How to Cook Green Beans

Good enough to eat straight from the garden, fresh green beans are wonderfully versatile. We'll show you how to cook green beans using a variety of methods, how long to cook green beans using each cooking method, plus our favorite green bean recipes.

Prep to Cook Fresh Green Beans

Trimming green beans

When preparing to cook fresh green beans, wash beans and remove ends and strings. Leave beans whole, cut them into 1-inch pieces, or slice them lengthwise for French-cut beans.

To trim green beans, place several beans at a time on a cutting board, lining up the stem ends. Cut off stems. If desired, cut off pointed tips.

Now it's time to get cooking! Read on for several ways to cook green beans, then choose the one you think is the best way to cook green beans.

How to Cook Green Beans on the Stove

Farm-Style Green Beans

One way to cook green beans on the stove is by boiling. To boil green beans, cook them, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water until crisp-tender:

  • 10 to 15 minutes for whole or cut green beans
  • 5 to 10 minutes for French-cut green beans

How to tell when green beans are done: To test green beans for crisp-tender doneness, bite into a bean a minute or two before the end of the suggested timing. The bean should have a slight crunch to it.

Try our Farm-Style Green Beans recipe

How to Cook Green Beans in the Microwave

Apricot Pork with Garlic Green Beans

Place green beans in a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) until crisp-tender, stirring once:

  • 8 to 12 minutes for whole or cut green beans
  • 7 to 10 minutes for French-cut green beans

Get our Apricot Pork with Garlic Green Beans recipe, which calls for microwaving green beans.

How to Steam Green Beans

Minted French Green Beans

Place a steamer basket in a large skillet with sides or a saucepan. Add water to just below the bottom of the steamer basket. Bring water to boiling and add green beans. Cook whole, cut, or French-cut green beans, covered, for 10 to 22 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Make our steamed Minted French Green Beans recipe.

How to Blanch Green Beans

Plunging green beans into ice bath to blanch green beans

Blanched green beans can be added to other recipes, cooked further using another method (such as sauteing), or used to start the freezing process of fresh green beans. To blanch green beans, use these steps:

  • Bring a large pot of water to boiling. Allow 1 gallon of water per pound of green beans.
  • Fill a large bowl with ice water.
  • Working in batches, carefully lower green beans into the boiling water.
  • Boil small beans for 2 minutes, medium beans for 3 minutes, and large beans for 4 minutes.
  • Cool the beans quickly by plunging them into ice water.
  • After they have cooled, drain beans.

How to Saute Green Beans

Green Beans with Shallots, Thyme, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Another way to cook green beans on the stove is to saute them. Some sauteed green bean recipes call for you to blanch them first. To blanch, follow the directions above and continue as directed below.

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add beans. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Remove from heat.

Try these sauteed green bean recipes, one with blanched beans and one without:

Green Beans with Shallots, Thyme, and Shiitake Mushrooms

Blistered Green Beans with Bacon

How to Cook Green Beans in a Foil Pack

For zero cleanup time, grill green beans in a foil pack, also called a hobo pack.

  • Fold a 36x18-inch piece of heavy-duty foil in half to make an 18-inch square.
  • Place prepped green beans in center of foil.
  • Season beans as desired and drizzle with oil.
  • Bring up opposite edges of foil; seal with a double fold.
  • Fold remaining ends to completely enclose beans, leaving space for steam to build.
  • Grill directly over medium heat on a covered grill 25 to 30 minutes, turning the packet occasionally.

Get the Green Bean Hobo Pack recipe.

How to Make Green Bean Casserole

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Step 1: Cook green beans

Place green beans in a casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water. Microwave, covered, on 100 percent power (high) until crisp-tender, stirring once:

  • 8 to 12 minutes for whole or cut green beans
  • 7 to 10 minutes for French-cut green beans

Drain beans well.

Step 2: Combine with filling

In a large mixing bowl stir together one 10-3/4-ounce can condensed cream of mushroom soup and black pepper to taste. Stir in the beans. Transfer mixture to a 1-quart casserole.

Step 3: Bake casserole

Sprinkle the top with 1-1/3 cups French-fried onions or bread crumbs. Bake in a 350°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the mixture is heated through and the topping is golden.

Try our collection of 15+ green bean casserole recipes.

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