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Exactly How To Reheat Asparagus [I Try 5 Methods]

Have you recently cooked up a big batch of asparagus? If you’ve cooked more asparagus than you can eat in one sitting, you may be wondering if you can keep it and reheat it later.

Well, the good news is that you can. But not all reheating methods are equal.

I have experimented with five different reheating techniques to find the one that delivers the best crunch and freshest taste.

These methods include:

I also give some tips on storing your asparagus (crucial) and how to freeze it to last you through asparagus-off-season.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

A note on my experiment 

Asparagus is possibly my favorite vegetable, but there’s one problem. It’s notoriously hard to reheat without it going mushy!

I decided to find out the best method for reheating asparagus once and for all by testing them all. I tested:

  • The oven (with and without foil)
  • Frying
  • The microwave
  • The air fryer
  • Steaming

My aim was to find the method that kept the crunchy texture of the asparagus and didn’t turn it to mush.

I’ve gone through each method in detail below, but the best were the oven and the microwave. Frying and the air fryer were good too.

The only one I would avoid is steaming.

The most important thing about reheating asparagus is to make sure you don’t overcook it in the first place. Slightly undercooking it is preferable. This will go a long way to making sure it reheats well.

Reheating asparagus in the oven

To reheat asparagus in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (180°C). Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking tray and season. Cover the asparagus with foil if you want a just-steamed effect, or skip the foil if you want a roasted effect. Reheat the asparagus for 3-5 minutes.

The oven is a good option for reheating asparagus. It’s a gentle method, so it’s easy to ensure you don’t overheat the asparagus and render it soggy.

How to reheat asparagus in the oven:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Arrange the asparagus on a baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle with a seasoning of your choice.
  3. Cover loosely with foil (optional).
  4. Heat the asparagus for 3-5 minutes.

Foil vs no foil

I tested reheating the asparagus both with and without foil. Adding foil effectively steams the asparagus instead of roasting it since the foil traps moisture.

The texture of the asparagus was very similar, except the spears with foil were slightly wetter. 

Where there was a significant difference was in the taste.

The asparagus without the foil had the signature ‘roasted’ taste, while the asparagus with the foil tasted more green and fresh. It’s up to you which flavor you prefer.

Verdict

A quick and easy way to reheat asparagus and keep it crunchy.

Reheating asparagus in the microwave

To reheat asparagus in the microwave, lay the spears out on a microwave-safe plate, keeping them in a single layer. Cover the asparagus with a damp paper towel and microwave them on high heat for 20-30 seconds.

The microwave is the most convenient way to reheat asparagus, but you need to make sure you don’t overdo it.

If you microwave the asparagus for too long, they’ll get soggy. For one serving of asparagus, 20-30 seconds is plenty.

How to reheat asparagus in the microwave:

  1. Lay the asparagus out on a microwave-safe plate in a single layer.
  2. Cover the asparagus with a damp paper towel.
  3. Microwave on high for 20-30 seconds.

I would start off heating the asparagus for 10 seconds and check after every subsequent 10-second interval. This way, you can take the asparagus out as soon as it is warm enough and you won’t overcook it.

The wet paper towel creates steam which keeps the asparagus from drying out.

Verdict

After 20 seconds, the asparagus came out piping hot and still had a bit of crunch. I left a few spears in for longer to see what happened, and after another 20 seconds, they became overcooked and mushy. 

Short time intervals are the way to go with the microwave.

Reheating asparagus in a skillet

To reheat asparagus in a skillet, heat a few drops of oil or some butter in the pan and then add the asparagus spears. Don’t overcrowd the pan. The asparagus should be in a single layer. Fry the spears for 2-3 minutes or until they are hot to the touch. Season and serve.

Frying the asparagus to reheat them is a good way of adding depth of flavor to the spears because of the addition of butter or oil. You can also fry some garlic or chili along with the asparagus to add a different flavor note.

How to reheat asparagus in a skillet:

  1. Heat a small amount of oil or butter in a pan.
  2. Add the asparagus and heat it for 2-3 minutes, continually rotating the spears so they heat evenly on all sides.
  3. Serve immediately.

Try to make sure the pan isn’t overcrowded. There should only be one layer of asparagus in the pan. If you start layering the asparagus, you’ll steam it instead of frying it. The spears also won’t heat evenly.

Verdict

Sauteeing is a good way of reheating asparagus and add some extra flavor to it.

The only downside is having an oily pan to wash up!

Reheating asparagus in the air fryer

To reheat asparagus in the air fryer, preheat it to 350°F (180°C) and then arrange the asparagus in a single layer in the basket. Lightly spritz the asparagus with oil and then heat it for 1-2 minutes. Check on the asparagus after a minute because it doesn’t take long to heat up in the air fryer.

