Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

the Best BAKED ASPARAGUS on your table in 15 minutes!

Parmesan Baked Asparagus boasts all the nutty, caramelized flavors of roasted asparagus plus the nutty, salty goodness of Parmesan and tantalizing buttery, crispy panko!  You are going to want to make this easy, addictive dinner side your entire meal!  This Baked Asparagus recipe takes just minutes of prep or it can be prepped ahead of time and just popped in the oven when ready (LOVE this for entertaining). It is a quick, easy dinner side, extremely versatile and healthy too, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!

top view of Parmesan baked asparagus

Baked Asparagus

Raise your hand if you LOVE Roasted Vegetables!  Roasting vegetables is my absolute favorite way to prepare them.  Not only is it a bake and forget it technique, it enhances the vegetables flavors while caramelizing the exterior -winning!

Some of my favorite roasted vegetables include Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Carrots, Roasted Root Vegetables and Roasted Potatoes, but I could go on and on – and I will about this Parmesan Baked Asparagus!  (Feel Free to click the “jump to recipe button” at the top of the post to skip the tips and tricks.)

This Baked Asparagus with Parmesan transforms tall and gangly asparagus into confident, crisp-tender asparagus dressed to impress.  It looks uber fancy but is SO easy and made with pantry friendly ingredients.  

That means you can serve Parmesan Asparagus for Easter, company or other special occasions as well as the side to virtually any dinner – and aren’t we always looking for easy dinner sides?!  I put most of my effort into the main dish, so I LOVE an easy, yummy side that tastes exponentially better than the effort that went into it. YAY for Baked Asparagus!

And the best part?  It only takes a minute or so more to make Parmesan Asparagus than regular Baked Asparagus – just as long as it takes you to grate the cheese!

If you want to add the crispy buttery panko topping (YES YOU DO!), then it doesn’t require any more time, because we toast the topping while the asparagus in the oven.  So, from start to finish, this Parmesan Baked Asparagus will take you about 15 minutes.  And less time to gobble it up.

So, who’s ready to talk about Asparagus?!

showing how to cook asparagus by trimming fresh asparagus

HOW DO I CHOOSE ASPARAGUS?

The best Baked Asparagus starts with fresh asparagus!  Look for asparagus that are firm and straight and not limp and saggy.

Look for asparagus that are bright green with a small amount of white towards the base. The tips should be compact and firm instead of loose and starting to spread or sprout.  When asparagus is going bad, the tips are the first indicator – they will turn a very dark green and will become mushy when touched.

When selecting asparagus, size isn’t always an indicator of flavor, so for this Oven Baked Asparagus Recipe, you can use any size of asparagus spears, you will just need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

I like to use medium size spears as opposed to small spears (which you will need more of to equal the same amount of weight) because that way there is a little more room in between the asparagus when they are lined up so they caramelize better. 

HOW DO I STORE FRESH ASPARAGUS?

Once you select fresh asparagus, you will want to keep it fresh.  It’s a sad day when you’re giddy to bake asparagus and your asparagus are bad.

The best way to store asparagus is to trim the base, just a half-inch or so, and place them upright in a container with about an inch of water at the bottom.  You can use a tall measuring glass, jar, vase or a couple glasses to do this.  I like a large glass jar because then I can see when the water is getting low.

You want the asparagus stems to stay in water while storing, but you want the rest of the asparagus to stay dry, so never rinse your asparagus before storing. Now, cover your asparagus with a plastic bag, preferable in the crisper drawer, and store for up to 5 days.  

top view of baked asparagus with bacon being served with a spatula

HOW TO TRIM ASPARAGUS

When you’re ready to make your Parmesan Baked Asparagus, it’s time to really trim the ends.   The ends of asparagus are chewy and woody, so they need to be trimmed before roasting.

If you hold a piece of asparagus and bend it, the asparagus will naturally snap where the tough end begins.  Instead of snapping the woody ends off of every piece of asparagus, I do this to only one piece, then line the asparagus up on a cutting board and chop off all the ends at this same point.  So, with just one snap and one long slice, all the asparagus are trimmed!

