Sauteed green beans are a deceptively simple side dish, but this version is addictive! Today I’m going to show you how to cook green beans so they are perfectly tender and flavorful every time.
Benefits of Green Beans
If you’re not already a big fan of green beans, here’s more reason to love them:
- They are a low FODMAP food, which may help with lowering IBS symptoms.
- Raw green beans have 2 grams of plant-based protein per cup.
- They’re also a source of vitamin C, which may help with wound healing and may shorten the recovery time for illnesses, like pneumonia.
- Green beans are also a good source of fiber, which can act like a prebiotic in the digestive tract and feed “good” gut bacteria.
What can you add to green beans for flavor? In this simple recipe, you’ll use fresh garlic, olive oil, and salt. It sounds simple, but it tastes unbelievably good.
Should You Steam Green Beans Before Sauteing?
No, you don’t need to blanch or steam green beans before sauteing them. They will become perfectly tender and bright green using this sauté method, and they’re ready to eat in just about 10 minutes!
How to Cut Them
Most stores will sell bags of “trimmed” green beans, but I usually like to trim those edges again, to avoid any dry-looking edges. I also recommend cutting the green beans into smaller, more bite-sized pieces, about 1- to 1 1/2-inches long.
Longer green beans are pretty, but they are definitely more awkward to eat. I think your dinner guests will appreciate the bite-sized pieces, and they’ll cook faster, too.
How to Saute Green Beans
To saute green beans, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and add in 2-3 minced garlic cloves. Stir those for 1-2 minutes, just until they smell fragrant.
Pour in 1/4 cup of water to stop the garlic from cooking. It will most likely steam up your pan, which is a good thing!
Add in the green beans, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and stir briefly. Cover the pan and let the green beans cook until fork tender, about 5 minutes.
If you want your green beans to still have some crunch to them, you might only want to cover the pan for 3 minutes. I like my green beans to be very tender, without being mushy.
The 5-minute mark is usually the sweet-spot for me, but this can vary based on how hot your stove top runs. If the green beans aren’t tender after 5 minutes, just keep stirring and you can cover again until they are to your liking. This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes total.
How to Cook Frozen Green Beans
When you use frozen green beans, you’ll skip the cutting process and save time. You’ll cook these just like fresh, starting with the sauteed garlic, but you’ll add less water. I like to start with just 1 tablespoon, and add more, if needed.
The frozen beans will release water as they thaw in the pan, and should be tender in about 5 minutes, just like the fresh version. Be sure to check on them as they cook, so they don’t get too mushy.
How to Serve Them
Since this is such a fast side dish, you’ll want the rest of your meal ready to go when these are done. I like to serve them at Thanksgiving instead of green bean casserole, because they are so flavorful!
If you’d like to serve these at a holiday meal, like Thanksgiving, try placing them in a slow cooker on a warm setting to keep them warm longer. (You can add a 1/4 cup of water at the bottom, if you’d like to help keep them moist.)
Sauteed Green Beans (Addictive!)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic , minced (or more to taste)
- 12 ounces fresh or frozen green beans , cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup water
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the garlic until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add in 1/4 cup of water to stop the garlic from cooking; steam should fill the pan.
- Add in the green beans and salt, and toss briefly. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until the green beans are fork-tender, about 5 minutes. If you'd like the beans to have some crunch, check on them after 3 minutes instead.
- Remove the lid, and continue to stir the beans until all of the water has evaporated. Adjust any seasoning to taste, adding more salt or black pepper, if desired, then serve warm right away. Leftover green beans can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, and you can reheat them in a skillet to quickly warm them up again.
If you try these sauteed green beans, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like them. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite vegetable side dish? The ones I tend to make most often are Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and my favorite holiday salad.
Questions and Reviews
Sounds so easy. And, once the water has evaporated, I guess you could add a little butter and some sliced almonds? Or do it differently?
Yes, I think that would work great!
Cant you use cannes green beans
If you use canned green beans, you won’t really need to cover and steam them because they will already be tender. You’ll just need to heat them up with the sauteed garlic and season with salt to taste, if the beans aren’t already salted.
Quick, easy and yummy!
I didn’t know what to do with my fresh green beans that were about to go bad, so I tried this last night. I’m never going to make sauteed green beans any other way– these are perfect!!
Thank you, I’ve always loved green beans, I also add dried minced onions an white pepper ! You cant go wrong !
I’ve never been a fan of green beans, but my husband wanted some with our Thanksgiving meal. I just used frozen green beans & followed the instructions (re using less water). They turned out perfectly! It was kind of funny that I liked them because they weren’t too mushy & my husband liked them because they weren’t too crunchy. They were truly in that happy in-between spot for both of us. Just right! I think it’s the combo of sauteing & light steaming … and checking to achieve your own happy place of “just right.” I’m already planning on making these to go with our Christmas dinner. And New Year’s …. and
I’m a fan! Guess I’ll have to quit thinking/saying that I don’t like green beans. These, I like!
Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m glad these were a hit, and converted you into an (almost?) fan of green beans!
Made these tonight with dinner – they so were so good!! I used a bag of frozen green beans and cooked them for closer to 10 minutes, using the 1/4 cup water called for in the recipe. Delicious! How can something so simple taste so good??!!
These are so easy and incredibly delicious. We normally just steam green beans with salt and pepper, but we won’t be doing that anymore, because these sautéed green beans are the way to go! Thanks, Megan.
Yes, addictive. Easy, delicious, healthy.
Yes, addictive. Easy, delicious, healthy. Quick!
Great really simple recipe. Kids getting really tired of peas,corn, collie flower and broccoli. No blanching necessary right? We love garlic, well I’m obcesse. Great side. Thank you
Megan, Thank you for this recipe! It is the only way I can get my kids to eat green beans without a bunch of complaining! It’s amazing that such a simple recipe can taste so good.
Easy and delicious! Nice, simple addition to Christmas dinner. This is now my go to recipe for green beans.