How to Cook Green Beans, 5 Easy Ways

How to Cook Green BeansGreen beans are perfect to saute, steam boil, roast. You can also microwave them or eat them raw. You want to cook them to keep the perfect taste and retain tier lovely green colour.

They are popular in the UK and the US and are easy to grow alongside other beans in your garden or allotment. They taste fantastic fresh from the plot.

The best things about them are that they are stringless, yay, which makes for easy preparation. They are versatile, easy to cook and can be cooked separately or used in many different recipes. I tend to eat mine with curry or in stir-frys as well as the more traditional meat and two veg meals.

How to Cook Green Beans

What is the Best Way to cook green beans? All the methods shown here are easy and popular ways to cook your beans, I recommend that you try each of them out to see which you like best.

Whether they come fresh from the garden, allotment or from the supermarket green beans are popular. Below there are several basic ways you can cook your beans. Whether you prefer to use the microwave or the hob, boil or steam you will have tasty green beans that you can add to your meals.

These methods can be used for either fresh or frozen green beans. This post is written for fresh, you can adjust your times according to the packet instructions for frozen.

How to Prepare Green Beans for Cooking

Regardless of how you want to cook them, you need to wash them and top and tail them. Simply trim off the ends of the beans. Depending on how you want to cook them you can then slice them up or leave whole. Some people even leave one end on.

How to Steam Green Beans

Steaming is a great way to cook your green beans as it is quick to do and it keeps more of the nutrients after cooking. Also, the end result is dryer than if you boil them and should be less floppy.

  1. Prepare your beans as above
  2. Pop on a pan of hot water
  3. Place your beans into the top pan
  4. Steam on a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until tender.
  5. remove the beans from the heat and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper to taste.

Stainless teal Steamers on Amazon

How to Boil Green Beans

Boiling is one of the most popular ways of cooking vegetables. It is quick and easy to do and leaves in many of the nutrients and the beans “clean” to be added to many different dishes.

  1. Prepare your beans as above.
  2. Put your beans into a pan of boiling lightly salted water, cover with a lid and cook for between 3-6 minutes. Don’t use too much water, just enough to cover the beans.
    The length of time depends on how well you like your beans cooked for. You want them to still be green and firm and not limp. Remember the beans will continue to cook for a couple of minutes once they have been removed from the water.
  3. Remove from the pan and drain of the water.
  4. They are ready to serve. While they are still hot you can melt with butter or simply add salt or pepper to taste.

Saute Green Beans on the Hob

  1. Wash and prepare your beans as above
  2. Heat your hob and put on some boiling water
  3. Cook your beans for a couple of minutes then drain them
  4. Use icy cold water and put the beans in, this stops them from cooking further
  5. Heat your frying pan with oil on a medium hob
  6. If you are using any extras like butter, garlic you can add them now
  7. Pop in your green beans
  8. Add herbs if you are using them
  9. Cook for about 3 to 6 minutes depending on how you like them done
  10. Remove from the heat and sea salt and pepper
  11. Serve

Easy Roasted Green Beans

An easy way to cook your green beans is to roast them, ideal if you are using your cooker for other things or if you want a richer fuller flavour to your beans.

  1. Preheat your oven to 230C (446F, Gas Mark 8, Halogen oven 210C)
  2. Wash and trim your beans but do not cut up. Dab dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place them in a roasting tray, coat them with some oil, salt and crushed garlic (optional)
  4. Place the tray into the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes (note: halogen oven users check your times it may be quicker)
  5. Cook until they are crunchy

Note: You can adapt the flavouring can add lemon, remove the garlic or add herbs etc. Rember grean beans only need a gentle enhancement.

How to Successfully Microwave Green Beans

The main issue with anything microwaved is that although it is quick the end result can be less than pleasing with limp overcooked or undercooked vegetables. Or even worse they go all rubbery, yuk! I don’t see that convenience should result in less than acceptable results and do use the microwave for convenience.

You can get microwave steamers that cook the beans really well and they retain their firmness.

You can both steam or cook in the water in a microwave.

Method 1 Cook your beans in water 

  1. Prepare your green beans by washing them and topping them
  2. Pop your beans into a microwavable container of water making sure they are covered
  3. If you want to you can add seasonings to your beans
  4. Put on a lid with a vent
  5. Put your microwave on a High heat and microwave the beans for between 4 to 6 minutes. Adjust your times depending on the microwave power and how you like your beans

Method 2 Steam your green beans in the microwave

  1. Wash and trim your beans. If you want them to cook quicker also cut them down
  2. Get a microwave steamer and add some water to the bottom of it according to manufacturers guidelines
  3. Pop in your green beans to the top steamer basket section. Place on lid making certain it is clipped properly
  4. Place in the microwave and cook for the recommended time (about 5 minutes).
  5. Carefully remove from the microwave as it may be hot
  6. They are ready to serve

Microwave steamer on Amazon


Why Cook Them If You Can Eat Them Raw?

You can eat them raw, however, whether you should or not seems to depend on what you read. Some people say you can while others say not to because they are toxic if not cooked.  As with anything on the net you have half of the sites saying one thing while the other half oppose it with much being Chinese whispers.
This may also vary from bean type to bean type.

The advantages of eating raw are that the beans retain all their nutrients. However, if they are toxic then it is not worth it. According to medical news today there are 130 varieties of green beans and some can be eaten raw.

This post is only referring to the French green bean or string bean (ironically stringless). I have yet to come up with anything UK based that is reliable however the Hong Kong government site says that they should be cooked thoroughly. Personally, I would err on the side of caution and cook the plant if advised to especially if I hadn’t grown it and it wasn’t organic.




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