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How To Steam Green Beans In A Pan

How To Steam Green Beans In A Pan

I realized I’ve been cooking green beans for so long that I just never really paid enough attention to how I steamed green beans or for how long green beans need to be cooked. 

And was I ending up with the tastiest green beans possible?

It was time to do my own research. And it turns out I discovered something very important that I hadn’t been doing in all of my years of cooking.

So, I’ll expand on this, but for crisp-tender green beans, it takes 10 to 12 minutes to steam green beans on medium-low heat in a covered saucepan on the stove.
The store’s loose, bulk green beans didn’t look so fresh and were kind of spotty. They were pretty picked over. 
But I did find some pre-bagged and I figured … a bean is a bean. 

For the most delectable side dishes, start with the best-looking green beans you can find in your price range.

Pro Tip: Here’s what I learned after all those years, learning how to steam green beans: Be sure to DRAIN THE BEANS before adding any seasoning. 

I’d been diluting the flavor by keeping them in the cooking water. 

There are two key ways to know if your green beans are done. The first is if they have turned bright green. When green beans are raw, they have a dull green color, and as they cook, they will turn a more brilliant green.

The second method to know if green beans are done cooking is to pierce them with a fork or take a bit of one. The beans should be tender-crisp. Tender crisp means that they are tender but have an ever so slight crunch. 

Removing the green beans from the steam when they are still slightly crisp is better because they will continue to cook a tiny bit as they cool down.

Do I need to wash green beans?

Yes, you do need to wash fresh green beans. When preparing green beans, I like to trim the ends and wash them simultaneously. I always put the green beans in a colander in the sink and allow cold water to flow over them while I trim the ends. 

There are exceptions to this rule, such as when you buy a bag of ready-to-cook green beans from the produce section at the grocery store. Read the instructions if you buy green beans in a bag ready to go. However, even in that instance, I tend to wash the green beans just to be on the safe side.

Quick tip on how to trim green beans

Trimming the ends off of green beans is tedious, but it isn’t challenging. An easy way to do it is to use kitchen shears and trim off the ends while washing the beans. You can gather a few green beans at a time and trim them reasonably quickly this way.

Can I store leftover steamed green beans?

You can store leftover steamed green beans in the fridge for up to 3 days. Before you put them in the fridge allow them to cool completely.

The bottom line

I had a heck of a time finding instructions for exactly HOW LONG to steam green beans, so I decided to research it myself! 

I’d been making green beans for years but never documented what I was doing, so I hope this helps you make tasty green beans for your next meal.

I ended up having green beans with a little herb butter for breakfast, but an extra serving of vegetables never hurt anyone, am I right?

Hope this article helped you with the method and timing for how to steam green beans.

Green beans go great with so many dishes, and as it turns out, aren’t so bad for breakfast either!

More About Green Beans

How To Steam Green Beans In A Pan

How To Steam Green Beans In A Pan

Yield: 10 oz, or two servings
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes

Here are the step-by-step instructions (with how long to cook) for how to steam green beans on the stove.


  • 10 oz of washed and “snapped” green beans
  • Water


  1. Discard moldy, spotted, or very shriveled beans.
  2. Snap off the tough, pointy ends of the greens. Discard the ends. (Unless you have purchased pre-bagged, ready-to-cook beans, which have usually been washed and trimmed for you.)
  3. Measure 2 cups of trimmed green beans.
  4. Set your colander in your sink.
  5. Add 1/2 c of fresh water plus washed green beans to your saucepan and place on the stove. (The green beans should pile mostly above the water.) 
  6. Turn the heat on medium high under your saucepan.
  7. Cover the pan and set a timer for five minutes.
  8. When the timer goes off, use your tongs or spoon to lightly toss the green beans. Cover. (Note: If you will continue cooking your beans as part of a different recipe, now is a good time to remove them from the heat and drain.)
  9. Set time for five more minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  10. At the ten-minute mark, pull out a bean, blow it off to cool and taste-test it for desired tenderness, which is al dente, or crisp-tender. If the bean still seems a little tough, go to Step 11.
  11. Add another one or two minutes as needed, then remove the beans with a slotted spoon or drain them in the colander waiting in the sink. 
  12. Important: Don’t add your seasonings to green beans before draining the water. It dilutes any flavor, and you definitely want fat and herbs to stick to the beans.
  13. If you’re adding beans back to the same pan you cooked them in for seasoning or for serving, remember to remove any cooking water left.
  14. Season to taste and serve warm.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 6mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

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