Simply Grilled: How to Make Asparagus on the Grill
Kick off grilling season with these smoky spears of Grilled Asparagus! It’s an easy, healthy side dish with unlimited possibilities.
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As soon as the warmer spring weather arrives, you can count on me firing up our grill and cooking as much grilled asparagus as possible while it is in season.
Lightly charred outside, caramelized inside, and touched by that tantalizing sensation of easy living that only the grill can impart (Grilled Broccoli and Grilled Corn agree), this healthy method of cooking asparagus takes 10 minutes or less.
Why I Love Grilled Asparagus
Aside from being downright delicious, this simple grilled vegetable recipe has so much going for it.
Healthy. Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook asparagus and will add nutritional value to your standard cookout fare.
Easy. Season it simply with salt and pepper for a fast and simple side that can go with any of your weeknight meals.
Versatile. Take your asparagus game to the next level by jazzing it up with an array of complementary flavors, spices, and/or herbs.
Just like this Grilled Zucchini, grilled asparagus also pairs beautifully with Parmesan, lemon, and/or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. See below for more fantastic ways to season asparagus.
5 Star Review
“What a perfect spring side dish. The grilling process makes the asparagus so beautifully green and full of flavor.”
— Vicki —
How to Grill Asparagus
When you’re not making Air Fryer Asparagus, asparagus can be a little tricky to grill because those pesky stalks like to fall through the grates.
The tender tips (my favorite part!) are easy to burn.
Tips for the BEST Grilled Asparagus Ever
Use Thick Asparagus Stalks. While the flavor of thick and thin asparagus is the same, thicker asparagus spears are more tender than thinner spears. Thicker spears also don’t fall through the grates as easily, and they can stand up to high-temperature grilling more easily than thinner stalks. (I also prefer thicker spears for Roasted Asparagus.)
When In Doubt, Use Foil or a Grill Basket. If you only have thin stalks (sometimes my grocery store has only thin, depending upon the point in the season), I suggest cooking them in a grill basket like this or on grill-safe foil. This will prevent your lovely spears from falling to a sad, fiery doom. (You may want to use a grill basket for these Grilled Brussels Sprouts too.)
Dry Your Spears. Asparagus needs to be trimmed and washed before cooking (do not soak asparagus before cooking; a simple rinse will do it). Be sure to pat it dry to ensure it crisps and caramelizes. If it is too wet, it may steam.
Oil Up. Don’t be skimpy on the olive oil, as it is important to keep the tips from burning. Even with the oil, this simple grilled asparagus recipe is still healthy. It’s packed with fiber, folate, and vitamins. Plus, olive oil has health benefits of its own, such as antioxidants and beneficial fats.
Season. Season. Season. Even simple kosher salt and pepper will do wonders. See below for more seasoning suggestions and topping ideas.
Asparagus. A truly delicious and nutritious veggie to grill and enjoy alongside any grilling recipe! It’s easy to prepare, kid-friendly, and pairs well with a multitude of seasonings and toppings.
The easiest way to trim asparagus is to snap it with your hands. Hold the stem end in one hand and grip it near the base with the other. Briskly bend and the asparagus will naturally break in the right place.
You can also trim the ends with a sharp knife, but you may risk trimming away too much or not enough.
Olive Oil. Adds delicious flavor to the asparagus and helps keep it from burning.
Seasonings of Choice. See below for a myriad of ideas!
Snap off the woody end of the asparagus spears.
Toss with oil, salt, and pepper.
Lay the asparagus on the grill (perpendicular to the grates to get nice char marks).
Grill for 6 to 10 minutes over medium high heat until fork tender. Remove the spears to a platter, and add any desired toppings. ENJOY!
Ways to Season Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Asparagus with Garlic. Toss the asparagus with 3 cloves of minced garlic prior to grilling, or sprinkle with garlic powder when adding your salt and pepper.
Grilled Asparagus with Parmesanor Feta. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese over the top of your grilled asparagus.
Grilled Asparagus with Lemon. Juice lemon halves over the top.
Grilled Asparagus with Balsamic. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar over your grilled asparagus. (Be sure to check out my Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, which have a fantastic balsamic marinade.)
Grilled Asparagus with Bacon. Sprinkle bacon bits over the top (Air Fryer Bacon and Oven Baked Bacon are two of my favorite cooking methods). Be sure to check out this Bacon Wrapped Asparagus too.
Grilled Asparagus with Herbs. Finish your grilled asparagus with a handful of chopped parsley, basil, or dill.
Spicy Grilled Asparagus. Sprinkle the grilled asparagus with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Dressy Grilled Asparagus. Combine minced shallot, a squeeze of lemon juice, and oil. Spoon over the grilled asparagus.
