These easy Sautéed Green Beans are a healthy, tasty, and quick side dish that can be made year-round using fresh or frozen green beans. This recipe is gluten-free and easily made dairy free & vegan.
- About Sautéed Green Beans
- How to Sauté Green Beans
- Recipe Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
About Sautéed Green Beans
If you're looking for delicious and easy frozen green bean recipes, this is the perfect one!
Hands down, the best way to cook frozen green beans, and you can even use fresh green beans.
These sauteed frozen green beans are one of those easy side dishes that you can turn to when you're feeling less than inspired about cooking. Or if you're in a hurry.
So simple, only needs 5 ingredients, can be made year-round, and tastes delicious.
They're also a lovely side dish for a holiday meal when everything on your plate is casseroles, sauces, and more casseroles. (Related: These Roasted Thanksgiving Veggies are another excellent veggie side to add.)
Serve them with everything because they don't have an overpowering flavor so there's no competition with other dishes.
Fresh, with a perfect crisp-tender texture.
Blanch frozen green beans to start. If you are using fresh green beans, there's no need to blanch.
FYI: Blanching means you boil the green beans for a few minutes, then put them in ice-cold water to stop them from continuing to cook.
Plus, these sauteed frozen green beans are super quick to make - less than 15 minutes of cooking + prep time. Especially if you buy frozen, you'll have pretty much no prep time. If you buy fresh, you'll simply have to snap off the ends.
Green beans: This recipe is one of the best ways to cook frozen green beans, and it's also tasty for using fresh green beans.
Frozen green beans: Since they are usually prepared, you will simply put the frozen green beans from the bag into the boiling water to blanch. However, because they are frozen, they will take a few extra minutes to cook when being blanched.
Fresh green beans: Look for green beans that are bright green, still firm, and with minimal blemishes, if possible. You'll need to snap off the ends of the beans (which is a great activity for kids to help in the kitchen), so make sure you do this before blanching or sauteing.
Fat: Butter, olive oil, or bacon grease are all great options for sauteing green beans. Coconut oil isn't recommended because it will give too strong of a coconut flavor. Avocado oil is fine, but since there are only a few ingredients, it's nice to have bolder-flavored fat like butter, bacon grease, or olive oil to give the green beans a little more taste.
Garlic: Definitely recommend making sure you use garlic in these sautéed green beans especially since there are only 5 ingredients in the recipe. Use fresh garlic or bottled minced garlic if needed. I have tried them with garlic powder, and they turned out ok but are definitely better with fresh garlic.
Salt: The salt brings out the flavors of these sautéed green beans. Any kind of salt works.
Red pepper flakes: For a slightly spicy kick, add red pepper flakes (or crushed red pepper). You can use less for a more mild dish. Or substitute with black pepper, white pepper, or cayenne pepper if needed (use the same amount or less if desired).
Cost of Recipe
- green beans 1 pound: $1.99
- butter 1 tablespoon: $0.11
- garlic 1 clove: $0.06
- red pepper flakes: $0.05
- salt ¼ teaspoon: $0.01
TOTAL COST: $2.22 or $0.56/serving (Based on San Diego grocery stores 2022)
Note that this is not the recipe; it's simply to show the cost breakdown of ingredients. Be sure to scroll down to the full recipe to see the specific ingredients and directions.
How to Sauté Green Beans
Time needed: 12 minutes.
It's super simple to make sautéed green beans using frozen green beans. Here's how:
- Blanch the green beans: Add green beans to boiling water.
Cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water and transfer to ice-cold water.
Strain, and set aside.
- Melt butter and add garlic to a large skillet or pot.
Stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add drained green beans to the butter.
Stir to coat the green beans in the butter and garlic.
- Let cook undisturbed so the green beans get a light brown color.
- Add salt and red pepper flakes.
Stir, serve, and enjoy!
How to Blanch Frozen Green Beans
Blanching green beans is simple, and you can use either fresh or frozen green beans.
- Add the green beans to boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.
- Transfer to ice-cold water. [Either use a slotted spoon to transfer. Or drain out the hot water and add the green beans to the ice water.]
Frozen vs. Fresh Green Beans: Before sauteing frozen green beans, you need to blanch them. You can do the same for fresh, but it's not mandatory.
For fresh green beans, simply add the washed green beans to the skillet after melting the butter and follow the directions.
Butter: substitute butter with olive oil or bacon grease.
Garlic: use ¼ teaspoon garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic.
Pepper: you can use white pepper, black pepper, or cayenne pepper. Or omit it entirely.
To subtly change the flavor of the green beans, you can use olive oil or bacon grease. Also, you can use black pepper, white pepper, or cayenne pepper to alter the flavor a little bit.