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR OVEN ROASTED ASPARAGUS?

Baked asparagus transforms into a savory, nutty, cheesy delight with just a few ingredients and a few minutes in the oven:

  • Asparagus:  this Parmesan Asparagus recipe calls for 1 bunch of asparagus which is roughly one pound.  You can easily double the recipe and use a larger jelly roll pan.
  • olive oil: use extra virgin olive oil for more flavor or any of your favorite baking oils such as avocado oil or grape seed oil.
  • lemon juice: you can use fresh or bottled lemon juice.  This doesn’t make your asparagus taste too lemony, just brightens all the flavors.  If you want more of a lemon flavor, you can garnish with freshly grated lemon zest.  Alternatively, you can swap the lemon juice for balsamic like I do in my Roasted Asparagus recipe.
  • garlic powder: I love fresh garlic, but prefer garlic powder for this oven roasted asparagus as it more evenly coats and clings to the asparagus.  With fresh garlic, you also run the risk of the garlic burning and ruining your entire pan.
  • salt and pepper: are a MUST with all vegetables otherwise they will taste bland, even when seasoned with other herbs or spices. You can use more or less to taste.
  • herbs: I like to season my Parmesan Asparagus with pinches of dried thyme, dried oregano and dried basil for a fantastic herby flavor. 
  • nutmeg: enhances the natural flavor of the asparagus while virtually tasting undetectable itself.   
  • Parmesan cheese: I use a full ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese but you are welcome to use less- or even more!  Please only use freshly grated Parmesan cheese for its superior flavor and melting abilities – after all, this is PARMESAN Asparagus.  I purchase my Parmesan Cheese at Costco for a reasonable price and it keeps forever.
  • panko: is a Japanese breadcrumb sold in every grocery store (including Walmart) usually next to the other breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are larger and dryer than normal breadcrumbs so they absorb less moisture and become much crispier. Please do not substitute panko breadcrumbs with Italian breadcrumbs or you will be missing out on the gorgeous, satisfying CRUNCH. 
showing how to cook asparagus by squeezing lemon juice over asparagus

HOW TO BAKE ASPARAGUS

  • Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  We want a very hot oven to produce a very hot pan that caramelizes the natural sugars of the asparagus for that signature nutty roasted flavor.
  • Prepare baking sheet:  You can bake your asparagus directly on the baking sheet or line it with foil for easy clean up. In either scenario, spray the surface with nonstick cooking spray.  I do NOT recommend parchment paper because it does not promote caramelization.
  • Trim asparagus:  trim as previously discussed, snapping off all of the tough, woody ends – no one wants to bite into chewy asparagus that just doesn’t chew!
  • Dry asparagus: Rinse and dry asparagus.  This is the first time you are rinsing your asparagus.  You never want to rinse it before storing.  Dry the asparagus very well with a kitchen towel or salad spinner so the asparagus will caramelize and not steam.
  • Toss ingredients together: Add asparagus, olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings to the baking sheet and toss to evenly combine.  I like to toss all the ingredients together on the baking sheet because then you only have one dish to clean up! I like to use my hands because I feel like it combines everything more evenly than a spatula, but feel free to use a spatula if that’s more your thing.
showing how to cook asparagus by drizzling with olive oil
  • Spread in an even layer: Spread the asparagus into an evenly layer on a baking sheet. Try and leave a little room in between the asparagus so they cook evenly and roast and don’t just steam. You can separate the asparagus between two baking sheets if you prefer.
showing how to cook asparagus by seasoning it with salt, pepper and herbs before baking
  • Add Parmesan:  Evenly sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan all over the asparagus. I focused the Parmesan more in the center for this recipe, but that was just for aesthetic reasons.
showing how to cook asparagus with freshly grated Parmesan
  • Bake:  Bake asparagus for 7-10 minutes depending on size. 
showing how to bake asparagus in the oven
  • Make Panko Topping: many panko toppings are made by adding the panko directly on top of a dish or vegetable and spraying it with cooking spray, then baking. This works okay, but for the BEST, truly crispy panko topping infused with buttery bliss, you need to toast it first in a skillet with melted butter.  This might sound like one unnecessary step, but it makes a HUGE difference. It literally takes minutes and you prep it while your asparagus are in the oven, so it doesn’t add any time to the recipe – but adds tons of YUM! 
showing how to cook asparagus by toasting panko
  • Serve Immediately!  Oven roasted Parmesan Asparagus is the BEST piping hot out of the oven, it is not one of those vegetables that tastes nearly as good at room temperature so please SERVE IMMEDIATELY.
showing how to make baked asparagus by adding panko

