Recipe Overview

Why you’ll love it: Vibrant emerald green asparagus, a creamy cheese sauce, and crunchy lemony breadcrumbs make this asparagus casserole something to look forward to! It’s perfect for brunches and special dinners. I guarantee you won’t have leftovers!

How long it takes: 55 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: 9 x 13 inch baking dish, saucepan
Servings: 8

Asparagus casserole topped with golden brown seasoned bread crumbs.
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This blog post is in partnership with Spartan Nash and Family Fare. All opinions are my own.

Spring is finally in the air in Michigan. That means a lovely array of produce is
cropping up, which is a much welcomed change from a long winter. I am partnering with SpartanNash dietician and their wellness program, Eat Smart Be Well, to highlight National Nutrition Month®. National Nutrition Month® was started by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Every year they choose a theme to highlight and this year the theme is Beyond The Table. Beyond The Table highlights the “farm to fork” aspect of nutrition, emphasizes sustainability efforts; both of which are great opportunities to showcase seasonal and local produce in-season.

Asparagus season is one of my favorites in Michigan, so I wanted to create a recipe that really highlighted the ingredient. I added in a couple more fresh and bright springy flavors with fresh parsley and lemon zest.

Next time you’re in a Family Fare store, make sure to look for the “Local” section as well as items highlighted throughout with a Local sign to find the freshest farm to fork products.

Creamy Asparagus Casserole

There are so many reasons why you’ll love this asparagus recipe! My family enjoys asparagus in any shape or form but this asparagus casserole is always the most requested recipe.

  • It’s easy to make. There are three parts to the recipe: asparagus (simply wash and trim it), cheese sauce, and an easy bread crumb topping. If you can make a simple cheese sauce, you’ve got this recipe in hand. Even if you’re not confident about making a sauce, my easy instructions will make it a snap for you.
  • Perfect for entertaining. Asparagus always seems a bit fancy, doesn’t it? I think it’s the elegant green spears. This asparagus casserole is perfect for an Easter dinner or spring brunch. Serve it with my easy crockpot ham with maple Dijon sauce and creamy mashed potatoes or roasted sweet potatoes.

How To Buy and Store Asparagus

  • How to Choose: Look for firm spears that are purplish green and snap easily. The tips should be tight, not flowered. Avoid yellowed, wrinkled, or limp stalks.
  • Thick vs. Thin: It doesn’t matter if the spears are thick or thin although it’s helpful if they are consistently sized.
  • Storing: Asparagus tastes best if it’s eaten within a few days of picking. To keep asparagus fresh, slice off the dry cut ends. Place the spears upright in a clean jar or vase, much as you would a bouquet of flowers. Add an inch of water to the jar. Cover the asparagus loosely with a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredient Notes

  • Fresh Asparagus: You’ll need about 2 pounds of asparagus spears for this recipe. If fresh asparagus isn’t available, frozen asparagus can be substituted, unthawed.
  • Butter: I usually choose unsalted butter for cooking and baking so I can season the dish according to my preferences. Butter is used to make the sauce and the bread crumb topping, 4 tablespoons total.
  • Half & Half: The creamy cheese sauce is made with half and half which is a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream (50/50).
  • All-Purpose Flour: A couple of tablespoons of flour thicken the sauce.
  • Fresh Garlic: I like to use a few small cloves of garlic to season the sauce, along with kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Taste and season according to your preferences. You may want to add more or less garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Parmesan Cheese: We found that Parmesan cheese goes well with asparagus in the cheese sauce. You may prefer Gruyère, Swiss, or sharp cheddar cheese. Freshly shredded cheese melts more smoothly than pre-shredded cheese.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs: Look for unseasoned panko. Panko bread crumbs are coarser and lighter in texture than regular bread crumb. They work perfectly for the crisp bread crumb topping.
  • Fresh Parsley: A little chopped parsley adds color and flavor to the crumb topping. If fresh parsley isn’t available, you can substitute dried parsley although it doesn’t have as much flavor.
  • Lemon Zest: The zest from one lemon adds a bright flavor to the casserole. It doesn’t taste tart or tangy, just a bit lemony.
Overhead view of ingredients needed for recipe, including fresh asparagus.
Microplane product image.

How To Make Lemon Zest

Use a zester, microplane, or the fine holes of a box grater. I use a microplane like the one pictured. The zest should be quite fine in texture. Be sure to zest only the yellow skin; the white pith can be bitter. Always zest the lemon (or any citrus fruit) before juicing it. It’s much easier!

