Who Wins the Title of “Best Green Beans Ever”?
It’s a good thing I really like green beans. That’s because this month — as part of Kitchn testing out some of the most famous Thanksgiving recipes on the internet — I cooked a ton of them. I wanted to figure out which celebrity chef (out of Alton Brown, Ina Garten, and Ree Drummond) had the very best green bean recipe.
And if you think all green beans are the same, these three recipes proved that’s definitely not the case. Alton turned them into a classic casserole, Ina went the fancy route, and Ree made sure to toss in some bacon. So, which is the very best recipe to bring to your Thanksgiving table? Here’s how they ranked, from my least favorite to most favorite.
The Most Promising (but Ultimately the Most Frustrating) Green Beans: Alton Brown’s Best Green Bean Casserole Ever
I had high hopes for this super DIY version of classic bean green casserole. Alton ditches the canned cream of mushroom soup and packaged crispy onions for homemade versions. While it all could have worked out wonderfully, the onions were an epic failure for me. They were supposed to get golden-brown and crispy in the oven, but instead they completely blackened in some spots while remaining raw in others. They also maddeningly stuck together. I felt defeated after this step and, while the rest of the recipe came together just fine, the onions, which is such an important part of this Thanksgiving favorite, ruined it. Rating: 5/10.
The Most Overcooked Green Beans: Pioneer Woman’s Best Green Beans Ever
Ree’s green beans get sautéed in bacon fat, which I figured was a pretty good sign they’d be awesome. While it did impart a lot of flavor, the actual beans weren’t great here. She has you simmer them in a cup of chicken broth on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes. My problem was that after 30 minutes, the beans were overcooked and mushy — but the broth still hadn’t evaporated. (But I think if you use half as much chicken broth and simmer the beans over a higher heat until just tender, this recipe could work.) Rating: 6/10.
The Very Best Green Beans: Ina Garten’s Green Beans Gremolata
For me, Ina’s green bean recipe won by a landslide. Not only was it the easiest recipe to make, but it also felt the most festive. The classic beans are tossed in an Italian gremolata — which is a chopped herb condiment of garlic, parsley, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, and toasted pine nuts. (Sounds fancy, but is actually really simple to assemble.) Almost the entire recipe can be made ahead and I think the bright, fresh flavors would be the perfect contrast to the heavier dishes at the Thanksgiving table. In short? These are green beans I’ll make for the holiday and beyond. Rating: 10/10.