How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

Learn how to cook fresh green beans perfectly every time! Serve them as a side dish, or add them to your favorite green bean recipes.

Fresh green beans

Nearly all of my fresh green bean recipes begin with blanching the beans. If you ask me, everyone should learn this method for how to cook green beans. It’s quick and easy, and it yields beans that are vibrant, crisp-tender, and not at all mushy. They’re perfect for serving as a side dish or adding to salads and sandwiches. Heck, they even make a great green bean casserole!

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to how to cook fresh green beans, as well as my favorite green bean recipes. They include ideas for Thanksgiving, summer picnics, and dinners all year round. I hope you find something you love!

String beans in a colander

How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

My method for how to cook green beans is super simple! Here’s how it goes:

First, wash and trim the beans. Rinse them in a colander under cool running water, and snap off the stems. While you work, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a large bowl of ice water nearby.

How to cook green beans

Next, blanch the beans. When the water is boiling, drop the trimmed beans into the pot. Cook for 2 minutes, until the beans are crisp-tender and vibrant green.

Then, chill! Immediately transfer the blanched beans to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Let them chill for at least 15 seconds; you want them to cool completely.

Finally, drain the beans, and spread them on a kitchen towel or paper towels to dry.

That’s it! The string beans are ready to eat.

draining fresh green beans

Favorite Green Bean Recipes and Serving Suggestions

In the summer and early fall, when fresh green beans are at their best, I often serve them on their own as a side dish. Then, I toss the blanched beans with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and salt to pep up their flavor. Serve them just like that, or dress them up more with toasted almonds or pine nuts, grated Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, or fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or thyme.

Simply cooked green beans are also a great starting point for larger green bean recipes. You’ll find them in my Creamy Vegan Pasta Salad, Niçoise Salad, Broccoli Pasta Salad, and Chickpea Salad Sandwiches as well as my Green Bean Salad and casserole! In short, learning how to cook fresh green beans by blanching them will set you up for making all kinds of delicious recipes. Let me know which ones you try!

green bean recipes

How to Cook Fresh Green Beans

rate this recipe:
5 from 20 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Serves 4
Serve these blanched green beans or haricots verts as a side dish with lemon and olive oil, or add them to your favorite green bean recipes. Find suggestions in the post above!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, stemmed

Optional seasoning:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • juice of 1/2 lemon plus 1/2 teaspoon zest
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water nearby. Drop the green beans into the boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the beans and immediately immerse in the ice water long enough to cool completely, about 15 seconds. Drain and place on paper towels to dry.
  • Use in any recipe that calls for blanched green beans (see suggestions in the blog post above), or simply toss the blanched green beans with the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.

 

39 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Manga Vaiphei
    08.19.2021

    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Ken
    07.24.2021

    It I like to eat my green beans hot. Putting them in ice water will make them cool. What should I do?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.24.2021

      you can skip the ice water and just serve right away.

  3. CPearman
    02.14.2021

    5 stars
    Delicious!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. 5 stars
    Love the idea of adding something a little on the lighter side for a Thanksgiving dish. I usually will do a simple roasted brussel sprout but I think I will add this to the mix instead!

  5. Marie keehl
    11.13.2020

    My husband is diabetic and is going through chemo. He is a very picky eater, he loves green beans. I am excited to try this recipe. Thank you so much

  6. lynn riddle
    10.26.2020

    5 stars
    Made this last night & it was delicious. Will definitely be part of the regular rotation!

  7. Emily
    03.07.2020

    5 stars
    Such an easy and fresh way to enjoy green beans. As equally delicious as it is fresh.

    • Emily
      03.07.2020

      5 stars
      Meant to say as equally delicious as it is quick. Fresh works too though.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.