Simple and easy, this Skillet Green Beans recipe is made using fresh green beans that are cooked until crisp tender, and seasoned with plenty of garlic and lemon flavors! They’re the perfect side dish!
This is one of my Side Dish recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
If you frequent some farmers markets this summer, you’ll probably come across some fresh green beans. They’re one of my favorite vegetables of all time!
The frozen varieties aren’t bad, but I love cooking fresh veggies.
Normally I really love to roast green beans, or wrap up a bundle in bacon and grill them, but this recipe is one of my family’s favorites.
For this recipe I choose to blanch my green beans first, then sauté them. However, since that does take a bit of extra time, I’ve also shared how you can cook the beans entirely in a skillet.
In case the term blanch is new to you, check out my handy Cooking Terms page 🙂
How to make skillet green beans?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Blanch. Boil green beans for about 2 minutes, then add to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Pat dry.
- Sauté. Add blanched green beans to a hot skillet and cook for a few minutes.
- Add garlic. Cook the garlic with the green beans for less than a minute, until fragrant.
- Add lemon. Remove from the heat and stir in lemon zest.
When choosing fresh green beans, pick ones that are green and firm. Stay away from those that are broken, brown, or limp.
Variations of this recipe
- One pan method – to make this recipe even faster, you can skip the blanching. Cook the green beans in the skillet for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add about 1/4 cup of water, then cover the skillet and continue cooking, until beans are tender and water is evaporated. Remove lid, stir in lemon zest and serve.
- Spicy – if you like things a bit spicy, try adding 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or a drizzle of sriracha sauce.
- Toppings – I kept it simple here with lemon zest, but you could also add some toasted sliced almonds for crunch!
- Frozen – if you don’t have fresh green beans, you can use frozen whole green beans, however you’ll want to thaw them completely. You can omit the blanching steps and just sauté them, and they may need a bit less time in the skillet.
Fresh green beans have a part at the top, where the bean was connected to the rest of the plant. That end needs to be removed, and you can also trim the other end (that has a little string) as well. My favorite way is to line a handful of green beans up against the edge of a knife, then use the knife to trim about 1/2″ off. Turn the pile of green beans around, line them up, and trim the other end.
Green beans and string beans are basically the same. String beans just have a fibrous string that runs down the length and should be removed; similar to a sugar snap pea. Haricot verts are French green beans, which are generally a little longer and skinnier than traditional green beans. The taste is fairly similar, however.
Making skillet green beans ahead of time
I don’t recommend making this recipe entirely ahead of time. However, you can blanch the green beans, drain them, dry them completely, then refrigerate them (in an airtight container). They should keep for up to 2 days.
Then when ready to serve, complete the remaining steps of the recipe (sautéing in the skillet).
These green beans can also be frozen! After the beans are blanched, drain them, dry them completely, then transfer to a freezer safe container.
Green beans can be frozen for up to 6-8 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then sauté as directed in the recipe.
Leftover cooked green beans should be stored in an airtight container and eaten within 3-5 days.
I definitely prefer either stainless steel or a cast iron skillet, since nonstick doesn’t give a great sear and the coating can come off over time. This skillet is big, deep, and oven-safe!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 lb. fresh green beans ends trimmed
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- zest of half a lemon
Blanching the Green Beans
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp of the salt, then green beans, and cook 2 minutes, until crisp tender and bright green.
- While the green beans are cooking, fill a large bowl with plenty of ice and cold water. Drain the beans and immediately add to bowl with ice water to shock them and stop them from overcooking.
- Pat dry and set aside.
Sautéing the Green Beans
- Add olive oil and butter to a large skillet and heat over MED/MED HIGH heat.
- Add green beans, remaining 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper, and onion powder. Sauté, stirring often, for 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds or so, until garlic is fragrant.
- Remove from the heat, add lemon zest and toss to combine.
- Serve immediately.
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The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.