Nutty Grilled Asparagus. Sprinkle your grilled asparagus with toasted almonds or pine nuts.
Choose Your Own. Try a combination of a few of these to create your own flavor explosion.
To Store. Refrigerate asparagus in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F.
To Freeze. Freeze asparagus in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note that asparagus that has been frozen will be more mushy.
Leftover asparagus makes a tasty addition to pasta dishes (like Mushroom Pasta), risotto (similar to this Creamy Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Quinoa), omelets, stir fries, or pizzas (hello, Spicy Turkey, Leek and Asparagus Pizza). It’s also scrumptious on this Scrambled Egg Toast with Asparagus.
What to Serve with Grilled Asparagus
While I’ve been known to snack on copious amounts of grilled asparagus as a healthy snack, it’s also one of my very favorite side dish recipes to serve alongside countless other mains.
Grilled Meats. Try a side of grilled asparagus with Grilled Chicken Thighs, Grilled Pork Chops, or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
Seafood. Enjoy with your favorite fresh catch of the day, like Grilled Salmon in Foil, Garlic Butter Shrimp, or Grilled Cod.
Salads. Let cool and cut into small pieces and enjoy added to this Steak Salad, Niçoise Salad, or Italian Chopped Salad.
Appetizers. I know it will be a good party when I see grilled asparagus on a platter beside some homemade Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Eggplant, and Feta Dip at an event.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
Tongs. The ultimate grill tool.
Grill Pan. Perfect for making this asparagus recipe.
Grill Basket. Keeps your asparagus from falling through the grates.
The Best Grill Pan
All the goodness of the grill in the ease of a pan. This long-lasting, heavy-duty pan will quickly become a favorite tool in your kitchen.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Grill Asparagus in Foil?
Yes! You can line your grill grates with grill-safe foil or make a foil packet, similar to these Cajun Shrimp Boil Foil Packets.
Should Asparagus be Soaked Before Grilling?
It’s up to you. Soaking asparagus is a great way to clean a large batch of asparagus with minimal effort. Soaking loosens any dirt clinging to the spears or hiding under their fins. If you have a small batch to prepare, however, you can skip soaking so long as you thoroughly rinse each spear before preparing as directed.
Is It Better to Blanche Asparagus Before Grilling?
While some recipes suggest blanching asparagus before grilling it, I don’t find it to be a necessary step if you properly season the spears before cooking and manage your heat well.
Is Asparagus Good For You?
Yes! Asparagus is low in calories and rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K! It’s also low in potassium and low in sodium. It can be used as a plant-based protein too!
What Temperature for Grilled Asparagus?
I grill mine on medium heat (about 375 degrees F to 400 degrees F). Take care to ensure the heat isn’t too high, you don’t want to burn the asparagus!
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Fast to make and spectacular in taste, with a myriad of ways to dress it up and keep it tasting new, grilled asparagus has become a twice-a-week favorite around here. I can’t wait for it to be a regular at your table too.
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How to cook the BEST grilled asparagus ever. Crispy outside and tender inside, it's a fast, easy, and healthy side with endless possibilities.
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 5minutes
Cook Time 8minutes
Total Time 15minutes
Author Erin Clarke / Well Plated
For The Grilled Asparagus:
1 1/2poundsthick asparagus*
1tablespoonextra virgin olive oil
1/2teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
For Topping (Optional):
Fresh lemon juice
Freshly grated Parmesan
Drizzle thick aged balsamic or balsamic glaze
Minced shallotsmix with lemon juice and a little olive oil
Chopped fresh herbssuch as parsley, basil, or mint
Preheat the grill to medium heat, 375 degrees F to 400 degrees F (if using a grill pan, preheat it along with the grill). Once the grates are hot, brush them very clean.
Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus by holding the stem end in one hand and gripping it near the base with the other. Briskly bend and the asparagus will naturally snap in the right place. Discard the stem ends.
Place the asparagus spears on a baking sheet or serving platter. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat the asparagus evenly.
To grill: with tongs, place the asparagus across the grill grates so that the spears are perpendicular to the grates (or place them in an even layer in the pan or grill basket).
Close the lid and grill for 6 to 10 minutes, turning the spears once or twice throughout so that they grill evenly.
Transfer to a platter (I use the same one I used to drizzle the asparagus). Add any desired toppings and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.
*INGREDIENT NOTE: For grilling, I recommend thick asparagus spears, as the thin ones can burn quickly and fall through the grates more easily. If you only have thin asparagus, check out my recipe for Roasted Asparagus or grill the asparagus on a cast iron grill pan or grill basket; watch carefully as the thin spears will cook very quickly.
TO STORE: Refrigerate asparagus in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. Asparagus can also be reheated in the microwave.
TO FREEZE: Freeze asparagus in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Note that asparagus that has been frozen will be more mushy.