This Sautéed Leeks recipe shows you how easy it is to make leeks into a soft, tender, and tasty side dish. These buttered pan-fried leeks are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
This sauteed leek recipe is a delicious alternative to the usual sautéed onion. Leeks, like onions, are thin and have a mild flavor that adds great depth to the sautéing process.
Simply frying the chopped leeks in a pan of butter with some simple seasonings turns them into a melt-in-your-mouth delight!
Sautéed leeks can be used in many ways. Add them to a frittata, omelet, pasta dish, or soup for an extra layer of flavor and texture.
It can also be used as a topping for toast, pizza, or even baked potatoes.
Adding sauteed leeks to your vegetable rotation is an easy way to add rich flavor to any meal that you are preparing.
The best part about this recipe? You can have them ready in 15 minutes or less!
This was inspired by my grilled leeks and cheesy leeks recipes on this site, and pairs well with this portobello mushroom steak for a veg-packed meal.
Check out my guide to leeks for recipes, hints, tips and info.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Leeks are an inexpensive vegetable that’s great to use when you’re on a budget.
They offer a mild onion flavor that isn’t overpowering.
You can use them in a variety of different ways to add flavor and texture.
This side dish is made from start to finish in just 15 minutes or less.
- Fresh Leeks - You’ll need fresh medium-sized leeks to make enough for 4 servings of sauteed leeks.
- Olive Oil - Helps the leeks become soft on the inside and crispy on the outside when sauteed in the skillet.
- Butter - Adding butter to olive oil gives the leeks a rich buttery flavor and helps enhance the texture of the leeks as they cook down.
- Fresh Thyme Leaves - This citrusy herb gives the leeks a bright and fresh flavor that pairs well with the mild flavor of onion in leeks.
- Garlic Cloves - Infuses the dish with a fresh garlic flavor that makes a perfect match with onion.
- Salt & Pepper - This spice duo is used to enhance the flavor of the leeks and garlic and is used to taste.
Please see the recipe card below for quantities.
How to Sautée Leeks
Wondering how to make this sauteed leeks recipe? It's easy! Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare the leeks: Start by cutting the leek at the root and cutting off the dark green tops. Thoroughly wash the light green and white parts to remove any dirt trapped inside. With a sharp knife, cut the leeks into ¼ inch round pieces.
Saute the leeks: In a large skillet, add the butter and olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the oil is hot and shimmery, add the prepared chopped leeks. Using a spatula, saute them for 6-8 minutes or until they start to become soft and begin to brown.
Flavor the leeks: Add in the fresh thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine and saute for another 2 minutes until the leeks are soft and tender. Remove from heat and serve your sauted leeks!
Leeks come straight from the ground and tend to have lots of dirt trapped inside. Make sure you thoroughly wash your leeks after cutting the stem to remove all the dirt.
When cutting the leeks, make sure you remove the green part of the stem, although it may seem like you’re wasting most of the vegetables, the green parts are very tough and not edible. Try using them in a vegetable stock.
Butter is very helpful for maintaining and enhancing the flavor of the leeks which is why it’s paired with olive oil in this recipe. You could use just olive oil if preferred.
Make sure you keep an eye on the leeks as they are cooking as you don’t want them to burn. Burnt leeks also cause an unpleasant bitter flavor.
Check out more leek recipes and info in this 101 guide to leeks.
Use as a topping for pizza, tacos, pasta, risotto etc...
Serve piled into a bowl of potato leek soup.
Make a batch for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner.
Add a bit of homemade Chili Garlic Oil when cooking in the pan for a spicy kick.
A sprinkling of parmesan cheese or Vegan Parmesan Cheese gives these leeks a layer of salty cheese flavor.
Stir in some chopped fresh spinach to make sauteed leeks and spinach.
If you’d rather cook them a different way, try Grilled Leeks for a smoky grilled taste.
Instead of using fresh thyme, try using other herbs to flavor the leeks such as rosemary, parsley, sage, oregano, or cilantro.
Chop up some carrots and cook them along with the leeks.
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice over the finished recipe brightens up the flavor.
Storing: Sauteed leeks are best eaten immediately. However, any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, warm them up in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through.
Freezing: Because leeks have a high moisture content, they will not hold the same texture when frozen then thawed. Therefore, freezing is not recommended.
A good washing should take care of most of the dirt. However, if your leeks are especially dirty you can soak them in a cold bowl of water and mix until the dirt falls to the bottom, or hold under running water to flush the dirt out. See my guide to leeks.
The most edible portion is the thick white stem as well as some of the light green parts. The part of the leek that turns green is usually dry, woody, and inedible.
Leeks have a unique mild onion flavor which makes them pair well with any flavor you would use onions in including pasta, soups, casseroles, and eggs.
More vegetable side dish recipes
I hope you love these sauteed leeks as much as we do! Be sure to check out these other vegetable side dishes too.
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Buttered Sautéed Leeks
- 4 medium leeks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter or all oil to make it vegan
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- Cut off and discard the root and dark green leaves of the leeks. Wash the remaining light green and white part and cut into ¼” rounds. Set aside.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until it’s just beginning to brown.
- Stir in the thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the leeks are soft.
- Serve and enjoy.
- Wash your leeks after cutting the stem to remove all the dirt. When cutting the leeks, make sure you remove the green part of the stem, although it may seem like you’re wasting most of the vegetable, the green parts are very tough and not edible.
- Butter is very helpful for maintaining and enhancing the flavor of the leeks which is why it’s paired with olive oil in this recipe.
- Make sure you keep an eye on the leeks as they are cooking as you don’t want them to burn. Burnt leeks also cause an unpleasant bitter flavor.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.