The Best Way To Cook Fresh Green Beans For Tender, Crispy Results

There are endless ways to cook green beans: Some people prefer them boiled, while other home cooks swear by techniques to roast, grill, or even air fry the bright veggies. As many ways as there are to prepare green beans, however, there are just as many opinions on how they should taste. Some people enjoy them so soft they border on mushy, while others like green beans with nothing more than a quick blanch so the vegetable maintains a strong snap.

Ultimately, for the perfect green beans that maintain a slight bite but are still tender and flavorful, the best technique involves a two-step method. First, you'll want to sauté your green beans in a pan, then quickly steam them to finish the cooking process. The best part is, this method is incredibly easy because it's all completed in one pan, and there's no need for any extra equipment like a steamer basket. Plus, you don't have to wait for a large pot of water to boil and don't have to drain at the end either.

Sauté green beans first to maintain their snap

To prepare fresh green beans in this manner, start by washing them in cool water and then snipping the ends. This can be done by hand, or line the green beans up on a cutting board and slice the tips and ends with a knife. The beans can then be sautéed over medium-high heat in a bit of oil or butter. Just be sure to select a pan with straight sides, and one that is large enough to accommodate the entire quantity you're cooking. The pan should also come with a tight-fitting lid, since you will need that in the next step.

It's important not to walk away from the pan, because with this preparation, you want to be careful not to blister the beans. The goal is to harness some of the wonderful flavor that comes from sautéing them without browning. That's why it is important to keep a close eye on the veggies as they sauté, and stir them frequently. The green beans will have a pleasant shimmer from the oil or butter in the pan and they will keep their beautiful green color this way. Everything should take just about five to seven minutes.

Steam green beans last to maintain a tender bite

One of the benefits of using this two-step cooking strategy is there is no need to transfer the beans to a steamer basket for the second step. The pan is already so hot from the sauté that, by adding only a small amount of water, steam will rise. Just be sure to cover the pan quickly with that tight-fitting lid, because you will want to harness every last drop of that precious steam to finish the cooking process. After only a minute or two the water will completely evaporate, and you will have green beans that are perfectly tender and ready to enjoy with your favorite meal.

The green beans can be served simply with just a pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. If you want to create an elegant but simple side, follow this recipe for green beans with black sesame dressing. For a decadent twist you can even try this recipe for French green beans with walnut miso butter.