How to Cook Green Beans Like a Pro

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Master how to cook green beans and achieve the perfect texture and color every time. The simple blanch and shock method is the key to bright and crunchy beans.

Master how to cook green beans and achieve the perfect texture and color every time. The simple blanch and shock method is the key to bright and crunchy beans.

Nobody likes to eat mushy and dull-colored vegetables, that’s why learning how to cook green beans like a pro will be a game-changer in the kitchen. There is an easy method to achieve beautiful bright and crisp beans called “blanch and shock.”

It’s a two-step process that takes less than 10 minutes to ensure perfect results. From there, you can refrigerate the beans for later use in recipes, or rewarm them immediately with seasonings for a tasty side dish. Once you’ve mastered this cooking technique, you will never have to worry about the dreaded green bean disaster being served to your guests every again!

Metal tongs grabbing green beans from a hot boiling pot of water

What is Blanching?

Blanching is submerging vegetables in a large pot of boiling salted water for just a few minutes to soften the cell walls. For green beans, what you’ll observe is the dull green chlorophyll transform into a bright green color. The change is due to the air between the cells bubbling off in the hot environment and the tissue of the plant becoming more transparent.

Beware! Do not walk away from the pot. If you cook the vegetables too long or don’t stop the cooking process, the bright green can change to the dull olive green. This is because as the chlorophyll molecules get heated, the magnesium ion contained in the center releases, and causes the unpleasant color change. What should you do to prevent this?

Large silver bowl of green beans and ice cubes

Let the Beans Chill!

The quick blanching helps cook and tenderize the green beans, but shocking them right after in a large ice water bath stops the cooking and any further change in color. The result is crisp, tender, gorgeous green vegetables.

Just reheat the vegetables right before serving. You can also freeze or refrigerate the blanched beans until ready to cook. This method is also perfect for green vegetables like broccoli, snow and snap peas and asparagus.

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How to Cook Green Beans

Learn how to cook green beans to achieve the perfect texture and color every time. The blanch and shock method is the key to bright and crunchy beans.
Pin Print Review
3.89 from 93 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 mins
Total Time8 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 4 quarts water, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups ice cubes
  • 1 pound green beans, or haricot verts

Instructions 

  • Add 3 quarts of water and salt to a large pot. Heat pot over high heat until a rolling boil is reached and large bubbles break the surface.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine 1-quart water and ice. Set the ice bath aside.
  • Add beans to the boiling water and cook until the green beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Immediately transfer beans to the ice bath for 5 minutes. Drain beans and use them as desired.

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Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Green Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 35 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value*
Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0.03g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.01g
Sodium 307mg13%
Potassium 237mg7%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 750IU15%
Vitamin C 25.6mg31%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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23 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      If you are reheating the next day, in a microwave works well. I like to add some olive oil or butter to a saute pan over medium heat an reheat them that way, plus add seasonings.

  1. Lisa I. says

    Thank you, Jessica! Can you tell me how many days the blanched green beans can stay in the fridge before using them?

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