Here’s how to blanch green beans so that they’re deliciously tender, yet tantalizingly crisp, every single time. Also, it’s an easy cooking method; all you have to do is boil some water.
Need blanched green beans for a busy week ahead? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
How to blanch green beans:
Before a dinner party, when you need to knock some cooking out ahead of time, look no further than cooking green beans first. The blanched beans store beautifully in the refrigerator—you can sauté them when you need them.
- First, trim the beans. Snap off the stem ends by hand, or use kitchen scissors to snip off the stem ends. If your beans have them, remove any tough strings that run along the length of the beans. There’s no need to trim off the tails.
- Then, grab a pot large enough to hold the green beans you plan to cook, and fill it with water. If you don’t have a pot large enough, don’t fret—you can blanch the beans in stages.
- Salt the water and bring it to a rapid boil. While you’re waiting, fill another bowl with ice water and keep it nearby.
- When the water boils, add the green beans and boil until bright green and tender crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. Then remove them using a slotted spoon if you need to keep blanching beans, or drain the beans completely.
- As soon as you pull out the beans, immediately plunge them into the ice bath to halt cooking.
- Once the beans are completely cool, take them out of the water, then pat them dry.
From this point, you can:
- Freeze them for later use. Store cooked green beans in a sturdy freezer bag or vacuum sealed package. Thaw and add to almost everything.
- Eat them cold. Chilled green beans make a great snack, all by themselves or part of a veggie platter and dipped into hummus, salad dressing, or your favorite dip.
- Sauté them. Need a great vegetable side dish? Sauté green beans with bacon, a flavorful compound butter, or a tangy tomato sauce. Or just quick cook blanched green beans with garlic, salt and pepper.
How many green beans per person?
Great question! When buying green beans for Thanksgiving dinner or some other large party, buy at least 4 ounces per person. That’s usually about a fistful of string beans.
If you know who you’re cooking for, however, and you know that love green beans dishes, all bets are off. Buy extra!
- 8 people= 2 pounds of raw green beans
- 10 people= 2 1/2 pounds of raw green beans
- 12 people= 3 pounds of raw green beans
- 16 people= 4 pounds of raw green beans
How to select and pick green beans:
A green bean at its best should have vivid green color, a firm texture, and make an unmistakable “snap” when broken.
Avoid any limp beans with rusty brown spots or slimy, darkened stems.
French green beans… oui or non?
Some love their green beans “frenched,” or sliced lengthwise down the middle. It’s up to you, as well as how young and tender the beans are already. If you have fatter beans, frenching can help cook them evenly.
A bean frencher can sometimes be found at the end of certain old-fashioned vegetable peelers. Other varieties have a crank that helps the beans through the blades.
When you french beans, push them through the frencher before blanching.
Everything you ever wanted to know about green beans:
- Are green beans legumes? Yes. Green beans are actually the unripe, young fruit and the protective pods of the common bean.
- Legumes are the plants that bear fruit (beans) that grows in the pods. Beans are the seeds that grow inside the legumes.
- Because they’re eaten in entirety, like sugar snap peas and snow peas, green beans are considered vegetables, not beans. That sounds confusing, but it’s an important distinction to make with several of today’s low-carb diets.
- Are green beans paleo friendly? Technically, all legumes, including green beans, should be avoided when following the Paleo diet.
- Are green beans keto friendly? Since you count net carbs while following a ketogenic diet, yes. Green beans have as many carbs per 1-cup serving as broccoli.
- Are green beans a fruit? Technically, yes! So are avocados, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers and okra, because it contains the seeds of the plant. That doesn’t mean they contain extra sugars, though.
Are green beans healthy?
Absolutely! They’re crunchy, low in calories, and high in water and finer. Eating more green vegetables like string beans, snap peas, cabbage, broccoli, or spinach is always a great idea.
Green Beans nutrition facts:
One cup (100 grams) of green beans contains:
- 31 calories
- 209 mg potassium
- 6 mg sodium
- 3.4 g dietary fiber
- 27% of your RDA of vitamin C6% of your RDA of magnesium
- 5% of your RDA of iron and vitamin B-6
Green beans recipes:
- Three Bean Salad. An old-fashioned favorite, updated for everyone.
- Crockpot Green Bean Casserole. Set it and forget it, then eat it and eat it.
- Green Beans with Bacon. Everybody’s favorite vegetable side dish, ever.
- Green Beans with Olive Butter. To make the olive lover's dreams come true.
- Roasted Green Beans. Pop them in the oven. Better than fries.
How to Blanch Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans washed and trimmed
- If using a smaller pot, you may have to blanch the green beans in batches. Set out a large bowl of ice water before blanching the beans.
- In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil.
- Add the green beans and boil until tender-crisp, but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well and immediately plunge into ice water to stop the cooking.