The air fryer is quite a harsh cooking method which is why the asparagus needs so little time to reheat. If you leave it in the air fryer for too long, you risk it overcooking and becoming mushy.

How to reheat asparagus in the air fryer:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (180°C).
  2. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  3. Lightly spritz the asparagus with oil (optional).
  4. Heat the asparagus for 1-2 minutes.

If the asparagus was previously roasted or sauteed, then it will have residual oil so you don’t need to add more.

But if you steamed or boiled the asparagus, then there won’t be any residual oil. Adding oil in this situation is still optional, but it can help any seasoning stick. 

Verdict

The asparagus was nice out of the air fryer and still had some bite to it.

Reheating asparagus in a steamer (avoid)

To reheat asparagus in a steamer, set the steamer up and arrange the asparagus in a single layer in the steamer basket. Cover the asparagus and steam it for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through.

Steaming is a good way to cook asparagus, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a reheating method. It cooks the asparagus too quickly and turns it mushy.

How to reheat asparagus in a steamer:

  1. Set up your steamer.
  2. Place the asparagus in a single layer in the steamer basket.
  3. Steam the asparagus for 1-2 minutes or until warm.

Verdict

This was the only method that produced soggy asparagus. The transition from slightly warm to hot but limp and soggy was speedy! There was no crunch left to the asparagus because it had absorbed too much moisture.

Tips for keeping your meal-prep asparagus crunchy 

Are you tired of mushy asparagus in your lunch? Or do you have a dinner party coming up and are trying to minimize kitchen time?

Here are some tips for keeping your asparagus fresh and crunchy.

Don’t cook your asparagus in advance 

Asparagus cooks so quickly, there’s rarely any need to prepare it in advance.

Even for meal prep.

Did you know you can cook asparagus in a few minutes in the microwave? Yes, you heard that right!

If you can spare 5 minutes to prepare your asparagus, then the best thing to do is to keep your asparagus raw and cook it when you need it. Keep in mind that the thinner the asparagus, the quicker it will cook.

The most convenient way to cook your asparagus quickly is to steam it in the microwave.

To cook asparagus in the microwave:

  1. Trim the woody stems off the asparagus.
  2. Wet some paper towels and lay them down on a microwave-safe plate.
  3. Lay the asparagus in a single layer on top of the paper towels and sprinkle on any seasoning you want (lemon and salt is my go-to).
  4. Roll the paper towel up so to create a spiral effect.
  5. Microwave the asparagus bundle on high for 3 minutes before checking for doneness. Add another minute if needed.

The wet paper towels steam the asparagus. The resulting asparagus is nice and tender but not limp, it will still have a crunch to it. Each microwave is different, as is each asparagus spear, so experiment with the timings until you get it just right for you.

Three minutes is just a guideline.

If you’re at home, then you can cook the asparagus however you want. My favorite method is under the broiler, which only takes 5 minutes.

Use the right cooking method & undercook the asparagus

If you need to cook the asparagus in advance, you can keep it crunchy by picking a suitable cooking method and purposely undercooking the asparagus.

The reheating process will finish off the cooking. If you try to reheat already fully cooked asparagus, you risk overcooking it and turning it mushy.

Pretty much anything goes apart from boiling. Avoid boiling because it’s most likely to result in mushy asparagus. 

Roasted, sauteed, or broiled asparagus all tend to reheat well as long as you cooked the spears slightly al dente to begin with. Remember that the asparagus will continue to cook once you take them off the heat, so take them off a couple of minutes before you think they’re done.

Blanching (quick boiling) and quick steaming work well too because you can easily undercook the asparagus. To stop the cooking process, immediately plunge the asparagus in some ice water when you take it off the heat.

When you reheat the asparagus, it will cook slightly and end up perfectly done rather than overdone and mushy.

How to store asparagus

Tips on how to store asparagus. It’s more complicated than you think!

Storing raw asparagus

The best way to store raw asparagus is to cut the woody stems off and then store the tips as you would a bunch of flowers, upright and submerged in a few inches of water. Put the asparagus cut end down in a glass with water in the bottom. Then put a plastic bag over the exposed tips to protect them.

This might seem strange, but it’s a proven method to ensure your asparagus lasts as long as possible. The asparagus tips will last 5-7 days submerged in water.

The asparagus will absorb the water, so the spears stay nice and moist rather than becoming dry and limp.

If your bunch of asparagus came with a rubber band, use this to keep them together in the jar. If not, use a container with a small opening at the top so the asparagus doesn’t spread out too much.

Replace the water if you notice it becoming cloudy. 

What if I don’t have space in the fridge?

If you don’t have space to keep the asparagus upright, an alternative is to wrap the root end of the stalks in wet paper towels then place them in an open airtight container or plastic bag.

