Broiled Asparagus

First a little admission. Until I read up on it I had no idea what broiled asparagus was! If that’s got you worried about reading my advice let me put your mind at rest. We Brits have grills in our kitchens and BBQ’s in our gardens. We might sometimes refer to the BBQ as a grill but I’ve never thought of grilling in the kitchen as broiling….. got you confused?!


  • broiling in North America (& other locations?) means cooking under a direct heat in the oven. I would call this grilling.
  • grilling in North America (& elsewhere?) means cooking over a direct heat in the garden (i.e. BBQing) (or back yard!) who says we speak the same language!!

Our page on grilling asparagus covers both options as it was written before I had even heard of broiling.

My research on broiling led me to an article which pointed out a major difference between grilling and broiling. This was that you don’t mind too much when the outdoor grill or BBQ smokes but if you are broiling you don’t really want your kitchen full of smoke. In order to keep any smoking to a minimum (and to prevent the smoke alarm going into overdrive) use as little fat as possible and keep a close eye on your asparagus as they cook.

Another point made about broiling that would never have crossed my mind was to keep the oven door open when broiling. I would never ever close the door whilst broiling but many UK ovens have special grills which are designed to operate with the door left open. This ensures that any steam escapes and stops the food from “stewing” or “steaming”. If your oven allows the door to be close DON'T, leave it open even if only a little.

Do take a look at the page on grilling asparagus for a few tricks of the trade. When you’ve done that and tried basic broiled asparagus come back here for this broiled asparagus recipe:

Broiled Asparagus & Tomatoes with Brown Sugar


Serves 4

  • 24 asparagus spears
  • 6 tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Demerara sugar


  1. Switch the grill / top element in oven on high

  2. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a flat bottomed dish big enough to roll the asparagus in

  3. Sprinkle a tablespoon of Demerara sugar over the olive oil

  4. Snap the ends of the asparagus and cut the tomatoes in half

  5. Roll the asparagus in the olive oil and sugar then place them on a rack over an ovenproof dish

  6. Roll the tomatoes in what’s left of the oil and place on the rack with the asparagus

  7. Place in the oven under the direct heat with the door open for about 10 minutes turning the asparagus and tomatoes at least once

  8. When nicely golden brown remove from the heat and enjoy


You can let the spears cool and enjoy them cold with a salad, on their own, with a dip or as part of a packed lunch. You will find they have a lovely taste however you eat them.

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