WHAT TEMP DO YOU BAKE ASPARAGUS?

Roast asparagus at 425 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until they are crisp tender. 

There are several factors that affect the roasting time of baked asparagus such as thickness, the actual temperature of your oven, the age of the asparagus and your desired crisp-tenderness.  I suggest testing your asparagus at 7 minutes then cooking a few minutes longer if you would like it less crunchy.

helpful tips for oven roasted asparagus:

  • Should I use thin or thick asparagus spears? You can use either!  While thinner asparagus tend to be more flavorful when eaten plain, both thick and thin asparagus produce equally satisfying results when baked.
  • Do I have to use panko? The panko adds that tantalizing buttery, crispy, crunch, so I HIGHLY encourage it.  If you omit the panko, I think this drastically changes the recipe, but you can if you prefer. If omitting the panko, you may want to add in some toasted pine nuts, sesame seeds, bacon, etc. for added crunch.
  • How should I grate my Parmesan?   Freshly grated Parmesan tastes far superior in this recipe.  Grate it on the smallest holes of your grater – not the micro planer.
  • Do I have to add Parmesan? No! You can make Baked Asparagus just with olive oil, salt, and pepper. From here, you can customize with lemon juice or balsamic, and optional herbs.
  • Can I use another type of cheese? I love the way salty, nutty Parmesan pairs with asparagus, but feel free to mix it up!  You can use any quality melting cheese or add feta or goat cheese after the asparagus is baked.
  • What pan should I use?  A traditional baking sheet works well for this baked asparagus but you will want to separate your asparagus into two pans if doubling the recipe.
  • When is my asparagus done?  The baked asparagus is done when it is crisp tender – you still want it to have a little bite.  If you test a piece and it is difficult to chew, then bake on.  If it is mushy, then sadly it is overcooked.  Check your asparagus right at 7 minutes so this never happens to you.

baked asparagus Recipe variations

Baked Asparagus are fabulous because they are a chameleon when it comes to seasonings. You can use the always classic Italian seasonings used in this recipe or try any of these seasonings:

  • Herbs de Provence
  • Everything bagel seasoning
  • Butter Garlic seasoning (I’m obsessed with Kinder’s Master Salt)
  • Ranch seasoning
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Creole seasoning
  • Garlic Salt
  • Tarragon
  • Chinese 5 spice
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Red chili flakes

In addition to seasonings, you can also toss the baked asparagus in all sorts of “sauces” at the end of cooking to change the flavor profile.  Here are just a few recipe ideas:

BALSAMIC Baked Asparagus

  • Toss roasted asparagus with 1 ½ tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (more or less to taste – will depend on strength of vinegar) after they’ve finished cooking.

Baked Asparagus with Pesto

  • Omit the lemon juice and Parmesan in the recipe but otherwise follow the instructions.
  • Toss the hot roasted asparagus with 1 to 2 Tbs. pesto, or to taste.

BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH Garlic

  • Follow recipe for Baked Asparagus but omit the garlic powder and replace with 2 finely minced cloves garlic.

Bacon wrapped BAKED ASPARAGUS

  • Par cook thick bacon (NOT THICK CUT) by lining a plate with a few layers of paper towels. Line with half of the cut bacon in an even layer, and top with a layer of paper towels. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes (check at 3 then continue to microwave if needed. I did 4 minutes). You want the bacon mostly cooked but still soft and PLIABLE. Don’t overcook or it will break when wrapping.
  • Season the asparagus and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Wrap 1 slice of bacon around 2-4 asparagus stalks depending on their thickness to create a bundle. You want the bacon to go up the asparagus so it’s in a single layer. Place the bundle on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down.
  • Bake until the bacon is crisp and the asparagus is tender.

BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH BACON

  • Follow recipe for Baked Asparagus except before popping in the oven, sprinkle with 8 slices of thick-cut bacon chopped into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Bake according to directions.

BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH DIJON MAPLE BUTTER SAUCE

  • Whisk 1 tablespoon melted butter with 1 tablespoon balsamic, 2 teaspoons Dijon and 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup.  
  • Toss roasted asparagus with Dijon Maple sauce after they’ve finished cooking.

CHEESY BAKED ASPARAGUS

  • Follow recipe for Baked Asparagus, cooking a few minutes under. 
  • Push the spears together and sprinkle with 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese (more or less).
  • Bake an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Ginger Soy Baked Asparagus

Roast the asparagus for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or a heaping ¼ teaspoon ground ginger.

Remove the asparagus from the oven and toss with the ginger soy sauce. Continue baking until the asparagus is crisp-tender then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds.

BAKED ASPARAGUS WITH SRIRACHA & HONEY

  • Whisk 1 tablespoon honey with ½ tablespoon sriracha.
  • Toss baked asparagus with honey sriracha after they’ve finished cooking.

Cotija Lime Baked Asparagus

  • Toss the asparagus in olive oil, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, ground cumin. a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkling of Cotija cheese before baking.

OTHER ADDITIONS

Try tossing finished baked asparagus with:

  • NUTS FOR CRUNCH:  sliced almonds, roasted pecans, toasted pine nuts, etc.
  • OR SEEDS FOR CRUNCH:  roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted sunflower seeds, etc.
  • DRIED FRUIT FOR SWEETNESS:  craisins, raisins, dried peaches, etc.

CAN I MAKE OVEN BAKED PARMESAN ASPARAGUS AHEAD OF TIME?

This Baked Parmesan Asparagus is the perfect dinner side to assemble in advance. Simply toss the asparagus with olive oil and seasonings and either store in an aright container in the refrigerator or spread into an even layer on a baking sheet, cover with foil and refrigerate.

You can also prep the panko topping ahead of time and store it in a Ziploc bag or airtight container.

When you are ready to eat, top the asparagus with Parmesan and bake according to directions.

up close of oven baked asparagus with melted Parmesan

HOW LONG DOES Baked Asparagus LAST?

Baked Asparagus with Parmesan should be stored in an airtight container the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

how to serve baked asparagus

Baked asparagus is a delicious addition to every meal! Try it with:

WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH ROASTED ASPARAGUS LEFTOVERS?

If you are so lucky, you can eat Roasted Parmesan Asparagus plain or it is delicious in risotto, rice, eggs, omelets, quiche, frittatas, savory crepes, pizza, pasta, soups or salads.

HOW DO I REHEAT OVEN BAKED ASPARAGUS?

You can reheat Parmesan Asparagus in the microwave at 30 second intervals but be aware that you will end up with mushier asparagus and panko.

For best results AKA crisp tender asparagus and crunchier panko, spread asparagus in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approximately 4 minutes until warmed through. 

Can I freeze asparagus?

Yes you can freeze asparagus either before or after baking without losing any flavor, but it will be missing the firm texture. Thicker stems will hold up better, but still won’t be as crisp. As the asparagus freezes, small ice crystals puncture the cell walls resulting in a somewhat mushy texture. This makes frozen asparagus ideal for adding to casseroles, sauces, quiche, and soups, but not so much for stand-alone adoration.

How to freeze asparagus:

For the best-frozen asparagus, start with the very freshest asparagus you can get, and work quickly after blanching to reduce mushiness later. Uncooked asparagus needs to be blanched before freezing, to help preserve the color and texture. For cooked asparagus, skip straight to the flash freezing:

  • Blanch small spears for 2 minutes, medium spears 3 minutes, and large spears 4 minutes by placing in boiling boiling water and transferring to an ice bath.
  • Thoroughly dry the asparagus then arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Flash freeze for 1 to 2 hours, then transfer the asparagus to​​ freezer bags or containers. Push out as much air as possible to help preserve the texture. Freeze for up to 10 months.

