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A quick pan of Sautéed Asparagus is the perfect easy side dish! The fresh spring vegetable cooks on the stovetop with butter, garlic, and toasted almonds. Lemon zest adds a bright finishing touch, for a simple sauteed asparagus recipe that’s elegant enough for entertaining. Best of all, it’s ready from start to finish in just 10 minutes!

Close up side shot of sauteed asparagus with lemon and garlic on a white serving tray with toasted almonds on top

Simple Sautéed Asparagus Recipe

Simple sauteed asparagus is a popular side dish because it’s quick-cooking, flavorful, and versatile. Whip up a batch in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop in about 10 minutes, and pair it with everything from an Easter ham to a whole roasted chicken or grilled salmon. With its rich garlic butter sauce, bright lemon zest, and crunchy toasted almonds, this easy asparagus recipe offers restaurant-quality taste with just a few ingredients and minimal effort!

How to Choose Asparagus

Asparagus is a classic spring vegetable, generally available between February and June, at its peak in April. These days you can find fresh asparagus in most grocery stores year-round, so it’s important to know how to pick the best bunch. When shopping for asparagus, look for bright green stalks with no signs of shriveling. The tender tips might look a little bit purple, but they should be firm and tight — not mushy. The ends will be thick and fibrous, so you’ll need to trim off about an inch before cooking.

How to Prepare Asparagus

The whole asparagus spear is edible, with the exception of the tough, woody end at the bottom of the stalk. Once you have washed and dried the asparagus, line the spears up on a cutting board and slice off the ends all at once. Cut right where the stalks turn from white into green — typically about 1-inch from the bottom.

Fresh asparagus on a wooden cutting board

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for pan sauteed asparagus. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted butter: the fat used to sauté the asparagus and add flavor to the dish.
  • Garlic: gives the dish so much savory, warm, earthy flavor.
  • Asparagus: the fresher, the better!
  • Sliced almonds: provide a rich, toasty quality and a crunchy texture.
  • Lemon zest: a bright, acidic finish that pairs perfectly with the spring vegetable and nicely balances the rich, buttery sauce.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: enhance the other flavors in the dish.
Close up front shot of the best sauteed asparagus on a white rectangular dish in front of a white brick wall

How to Sauté Asparagus

This sautéed asparagus recipe is so ideal because it only requires a handful of simple ingredients, but it tastes (and looks) incredibly fancy. You just can’t beat the combination of garlic, butter, fresh lemon, and crunchy, toasted almonds. The variety of flavors and textures is absolutely divine!

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant — about 30 seconds.
  3. Stir in asparagus, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  4. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the almonds and continue to cook until the asparagus is crisp-tender and the almonds are toasted, about 1-2 more minutes.
  6. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. Garnish with lemon zest and serve immediately.
Overhead image of sauteed garlic butter asparagus in a cast iron skillet

What to Serve with Sautéed Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

This versatile veggie pairs well with most meat and seafood entrees, and even works as a side with egg dishes at brunch. Whether you’re adding it to your Easter or Christmas holiday buffet or just stirring it on the stovetop for a busy weeknight meal, this simple sautéed asparagus recipe is sure to be a hit. Offer it alongside:

Square image of sauteed asparagus with lemon and garlic on a white tray

Storage

This sautéed asparagus is best served immediately while the sauce is warm and the almonds are crunchy. If you have leftovers, store the asparagus in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat the asparagus in a skillet over low heat, just until warmed through. I do not recommend freezing the asparagus, because it will have a mushy consistency when thawed.

Recipe Variations

  • Add fresh herbs to the skillet, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley or basil for even more flavor.
  • Crispy bacon is also a delicious addition! You can fry the bacon in the skillet first, then remove the crispy bacon to a plate. Leave the drippings in the pan and just melt 1 tablespoon of butter with the drippings to cook the asparagus as instructed. Add the cooked bacon back to the pan just before serving.
  • For even more lemon flavor, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice into the garlic and herb butter.
  • I prefer the look of the long asparagus spears; however, you can also cut the spears into smaller bite-size pieces before sautéing them if you like.
Overhead shot of sauteed asparagus with garlic lemon and almonds on a white rectangular dish.

Tips for the Best Sauteed Asparagus Recipe

  • Make sure that you don’t overcook the asparagus or it will become mushy and brown. Remove it from the heat while it’s still crisp-tender.
  • Scale the recipe to accommodate the size of your family. For instance, sauté just ½ lb. of asparagus to serve 2-3 people, or double all of the ingredients and prepare enough for 8 people.
  • Wait to stir the almonds into the skillet during the final 1-2 minutes, because nuts toast quickly and you don’t want them to burn.
  • When zesting the lemon, make sure that you don’t grate off any of the bitter white pith. The essential oils and all of the flavor can be found in the outer layer of the peel, so that’s the part that you want for the garnish.
Overhead shot of pan sauteed asparagus garnished with lemon and almonds

More Delicious Asparagus Recipes to Enjoy this Season

Close up side shot of sauteed asparagus with lemon and garlic on a white serving tray with toasted almonds on top

Sautéed Asparagus

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 159 kcal
A quick pan of Sautéed Asparagus with lemon, garlic, butter and toasted almonds is the perfect easy side dish — and it's ready in 10 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • ¼ cup thinly-sliced almonds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
  • Add asparagus, a pinch of salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until almost crisp-tender.
  • Add almonds and continue to cook until asparagus is crisp-tender and almonds are toasted, about 1-2 more minutes.
  • Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with lemon zest and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Make sure that you don’t overcook the asparagus or it will become mushy and brown. Remove it from the heat while it’s still crisp-tender.
  • Scale the recipe to accommodate the size of your family. For instance, sauté just ½ lb. of asparagus to serve 2-3 people, or double all of the ingredients and prepare enough for 8 people.
  • Wait to stir the almonds into the skillet during the final 1-2 minutes, because nuts toast quickly and you don’t want them to burn.
  • When zesting the lemon, make sure that you don’t grate off any of the white pith from the fruit, which is very bitter. The essential oils and all of the flavor can be found in the outer layer of the peel, so that’s the part that you want for the garnish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 159kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 6gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 53mgPotassium: 339mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1033IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 70mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: asparagus recipe, sauteed asparagus, sauteed asparagus with lemon
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made it for my wife and young adult child. I nailed it…was a hit side dish.

    I’ve made a similar recipe before but pulled up your version on a whim to get a general ingredient amount update after not doing this for awhile.

    Kudos to you (and me). ✌