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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

How To Boil Green Beans

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Fresh green beans when cooked right, are delicious and have a nice crunch! But you may be wondering how to boil green beans to achieve a bright color, and a bite, without overcooking. This is your ultimate guide for how to cook green beans so that they come out perfectly every single time!

green beans served with butter for how to boil green beans recipe

Green beans are an often overlooked vegetable. They are not my husband’s or my kids’ favorite! But I was convinced the reason they didn’t love green beans was because they had experienced overcooked soggy green beans without any flavor.

It’s easy to overcook green string beans when boiling or steaming. This results in flavorless and soggy beans that are not appetizing!

But there is a simple and great way to cook them and achieve a super flavorful, easy side dish. Some of the best ways include boiling, and steaming, which when done correctly, gives you perfectly cooked, slightly crunchy beans.

Latest Recipe Video!

This boiled green beans recipe will show you how to boil green beans perfectly. It is my go-to cooking method for preparing this delicious veggie, and it will quickly become one of your favorite side dishes to serve at your dinner table! You can also use this easy way to cook your beans before adding to your favorite green bean casserole recipe.

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy Recipe
  • Perfect Green Bean Recipe for Every Occasion
  • Easy Method
  • Achieve a Vibrant Green Color
  • Vegan Friendly
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Pairs with Numerous Main Dishes
  • Add to your list of healthy recipes!
  • Crisp tender beans!

🥘 Ingredients

ingredients for how to boil green beans recipe

Fresh Green Beans: Sometimes called snap beans, french beans, haricots verts, or string beans, regular green beans are one of those vegetables that are easy to acquire all year long. However, they are most fresh and in season from May to October. When preparing your raw green beans to boil, you’ll want to wash them thoroughly, and trim the ends.

Kosher Salt: You’ll add half the sea salt to the boiling water, and the other half of the salt to the green beans to season after they’ve boiled. Once the green beans are cooked, you can toss them with any of your other favorite seasonings!

Olive Oi or Butterl: You can dress these green beans with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil right after cooking. The olive oil coats the green beans and helps the salt stick to them.

🔪 Instructions

Step 1: Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. 

water added to large pot

Step 2: Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and the green beans. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until just tender and green beans turn bright green color. Cooking time will vary between 2-5 minutes.

beans added to boiling water in a pot

Step 3: Add the beans to a colander, shake and drain. If you don’t have a colander, you can also remove the green beans with a slotted spoon.

washing beans in the sink

Step 4: Fill a large bowl of ice water. Submerge the green beans in the ice bath and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then drain in the colander. Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and olive oil or butter. You can also saute lightly with additional spices like fresh garlic and crushed red pepper, or add toppings like pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

green beans served with butter for how to boil green beans recipe

📖 Variations On How To Cook Green Beans

❄️ How To Cook Frozen Green Beans

Step 1: Place frozen green beans in a large pot with a 1/4 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until water evaporates.

Step 2: Remove the green beans from the pan, and set aside. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic. Stir and sauté for about one minute.

Step 3: Add the green beans back to the pot. Coat the beans with the oil and garlic by shaking the pan, or folding together. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the green beans are cooked through and warm.

Step 4: Season with salt and black pepper.

🥫 How To Cook Canned Green Beans

Step 1: Drain the canned green beans. Place in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes of until heated through.

Step 2: Add one tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt, spices of your choosing, and pepper or crushed red pepper to taste.

🍵 How To Steam Green Beans

Step 1: Wash and trim green beans.

Step 2: Place a steamer basket over a medium saucepan filled with one-inch of water.

Step 3: Place the green beans in the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 5-7 minutes.

Step 4: Drain the water from the saucepan, and return the green beans to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, and salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat, and serve!

🌱 How To Cook Green Beans For Baby

If you’re baking green beans for an infant, toddler, or young child, you may want to make soft green beans that are easy to chew, or a green bean puree. To make soft green beans, just cook them for longer than described above until a fork slides through them easily, then cut them into finger food sized pieces for your little one. To make a green bean puree for baby, follow this recipe.

❓Recipe FAQs

How long do you boil green beans?

You only need to boil green beans for no more than 5 minutes, and as little as 2-3 minutes. When the beans turn bright green they are done! If you boil them for too long they will overcook and become soft.