How to freeze cooked asparagus:

For packaged freezing, place spears into freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. Don’t overpack bags, but work to keep spears in a single layer for quickest freezing. Freeze bags as flatly as possible. Once bags are frozen, pack them into your freezer to maximize space use. For best quality, use frozen asparagus within eight to 12 months

WHAT IS baked Parmesan GOOD WITH?

Parmesan Asparagus is fantastic with any protein: fish, shrimp, steak, pork, etc.  It also pairs exceptionally well Italian dishes such as Lasagna, Spaghetti, Chicken ParmesanBaked Penne, Million Dollar Mac or Shrimp Fettuccine.

Health Benefits of Asparagus

Asparagus is a nutrient powerhouse that is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol but high in dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. 

Asparagus is an excellent source of: vitamins A, C, E & K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium and a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Asparagus is an excellent source of antioxidants which may reduce your risk of chronic disease and potassium which can help lower high blood pressure.

Asparagus is also a good source of fiber which promotes digestive health, fights bloating, makes you feel fuller longer and may help reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

So don’t feel bad when you eat the entire pan of Parmesan Baked Asparagus!

LOOKING FOR MORE OVEN ROASTED VEGETABLE RECIPES?

front view of oven baked asparagus with Parmesan and panko

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Baked Asparagus with Parmesan

This is the Best Baked Asparagus on your table in 15 minutes! It boasts caramelized roasted asparagus, nutty, salty Parmesan and tantalizing buttery, crispy panko! You are going to want to make this addictive dinner side your entire meal! This Baked Asparagus takes just minutes of prep and can be on your table in less than 15 minutes or it can be prepped ahead of time and just popped in the oven when ready (LOVE this for entertaining). It is a quick, easy dinner side, extremely versatile and healthy too, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals!
Servings: 4 servings
Total Time: 15 mins
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins

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Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus (1 pound) ends trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, salt
  • 1/4 tsp EACH pepper, dried oregano, dried basil
  • 1/8 tsp EACH ground nutmeg, dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or to taste

Buttery Panko Topping (optional but RECOMMENDED!)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Add asparagus to the baking sheet and add olive oil, lemon juice and all seasonings. Toss to evenly coat then arrange asparagus in a single layer. Evenly top with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F for 7-10 minutes or until tender but still crisp.
  • While the asparagus is baking, make Panko topping. Melt one tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add panko and stir to coat then continue to cook and stir until panko is golden.
  • Sprinkle toasted panko all over baked asparagus. Serve immediately.

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12 Comments

  1. Debbie says

    how would the recipe be if swapped out for broccoli

  2. Kathleen Mahlke says

    Happy Easter! Thanks for all the wonderful recipes and inspiration.

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Kathleen, I’m so pleased you’re enjoying them! I hope you had a very Happy Easter as well!

  3. Jamie says

    We’ve had this asparagus the past 2 nights with your lemon pepper chicken. Both are SO GOOD! Another for the rotation!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Jamie! I’m so pleased the roasted asparagus is a new fav!

  4. Erica says

    This was soooooo very good! Thanks for the detailed recipe!

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome! I’m so happy you loved it!

  5. Kareen Oconnell says

    I absolutely love this recipe I changed it just a little bit, I added Parmesan to the breadcrumbs and some fresh garlic, at five minutes I took the asparagus out of the oven and added the sprinkled Parmesan and breadcrumbs with herbs, put in broiler and brown on the top then I sprinkled some truffle zest on top! It’s amazing my side dish for Thanksgiving 2019. Thank you for the recipe

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment Kareen! I’m so pleased this baked asparagus is a favorite and your changes sound delicious! Happy thanksgiving!

  6. Genna says

    Made these with dinner last night, my boyfriend loved them! Requested them again. I love all the herbs and the panko crumbs added a great texture and crunch. Will definitely be making again! Yummy!!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Genna, I’m so pleased they were a winner!

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