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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
How to Cook Fresh Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans, stemmed
- 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.
- 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.