Grilled asparagus is something special that is the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Sweet and tender with a bit charred on the edges, all ready in about 15 minutes.
Grill season is here, and the grill adds something very special to almost any food but especially to vegetables. Asparagus seems to take to the grill be better than almost any other vegetable.
The special thing about this recipe is that it's really so easy—some fresh asparagus, oil, salt, and pepper, then add in a touch of garlic. Grill on a medium grill until lightly charred—vegetable heaven.
A lower five since it is just a veggie but about as good as a veggie can get.
Pick the Best Asparagus for Grilling
The best asparagus for grilling should be medium thickness. Not the real thin shafts you sometimes see. You can use thicker and use a peeler to thin down the end.
Look for vibrant color, dark green with a tinge of some violet on the top is best.
I then look at the cut ends to be sure it is not drying and the stems are firm and not limp. Lastly, squeeze the bunch, and it should squeak a bit.
🔪How to Trim Asparagus
Should you snap or cut asparagus? The debate rages.
Many suggest that snapping off the asparagus base will magically break at the correct point. The idea was that this natural breaking point is where the tough base meets the tender asparagus.
Well, not so much, it turns out. According to Cooks Illustrated, you are throwing out lots of your tasty asparagus. Just cut off a bit of the end will not waste as much since the snap method really is not accurate on where it breaks.
If your asparagus is thick and woody, use a vegetable peeler on the woody end to thin it down some.
All you really need is a nicely oiled grill pan of some type over medium grill heat. Coat with a little oil, salt, and pepper. And at our home, garlic is required.
There are lots of different grilling instructions for asparagus out there. Here are some of the things I have seen.
- Grilling directly on the grates - OK but I will drop some through the grate.
- Stringing them on skewers. I will stick myself. And it just complicates things.
- "Grilling" in sealed foil. - Ok just steam them instead.
- Last for a good laugh, steaming for a few minutes before grilling. Talk about fussy.
♨️The Grill Pan
There are so many variations you can use. They all work, but things like thin grates and wire baskets will not interfere with heat transfer much to go on cold with the asparagus.
A thicker griddle or pan should get preheated before cooking. When in doubt, preheat the pan.
Olive oil is fine on the asparagus, and it adds some flavor. But oil on the pan/griddles/baskets and grates need to have higher smoke points.
📖Grill Side Dishes
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
ALL IMAGES AND DISCUSSION ARE FOR ½ POUND. Double if you want to do a full pound.
Preheat grill to 450° surface temperature, which is the preferred temperature more most chicken and pork recipes. Preheat the grill pan also if thicker.
Wash and trim asparagus. I like to cut off ½ inch of the bottom of the asparagus shaft.
Mix olive oil with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Pour the oil mixture on the cleaned asparagus and coat well. Clean hands work well here.
Add a light coat of a higher temperature oil to your grill pan. Spread evenly over a grill pan.
In three minutes, flip asparagus and grill until getting brown spots. Usually another three minutes for me. Total cooking time can vary from 5-10 minutes in total. Variables are your exact grill temperature, the grill pan, the thickness of the asparagus, and finally, your taste.
Serve immediately. I like a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to add even more taste.
- ½ lb asparagus - perfect for two
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder-optional - or crushed - about 2 cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- Optional cheese topping - Parmesan, feta or blue cheese
- Preheat grill to 450° surface temperature, which is the preferred temperature more most chicken and pork recipes. Preheat the grill pan also if thicker.
- Wash and trim asparagus. I like to cut off ½ inch of the bottom of the asparagus shaft.
- Mix olive oil with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Pour the oil mixture on the cleaned asparagus and coat well. Clean hands work well here.
- Add a light coat of a higher temperature oil to your grill pan. Spread evenly over a grill pan.
- In three minutes, flip asparagus and grill until getting brown spots. Usually another three minutes for me. Total cooking time can vary from 5-10 minutes in total. Variables are your exact grill temperature, the grill pan, the thickness of the asparagus, and finally, your taste.
- Serve immediately. I like a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to add even more taste.
My Private Notes
- This recipe is written in "for two" amount. Just double all ingredients for the usual one-pound bunch. You can use the serving adjustment and change it from 2 to 4 servings.
- Use medium thickness asparagus.
- The grill pan can significantly affect this recipe. A thin or wire pan or grate can go on with the asparagus. A thicker pan should be preheated.
- The olive oil coating will usually not smoke, but oil on the pan needs a higher smoke point. I like to use "grill" grade PAM.
- I prefer to cut the base off the asparagus spears but snap if you wish.
- Cooking time will vary by exact grill temperature, the grill pan, and your taste.
- You can cook at a higher temperature if it matches your needs, but it will cook much faster.
- A sprinkle of cheese after coming off the grill just before severing will make it special.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published March 28, 2010. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.