Sautéed Green Beans

4.94 from 31 votes
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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.

Crisp-tender Sautéed Green Beans in a pan, coated with flaky salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

From a casual weeknight dinner to more elaborate holiday festivities, sautéed 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.

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 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 the lid and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Add butter and stir with the cooked green beans.
  • Season with salt and black pepper.

Recipe Resources

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 sautés in a shallow metal pan with olive oil.

Garlic for Aromatics

The quickest way to add intense, 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 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 sautéing. However, for this recipe, I eliminate the blanching step to reduce the number of pots needed.

Instead, cover the green beans with a lid and then steam 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 are not mushy or overcooked.

Pouring flavorful vegetable broth into a pan of fresh green beans for added flavor.

Sauté for Flavor and Texture

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

FAQs About Sautéed Green Beans

Can sautéed green beans 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 green beans while keeping them colorful and crisp. When ready to use, reheat with the garlic and vegetable stock the same day of serving. If you’re making sautéed green beans ahead of time, I would not cover the beans as called out in the recipe instructions—simmer in the liquid until warmed through, then toss with butter.

How long do I sauté green beans?

From start to finish, it takes about 10 minutes to sauté green beans. This includes the process of sautéing the garlic, steaming the green beans, and finishing the sauté process with olive oil and butter.

Can I sauté frozen green beans?

Yes! The easiest way to sauté frozen green beans is to simmer them in water or vegetable stock (along with aromatics) until the liquid cooks off entirely and the beans are nice and tender. Simmer for about 8 minutes, then finish with butter, olive oil, and seasonings for a crisp, flavorful finish.

What to Serve Sautéed Green Beans With

Gorgeous crisp-tender sautéed green beans with salt, pepper, and minced garlic.

Recipe Science

The science behind steaming.

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 the pan 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.

Sautéed Green Beans

Sautéed greens beans are a healthy side dish. This one-pan recipe calls for minimal ingredients and takes only minutes. Learn the best method to sauté green beans with this delicious recipe.
4.94 from 31 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
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 – Wash green beans thoroughly under cool water and drain well.
  • Trim Green Bean Stems – 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.
  • Preheat Skillet – Heat a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat.
  • Sauté Minced Garlic – Add the olive oil, once hot add the minced garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds.
  • Add Beans & Broth – Add the green beans, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine.
  • Steam Green Beans – Increase to medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the beans are crisp-tender and bright green, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Finish Steaming – Remove the lid and stir the beans until the water has evaporated about 2 minutes.
  • Sauté in Butter – Add the butter and saute until melted and combined with the beans, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
  • Season Green Beans – Taste the beans and season with more salt as desired. Sprinkle beans with black pepper, stir to combine.
  • Serve & Enjoy – 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.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 8 servings
Calories 66kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 9g (3%)Protein 2g (4%)Fat 3g (5%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.1gCholesterol 4mg (1%)Sodium 211mg (9%)Potassium 245mg (7%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin A 858IU (17%)Vitamin C 14mg (17%)Calcium 45mg (5%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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9 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Tara says

    Could I add slivered or sliced almonds to this recipe? Do you have any suggestions on how to best incorporate almonds? Thanks!!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can definitely add some slivered or sliced almonds. I would sprinkle them on right before serving so that they stay crunchy.

  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!

  3. 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!).

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you, Pam! I’m glad to hear that you achieved the texture you were looking for in the beans and still enjoyed them the next day.