Learn how to cut asparagus to improve the taste and texture of all your favorite asparagus-containing recipes! We show you how to slice, trim, and shave asparagus spears with easy-to-follow steps.

top down image of an oval plate of roasted asparagus.

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If you don’t cook much with asparagus and need help knowing exactly how to cut asparagus, this post is for you! Trust me, preparing asparagus as a side dish for Air Fryer Bone-In Pork Chops or One-Pan Baked Salmon couldn’t be easier. 

Discover various cutting methods, and learn how to determine the best style for every dish. I share tips and tricks to incorporate this delicate, earthy vegetable into all your favorite meals!

top down image of prepped asparagus sitting on a baking tray.

How to Prepare Asparagus

Preparing your asparagus before you begin cooking is crucial to the success of your recipe. The first step in the process is to begin cleaning your asparagus spears.

Luckily, there’s nothing complicated about cleaning asparagus. To do so, simply soak the asparagus in a bowl of cold water. Or, rinse the spears in a colander under running cold water to remove any dirt. Then, pat the asparagus dry with a clean towel, or roll it between two towels. 

Now that the asparagus is clean, let’s get cutting!

asparagus blanched in a cooking pot and being pulled out using a handheld colander.

How to Cut Asparagus

There are a few ways to cut asparagus, depending on the use of the vegetable and what the recipe calls for. You could either trim asparagus, slice them, or shave them. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these and the step-by-step instructions.

1. Trimming Asparagus

Trimming the asparagus spears while leaving the rest of it intact is ideal for roasting asparagus or grilling asparagus. 

Use a sharp knife to trim off ½-inch from the bottom of all the spears in a bunch of asparagus. This is a good measure for removing the tough and woody ends. However, some spears may require you to remove more from the bottom. Another good indicator is where the color of the stalk changes from a lighter color to a darker green.

If you don’t feel like being too precise, simply snap off the end of each spear with your fingers. Asparagus tends to snap at the point where the woody part and tender part meet. The only problem with this method is the potential to lose more asparagus than what’s necessary. Choose whichever method you prefer!

2. Slicing Asparagus

Slicing asparagus is great for incorporating the vegetable in dishes such as stir fry, salads, and pasta recipes. 

Once you’ve trimmed the asparagus ends, slice them into a size appropriate for your intended recipe. Most recipes recommend slicing asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces. 

Asparagus is usually sliced bluntly across. However, you can slice the spears diagonally for a prettier presentation in salads and pasta. 

This Cheesy Asparagus Casserole is a great example of how to incorporate sliced asparagus into your recipes. 

3. Shaving Asparagus

Shaved asparagus provides a beautiful way to showcase this vegetable, often in salads and eaten raw. The shavings are thin enough that they do not need to be cooked or steamed. However, they provide a slightly crunchy texture to enhance any dish. 

You can shave your asparagus with the aid of a peeler (either a swivel peeler or a Y-peeler) for convenience. Once the asparagus ends are trimmed, shave them from top to bottom. Any leftover pieces of asparagus can be cut up with a knife and used in another dish or added as chunkier pieces to the dish being prepared. 

If you have good knife skills, you could also shave the asparagus with a sharp Chef’s knife or pairing knife. Angle the knife to slice the spear into thin slices, moving from top to bottom, and repeat for as many shavings as required.

cut and cooked asparagus sitting in an ice bath in a large glass bowl.

Snapping Versus Cutting Asparagus: Which is Better?

There’s no right or wrong method for trimming asparagus. At the end of the day, it’s about personal preference. Keep in mind that snapping asparagus as a method for trimming it can result in more being removed than what’s necessary. If you hate food wastage, opt for a more precise knife-trimming method. 

If you do opt to snap the asparagus, hold it firmly at both ends and bend the stalk towards you. It should snap at the section where the woody and tender bits intersect. 

