Make Instant Pot Asparagus anytime you need an incredibly delicious and super simple side on your dinner table in 5 minutes. This effortless recipe is made with just a few pantry staples and the results are tender, crispy, and delicious!
Using a pressure cooker to make asparagus might just be the easiest way to getting beautiful tender-crisp yet juicy asparagus, one of my favorite simple side dishes.
Asparagus is one of those versatile vegetables that work just as well as a side for filet mignon as it does for a casual burger. It's fresh, vibrant, and deliciously seasoned at the end with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. A little squeeze of lemon juice finishes it off with a citrus balance to the earthy nature of the asparagus. It is so good!
When I don't have time to oversee a steaming pot of asparagus over the stove, I always turn to the Instant Pot. Much like when I don't want to turn on the oven in the summertime, I turn to air fryer asparagus. I get perfectly cooked asparagus every time without having to stand around watching over it. I set it, and forget it, and although it cooks quickly, it still gives me time to focus on other parts of the meal.
My kid love when I serve it with their favorite dipping sauce, whether it be a little ranch dressing or garlic aioli. They love taking them spear by spear and dunking them right before taking a bite.
Why this recipe works
- It's a 5-minute side dish that takes minimal prep work. Anytime I can have a healthy side dish to accompany any meal that doesn't take any extra effort, I'm all for it.
- They're incredibly delicious. The natural flavors and textures are brought out by the steaming, which makes them extra juicy.
- Can be used as a side, a salad ingredient, or used as an ingredient in a main dish, like soups, casseroles, and pasta.
- Kid-friendly, especially when served with a little dip! They're already perfectly seasoned, but a little extra dip is never a bad idea!
- A simple way to showcase this beautiful vegetable.
There are only a few simple ingredients needed in this recipe. Feel free to play around with the seasoning as you like.
- Asparagus - You'll need about a pound of asparagus. Choose a bunch that are on the larger side to avoid overcooking and soggy thin spears.
- Water - Used to create the steam in the Instant Pot.
- Oil - Used as a coating for the asparagus. It will help the seasoning stick to the veggies but also adds a nice texture and flavor.
- Salt & pepper - A simple seasoning of salt and pepper is always a good idea. It's not overpowering, but enough to bring out the natural flavor of the asparagus. Using coarse salt is great for this as it adds a little extra texture.
- Parmesan - A sprinkle of parmesan strikes an awesome balance between the earthy vegetable and the deliciously salty cheese.
- Lemon wedges - A pop of citrus at the end, whether just as a garnish or a squeeze of juice, is the best way to finish off this dish.
How to make Instant Pot asparagus
(See the recipe card for detailed instructions)
Step 1: Add the water and trivet to the Instant Pot.
Step 2: Place asparagus onto the trivet, laying them out as flat as possible. It's fine if there is overlapping.
Step 3: Close the lid, turn the valve to sealing, and pressure cook for 0 minutes (yes, seriously).
Step 4: Once the time is up, turn the valve to venting for a quick release. Do not allow it to naturally release pressure or the asparagus will overcook.
Step 5: Carefully remove asparagus from the pot and transfer them to a serving platter. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and parmesan, and serve immediately with a couple of lemon wedges.
Why is the cooking time zero?
Asparagus itself doesn't take a ton of time to cook, no matter what method you're using. Raw asparagus spears are thin and will cook as the Instant Pot comes to pressure. This means if you were to continue cooking once it reached pressure, they'd be overcooked and mushy. It's the same reason you don't want to naturally release it once it's done. The Instant Pot is very smart at cooking something just right, as long as you release the pressure when it's time.
How to trim asparagus?
Each individual spear comes with a woody end, that is very fibrous and basically inedible. It's the side that is opposite to the head of the spear (you know, the pointier tip). You want to get rid of it before serving it, especially if you're serving guests. No one wants to eat that! Below are two easy ways of getting rid of it.
- Take one or two spears as a time, and with both hands hold onto both ends. Gently bend until you hear a snap. It will break apart where the woody part naturally ends and the rest of it begins. Do this with the rest of them and discard the woody ends.
- Line up your spears side by side on a clean cutting board. Using a sharp chef's knife, carefully cut about 2 inches off the woody end. This is a great way to make them all even length. This is a faster way of getting more done at a time, as well it makes for nicer presentation.
- Always wash your asparagus first. Whether it's before or after trimming, it doesn't matter, as long as it gets done!
- Look for sturdy asparagus that isn't too thin. Should be bright green, crisp, and the spears on top should be tightly closed and not droopy.
- Not only do you want to buy spears that are thick enough to hold their own, but each one should be similar in thickness which will help to cook them evenly.
- Instant Pot asparagus are great when served right away, but I always enjoy chopping up cold leftovers and adding them to my salad the next day.
- Store leftover asparagus in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze up to 8 months.
- To crisp up your spears upon reheating you might want to use the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.
Play around with the different seasoning options, if you're looking for something a little different.
- Fresh minced garlic
- Fresh dill
- Red pepper flakes
- Melted butter
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic butter
- Herb and garlic butter
- Bacon crumble
- Holladaise sauce
- On its own with your kids' (and yours) favorite dipping sauce. Garlic aioli, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, honey mustard, or any cheese sauce would be great.
- As a side to any main like my Instant Pot mac and cheese, Instant Pot lemon garlic chicken, Instant Pot beef stew, and these air fryer hamburgers.
- Serve along with other sides such as Instant Pot potato salad, and air fryer jalapeno poppers when serving a larger crowd.
Instant Pot Asparagus
- Instant Pot
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, woody ends removed
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1-2 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- lemons wedges (for serving)
- Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot. Place the trivet inside and add the asparagus.
- Place the lid back on, making sure the valve is turned to the sealing position. Pressure cook for 0 minutes (that’s right, zero minutes! It will take the Instant Pot about 5 minutes to come to pressure and steam the asparagus)
- Once it is done cooking, quick release the pressure by turning the valve to the venting position.
- Place the asparagus on a serving plate. Toss it with olive oil, salt, freshly ground pepper, and parmesan cheese.
- Serve immediately with lemon wedges.