Grilled Asparagus

4.86 from 14 votes
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Grilled asparagus makes charred spears with smoky flavor and lightly crisp edges. It’s simply seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Searing the vegetable on hot barbecue grates naturally enhances the sweet earthy flavor. Served with roasted lemon for a bright citrus taste.

Grilled Asparagus

One of the easiest ways to incorporate nutritious greens into your diet is to fire up the barbecue and make grilled asparagus. This fibrous vegetable is affordable, easy to prepare, and cooks quickly for a fast side dish. The long spears are ideal for tossing onto sizzling hot grates, which sears it in minutes. The succulent stems turn tender when exposed to high temperatures.

The contrast of the toasted smoky exterior and juicy centers is one of the best ways to enjoy this springtime vegetable. Similar cooking asparagus the other popular ways, seasonings are kept to a minimum with just high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt & pepper to naturally enhance the earthy notes while encouraging quick browning on the surface.

prepping asparagus on a sheet pan

How to grill asparagus

  • Trim the tough ends off of the asparagus.
  • Coat the spears with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Preheat the grill over medium-high heat.
  • Add the asparagus on the grill so it does not fall through the grates.
  • Add halved lemons to the grill.
  • Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Flip over and cook uncovered for 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Serve grilled asparagus with roasted lemon.

How to select the right sized asparagus

Make sure to select thicker asparagus spears from the market if available, about ½-inch wide stem. The super skinny spears cook very quickly and are not as sturdy, but can still be used. I recommend just searing one side covered for thinner asparagus, or using a grill pan might work better.

asparagus spears lined up on a barbecue grate

How to prepare asparagus for grilling

Trim off the bottom 1 to 2-inches of the tough part of the stalk that is lighter in color. You can do the quick “snap and break” test to see where the vegetable starts to become more tender to eat. Use this preparation method no matter how you decide to cook asparagus. Evenly coat with extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper.

How do you ensure proper grilling of the asparagus?

To nail the charred outside of the asparagus without becoming mushy, the key is to make sure the grill is preheated. A medium-high heat around 350 to 400ºF (177 to 204ºC) will ensure the characteristic brown lines, as long as you don’t move them.

Cover for the first few minutes to efficiently cook the interior, then flip over to get the last bits of sear on the other side. Make sure to reduce the cook times if using smaller sized spears.

char marks on grilled asparagus

Compliment with roasted lemons

The beauty of this dish is that lemons are a delicate built-in sauce to accompany the asparagus. The lemons roast and brown at the same time on the hot grill, mellowing out the tartness.

The warm citrus squeeze balances the smoky flavors straight off the barbecue. You can also serve it with hollandaise sauce, a herb mayonnaise for dipping, or toss with balsamic dressing.

plate of grilled asparagus with lemons

More grilling recipes

How to ensure beautiful char marks on the asparagus

Even before the asparagus hits the grill, make sure to thoroughly dry them with paper or kitchen towels after washing. Any excess moisture on the surface will cause it to steam instead of immediately searing.

Grilled Asparagus

Grilled asparagus makes charred spears with smoky flavor and lightly crisp edges. It’s seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and served with lemon.
4.86 from 14 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time7 minutes
Total Time17 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 pounds asparagus spears, select larger sized stems
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut in half

Instructions 

  • Cut off the tougher ends of the asparagus, about 1 to 2 inches.
  • Place on a sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Gently mix with hands to evenly distribute the seasonings.
  • Preheat grill over medium-high heat, about 350 to 400ºF (177 to 204ºC). Carefully grease the cooking grates using tongs and a paper towel dipped in oil.
  • Add the asparagus and lemon halves to the grill, cover and cook until light char marks appear, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip and cook uncovered until tender, about 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness.
  • Transfer grilled asparagus and lemon to a serving plate.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 42kcal (2%)Carbohydrates 5g (2%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 1g (2%)Sodium 75mg (3%)Potassium 247mg (7%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 855IU (17%)Vitamin C 13.5mg (16%)Calcium 31mg (3%)Iron 2.5mg (14%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Robert Hicks says

    After making and enjoying your original recipe, I recently tried it in a grill pan. For a twist in flavor, I substituted the lemon with Balsamic glaze and added a teaspoon of garlic powder to the seasoning-toss (to avoid burned fresh garlic). I lined the pan with foil for easy cleanup, and placed it on the covered grill — during preheating. This ensured a hot grilling surface. When ready for grilling, I grill-brushed the foil with a light coat of olive oil, and placed the prepared asparagus in the pan. At 4 minutes, I turned the spears, grilled for 2 minutes and brushed each one with a light coating of Balsamic glaze. After another minute, the spears were firm, but tender, nicely glazed and ready for the serving plate. My asparagus spears were medium, so grilling times may vary with doneness choice. Each serving was topped with freshly shredded Parmesan for added flavor. This method produced random charring, instead of traditional grill marks, but the grilling flavor wasn’t sacrificed. I do suggest adding the glaze at the last minute of grilling, to avoid burning.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Wow, the balsamic glaze sounds delicious on the asparagus! Thanks for sharing your experience using a grill pan, I’m sure others will find it helpful!