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cooking asparagus in microwave

Cooking Asparagus in microwave

Cooking Asparagus in microwave

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Cooking Asparagus in microwave
Cooking Asparagus in microwave


Microwave oven

microwave oven (commonly referred to as a microwave) is an electric oven that heats and cooks food by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This induces polar molecules in the food to rotate and produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. Microwave ovens heat foods quickly and efficiently because excitation is fairly uniform in the outer 25–38 mm (1–1.5 inches) of a homogeneous, high water content food item.

The development of the cavity magnetron in the UK made possible the production of electromagnetic waves of a small enough wavelength (microwaves). American engineer Percy Spencer is generally credited with inventing the modern microwave oven after World War II from radar technology developed during the war. Named the “Radarange”, it was first sold in 1946.

Raytheon later licensed its patents for a home-use microwave oven that was introduced by Tappan in 1955, but it was still too large and expensive for general home use. Sharp Corporation introduced the first microwave oven with a turntable between 1964 and 1966. The countertop microwave oven was introduced in 1967 by the Amana Corporation. After microwave ovens became affordable for residential use in the late 1970s, their use spread into commercial and residential kitchens around the world. In addition to cooking food, microwave ovens are used for heating in many industrial processes.

Microwave ovens are a common kitchen appliance and are popular for reheating previously cooked foods and cooking a variety of foods. They rapidly heat foods which can easily burn or turn lumpy if cooked in conventional pans, such as hot butter, fats, chocolate or porridge. Microwave ovens usually do not directly brown or caramelize food, since they rarely attain the necessary temperature to produce Maillard reactions. Exceptions occur in cases where the oven is used to heat frying-oil and other oily items (such as bacon), which attain far higher temperatures than that of boiling water.

Microwave ovens have a limited role in professional cooking, because the boiling-range temperatures of a microwave oven will not produce the flavorful chemical reactions that frying, browning, or baking at a higher temperature will. However, such high heat sources can be added to microwave ovens in the form of a convection microwave oven.

Simple Microwaved Asparagus

I know, I’m about to blow your mind. If you’re wondering about the best way to cook asparagus, you’ve come to the right spot. I felt a bit silly writing this recipe, but asked my friends and realized a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to cook asparagus in a microwave. This takes all of 2 minutes to prepare and ~3 minutes to cook the asparagus.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Literally takes 5 minutes or so: Not going to lie, there are few recipes that are easier than this one. Minimal prep, minimal stress!
  • Asparagus is awesome: It’s low in calories, great tasting, and packed full of nutrients!


  • 8fresh asparagus spears
  • (salt and pepper or other seasonings as desired)

Step-by-step instructions

Prepare the asparagus

Start by washing the asparagus thoroughly to get rid of any dirt. Then, slowly bend the asparagus close to the white, woody part and it’ll naturally break off. If you’re in a rush, you can line them all up and cut them where the woody parts end.

Pro tip: When you wash asparagus, loosely shake them to drop excess water but don’t dry them. The water typically helps with cooking them in the microwave!


Cooking Asparagus in microwave
Cooking Asparagus in microwave


Cook the asparagus in the microwave

Find a microwaveable container or bowl. Your asparagus might not fit in, so if that’s the case, I recommend chopping them in halves. Then, add the asparagus to the bowl with a tablespoon of water. Make sure to lay all of the asparagus flat so the stalks cook evenly, and avoid crowding or placing them on top of each other.

Cover with a lid or a larger plate, and microwave for 3 minutes. Make sure to use oven mitts to remove the asparagus since it’ll be super hot. And be careful as you slide off the plate or the lid, since there will be tons of steam inside!

Season and serve!

Once the asparagus is cooked, I like tossing it with a teaspoon of olive oil and seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic powder. I finish up with a quick squeeze of fresh lemon juice!

How long does it take to cook asparagus in the microwave?