Tips for Cutting Asparagus

  • Always use a sharp knife when cutting asparagus. This vegetable is hardy and tough near the woody ends. Therefore, a dull knife is only likely to have you sawing through the tough fibers. 
  • To enhance the flavor of your cut asparagus in stir-fries or pasta dishes, cut it into small diagonal pieces. This type of cut is said to create greater flavor. 
  • The woody ends of the trimmed asparagus can be used to flavor soups, stews, or other liquid bases like homemade vegetable stock.
top down image of a baking dish with asparagus topped with seasoning and shredded parmesan cheese.

How To Store Cut Asparagus

If you decide to prepare your asparagus ahead of time, store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. 

Place the trimmed ends in a glass jar with an inch of water, similarly to how you place flowers in a vase! Loosely cover any of the tops sticking out of the jar with a plastic bag to prevent the asparagus from drying out. 

Change the water in the glass jar when becomes cloudy. This keeps the asparagus fresh and firm!


Can I eat all parts of the asparagus spear?

Yes! The spear is the edible part of the asparagus plant and what you’ll be used to seeing if you purchase fresh asparagus in local grocery stores. If you’re growing asparagus in a home garden, never eat the small red berries on the asparagus plant. They are somewhat poisonous to humans and animals. 

The bottom woody part of the asparagus stalk is edible too. However, we typically trim it off as it can be quite fibrous and tough to chew.

Can I eat asparagus raw?

Yes, you can. Asparagus is quite fibrous. If you eat it raw, consider shaving it thinly or slicing it into thin slices.

Is asparagus healthy?

Definitely! Asparagus is a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Asparagus is also a good source of fiber and can help keep organs and nerves functioning properly. In addition, asparagus contains a compound known as Asparaptine. This can help improve blood circulation and reduce high blood pressure. 

How much of the bottom of asparagus do you cut off?

Most recipes call to remove one to two inches from the bottom of asparagus. However, the exact amount differs based on the size of the asparagus and the specific recipe.

Are the thinner asparagus better? Do I have to trim them as well?

The pencil-thin varieties of asparagus are the same in texture as regular-sized asparagus. They aren’t more tender merely as a result of their thinner composition. You will still need to remove the woody bottom ends!

Do you have to peel asparagus?

No. You only need to wash and trim regular green asparagus. White asparagus varieties tend to have tougher skin. As a result, we recommend peeling the skin before adding it to a recipe.

Recipes That Pair Well With Asparagus

Asparagus spears on a plate.

How to Cut Asparagus

Learn how to cut asparagus to improve the texture and flavor of any dish which calls for the addition of this popular Spring vegetable!
5 from 3 votes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 bunch asparagus


  • Clean the asparagus spears by running them under cold water to rmeove any dirt or debris. Pat the aspargus dry with a paper towel.
    1 bunch asparagus

Trimmed Asparagus

  • Use a sharp knife to slice 1-2 inches off the bottom of the aspargus spears. Or, snap the spears in half with two hands.

Sliced Asparagus

  • Trim the asparagus spears.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the aspargus into pieces.

Shaved Asparagus

  • Trim the asparagus spears.
  • Use a peeler to shave the skin from top to bottom.
  • Slice the aspargus into pieces.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 23kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 851IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @kasey_allthingsmamma or tag #allthingsmamma!

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About Kasey Schwartz

For over 15 years, Kasey Schwartz, the mastermind behind All Things Mamma, has been the ultimate go-to for mouthwatering family recipes. Her work has been featured on Today.com, Buzz Feed, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, making her your go-to mom next door for all things delicious and family-friendly.


  1. 5 stars
    I like asparagus but my husband doesn’t. I can cook most vegetables but never knew how to cut the asparagus.

  2. 5 stars
    I like asparagus but my husband doesn’t. I can cook most vegetables but never knew how to cut the asparagus. I will have to buy some now, thanks.

    1. Shyanne - ATM Team says:

      We hope you find the tips helpful!

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