Green Beans: The Best Ways to Pick Them, Trim Them, Cook Them, and Eat Them
Green beans! The snappiest, greenest, most underrated vegetable. They’re good when teeny and skinny and garlicky; they’re also good when cooked long and slow. If you want to look at green beans with a fresh eye, start here for everything you need to know.
The Green Bean Top 5
Five must-tries for the green bean-obsessed.
Types of Green Beans
Most of the green beans you find in the grocery store are the standard round green beans. Sometimes you can find French haricot verts which are the extremely delicate and skinny beans that are so good quick-cooked. Other beans you may see in global groceries or at farmers markets are long beans like Chinese long beans and yellow wax beans. All of these beans can be trimmed and cooked with the methods shared below.
How to Choose the Best Green Beans
Look for green beans without brown spots or any faint lines of white mold. Also look for smaller, skinnier green beans, especially if you are going to cook them lightly (versus braising or roasting them).
- Read more about picking the best vegetables: A Guide to Selecting the Best Produce: Vegetables
How to Trim Green Beans
Most of the time, fresh green beans need to have the stem ends trimmed off; they’re a little crispy and woody and wouldn’t taste good when cooked. (Sometimes you will find them already trimmed at the grocery store.)
You can snap them off by hand, which if you have time is a pleasantly meditative activity while watching TV or listening to a podcast. Or try this quicker knife method:
The Best Ways to Cook Green Beans
The very best ways to cook green beans: start here.
Also, don’t forget about pickling!
How (and Why) to Blanch Green Beans
One of the most classic and the quickest way to cook green beans is to blanch them quickly in boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes, then to drain and plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
This method is best used on the freshest, skinniest, most tender beans. Dress them then with butter or olive oil, and salt and pepper with a squeeze of lemon.
- A great recipe for blanched green beans: Potatoes, Green Beans, and Corn with Lemon-Brown Butter Dressing
How to Season Green Beans
There are so many ways to season green beans, although a simple squeeze of lemon with salt and pepper is perhaps the finest. Here are some more really creative ideas!
The Best Green Beans from Your Favorite Chefs
Lots of people claim the “best” green beans ever. So we tried some of our top favorites to see who wins: Alton, Ina, or Ree.
What to Substitute for Fresh Green Beans
How to Freeze Green Beans
To freeze fresh or leftover green beans, blanch them first then freeze for up to 12 months.
- How to freeze green beans plus also corn, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini: 5 Vegetables to Freeze Right Now
Our Top 10 Green Bean Recipes
- Greek-Style Braised Green Beans
- How To Make Classic Green Bean Casserole
- Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
- Oven-Baked Green Bean Fries
- How To Make Dilly Beans
- Potatoes, Green Beans, and Corn with Lemon-Brown Butter Dressing
- Roasted Green Beans with Harissa
- One-Pot Southern-Style Green Beans
- Sausage & Potato Foil Packets
- Lemony Green Beans With Almond Breadcrumbs
What’s your favorite recipe or use for green beans? Any favorite way to cook them?
31 Days of Vegetables: How to fall in love with vegetables in 31 days. How many of these splendid veg have you eaten this month? Take a look at the whole list and take our July challenge to eat every single one!