How to cook white asparagus. Matt Taylor-Gross

Unlike its green-skinned counterpart, white asparagus has a tough, bitter peel that must be removed before cooking. The following is the classic way of preparing the treasured vegetable in Germany (though simple steaming is also popular).

What You Will Need

Yield: serves 2-4


  • 16 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1-2 lb. fresh white asparagus


  1. Bring water, salt, lemon juice, and butter to a simmer in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, trim about 1⁄2” from the ends of white asparagus. Lay spears on a work surface, then peel thin skin from each with a sharp swivel-blade vegetable peeler, starting 1 1⁄2” from the top and running the length of the spear. (Spears are brittle and can snap when peeled in midair.)
  3. Gather spears into 2-4 bundles, tie loosely with kitchen string, and lower into simmering water. Cook, increasing heat to medium-high to maintain a simmer if necessary, until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 8-30 minutes, depending on thickness of asparagus. Lift bundles from simmering water with kitchen tongs and drain on paper towels.