How to Make Allergy-Friendly
These are vegetarian, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, and soy free.
To make them dairy free, replace the butter with olive oil (which will also make them vegan) or bacon grease (which will obviously make them no longer vegetarian).
Green beans are also low FODMAP veggies if that is something of concern for you.
Alternative Prep & Cooking
If you buy green beans in a steamer bag, you can skip the blanching step and follow the directions to steam the green beans.
Alternatively to blanching, is to steam the green beans for 2 minutes. You don't want to steam them completely so they aren't overcooked after being sautéed.
How to Fix a Mistake
Lack flavor: Make sure you allow the green beans to lightly brown. This helps the green beans caramelize and taste great. You can also add salt, black pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste (start with about ⅛ teaspoon and increase as needed).
Too crispy: Add 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove the cover and cook until the liquid evaporates. This should help soften them.
Make Ahead Ideas
Since these only take a few minutes to make and taste best enjoyed immediately after cooking, you can snap the ends off the green beans if needed and mince the garlic. Keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Otherwise, everything is pretty quick and ready to go.
Keep these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don't recommend freezing them after cooking because the texture will slightly change when defrosted. However, if you must freeze them, freeze them in an airtight container for up to one month.
To reheat, add to a skillet over medium-high heat until warmed through (it will take longer for the frozen beans to reheat, obviously). You might want to add an additional teaspoon of oil or butter to help them get crispy again.
Frequently Asked Questions
When using frozen green beans, blanching before sautéing is recommended. It helps them to be crisp-tender and have more flavor.
Sautéing frozen green beans straight from the freezer will result in the green beans releasing a lot of water. This water can cause the green beans to be soggy and not get the lightly browned, crispy coating that makes sautéed green beans so great.
If you are using fresh green beans, you do not have to boil green beans before sautéing them.
You only need to blanch the green beans for about 2-4 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Then transfer to the ice water.
This simple recipe is a great way to add green veggies to your plate without having to make a salad. Green beans have been shown to help improve health conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Like many plants, green beans are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants. Green beans are high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, and folate. Adding a small amount of fat, like butter, helps your body absorb these nutrients. And the salt adds flavor without too much sodium per serving.
These sautéed green beans are a very nutritious side dish to round out any meal.
What to serve with Sautéed Green Beans
The options are endless for what to serve with these green beans. I personally love mashed potatoes plus slow cooker pork tenderloin since it has a tasty gravy to go along with it.
Or serve as the veggie with lemon garlic shrimp and bread.
But really anything... pork, beef, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian main meals are all great with the sautéed green beans.
These sautéed green beans are a fabulous side dish for almost any meal because they have a mild, yet fresh flavor so they won't compete with any other dishes.
You can make sautéed green beans using fresh or frozen green beans, so they can be enjoyed year-round. Plus, they take minutes to make and need only 5 simple ingredients.
MORE EASY VEGGIE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
- Sautéed Broccolini
- Garlic Rosemary Carrots
- Five Spice Baby Bok Choy
- Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes
- Vegan Creamed Spinach
Sautéed Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans frozen or fresh
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fill a large skillet half way with water. Bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add green beans. Stir and boil for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. After the green beans have boiled for 2 minutes, transfer them to the bowl of ice water. Dump the boiling water out of the skillet.
- Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter.
- Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the drained green beans. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes until crisp-tender.
- Season with red pepper flakes and salt. Enjoy!
What to Use in This Recipe
This post was originally published on January 25, 2013. Text, recipe, video, and photos have been updated/added.
Sauteed Green Beans Nutrition Facts
Tawnie Kroll says
So easy and was a perfect veggie with my pork chops I made last night - thank you!
Liz Shaw says
Four ingredients and a tablespoon of butter... yum!
Liz Shaw says
my kind of recipe!
Love that this worked so well with frozen green beans, too!
Emily Kyle says
I love the simplicity of this recipe. And the butter 😉
Sam's favorite food is the good old green bean so these are now on our weekly rotation although he would prefer nightly!
Natalie Rizzo says
I made these last night and was happy at how quickly they came together!!
Do you blanch frozen greens also?
Yes, you will blanch the green beans whether they are fresh or frozen. They might take a minute or two longer than fresh ones, but I typically use frozen since they are available year round. In the video, I use frozen 🙂
S M Sprout says
I have green beans that were picked fresh, blanched, and then frozen. I assume you don't blanch again, but what do to keep them from being soggy? Thanks
I haven't tried it, but I would just defrost the beans in the fridge. Drain well. Then saute in the skillet. You could also defrost them in cold water. Hot water might cook them more and make them overcooked.