How To Make Asparagus Casserole

Prep the asparagus. The woody tough ends of the asparagus stalks should be trimmed off. For this casserole, I like the spears to be pretty evenly sized so I simply use a large sharp knife to cut off the tough ends, making sure they fit horizontally in the baking dish. If you prefer, snap each stalk individually. Bend the lower third of the stalk; it should snap naturally at the intersection of tough and tender.

Asparagus ends snapped off.

Rinse the asparagus well, shaking off excess water or patting dry. Arrange the asparagus in a large, greased baking dish.

Uncooked asparagus in a baking dish.

Make the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt a couple tablespoons of butter. Add minced garlic and flour, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. The garlic should smell fragrant and the butter/flour mixture will be bubbly.

Add the half and half, whisking it into the flour mixture, until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Continue stirring over medium heat until the sauce comes to a simmer; cook about 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the cheese. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese until it melts. Pour the sauce evenly over the asparagus. I like to leave the ends of the asparagus exposed to showcase the vibrant green color.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes.

Make the breadcrumb topping. While the casserole bakes, prepare the seasoned breadcrumbs. Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Add the panko bread crumbs, chopped parsley, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well.

Add the topping and bake again. Take the asparagus casserole out of the oven and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the sauce. Bake for 10 minutes or until the asparagus is tender and the topping is lightly browned.

Serve. I usually let the asparagus casserole cool for about 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit. Use a wide spatula to scoop out each serving of asparagus spears, sauce, and topping.

Plated asparagus casserole, with more of the casserole in the background.

Recipe Variations

  • Asparagus options: The asparagus can be cut into bite-sized pieces to facilitate easier serving. You can also use frozen asparagus, chopped or spears, unthawed.
  • Try a different kind of cheese. I love to switch things up by substituting Gruyère, Swiss, or sharp cheddar cheese for the Parmesan.
  • Topping alternatives: The casserole can be made without the crisp topping. If you like, the shredded cheese can be sprinkled on top instead of stirring it into the sauce. You could also substitute a different topping such as crushed potato chips, slivered or sliced almonds, cornflakes, etc.
  • Not a fan of asparagus? Make this casserole with broccoli or cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, or Brussels sprouts. Try my cheesy Brussels sprouts au gratin, scalloped sweet potatoes with bacon and Gruyère, or homemade green bean casserole (no canned soups!).

Make Ahead Ideas

Get a head start: The asparagus can be trimmed and washed ahead of time. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated as well. Warm it up slightly in the microwave before using. Prepare the bread crumb mixture ahead too.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

Leftover asparagus casserole should be refrigerated promptly. It will keep for a few days. I don’t recommend freezing the casserole because the sauce tends to separate. Reheat leftovers in the microwave until warmed through. Try not overheat the casserole.

More Asparagus Recipes


Asparagus Casserole

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Vibrant emerald green asparagus, a creamy cheese sauce, and crunchy lemony breadcrumbs make this asparagus casserole something to look forward to this spring!
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Asparagus & cream sauce:

  • 2 pounds fresh asparagus (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Seasoned breadcrumbs:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon coarse ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish and set aside.
  • Rinse asparagus well and trim off tough ends. Arrange stalks horizontally in prepared baking dish.
    2 pounds fresh asparagus
  • In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 3 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Slowly whisk in the half and half. Season with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg.
    2 cups half and half, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce has slightly thickened, about 10 minutes (it will thicken more when you add the cheese). Reduce heat to low. Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted. Remove from heat.
    1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Pour sauce evenly over asparagus spears. Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make topping. in a small microwave-safe bowl, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in microwave. Add bread crumbs, parsley, lemon zest, teaspoon salt and teaspoon pepper. Mix until the bread crumbs are evenly coated with butter.
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 cup panko bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, ⅛ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • After 15 minutes, remove casserole from oven. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over the casserole. Return dish to oven and continue baking for 10 minutes or until asparagus is tender and topping is lightly browned.
  • Let cool for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.


  • If fresh asparagus isn’t available, or it isn’t in season, frozen asparagus is a good alternative. Place the frozen asparagus in the baking dish, unthawed. It may take a few minutes longer to become tender. Final dish may be slightly more watery.
  • If you prefer, the asparagus spears can be chopped into 1 inch pieces before topping with sauce. 
  • Gruyère, Swiss, or sharp cheddar cheese may be substituted for the Parmesan cheese. 


Calories: 241kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 478mg, Potassium: 351mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1431IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 260mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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This content and recipe is in partnership with Spartan Nash and Family Fare. I was compensated for my time but all opinions are, as always, my own. Thank you for supporting Rachel Cooks by reading about brands we use and love in our own home. Sponsored posts like these help me cover some of the expenses involved with keeping this site free for you to use! 

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5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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