3 Easy Ways To Cook Leeks: {Plus Tips}

Leeks are a member of the onion family and most often used for soups, but they are also delicious cooked and served as a side dish. Here are instructions for three different ways you can prepare them…


  • Cut the green top leaves off to just where they begin to flatten together.
  • Remove any roots and a thin slice of the white end (if tough).
  • Wash thoroughly, being sure to remove any soil between leaves.

Method #1 – Boiled

  • Tie in loose bunches just as you do with asparagus.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (1 teaspoon salt per 1 qt. of water)–use enough water to cover them completely.
  • Once water is boiling, plunge them into the pot and cook uncovered until done (about 25 minutes for large ones, approx 18-20 minutes for small tender ones).

Method #2 – Grilled

  • Grilling these is very similar to doing so with asparagus, after cleaning and preparing them, coat them with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Lay each piece sideways across medium-hot grill so they won’t fall through (you can also skewer them together before laying on grill).
  • Turn them occasionally so they don’t char, remove them when done (they should be nice and tender and brown all over). Time will vary according to thickness, typically 5 to 12 minutes.

Method #3 – Steamed

  • Clean and trim into 1″ to 2″ pieces.
  • Place in steamer basket above 1″ of boiling water.
  • Cook for 10 minutes or until tender then remove from heat (time will vary according to thickness).
  • Drizzle with a bit of olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper then serve.

A few tips:

  • Serving ideas: Drain well and serve with cream sauce; cheese sauce; butter or dripping sauce.
  • Quantity: Allow approximately 4-5 small tender leeks per person or 3 large per portion.
  • When boiling, try placing a piece of stale bread on surface of water to absorb odor.
  • They combine well with any vegetable that takes kindly to onions.
  • Medium sized stalks are done whole, large ones are sliced in half lengthwise.

Source: Portions of this article were adapted from the booklet “Vegetable Cook Book” by McFayden Seeds (1948)

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    • Feast on the Cheap

    Also love caramelized leeks. We cook with them ALL the time!

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