How to Boil Green Beans

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Boiling is one of the easiest ways to cook green beans, particularly for cutting out added fats. Follow these simple directions on how to boil green beans and you’ll get perfect side every time!

While I must admit my personal preference is to roast or saute green beans, boiling green beans bring back a lot of childhood nostalgia for me.

Green Beans on plate

Boiled Green Beans

Here is all the advice I follow when making green beans. You’ll be whipping up perfect great beans (also called string beans or snap beans) in no time!

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First, fresh, high quality produce is always going to taste better. Inspect green beans before buying them. Steer clear of any with brown spots or withered tips.

Second, add salt to the water. Salting the water will enrich the flavors of anything you boil.

Third, don’t overfill the pot. Water takes a long time to boil because it has a high heat capacity. You’ll save time and money by using just enough water.

Green Beans boiling in water

Note: It’s recommended that you add root vegetables to cold water, but wait for a boil with others. Remember, if it grows below ground, put it in before the boil; if it grows above ground, add it after the boil.

How to Boil Green Beans

Here are some easy-to-follow directions when cooking green beans:

Prep the green beans: clean and trim the ends of the green beans

Prep the pot: Fill a pot halfway with water (use more or less water, depending on the amount of green beans you are boiling). A medium-sized 5-quart pot like this one is what I have in my kitchen. Add a few pinches of salt, then cover and set it over high heat.

Reduce heat: Once the water comes to a boil, carefully add the green beans. Then turn the burner down. You will get the best results if you boil vegetables with a simmer.

Cooked green beans on plate

If the water gets low enough that the green beans are not fully submerged, I add boiling water from my electric kettle (you can use hot water from the faucet, too). This keeps the temperature from dropping.

Strain the water: Once the green beans are finished, drain the water from the pot using a strainer or colander. If you leave them sitting in hot water, they will continue to cook.

How Long to Boil Green Beans

Wondering how long to boil green beans? It should take approximately 5 minutes to boil green beans in a covered pot with these instructions.

Give them a taste test around the 3 minute mark, and every 30 to 60 seconds after. They should be bright green and have a soft, savory flavor.

If they still taste grassy, they need to cook a little longer. Don’t worry about nailing crisp tender on these, so much as getting the flavor right.

I can’t overstate the importance of testing with a fork and also tasting the vegetables when trying new cooking methods.

We prefer our vegetables more firm than soft, with a solid bite to them. If you prefer your vegetables to be a bit more cooked, just add a minute or two to the provided cooking times. It’s always better to err on the side of undercooked versus overdone.

Keep in mind that cooking times are estimates and adjust them to be exactly what you like best.

There are so many great ways to cook green beans! Once you’ve mastered boiling, you may want to try sauteeingsteaming, or even roasting them.

Boiling Green Beans

How to Boil Green Beans

Boiling is one of the easiest ways to cook green beans, particularly for cutting out added fats. Follow these simple directions on how to boil green beans and you'll get perfect side every time!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound green beans ends trimmed
  • ½ teaspon kosher salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper adjust to taste


  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the green beans and return to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and drain off the water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Calories: 35kcal · Carbohydrates: 8g · Protein: 2g · Fat: 1g · Saturated Fat: 1g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 1g · Sodium: 55mg · Potassium: 241mg · Fiber: 3g · Sugar: 4g · Vitamin A: 783IU · Vitamin C: 14mg · Calcium: 43mg · Iron: 1mg
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beans cooking in water
Boiled Green Beans on plate

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