Kitchen Hacks

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer

Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.

Today: Somewhere along the line this pot was misnamed -- it’s not just for asparagus.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

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It’s lurking in the back of your cupboard, and it’s been there for so long you’re not entirely sure how or when it got there. Maybe you got trigger-happy making your wedding registry, picked one up at a garage sale (Who isn't enticed by a $2 price tag?), or received one as a gift from a friend who assumed every serious cook needed to have one. Regardless of how it arrived, it's there, and that asparagus steamer only gets put to work for a few short weeks every spring. It's time for that to change.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Here are 8 ways to put your asparagus steamer to good use:  

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Steam asparagus. (We’re not above stating the obvious.) It can be tricky to get asparagus’ thick bottoms fully cooked at the same time as the more delicate tips, and this tall narrow pot does exactly that. It's perfectly designed to keep the stalks upright -- allowing the bottoms to boil in the water, while the tops steam.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Blanch vegetables. Of course, this pot can be used to cook other types of vegetables too. Blanch them in an asparagus steamer, and you can skip hunting for tongs and a colander. Just pull out the basket (with an oven mitt), and quickly dunk the whole thing in an ice bath.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Boil eggs. The basket’s usefulness isn’t just for vegetables either, the same technique applies to boiling eggs too. Remove the basket of eggs from the water after your chosen number of minutes, and you have an instant strainer for running under cold water or setting in an ice bath.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Small batch canning. Marisa McClellan has properly schooled us that even small amounts of fruit shouldn’t go to waste, and if you’re only making a jar or two of jam, your asparagus steamer makes a perfect vessel for processing. Of course there's no need to stick to the sweet side of the spectrum -- use it to process small batches of pickles too.

More: Not sure where to start? Take a refresher course with Canning 101.

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

Dinner for one. This is the perfect pot for when you’re alone in the kitchen and whipping up exactly what you want to eat. Small batches of mussels? One corn on the cob? A single-serving of short pasta? Yes, yes, and yes.  

8 Uses for an Asparagus Steamer, from Food52

And so much more. Thanks to this discussion on the Hotline, we know that Mr_Vittles uses an asparagus pot to deep fry small quantities of food, mrslarkin gives it another life as a vase for long-stemmed flowers, and healthierkitchen uses it to heat stock for risotto.

Now we want to know: How do you use an asparagus steamer?

Asparagus pot and pasta photos by Mark Weinberg, peach jam photo by Marisa McClellan, and all other photos by James Ransom.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Donna
  • LFD3290
  • Diana
  • Annie Berrol
    Annie Berrol
  • Ouida Lampert
    Ouida Lampert
I like esoteric facts about vegetables and think ambling through a farmers market is a great way to start the day. My first cookbook, available now, is called Cooking with Scraps.


Donna January 17, 2018
Ice bucket for wine and champagne.
LFD3290 May 29, 2014
After making stock, I strain out the bones/veg into the asparagus steamer so after cooling any fat that rises to the surface is much easier to remove (and the smaller profile steamer takes less room in the fridge).
Diana May 29, 2014
steaming tamales
Annie B. May 28, 2014
I have always wanted to use mine as a tiny stock pot for clarifying stock with a tiny raft! Best not to use more than three egg whites and 1/4 lb of ground meat...
Ouida L. May 28, 2014
On my tiny apartment range, the asparagus pot actually fits on one of the smaller elements - even when I have a skillet and saucepans already employed. It does a great job of cooking the pasta (or quinoa, if you use the pasta method).

I've never thought, though, to use the asparagus pot for processing preserves. How? Stacking? Or, one jar at a time?
dchu May 28, 2014
mini deep fryer for small batches
Lesliesma May 28, 2014
Perfect for storing soup in the fridge
sgt May 28, 2014
I use the asparagus pot itself to hold cooking utensils next to the stove. That way it's useful even when not needed for steaming.
Liz B. May 28, 2014
Great ideas, thanks! - a clean eating bento blog. Japanese or Asian-inspired.
Jim K. February 23, 2019
In addition to the great tips already on the site here is one more.I do a lot of canning but usually just one or two qu quarts jars at a time. My Asparagus pot is absolutely perfect for the water bath necessary to make sure the lids seal and the canned stuff doesn't go bad. Also it's a lot quicker because you only are heating a small amount of water. I love my pot! LOL