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Steaming (but not for too long!) is a foolproof way to get perfect, crisp-tender green beans, every time. This easy recipe is a great starting point for other flavors or preparations, like adding cooked green beans to a salad.

EatingWell.com, November 2017; updated August 2022


Credit: Photographer: Fred Hardy II, Food Stylist: Margaret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Phoebe Hauser

Recipe Summary

5 mins
10 mins

How to Get Perfect Steamed Green Beans

Pick the Perfect Beans

Good steamed green beans start with good fresh beans. Look for green beans that are uniformly green, plump and free of spots and blemishes. Larger beans may be less tender and sweet than smaller beans. Green beans are readily available year-round, but they are at their peak freshness from early summer to early fall.

Prep Tips

Remove the stem end of the green beans before steaming. You can snap off each individual stem or cut off a few ends at a time by lining them up on a cutting board to save time. We prefer to steam our green beans whole. You can leave them long, or cut them into pieces once they're steamed and cooled.

How Long Do I Steam Green Beans?

Green beans steam in a steamer basket on the stove for 5-7 minutes. Opt for less time if you want to preserve more of their crispness. You can also steam green beans in the microwave.

How to Use Steamed Green Beans

Steamed green beans are versatile. They can be their own side dish by simply tossing them in butter or oil, chopped fresh herbs, or chopped and toasted nuts. Salt and pepper enhance their flavor, as does a squeeze of lemon juice. You can cool and chop steamed green beans and add them to a green or composed salad or potato salad. Steaming green beans is just one way to enjoy this tender-crisp vegetable. Check out more ways to cook green beans here.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add green beans, cover and cook until tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes.


Nutrition Facts

1 cup
27 calories; protein 1.4g; carbohydrates 6.8g; dietary fiber 4.1g; sugars 2.7g; vitamin a iu 273.3IU; vitamin c 8.2mg; calcium 54.7mg; iron 0.5mg; potassium 273.3mg.

1 1/2 vegetable