Move over green bean casserole! This asparagus casserole is the best comfort food to bring to a potluck. It's a perfect combination of creamy and crunchy textures, full of flavor from the cheese, and super easy. If you're looking for a delicious crowd-pleaser ready in just 45 minutes, this is it!
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy, convenient, and super simple. This cheesy asparagus casserole recipe is ready in under 45 minutes.
- It’s nutritious. Asparagus is packed with essential nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Not only will it add flavor to your meal, but it will also give you an extra boost of nutrition too! Have spare asparagus? You can make super simple microwave asparagus, or grill asparagus in foil too!
- It’s versatile. This easy casserole has the potential to become a star of your meal and the perfect side dish. Whether you're hosting dinner parties, potlucks, or family gatherings - this casserole is sure to please! You can make it a complete meal by pairing it with a vegan turkey roast or vegan ham.
📋 Ingredients and notes
To make this super easy asparagus casserole, you'll need unsalted butter, Panko breadcrumbs, asparagus, shallot, garlic cloves, all-purpose flour, whole milk, grated nutmeg, cream cheese, white cheddar cheese, and salt.
Notes and Variations
- Thickness of asparagus: You don't want the asparagus to be too thick or thin. For thick asparagus, then you can slice it in half for this recipe.
- Substitute Panko bread crumbs. If you're in a pinch and don't have any Panko bread crumbs, you can easily substitute them with Ritz cracker crumbs.
- Choice of cheese. For this easy recipe, I used cream cheese and cheddar cheese to give it a good mix of creamy and nutty flavors. You can also use mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, or any other grated cheese of your choice.
- Make it vegan. Substituting the butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese with vegan variants (e.g., plant-based butter, vegan cream cheese and vegan cheddar shreds) means you can make this vegan super easily!
- Gluten-free. To make a gluten-free version of this recipe, simply replace the all-purpose flour with an alternative (e.g., tapioca, coconut flour, or rice flour) or cornstarch can all work to make a similarly creamy roux.
- Swap asparagus with other greens. This recipe works just as well with broccoli or green beans. So if you want to mix it up, or swap the veggies, you can totally do that.
📖 How to Make Asparagus Casserole
To make this creamy asparagus casserole, you need to preheat the oven to 450°F. Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat and set a bowl of ice water near the stove.
In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in panko breadcrumbs and set aside.
Cook asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer it to the ice bath. Once cooled, drain and pat dry for tender asparagus. Arrange the asparagus in a 9x9-inch baking dish.
In a medium pot, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add shallots to the melted butter and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds to get the creamy sauce started.
Gradually add milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for another 5 minutes or until thickened, remove from the heat and sprinkle nutmeg. Stir in cream cheese, cheddar, and salt. Pour the cheese sauce over the asparagus. You can add some black pepper as well if you wish.
Sprinkle the reserved panko mixture (or Ritz crackers) on top of the casserole. Bake for 12-15 minutes until asparagus is tender and sauce is golden brown.
👩🏽🍳Top Tips to Make Asparagus Casserole
Have all your guests raving about your asparagus casserole by following these five easy tips.
- Choose the best asparagus. Look for asparagus that is firm and has tightly closed tips. Limp stalks won't give you the right texture for a casserole! Choose fresh stalks with vibrant green and purple hues, versus paler or dull yellow-green ones. Avoid any with signs of wilting or dark spots, as these indicate the stalk is past its prime.
- Don't forget to blanch asparagus. I know it's an extra step, but blanching the asparagus before adding it to your casserole helps prevent the vegetable from becoming too soft in texture when baking. It also helps retain the vibrant color of the asparagus!
- Don’t overcook the asparagus. The trick is to steam it until it’s slightly tender but still crisp. Overcooked asparagus will become too soft and mushy when baked in the casserole dish!
- Play with toppings. Give your asparagus casserole an extra boost of flavor by swapping the toasted breadcrumbs or crushed crackers with fried shallots, or crunchy nuts. The topping will not only add a delightful crunch to an otherwise soft dish, but it’ll also give it some much-needed texture!
- Choose the right casserole dish. This ensures even baking and prevent burning or sticking. I use a 9x13 inch baking dish because it provides plenty of room for all of your ingredients but isn’t too large that everything gets lost in there.
Look for asparagus spears that are bright green with tight tips. The top of the asparagus should be firm to the touch, and not limp or rubbery. Avoid asparagus with woody ends or yellowed stalks – these are signs the asparagus has been sitting around a bit too long.
Honestly, it doesn't matter for this recipe! Each offers its own individual texture and flavor. However, keep in mind that thin asparagus will cook faster than their thicker counterparts—so depending on which you choose to use, be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Yes! This casserole is a great way to get your daily veggie intake. Packed with fresh asparagus, and cheese and topped with Panko bread crumbs, it's a nutritious and delicious meal. It's also easy to switch out ingredients or add in extra vegetables, making it even healthier!
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
The easy asparagus casserole recipe can be made ahead of time. Just prepare the dish all the way until the baking step, cover it, and put it in the freezer for 3 months. When it is ready to be cooked, simply let it thaw a room temperature, preheat the oven and bake the dish. This makes it a great holiday side!
However, keep in mind that the toppings should not be included on the top of the dish when storing them as this may cause the dish to become soggy! For the best, crunchy finish, top it with the cracker crumbs right before baking.
To store, let the casserole cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you're ready to reheat, place the casserole in a preheated oven at 325°F until heated.
I don't recommend freezing cooked asparagus casserole.
More holiday sides and casseroles
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- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 3 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole-milk
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg , (optional)
- 5 ounces cream cheese
- ½ cup white cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Blanch asparagus: Bring a pot of water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water near the stove. Cook asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute, then transfer it to the ice bath. Once cooled, drain and pat dry. Arrange the asparagus in a 9x9-inch baking dish.Note: This is an optional step, but I think it makes a difference in the texture and color of the asparagus!
- In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir in Panko breadcrumbs and set aside.
- In a medium pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds.
- Gradually add milk and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook for another 5 minutes or until thickened, remove from the heat and sprinkle nutmeg. Stir in cream cheese, cheddar, and salt. Pour the cheese sauce over the asparagus.
- Sprinkle the reserved Panko mixture on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 450°F until the asparagus is tender and the sauce is golden brown.
- Making ahead: No need to preheat the oven, prepare the dish, cover it with film and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to cook, take the dish out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
- Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days.