How to boil green beans? Simply drop them into salted boiling water, and boil just until tender crisp. Drain, add salt and (optional) butter and enjoy!
Green beans are now in season, and I find that when they are very fresh, the most enjoyable way for me to savor this healthy vegetable is to simply boil them in salted water, until tender but crisp. I then sprinkle the boiled green beans with kosher salt. That’s it.
When boiled green beans are fresh and crisp like this, they make not just a great side dish, but a wonderful snack that you can serve and eat as finger food, and get that peculiar satisfaction that we humans get when we eat something crunchy and salty.
I have quite a few green beans recipes on this blog. But when they are truly fresh, this simple recipe for how to boil green beans is my absolute favorite.
How do you boil green beans?
It’s so easy. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. You simply drop them into boiling salted water and boil for just 5 minutes, ensuring they remain bright green and crisp.
It’s really important that the beans remain firm – soft and limp will not do. The only seasoning these tasty boiled green beans need is some coarse kosher salt and maybe butter. Delicious!
What to serve with boiled green beans
It’s such a versatile side dish. It goes with anything, really. I often serve boiled green beans with ribeye roast, with baked pork chops, or with shrimp scampi. Sometimes I top them with a couple of poached eggs for an easy and healthy meatless dinner.
What about leftovers?
Although boiled green beans taste best when freshly cooked, you can keep leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power. Or chop them and add them cold to a salad. Sometimes I replace the asparagus in this tomato asparagus salad with leftover boiled green beans.
How to Boil Green Beans
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- Pick through the green beans and discard any that are withered or discolored. This simple cooking method is suitable for only the freshest of beans.
- I prefer to leave green beans whole, they make such a great finger food when left at their full length. But to serve at dinner, you might want to cut them into 3-inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Drop the green beans into the boiling water. Bring back to a full boil and cook, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 5 minutes. But start checking after 3 minutes (use a fork to take one out of the pot and taste).
- Drain the boiled green beans into a colander, shake dry and season with kosher salt. You can use other seasonings of course, and a generous pat of butter on top of the hot green beans is heavenly. But really, when they are fresh, green beans only need brief boiling and some salt.