Ingredient Spotlight: Green Beans

Cook, In Season, Ingredient Spotlight, Summer


Crisp, vibrant green beans are a summer staple, likely to show up at cookouts, picnics and dinner parties throughout the season. Make the most of them with our tips, plus new ways to prepare them from the Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen.


Green Beans: Everything You Need to Know

What to Look For

Green beans should snap easily when broken. Choose beans that are bright green with velvety smooth pods, free from brown spots or bruises.


Popular varieties of green beans include Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder, Roma and young scarlet runner beans. Haricots verts are slim, delicate green beans beloved in France, and they are increasingly available at supermarkets. Wax beans are a close relative, with a vibrant yellow or dark purple color and a slightly waxier texture. They can be added used in place of green beans in almost any recipe.


Rinse green beans under cold running water, then snap off the pointy stem ends and remove any tough strings that run along the length of the bean. To retain their color, cook them whole at a high temperature for a short period of time, then refresh in cold water immediately after cooking.


Store them, wrapped in paper towels, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To prevent mold, leave the bag open for air circulation.

Your Green Bean Toolkit

Ingredient Spotlight: Green Beans

Simple Preparations

Ingredient Spotlight: Green Beans

Green beans take well to all kinds of cooking techniques: boiling, steaming, sauteing and deep-frying, to name a few. Add them to soups for color and contrast, or pickle them so they take on a new flavor. You can also enjoy them raw on crudites platters and in composed salads.

Fried Green Beans

Fried Green Beans: Toss green beans in flour seasoned with salt. Dredge green beans in buttermilk, then dredge in flour again. Fry in vegetable oil at 375°F until golden brown. Serve with herbed buttermilk dressing. 

Green Bean & Radish Salad

Green Bean & Radish Salad: In a large bowl, toss blanched green beans and thinly sliced radishes. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, whole-grain mustard, tarragon, salt and pepper. Add to vegetables and toss to combine.


Pickled Green Beans: Bring 1 cup water, 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs. sugar, 1 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. pickling spices to a boil. Pour over green beans. Let come to room temperature, then chill at least 12 hours before serving.


Green Bean Bundles: Blanch green beans and divide into bundles of about 6 beans. Wrap a chive around each bundle several times and place on a baking sheet, loose side down. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 375°F until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. 

Wok-Fried Green Beans with Poached Egg

Wok-Fried Green Beans with Poached Egg: Blanch green beans. In a wok, saute garlic, ginger and chiles in oil until fragrant. Add green beans and toss to combine. Drizzle with soy sauce and top with a poached egg.

Chopped Green Bean Salad

Chopped Green Bean Salad: Blanch green beans and chop into 3/4-inch pieces. Whisk together sherry vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over green beans and toss. Top with toasted hazelnuts and crumbled goat cheese.


Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts

Celebrate the harvest with Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnuts and Lemon Zest. You can blanch and dress the beans in advance, then top with the hazelnuts and basil just before serving—handy when you’re hosting a special dinner.

Celebrate summer’s bounty with this colorful bean salad, a perfect companion to grilled meat or seafood and a welcome dish on a barbecue or picnic table. You can blanch and marinate the beans in advance, then top with the almonds just before serving.

Sesame Noodles with Green Beans and Tofu

This green bean and tofu version of sesame noodles is great served cold, so it’s an ideal dish to take to a potluck on a warm summer evening.


See more tips and recipes for peak-season produce here.


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