Super thin stalks (say like a pencil) take 3 minutes. Most asparagus tends to be half an inch thick, and in this case, I recommend microwaving for about 4 minutes on high heat for asparagus that is al dente, with a bit of snap. For softer asparagus, microwave on high heat for 5 minutes, and then continue to heat in 1 minute intervals thereafter till it reaches your desired softness. For thicker stalks, I suggest microwaving for 5 minutes and then heating in one minute intervals.

How can you eat microwave asparagus?

Honestly, how you normally eat it! I like eating them as a side the way it’s prepared in this recipe. You can also add to pasta, serve as a crudité, or as a side to any dish!

Is it better to boil or steam asparagus?

Boiling the asparagus tends to make it mushy sometimes, so I prefer steaming it instead of boiling it!

How To Steam Asparagus in the Microwave

Despite all the ways we love to prepare fresh spring asparagus, microwave steaming might be the very best. You’ve got to trust me here, because microwave steaming eliminates the need to boil water, takes just a few minutes, and makes perfectly tender asparagus spears without turning on the oven.

Let me alleviate any further doubts on this method by noting that I learned this asparagus steaming trick from Alton Brown — so now you’ve got to try it, right?

Microwave Asparagus Is Fast Feasting

Let’s say you bring home a bunch of asparagus from the market and you really want to enjoy their sweet, grassy flavor and snappy texture right this moment. Microwave-steamed asparagus is the fastest route from farmers market to feasting.

The Best Asparagus for Microwave Steaming

You can steam any green or purple asparagus varieties in the microwave, but note that thicker stems will take longer to cook and can cook less evenly. Medium and thin asparagus are the very best for microwave-steamed asparagus.

3 Keys to Microwave Steamed Asparagus

  • Rinse and trim the asparagus before steaming. As with any other cooking method, steamed asparagus must be rinsed and trimmed before cooking.
  • Make sure the paper towel is damp, not soaking. Wet four layers of paper towels with a quarter-cup of water and squeeze the paper towels to remove any excess water.
  • Roll the asparagus into a bundle to microwave. Laid flat in the microwave, the asparagus will cook unevenly. The rolled bundle will cook more evenly.
  • Use tongs to remove the bundle from the microwave. Seriously, it’s going to be hot!

Ingredients For Steamed Asparagus in the Microwave  

  • Asparagus
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon

How to Steam Asparagus in the Microwave 

  1. Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks and discard them.
  2. Rinse asparagus in cold water and place directly into a microwave safe bowl or deeper pyrex dish.
  3. Cover with a plate or a microwave safe lid and microwave on high for 4 minutes.
  4. Remove and check for tenderness by piercing it with a fork. If asparagus is not tender enough, microwave in 1 minute intervals.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon.


Cooking Asparagus in microwave
Cooking Asparagus in microwave


Cooking Times for Steamed Asparagus 

  • Pencil thin stalks only take 3 minutes.
  • For most asparagus, which is about 1/2″ thick, we suggest microwaving for 4-5 minutes on high if you like a little bit of snap when you bite into the asparagus.
  • If you prefer your asparagus a bit softer, then microwave it for 4-5 minutes, and then in 1 minute intervals until it reaches your desired firmness.
  • For fat stalks over 1/2″ thick, cooking may take up to 6 minutes

Tips to Perfect Steamed Asparagus in the Microwave

Wash and trim your asparagus before steaming it. To do so, scrub your stalks under cool water and then break off the woody section from the bottom of your asparagus.

The easiest way to do this is just use your hands. Wherever the stalk naturally breaks and snaps is where you should cut the rest of the stalks.

For fatter stalks over 1/2″ thick: use a vegetable peeler and peel away the bottom half of the stalk to reveal the more tender, lighter part. This will help you cook the asparagus more evenly in the microwave.

After rinsing your asparagus stalks, do not dry them off, leave them slightly wet. This will help create steam and cook them faster in the microwave.

Use a microwave safe dish large enough to lay all of the asparagus flat so the stalks cook evenly. If you do not have a plate large enough to cover a large dish, use plastic wrap.



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