How to Grill Leeks and Why You Should

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldAs I type this, Eric is watching a very gothic, silent, black-and-white film version of Snow White, set in Spain. The dwarves are all bull-fighters, and they train Snow White to be a full-fledged matador.

I have to say that it is way more hardcore than the sighing-damsel Disney version. Still pretty creepy though I’m not gonna lie. It’s a good thing Eric and I agree on the chocolate peanut butter milkshakes we’ve been addicted to lately. Because I don’t think he’s going to be converted to rom-coms anytime soon. Only artsy foreign films will do. Gosh I’m so boringly mainstream.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldWell I know what you’re thinking. It’s about time the Food Charlatan put up a Leek-Grilling tutorial! I’ve been waiting.

Okaaay so maybe not.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldHave you ever even had a leek? Allow me to convert you to leek-loving ways. Leeks are cheap. I bought 4 at the farmers market for $2.50. Leeks are healthy. I mean just look at all that green fibrous-ness. Vegan, paleo, low-fat…the works. Leeks are easy to grill or pan-fry. I’ll show you! And last but not least, leeks are freakishly delicious. They are related to the onion and have a similar sweet taste. We all know how delicious grilled onions are, so don’t be shy now.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldI particularly like grilled leeks paired with a nice steak, as pictured here. I didn’t include the recipe for the steak but you can find it here. I can’t put up a recipe for steak until I can actually cook one without burning it to a crisp or singeing my eyebrows. (We just got a grill for the first time ever, can you tell??)

The tutorial is below. Please tell me if you make this! I want to have leek-bonding conversations with you! If you already love leeks, tell me how you use them!

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldP.S. For those wondering, Eric and I have decided to spend the 4th of July in San Francisco to celebrate our anniversary. Thanks for all the heads-ups about Yosemite being crowded! If you’ve been to SF and loved something in particular, let me know! I’m pretty familiar with the city having grown up  nearby, but I certainly haven’t tried everything.

How to Grill Leeks


  • fresh leeks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. (about 3-4 inches of water)
  2. Begin by chopping off the upper portion of the leek. Keep the white and pale green portion at the bottom. If in doubt, chop high. You can always peel or cut off tough layers later on.
  3. Next chop off the roots. Get as close to them as you can.
  4. Peel off the tough outer layers.
  5. Chop the leek down the center, but leave the root end intact (see photos).
  6. Wash the leek thoroughly, carefully peeling back the layers to clean the inside.
  7. Boil the leek in the pot for 4 minutes. Remove to a towel and let cool. When cool enough to handle, finish cutting them in half. (Chop the root end that you kept intact earlier)
  8. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  9. Transfer the leeks to a plate or platter and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  10. When your grill is hot, add the halved leeks. If you didn't use much olive oil on the leeks, be sure to brush the grill with oil.
  11. Grill over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then flip and grill for another 2 minutes.
  12. Serve with steak, chicken, fish, or pretty much anything that can be grilled.


Prepare one leek per person you are serving, more if everyone really likes leeks :)

Source: Rachael Ray. I also found this brief leek video helpful. The steak I made is on that same Rachael Ray page.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldChoose leeks that have their roots intact, if possible. This will keep them fresher much longer. The one pictured on the left had had it’s roots chopped off, and the leaves were noticeably limper.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldChop off the top portion of the leeks. The inside layers should stop looking tender at some point–chop there.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You Should Chop off the roots, as close to the root as you can.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldPeel off the tough outer layers, as many as you need to so that all you have left are tender leaves.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldThis is just after I peeled off the outer layers. Look how dirty it is!   Ewww

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldChop the leek almost in half, keep the root intact.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldPeel back the layers like this and wash them under running water.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You Should This picture is completely unnecessary. I kinda just wanted to flip you off. KIDDING!! Wash all those layers now!

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldIf there are any outer layers where the bottom looks good but the top looks tough, cut them off like this.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldNow they are ready to be boiled. Boil for 3-4 minutes. If you don’t boil them they will burn  on the grill before they get tender.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldLay out on a towel, let cool, and finish cutting them in half.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldTransfer them to a plate and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper, or any seasonings you want.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldGrill for about 2 minutes on each side, or until they are marked like this.

How to Grill Leeks and Why You ShouldEnjoy! Grilled leeks are tasty with grilled steak, chicken, or fish.

More leek recipes:

Leek Tomato and Mushroom Quiche from Pip and Ebby

Cream of Potato and Leek Soup from Life as a Strawberry

Potato, Leek and Bacon Pizza from Bev Cooks << I sooo want to try this.

Carrot “Rice” Leek Risotto with Bacon from Skinnytaste

Greek Macaroni & Cheese with Roast Garlic and Caramelized Leeks from Adventures in Cooking





  1. Sarah says

    I like leeks sliced in rounds (only the tender parts of course) as a pizza topping along with carmelized mushrooms. No need to pre-boil; they roast nicely (we cook our pizza at 500 degrees for seven minutes as it’s usually a thinner artisan crust). Yay grills! And grilled vegetables! Keep the goodness comin’!

  2. says

    It wasnt until this year that i realized Leeks were good for something other than potato leek soup. But i havent grilled them yet! We just got a bbq too so ill be trying this for sure. Yay for SF! My fave restaurant is Kokkari (Greek Food) and a new popular one ive been dying to try is State Bird Provisions on Fillmore St. Or Zero Zero for Italian. Oh the list could go on…you will enjoy anywhere you go though, im sure :)
    Caitlin recently posted…36 Hours in Venice, ItalyMy Profile

  3. Eric says

    Hey I love a good rom-com as much as probably more than, the next guy. There are just so few good ones we haven’t already seen!

  4. says

    This is such a good post! I am intrigued by leeks but the one time I tried adding them to a pasta dish it wasn’t very good. I think I added parts of it to the dish I wasn’t supposed to? I didn’t know how to cut it properly, but now I do! :)
    Annie @Maebells recently posted…Strawberry Banana SmoothieMy Profile

  5. Lianne says

    We slice them in 1/2″ rings and saute them (without boiling), then eat them like any other side vegetable with a bit of gravy.

  6. says

    Oh, yum, I love roasted leeks and will have to try grilling them next time! Looks delicious especially with the pretty grill marks :)

  7. says

    One summer in high school, my brother and I spent days watching all of our old Disney movies on VHS. Yes, VHS… That seems so long ago! We could still sing along to every song, which amused our mom. I doubt I’d last very long through that artsy version… Anything scarier than Captain Hook and I have to cover my eyes or leave the room!
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  8. Kris says

    Hey Karen, why don’t you try “The Pig and Pie” in the mission district? I’ve been told it has awesomely, delicious bacon, spinach and hard-boiled egg salad!

    Also, in defense of Eric, he’s about the only guy I know (except for Chip) that has sat through all 6 hours of “Pride and Prejudice” and not been asleep during it.

  9. says

    These look great! I’m looking for more grilled veggie recipes, so I’ll add this to the list. They seem easy enough.

    The main point of my comment though is chocolate peanut butter milkshakes for the win! Have you ever added banana?! OMG! Chocolate, peanut-butter, banana milkshakes – Earth-shattering. :)

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