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Make this luscious Lemon Garlic Asparagus when the tender spears are at their peak (typically between February and June, depending on where you live). Cook your asparagus any way you like (4 options below), then make it irresistible with a generous drizzle of lemon garlic butter sauce.

Lemon Garlic Asparagus served with lemon slices on an oval ceramic platter photographed from above.

You have several options for cooking asparagus before drizzling with the bright, garlic-butter sauce. Every option delivers a different depth of flavor and texture and I recommend you try them all. No matter what you choose, this healthy side dish is quick and easy.

Ingredients You Need to Make Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Lemon Garlic Asparagus Ingredients on a white marble board
  • Asparagus: Look for firm, fresh bunch of asparagus with closed, pointed tips that are smooth and stand up straight. Avoid limp or wilted spears.
  • Butter: salted or unsalted butter
  • Olive Oil: ideally good, extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fresh Garlic: Look for a firm, fresh head of garlic with large cloves and smooth skin.
  • Lemon: Ideally organic as you’ll need both fresh lemon juice and zest. 
  • Parsley: Fresh, flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley) – dried parsley is not a good substitute in this dish.
  • Kosher Salt: and freshly ground black pepper if you like

So fresh and effortless to prepare, asparagus is the epitome of spring vegetables. Here they’re cooked until just tender and finished with a rich, brightly aromatic lemon garlic butter sauce. It’s just the right blend of light and decadent. Elegant on a platter, this simple side dish is weeknight easy, but worthy of your table for holiday meals and dinner parties.

Lemon Garlic Asparagus served with lemon slices on an oval ceramic platter

Serve With

You’ll find that this versatile vegetable dish goes with almost any main, but here are some suggestions.

Asparagus Cooking Options

Though I typically steam asparagus for this recipe, you can also roast, blanch or grill it. Swap any of these for step 1 of the recipe.

  1. To roast asparagus: Toss trimmed spears in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a 400˚F preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears and how tender you like them.
  2. To blanch asparagus: In a wide saucepan or skillet bring salted water to boil, you’ll want just enough to cover the asparagus. Add spears to boiling water and blanch for 2 to 4 minutes, until bright green and crisp tender.
  3. To grill asparagus: Toss trimmed spears in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, or to your desired level of tenderness. Turn asparagus with tongs half way through cooking time.

How to Make Lemon Garlic Asparagus

Step 1: Steam asparagus spears for 3-4 minutes, until tender crisp. Transfer to a serving platter.

steaming asparagus spears in a stainless steel pot

Step 2: Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil until it sizzles. Add minced garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over asparagus and serve.

Lemon Garlic Asparagus

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Total: 7 minutes
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Calories: 143
Servings: 4 people
Tender asparagus drizzled with a brightly flavored garlic butter sauce. Four options for cooking your asparagus perfectly every time.

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound asparagus washed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 large lemon juice and zest, plus more for garnish, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Bring one inch of salted water to boil in a large pot with a steamer insert. Once water is boiling, place asparagus spears in the steamer in a single layer. Cover pot and steam for 3-4 minutes, until tender crisp (The asparagus will continue to cook after you've removed it from the heat). With tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer asparagus to serving platter (blotting off moisture with a clean kitchen towel if necessary.)
  • Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until sizzling. Add minced garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest and juice, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle sauce over asparagus and serve garnished with lemon slices or lemon wedges if desired.

Notes

  • Here are a few more options for cooking asparagus. Use any of these to replace step 1 of the recipe.
    1. To roast asparagus: Toss trimmed spears in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Then arrange in a single layer on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Roast in a 400˚F for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the spears and how tender you like them.
    2. To blanch asparagus: In a wide saucepan or skillet bring salted water to boil, you’ll want just enough to cover the asparagus. Add spears to boiling water and blanch for 2 to 4 minutes, until bright green and crisp tender.
    3. To grill asparagus: Toss trimmed spears in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 5-8 minutes, or to your desired level of tenderness. Turn asparagus with tongs half way through cooking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 267mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1120IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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6 Comments

  1. Katherine | Love In My Oven says:

    5 stars
    This lemon garlic asparagus looks amazing, Marissa. We always enjoy asparagus as a side, especially to steak or a porkchop! I’ve got to try your method 🙂

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Perfect pairings, Katherine! I’m so excited for you to taste this!

  2. Ben | Havocinthekitchen says:

    5 stars
    Asparagus you can get around this time of the year is the best (And if it’s really young and delicate, I can even eat it raw!) Beautiful recipe, easy yet super aromatic. Just how I like asparagus most of times – a bit of butter (oil), garlic, lemon, and herbs. Perfection!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks so much, Ben! I can’t get enough asparagus this time of year – one of my favorite veggies.

  3. angiesrecipes says:

    Very tender, fresh and yummy with just a few ingredients…they are the best!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Agreed! Thank you, Angie.