When boiling green beans you want them to still retain their texture and crunch. Another important thing to note about boiling green beans is that if you boil them for too long they will turn from a bright beautiful green to a dull dark green. One way to retain their color is to submerge the boiled green beans in an ice bath to step the cooking process after they’ve been boiled.

How long should you place boiled green beans in an ice bath?

Fill a large bowl with cool water and ice. Place boiled green beans in ice bath for about 5 minutes. This will stop cooking process and the beans will keep their bright color!

How do you store and keep cooked green beans?

Store boiled green beans in an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

How do you serve green beans?

Boiled green beans are a delicious, perfect side dish! You can dress them up by topping them with an aioli, pesto, or simple dressing of choice. Top with chopped nuts for added crunch.

Sprinkle with red pepper flakes for added heat. You can also enjoy them with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of lemon zest. Top with your favorite fresh herbs. Place in serving dish, and serve alongside your favorite main dishes!

green beans served with butter for how to boil green beans recipe

💭 Expert Tips

  • Use fresh green beans, haricot verts, or wax beans. Haricot verts are a longer more narrow green bean variety. Wax beans are are pale yellow in color.
  • Trim the ends before cooking and wash thoroughly.
  • To end the cooking process be sure to submerge the green beans in an ice bath.

🥗 More Vegetable Side Dish Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

green beans served with butter for how to boil green beans recipe
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

How to Boil Green Beans

Fresh green beans when cooked right, are delicious and have a nice crunch! But you may be wondering how to boil green beans to achieve a bright color, and a bite, without overcooking! In this tutorial I'll show you how to cook green beans so that they come out perfect every single time!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Fat, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Calories: 44kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans washed and ends trimmed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. 
  • Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and the green beans. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the beans to a colander, shake and drain.
  • Season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil. Serve immediately.

Video

https://youtu.be/JWWoyuw_dhg

Notes

Tips for Boiling Green Beans
  • Use fresh green beans, haricot verts, or wax beans. Haricot verts are a longer more narrow green bean variety. Wax beans are are pale yellow in color.
  • Trim the ends before cooking and wash thoroughly.
  • To end the cooking process be sure to submerge the green beans in an ice bath.
How to Cook Frozen Green Beans
  • Place frozen green beans in a large pot with a 1/4 cup of water. Cook over medium heat until water evaporates.
  • Remove the green beans from the pan, and set aside. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and two cloves of minced garlic. Stir and sauté for about one minute.
  • Add the green beans back to the pot. Coat the beans with the oil and garlic by shaking the pan, or folding together. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until the green beans are cooked through and warm.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.
How to Cook Canned Green Beans
  • Drain the canned green beans. Place in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes of until heated through.
  • Add one tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to Steam Green Beans
  • Wash and trim green beans.
  • Place a steamer basket over a medium saucepan filled with 1-2 inches of cold water.
  • Place the green beans in the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and steam for 5-7 minutes.
  • Drain the water from the saucepan, and return the green beans to the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic powder, and salt, and pepper to taste. Toss to coat, and serve!

Nutrition

Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 780mg | Potassium: 160mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Posted In…

Vegetarian Side Dishes ·

These vegetarian side dishes are tasty enough to be the star of the show! Here you’ll find easy, healthy plant based side dishes that are packed with veggies, and are bursting with flavor. 

Some favorites include this vegetable au gratin, my roasted broccoli with potatoes, this jalapeno artichoke dip, and these healthy whole wheat vegan dinner rolls!

Try any of these veggie side dishes for the perfect accompaniment to your main entree, or pair them with a soup or salad to turn them into a light main meal.

12 responses to “How To Boil Green Beans”

  1. Excellent tips. I referred.to your recipe because we just harvested our first green beans of the year and wanted to make sure they were perfect. Grabbed several Yukon gold potatoes out of the garden to go with them. Butter, fresh garlic, S&P and that’s all I need. Maybe a little powdered parm. Thanks again!5 stars

  2. Yes!!! They are definitely under appreciated. Honestly one of my favourite veggies. The tips in this post are gold!!5 stars

  3. I love how simple this is. I just shared this with my daughter who is learning to cook and she loved it! So many great tips!5 stars

  4. This is so helpful, thanks so much! No more soggy or grey beans, will be following your instructions closely next time I cook beans.5 stars

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