Home Articles How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave (Easy Method)

How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave (Easy Method)

To steam asparagus in the microwave, first, rinse the asparagus and trim the ends. Place the asparagus in a microwave-safe dish and add a small amount of water. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or plastic wrap, leaving a small vent.

Microwave it on high for 2-4 minutes until the asparagus is tender-crisp.
Carefully remove the dish from the microwave and let it stand for a minute before serving.

Microwave Steamed Asparagus on a Plate

Steaming asparagus in the microwave yields tender and nutritious results every time. 

Learn all the best tips and tricks for getting it just right. You won’t be disappointed.  

Microwave Asparagus

Microwave asparagus is a game-changer in the kitchen. It’s cooked to perfection in mere minutes. There’s no need for pots, pans, or a stove, just your trusty microwave.

It’s a quick and easy way to prepare asparagus that requires only two things: asparagus and water.

asparagus and lemon


Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Asparagus. This recipe uses fresh asparagus, not asparagus from a can. Get it straight from your garden or the produce section of your local grocery store. 
  • Water. Just enough to ensure the asparagus cooks properly. 
  • Butter. Add unsalted butter to my asparagus after it cooks. It gives it the best, richest flavor. You can substitute olive oil if you prefer. 
  • Salt. A little salt adds a dash of flavor to the asparagus. You can also add pepper, garlic, and other seasonings that you enjoy. I sometimes use a bit of cayenne, as well. 
  • Lemon zest. This is totally optional, but it gives the veggies a bright burst of flavor. 

How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave 

1. Prepare the asparagus. Clean it of any dirt or debris. Then, break each stalk in half. Trim the ends and peel the bottoms to make them look neat. You can also cut the asparagus rather than break them. 

Next, arrange the spears neatly on a microwave-safe dish. Be sure you place them in a single layer, or they won’t cook properly. 

2. Add water and cover the dish. Pour water into the dish. Then, you can wrap the dish in plastic wrap or cover it with a microwave-safe plate or lid. 

If you use plastic wrap, leave a small vent in the top. 

3. Microwave the asparagus. My microwave only requires about 2 minutes at first. Yours might need more or less time than that. After you microwave the spears, take the dish out of the microwave. 

Flip each stalk using a kitchen utensil. (They’ll be hot!) Then, microwave them again for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. (Or as many minutes as your microwave requires.) 

4. Finish and serve. Carefully remove the dish from the microwave and discard the water. Transfer the stalks to a medium-sized bowl and top them with butter and salt. 

Toss or mix well to thoroughly coat every stalk. Then, sprinkle the asparagus with lemon zest and enjoy! 

Fresh Steamed Asparagus With Lemon Slices and Seasoning

How Long to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave

The total time for my microwave is about 3 to 4 minutes. However, there are a few factors to consider when determining the perfect cook time.

  • Your microwave’s wattage/power level
  • How thick your stalks are
  • Whether you like your asparagus still crunchy or tender

Thinner asparagus stalks will take less time to cook. The crunchier you like the stalks, the less time they’ll take, as well. Experiment on the first couple of tries. 

Tips for the Best Microwave Asparagus

Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 

  • The fresher the asparagus, the better. If you start with old, stale, or slimy asparagus, steaming it won’t help. Always pick fresh, crisp asparagus. 
  • Shorter is better. In terms of cooking times, shorter is better. Start with a low cooking time (2 minutes) instead of jumping straight to the higher end. You can always add a few more seconds if the asparagus isn’t fully cooked. But if you overcook it, there’s nothing you can do. 
  • Select thin to medium stalks. Thick stalks take too long to cook. Whenever possible, use thinner asparagus. 
  • Don’t use plastic. Steaming asparagus in plastic isn’t a good idea. Always use microwave-safe glass dishes. 
Salmon Steak Served With Microwave Steamed Asparagus

Ways to Serve Steamed Asparagus 

There are plenty of ways to serve steamed asparagus. Here are a few of my favorites: 

  • By itself and smothered in cheese and garlic
  • As a side dish for steak, fish, and other proteins
  • On top of risotto or pasta
  • As an appetizer served with dip
  • In salads

How to Store & Reheat 

To store steamed asparagus, transfer it to an air-tight container. Then, pop it in the fridge for up to 4 days. When you want to reheat it, do so in the microwave in 30-second intervals. 

I don’t recommend freezing it. The texture won’t be pleasant after it thaws. 

How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave (Easy Method)

Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 pound fresh asparagus (approximately 15-20 spears)

  • 3 tablespoonss water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

  • (optional) zest of 1 lemon for garnish


  • Rinse the asparagus. Then, gently bend the bottom half of each spear until it breaks.
  • Trim the ends of each piece and peel the bottom halves to neaten them.
  • You can also bend one stalk until it breaks. Then line the rest of the spears on a chopping board and cut the ends off in line with the break.
  • Arrange the spears in a single layer in a microwave-safe dish. Don’t stack them, or they won’t cook evenly.
  • Pour the water into the dish. Then, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or a microwave-safe plate. If you’re using plastic wrap, secure it around the edges, but leave a small vent to let the steam escape.
  • Microwave it on high for 2 minutes*. Remove the dish, and flip the spears using a fork or kitchen tongs.
  • Microwave it again for 1 to 2 minutes*. Then, remove the dish and discard the water.
  • Transfer the asparagus to a medium bowl. Add the butter (or olive oil) and salt. Toss to coat evenly.
  • To serve, sprinkle with optional lemon zest, and enjoy.


  • Exact cooking times will vary depending on the power of the microwave and how tender you like asparagus.
How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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