Sautéed Green Beans

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Sautéed greens beans are a healthy side dish that goes well with just about any meal. To make this an easy one-pan recipe, saute garlic and beans first and then steam until crisp-tender.

Sautéed Green Beans

From a casual weeknight dinner to more elaborate holiday festivities, sauteed green beans are a classic side dish for just about any occasion. For convenience, this recipe cuts down on the number of cookware used.

Instead of the typical blanching process, I steam the green beans using a little vegetable broth in the same pan that I initially used to saute the garlic and butter. This allows all the flavors to carry over. I think we can all appreciate less clean up without sacrificing taste.

preparing the green beans and garlic

How to cook sautéed green beans

  • Wash and trim green beans to 3 to 4 inches in size.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.
  • Add beans and vegetable broth to the pan, stir and cover.
  • Turn to medium-high heat and cook beans until tender, crisp, and bright green.
  • Remove lid and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add butter and stir with the cooked green beans.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.

How do I prepare green beans?

Fresh green beans or string beans can be purchased trimmed off the vine with the connection point still intact or already cut in prepacked bags. Make sure to trim off the inedible stem on the very tip. I like to have the beans about 3 to 4 inches in length to make them easy to cook and eat in a few bites.

minced garlic cooking in a saute pan

Garlic for aromatics

The quickest way to add pungent, earthy notes to these green beans is to toss in a generous amount of minced garlic, around 1/16 of an inch. This will ensure maximum allicin development naturally found in the garlic.

I saute the garlic in olive oil first so that aromatics hit the nose immediately, and the flavor better infuses throughout the cooking process. Make sure to not mince the garlic until right before ready to use, for elevated intensity without being overly potent in smell.

Steaming green beans in the pan

Typically quickly boiling or blanching is recommended to par-cook green beans in hot water for several minutes before sauteing. However, for this recipe, I eliminate the blanching step to cut down on the number of pots needed.

Instead, these green beans are covered with a lid and then steamed inside the pan with a flavorful vegetable broth to soften the cell walls. Within minutes the beans are vibrant in color and have a nice tender chew, but not mushy or overcooked.

pouring vegetable broth into a pan with green beans

Saute for flavor and texture

Allowing the liquid broth to evaporate concentrates the flavors in the pan. A final saute of the beans with butter adds a glossy sheen and hint of richness.

Can this be made ahead of time?

Yes! For the best-tasting beans made in advance, I highly recommend using this blanch and shock method. This technique par-cooks the beans while keeping them colorful and crisp. When ready to use just reheat with the garlic and vegetable stock the same day of serving.

If making ahead of time, I would not cover the beans as called out in the recipe instructions, just simmer in the liquid until warmed through and then toss with butter.

What I serve this with

Sautéed green beans with salt and pepper

Why do you steam green beans?

Steaming only requires a small amount of liquid to boil and then evaporate into superheated particles to cook the beans throughout. With the lid covered it takes a few minutes for the water to reach above 212ºF (100ºC). Keep it covered as you don’t want to stop the process before the water changes phases or you’ll risk losing all of that intense heat to effectively cook the beans.

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Sautéed Green Beans

Sautéed greens beans are a healthy side dish. To make this an easy one-pan recipe, saute garlic and beans first and then steam until crisp-tender.
Pin Print Review
4.67 from 9 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Side
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green beans
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • ½ cup vegetable broth, or vegetable stock or water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Instructions 

  • Wash green beans thoroughly under cool water and drain well.
  • Trim off the stem ends of the green beans. If the beans are very long, cut them in half, they should be about 3 to 4 inches in length.
  • Heat a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat.
  • Add the olive oil, once hot add the minced garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds.
  • Add the green beans and vegetable broth to the pan, stir to combine.
  • Increase to medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the beans are crisp-tender and bright green, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and stir the beans until the water has evaporated about 2 minutes.
  • Add the butter and saute until melted and combined with the beans, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Taste the beans and season with more salt as desired.
  • Sprinkle beans with black pepper, stir to combine.
  • Serve the green beans warm.

Equipment

Notes

  • Make it Vegan: Substitute butter with olive oil.
  • Make it Whole30 or Paleo: Use ghee instead of butter.

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Nutrition Facts
Sautéed Green Beans
Amount Per Serving
Calories 66 Calories from Fat 31
% Daily Value*
Fat 3.43g5%
Saturated Fat 1.2g6%
Cholesterol 3.76mg1%
Sodium 211.32mg9%
Potassium 239.27mg7%
Carbohydrates 8.5g3%
Fiber 3.09g12%
Sugar 3.83g4%
Protein 2.17g4%
Vitamin A 857.46IU17%
Vitamin C 14.15mg17%
Calcium 43.77mg4%
Iron 1.17mg7%
* 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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7 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Cherylynn says

    Hey Jessica,
    I love your recipes and just have a question. You say in this recipe to cut the garlic just before using, but I have read “The trick is that chopping your garlic is needed for allicin to form. This process takes up to 10 minutes. For this reason, you must chop garlic 5 to 10 minutes before using. Consume or cook with garlic right away and your garlic won’t live up to its full protective, disease fighting potential.”

    Just curious on your thoughts on this. Thank you.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I agree that allicin forms only when the cell walls of the garlic are ruptured, which you will smell pretty quickly. I think 5 to 10 minutes of chopping before you add it will work great for flavor. The problem is when it’s chopped too early in advance, an hour plus where the aroma and strong flavors build that may be too overpowering in the dish (and in your house!).

  2. Pamela W says

    This recipe was delicious! I had some diced fresh red pepper, and onions, so I sauteed them along with the garlic. That added extra flavor and color. Thank you so much!

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