Kalyn's Kitchen

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest

This simple and amazingly delicious recipe for Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest has only three ingredients and it’s a perfect side dish to make for guests! 

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Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest found on KalynsKitchen.com

Every spring I look forward to the arrival of low-priced asparagus in the grocery store. Take a peek at my Asparagus Recipes and you can tell I love asparagus! I’m also a fan of the “less is more” approach when it comes to cooking it as a side dish. I’ve tried so many good asparagus recipes, but the asparagus side dish I make most often for guests is this Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest with only three ingredients: asparagus, olive oil, and a lemon.

If I make this recipe when I’m having guests, I like to use just the asparagus tips and save the thicker parts of the asparagus stalk to cook using a different method. If that doesn’t work for you, cook the thicker parts of the asparagus stalks for a couple of minutes before you add the tips. Recently I had some gorgeous asparagus and decided to give this recipe photo update. And this delicious recipe for Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips was first posted back in 2009, so I’m guessing it will be new to many of you; hope you enjoy trying it!

What ingredients do you need for this recipe?

  • asparagus tips (from one pound of asparagus, save the rest of the asparagus to cook another way)
  •  good quality olive oil
  •  lemon, remove all zest, then cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice.

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest process shots collage

How to make this recipe:

(Scroll down for complete printable recipe including nutritional information.)

  1. Before you start to cook the asparagus, use a lemon zester (affiliate link) or fine cheese greater to remove most of the lemon zest (grated bright yellow lemon skin.) When the zest is removed, cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice.
  2. Trim asparagus so you just have the tips, or if you’re using the whole pieces trim the woody ends and cut asparagus pieces in half, keeping the thicker ends separate from the tips.
  3. Then heat the olive oil in a large pan and lay asparagus in a single layer as much as you can. (Put the thicker ends in first if you’re cooking the whole pieces, then add the tips after about about two minutes.)
  4. Cook asparagus over medium-high heat about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Then turn off heat, pour lemon juice over asparagus, plate it, and sprinkle with lemon zest.
  6. Serve Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest hot and wait for raves from your guests!

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest found on KalynsKitchen.com

Other Tasty Recipes for Asparagus

Low-Carb Sheet Pan Meals with Asparagus ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Shaved Asparagus Salad ~ She Wears Many Hats
Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with “Everything” Bagel Seasoning ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spring Lettuce Salad with Roasted Asparagus ~ Recipe Girl
Low-Carb Chicken and Asparagus Bake with Curry Sauce ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Pickled Peppered Asparagus ~ A Farmgirl’s Dabbles<

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest found on KalynsKitchen.com

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest

Yield 2 servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest is one of my favorite ways to cook asparagus when I have dinner guests, and this easy but WOW asparagus recipe has only 3 ingredients!


  • 1/2 lb. asparagus tips (from one pound of asparagus, save the rest of the asparagus to cook another way)
  • 1 T good quality olive oil
  • 1 lemon, remove all zest, then cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice.


  1. Cut 4-5 inch long tips from one pound of asparagus (saving the thicker stalk ends for another recipe, or see the note at the end if you're making 4 servings and want to use the whole pound of asparagus.)
  2. Zest the lemon, then cut lemon in half and remove any noticeable seeds. Squeeze lemon juice into a small dish.
  3. Heat the olive oil in the largest frying pan you have. I used my favorite non-stick Green Pan (affiliate link), but any good frying pan will work.
  4. Add asparagus in a single layer and turn heat to medium-high. Cook asparagus 4-5 minutes, turning about once a minute. Asparagus is done when the thickest part of the stalk can be pierced fairly easily with a fork but asparagus still has some snap to it, and asparagus is starting to brown.
  5. Turn off heat, then pour over desired amount of lemon juice. (Use all the juice if you're a lemon fan like I am.)
  6. Arrange asparagus on a plate, sprinkle with lemon zest and serve immediately.
  7. If you want to cook the whole pound of asparagus, trim the woody ends, then cut asparagus into two pieces, keeping the ends and the tips separate. Cook the ends about 2 minutes before you add the tips to the pan, then add the tips and cook 4-5 minutes more as above.


This recipe was inspired by a recipe for cooking asparagus in Fine Cooking Magazine.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5.7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 20mgCarbohydrates: 5.5gFiber: 2.4gSugar: 1.5gProtein: 2.8g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Recipe Memories:
I made this several times for my dad and stepmother Norma in the months before she died. even though asparagus wasn’t in season and I was paying premium prices for it. I kept returning to this recipe because she was supposed to avoid salt, and this was something that tasted wonderful with no salt at all. I’m sure I’ll always think of her whenever I make this.

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon is a wonderful recipe for any low-carb or low-glycemic eating plan, including any phase of the South Beach Diet. It’s a bit of a splurge to use only the tips of the asparagus, even when it’s in season, but try it for a special occasion and you’ll be a convert.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Side Dishes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This recipe was first posted in March 2009. Since then I had made it over and over and the recipe was updated with better photos May 1, 2018 and last updated in 2021.

Pinterest image of Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest

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    54 Comments on “Pan-Fried Asparagus Tips with Lemon Juice and Lemon Zest”

  1. I can’t wait to try this!


  2. Simple but elegant.

  3. Wow… this looks so yummy!

  4. hmm i’ve never tried pan fried asparagus, and that lemon zest must add a delicious, light flavor!

  5. Ricki, pan-frying is such a perfect way to cook asparagus. Let it get nice and brown.

    Foodie McBody, I’ve done roasted asparagus too, but I might like this way better.

    Karina, thanks, and love the new photo!

  6. So fresh and tasty. I love pan-fried asparagus. Crisp. Green. Beautiful, Kalyn.

  7. Yeah, that’s exactly how I make asparagus too! I’ve done it in the oven as well – same ingredients, just sorta roasted.

  8. That’s some gorgeous asparagus. I love the idea of pan-frying it–never tried it that way. Can’t wait to give this a go!

  9. Cora, orange juice and zest sounds intriguing! I also noticed that Elise had asparagus with lime, which sounds great too.

    Bananas, no!

  10. I love asparagus paired with lemon. Bundle some of these beauties up with prosciutto, and that’s all I need!

  11. Back again! Tried the stir fried asparagus tonight with orange zest and juice–out of lemons and limes–it was delicious too! Now the only fruit I have left is bananas . . . naaaaah.

  12. Add a handful of almonds and it’s my favorite dish, Asparagus almondine!

  13. YUM!!! I agree that simpler is better when it comes to asparagus. My favourite way of cooking asparagus is to pan-fry with minced garlic and a dash of soy sauce. Heavenly!

  14. Fun that there seems to be so agreement on this combination with asparagus. Loved it.

    Marc and Heather, I’ve asked the Red Iguana for the recipe, but no luck!

    Lyn, such a healthy recipe and delicious too!

  15. That looks fantastic! I love asparagus, too. I’m going to have to try this one!

  16. I noticed you posted a comment about a chili verde recipe. I believe Red Iguana uses Cumin in their version of chili verde. It is so yummy! If you ever figure it out, let me know! heatherjmcdonald@yahoo.com

  17. So simple, but so good! I love lemon with my asparagus, the perfect Spring dish…oh wait we still have snow, sad!

  18. Delicious! 🙂 My Michael make something very similar but with butter and lemon. Your version sounds much more healthy and fresh!

  19. WOW !

    this looks great so fresh and yummy

  20. This is my favorite way to make asparagus too! Sometime I roast it, sometimes I pan-fry it–but I always use olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. A match made in heaven!