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How to Make Sauteed Green Beans

This easy-to-make recipe for garlicky sauteed green beans is easily modified to suit different taste preferences.

Easy Sauteed Green Beans Recipe

This recipe uses boiling water to tenderize the green beans, which are then sauteed in a skillet to add flavor. Fortunately, the cooking process is under 10 minutes, making this a quick and easy dish.

Sauteed green beans

How to Prepare the Beans

Buy fresh green beans that are either packaged or loose. Look for young tender green beans if you can find them. Rinse them under cold water and let them drain. Also, be sure to cut out any bad spots. You can leave the tips but remove any tough stems that might still be attached to the beans.

sauteed green beans

Add the Beans to Boiling Water

Add a couple of large pinches of salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Then add the green beans and a lid. The lid will help hold heat for any beans not fully submerged in the water.

Sauteed green beans

Cooking Time and Blanching

As soon as you put the beans into the boiling water, set a timer for 4 minutes. (The beans may stop the water from boiling, but that is okay. It doesn’t have to return to a full boil to cook them during the 4 minutes.) Be sure to remove the beans from the boiling water as soon as the timer goes off and immediately plunge them into ice water. Just a few extra seconds of cooking time can make the beans turn mushy. This boiling and ice water procedure is called blanching and will make the beans crisp-tender.

Adjusting the Blanching Time

However, if you like your beans very crispy or are using young tender French green beans (click here to see this type), you can reduce the boiling time to 2 or 3 minutes. Once you cook the green beans, you can adjust the time to suit your taste preference. Also, try to use the same type of green bean each time. Then once you establish the cooking time you prefer, your beans will turn out perfectly every time.

Blanching Steps

Here are the steps for blanching green beans:

  1. Place the green beans in boiling water.
  2. Place a lid on the pan to ensure that any beans sticking out of the water will cook like the submerged beans.
  3. Set a timer for 4 minutes.
  4. Submerge the boiled beans in ice water immediately to stop them from further cooking.
  5. Drain the ice water from the cooled beans when they have cooled.
  6. Shake as much water from the beans as possible.
  7. Dry the beans with a towel or paper towel to prevent drips of water from popping in the oil when you add the beans to the skillet.
Sauteed green beans

Saute the Beans in a Skillet

Add the shallot before you add the beans to the skillet. The thin slices of shallot will quickly wilt as you stir them. Then add the beans, garlic, sea salt, and pepper. After adding the salt, you might want to taste a warm bean to see if it is salty enough, adding more salt if necessary. For the best taste, serve this dish immediately or cover the skillet to keep them warm. Enjoy!

Sauteed green beans

Customize this Dish

You can customize these sauteed green beans to make them any way you like. The recipe includes shallots and almonds, but you can omit them without sacrificing taste. You can also alter the amount of garlic in the recipe or leave it out altogether. Here are other ways I change up the recipe:

  • Cook the beans in bacon fat instead of olive oil.
  • Sprinkle chopped crispy bacon on the finished dish.
  • Omit the butter and saute only in olive oil.
  • Add mushrooms in place of shallots.
  • Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes when you add the garlic.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme when you add the garlic.
  • Use sesame oil instead of olive oil.
  • Add one tablespoon of prepared minced ginger when you add the garlic.
  • Add a sprinkling of sesame seeds when you add the garlic.
  • Add other nuts such as pine nuts, walnuts, or pecans.
  • Sprinkle crispy fried onions on top.
Sauteed green beans

Another Sauteed Green Bean Dish

If you like this green bean recipe, you might also like Spicy Stir-Fry Green Beans, flavored with ginger and soy sauce.

Other Side Dishes

Here are some other side dishes you might like to try:

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How to Make Sauteed Green Beans
A recipe for making sauteed green beans that is easily modified to suit different taste preferences.
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
  1. Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Make a large bowl of ice water and set it aside.
  2. Wash the beans and cut out any dark spots. You do not have to string the beans. Add the beans to the boiling water and cover with a lid. Then cook for precisely 4 minutes. Pour the water off the beans and immediately submerge them in ice water to prevent further cooking. Drain in a strainer and then pat dry with a towel.
  3. Peel and slice the shallot and then peel and mince the garlic if not using prepared garlic.
  4. Heat olive oil and butter on medium in a nonstick skillet. Add the shallots and cook until wilted. Then add the green beans, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the almonds. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes


You can substitute thin slices of purple onion for the shallot.

Stringing Beans

French green beans are straight young beans that do not need stringing before using them in this recipe. Other beans (not labeled as French) usually work well with their strings intact too. However, older, tougher beans might need stringing before cooking.


Use 1 teaspoon of prepared garlic from a jar instead of fresh garlic.

Cooking Time

Be sure to cook the beans for only 4 minutes in boiling water. Cooking them any longer can overcook them.

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