This green beans recipe is a perfect healthy side dish in 15 minutes. All you need is a pile of fresh string beans, one pot, garlic, olive oil and a little spice. That’s it! Sautéed green beans are easy to make and go great with any meal! 

an orange plate with bright green string beans and a serving spoon

I originally shared this technique for cooking green beans and simple recipe on July 10th, 2015. I have updated the text today.

Best Green Beans Recipe

As a professional recipe developer for 20 years, my #1 goal is to help you get a healthy dinner on the table fast! These green beans are ready in 15 minutes and are my family’s favorite green beans recipe!

I have been making string beans this way since I first learned to cook. My dad stumbled upon this cooking technique, and we loved them so much we have been making them this way ever since. I can always count on this simple method to make everyone happy at any occasion, from weeknight dinners to a holiday meal.

Ingredients For This Green Bean Recipe

  • Extra virgin olive oil: I chose extra-virgin olive oil for this recipe but another cooking oil like avocado oil or canola oil works too.
  • Red pepper flake: Added for a little heat (do so to taste.) Note, if you are sensitive to spicy food, it is okay to omit this and instead season them with ground black pepper. 
  • Fresh Green beans: You’ll need one and a half pounds of fresh green beans or string beans.
  • Minced Garlic: Fresh chopped garlic is the star of the simple seasonings in this easy green bean recipe. You’ll need three cloves.
  • Coarse kosher salt: We chose coarse kosher salt instead of table salt because it is easier to sprinkle. You can use regular table salt if you prefer, but note that it is higher in sodium so you will need less. Read more about substituting kosher salt here.
  • Water: To keep this fresh green bean recipe as simple as possible we save a step and dishes by adding water to the skillet to steam them. They’ll be perfectly tender and keep great texture. 

Tip For Buying Green Beans: At the grocery store pick through the pile of green beans and avoid wrinkled, broken or rotting string beans. You can use yellow wax beans or Haricots verts which are French green beans. Note that they cook more quickly but will work too, just adjust your cooking time. If buying pre-trimmed green beans, check the expiration date and avoid wet or slimy-looking green beans that are past their prime!

How To Cook Green Beans

Not only is this simple garlic green bean recipe so much better than canned or frozen green beans, but it is arguably the easiest way to cook green beans!

Cut the stem ends off. An easy way to do that is to line a handful of stem sides together and cut them off with a sharp knife. I think this method is faster than breaking them off by hand.

Next, choose a large skillet with a well fitting lid. You can use a cast-iron skillet or stainless, but do not use a non-stick as the temp will get too high. (Note: if you don’t have a large lid, a sheet of aluminum foil will work too.)

Add your oil to the skillet and let it get hot. Bloom the crushed red pepper flake in the oil for a few seconds then add the beans to let them blister and brown. Turn them with tongs.

After that step, you can add the garlic. Cook the garlic until fragrant, but doesn’t burn.

Then add the water. Adding water at this point in the cooking process will prevent the sauteed garlic from burning and it creates steam, so you can trap that in with the lid to cook the beans through.

How to Know They’re Done: The cooked string beans will become bright green and cooked to crisp-tender perfection in a minute or two. And that’s it! See our serving suggestions below for what to serve with this easy side dish.

I have made it several times and my family absolutely enjoys eating it every time. This is a go to recipe for green beans.

a table with votive candles, flowers and an orange platter piled with cooked green beans

Chef Katie’s Expert Tips And FAQs

Variations To Try

These sauteed green beans are perfect in their simplicity, but they’re also somewhat of a blank canvas for adding creative flavors!

  • Fresh Herbs: Add 1 tsp chopped woody herbs like thyme, rosemary or oregano with the garlic. Add tender herbs, like basil or tarragon, when they come off the heat.
  • Lemon or Balsamic: Add fresh lemon juice, a little lemon zest or balsamic vinegar before serving.
  • Nuts and/or Bacon: After the beans are cooked add almonds, pecans, walnuts or hazelnuts. Another yummy choice is a couple strips of crispy bacon, crumbled.
  • Sesame or ginger: To pair with Asian food, add a little minced ginger with the red pepper flakes and drizzle on toasted sesame oil to finish the dish. Finish with sesame seeds.
  • Cheese: Add a little shaved or grated Parmesan cheese, Crumbled chevre or goat cheese on top.

Storing Leftovers and Reheating

Leftovers: Store leftovers in an airtight container up to three days. Keep refrigerated.

Reheating: We like to reheat them in the microwave for about 90 seconds per serving. Alternatively, you can reheat them in a non-stick skillet with a little splash of water or chicken broth, over medium heat, covered until steaming hot. Stir occasionally to heat evenly and do not overcook.

What To Serve With Green Beans

Want More? Check out More Green Bean Recipes below the recipe card or invent your own recipe after reading our chef’s tips in my guide to How To Cook Green Beans!

close-up of the green beans showing garlic and spice

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought! Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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Simple Skillet Green Beans

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4.8 from 139 reviews


This delicious green bean recipe is a perfect healthy side dish. They are cooked in one pot with garlic, olive oil and a little spice. It is one of the best green bean recipes because it is both quick and delicious!


Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste
  • 1.5 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper flake and stir to coat the pepper in the oil.
  2. Add green beans and cook, stirring often until the beans are blistering and browning in areas, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and salt and cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and browning, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add water and immediately cover with a well-fitting lid or sheet of aluminum foil. Steam the green beans, covered, until they are bright green and crisp tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Make Ahead Instructions

1. Blanch green beans for 1 minute in boiling salted water.
2. Shock in an ice bath to immediately stop them from cooking. Drain well in a colander.
3. Keep refrigerated in a large storage container or ziplock bag for 1 day.
4. Before using in the recipe, make sure they are completely dry (use a clean dish towel or paper towels.)
5. Follow the instructions in this recipe but do not add the water and steam covered. They will be tender enough after searing them. Note that the beans will not brown as well as they sear, but they will still be quite tasty.

To Trim Haricot Verts or Green Beans: The stem end of the bean is tough and fibrous. This must be removed. To do so easily, line up a handful of the beans with the stems facing the same direction. Cut them off all at once. No need to cut off the pointy tip.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 70
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 230 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g