Storing cooked asparagus

To store cooked asparagus, wait for it to cool to room temperature, then put the asparagus in an airtight container in the fridge. The asparagus will last for 4-5 days. If you know in advance that you want to store the asparagus, slightly undercook the spears to ensure they stay crispy after reheating.

The best way to cook asparagus you want to store is to quickly blanch or steam it. Only cook the asparagus for 1-2 minutes so it’s just turning tender. The reheating process will finish cooking it.

Sauteed or roasted asparagus also holds up well after storage as long as the spears are still al dente.

Avoid boiling the asparagus as this encourages mushiness.

How to freeze asparagus 

Asparagus season is short but sweet. I like to buy a load of asparagus in peak season and then freeze it to use throughout the year.

However, it’s important to know that your asparagus will not be the same after freezing. The spears will lose their crispiness and will only be suitable for dishes like curries or stews where you want tender asparagus. 

I also never freeze cooked asparagus. It comes out way too mushy. 

Always pick the freshest asparagus possible for freezing. This will give it the best chance of surviving. Also, thicker asparagus stands up better to freezing than thin stalks. Go for stalks at least as thick as a pencil.

Freezing raw asparagus

You can freeze raw asparagus, but you need to blanch it first. Prepare the asparagus by cutting the woody stems off, then cook it for 2-3 minutes in boiling water before immediately submerging the asparagus in ice water. Dry the asparagus and freeze it in heavy-duty freezer bags.

The asparagus will last up to 6 months in the freezer before the quality starts to deteriorate.

Can I freeze asparagus without blanching it?

No, blanching is essential if you want the asparagus to survive in the freezer. Blanching stops enzymatic activity that would otherwise lead to loss of color, texture, and flavor. If you don’t blanch the asparagus, it will turn out mush and bland when you thaw it.

Blanching doesn’t mean cooking. Keep the asparagus in hot water for as little time as possible. Thinner stems will only need one minute, while the thickest stems will need 3-4 minutes. 

Top tip: you can also steam the asparagus to blanch it. Steam thin stems for 2-3 minutes and thick ones for 4-5 minutes.

The ice water immediately stops the cooking process, so there’s no chance of over-blanching (and accidentally cooking) the asparagus. Keep the asparagus in the ice water for at least as long as it was in the boiling water. 

When the asparagus is cool, dry it thoroughly. Any water left on the stems will turn to frost in the freezer and increase the chances of freezer burn.

You then have two options:

  1. Flash freeze the asparagus by laying it out on a baking tray and freezing it for an hour, before transferring it to a freezer bag.
  2. Put the asparagus straight in a freezer bag.

Flash freezing stops the asparagus from sticking together. You’ll be able to stick your hand in the freezer bag and only take out what you need. But if you don’t mind the asparagus freezing in one big block, there’s no need to flash freeze.

When you put the asparagus in the freezer bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible before putting it in the freezer. The less air in the bag, the less chance there is of the asparagus developing freezer burn.

I always use a straw to suck the air out. Works a treat!

Do I need to thaw the asparagus?

There’s no need to thaw the asparagus before you cook it. You can just chuck it in whatever dish you’re cooking frozen. It will thaw very quickly. Frozen asparagus works best in dishes such as risottos, soups, and pasta sauces where you want a tender texture.

The asparagus won’t be crispy enough to serve on its own or in a salad.

Freezing cooked asparagus

I don’t recommend freezing cooked asparagus. Upon thawing, the asparagus will turn to mush and won’t be good for anything except making soup. If you really want to freeze it, wait until the asparagus is cooled to room temperature, then freeze it in a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out.

The cooked asparagus will last up to 6 months in the freezer before it starts to lose its flavor. The texture will be ruined immediately.

The BEST Way To Reheat Asparagus

Have you recently cooked up a big batch of asparagus? If you’ve cooked more asparagus than you can eat in one sitting, you may be wondering if you can keep it and reheat it later.
Well, the good news is that you can. But not all reheating methods are equal.
I have experimented with five different reheating techniques to find the one that delivers the best crunch and freshest taste.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine All
Servings 1 person
Calories 20 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 portion asparagus
  • 1 sprinkle seasoning of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Arrange the asparagus on a baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle with a seasoning of your choice.
  • Cover loosely with foil (optional).
  • Heat the asparagus for 3-5 minutes.

Notes

Foil vs no foil
I tested reheating the asparagus both with and without foil. Adding foil effectively steams the asparagus instead of roasting it since the foil traps moisture.
The texture of the asparagus was very similar, except the spears with foil were slightly wetter.
Where there was a significant difference was in the taste.
The asparagus without the foil had the signature ‘roasted’ taste, while the asparagus with the foil tasted more green and fresh. It’s up to you which flavor you prefer.

Nutrition

Serving: 100gCalories: 20kcal
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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