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 love the addition of lemon zest to this!!

  2. Yum! I'm making this tonight! Thank you!

  3. This recipe makes me so excited for the arrival of asparagus. Peak-of-the-season asparagus doesn't need much done to it to make it taste good, so this simple preparation is perfect.

  4. How sweet of you to do that for your stepmother!
    I have never thought of pan-frying asparagus–I'm going to try it!

  5. This looks fabulous, Kalyn. We often toss asparagus with a little butter and lemon juice but hadn't thought of using olive oil and lemon zest. Great idea! (The only bad thing is that we'll have to wait until June when asparagus season is in full swing.)

  6. We love pan fried asparagus at our house but have never thought of adding lemon zest. Thanks for a great idea.

  7. Wow, this looks lovely and is so totally going in my next recipe.

    I’m liking your blog, and I’m sure we can become friends, share recipes and just have a nice chat soon, see ya, and thanks sooooo much for this recipe.

  8. I habitually roast my asparagus, but this will be the perfect complement for the pork roast I’m getting ready to throw in the crock pot for tonight (with my yummy looking Costco asparagus).

    Reading Brigitte’s entry reminded me of my wonderful trip to Europe last year.

    We arrived in Germany just in time for Spargelfest – a festival held for the love of asparagus! All of the markets had beautiful (and huge!) white asparagus and all restaurants brought asparagus up-front on their menus with wonderfully fresh sides, soups, quiches, and other creative offerings.
    If you’ve not been, this is a great “someday” trip for any asparagus lover!

  9. This sounds delicious, and so refreshing! I really look forward to the arrival of asparagus…

    Last year I tried a recipe of asparagus tips with a dip of egg yolk, whisked foamy over steam with a bit of sugar, salt and a pinch of saffron. Not as light as your dish, but it was quite yummy, too.

  10. This sounds wonderfully fresh!

  11. Those asparagus tips are jumping right off my screen — beautiful photo! I use the stalks to make asparagus soup, which is one of my favorite soups for spring.

  12. i love your new banner picture…just wanted to pop in and say hi…

  13. Fresh and tart…the way we like things at our house. Thanks for the reminder.

    And, we like just the tips too, although I feel badly for not using the entire “sparrow grass” (as the boys call them).

  14. Wow, Kalyn!! This one is a real winner for me. I am inspired!

    I usually just blanch asparagus and drizzle it with a lemony hollandise, or grill/roast with olive oil and salt.

    This adds the tart lemon, which I love, with asparagus in a much lighter and healthier way than my usual rich hollandaise sauce.

    This sounds so simple, but it never occurred to me. Thank you, Kalyn!!!

    Your recipe will appear on my table tonight!


    ~ Paula

  15. That looks supremely cheerful and yummy… I love asparagus…gonna try it soon.

  16. I love to see the arrival of asparagus every spring. You’re right- keep it simple! This dish looks just divine!

  17. I always look forward to asparagus season and I’m going to make this for sure. 🙂 My ‘simple recipe’ uses butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and egg so it’s not heart healthy and not for everyone.

  18. I love asparagus and especially when it is done simply like this. Making me anxious and I may have to go scream at my asparagus plants to start growing.

  19. Pearl, I’m a huge fan of lemon zest, and it’s wonderful in this.

    Selba and Maya, thanks!

    Paz, I think you will like it!

    Brigitte, I can’t think of anything more fun than going to the market in Paris with you! Someday I’m going to make it there and maybe we can do that. I always look longing at the market photos on David Lebovitz and Chocolate and Zucchini, must be wonderful to live there!

  20. You are one of my favorite blogs. I have been reading and trying things thanks to all the delicious and easy recipes.
    I’d love to go the the market here in Paris with you to pick up those fresh asparagus!
    Have a beautiful week,