Crispy Fried Capers
- Easy Quick Pickled Cabbage
More vegetable side dishes
- Savory Delicata Squash
- Easy Roasted Sunchoke Recipe
- Easy Sauteed Spinach
- Smashed Brussels Sprouts
- Air Fryer Peppers
- Glazed Carrots
Did you make this blanched asparagus recipe?
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How to Blanch Asparagus
- Fill a large pot with 8 cups water and add the kosher salt.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once boiling, add the asparagus and cook until just tender, 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness.
- Prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Once the asparagus is tender, remove with tongs, or drain in a colander, and immediately transfer to the bowl of ice water for 1 minute to chill and to stop the cooking process.