The Best Green Beans

This recipe proves that side dishes for dinner don’t have to be fussy or fancy or complicated. You are only three-ish ingredients and 12 or so minutes away from fresh green bean heaven. I’m so lazy I don’t even trim the ends of the beans all the time (or very thoroughly) in my haste to get this delectable side dish on the table and they are still wonderful. Untrimming green beaners unite.

What started out a couple years ago as a I-Have-Green-Beans-What-Shall-I-Do-With-Them-That-Doesn’t-Involve-Pressure-Canning conundrum has turned into our absolute favorite way to eat fresh green beans as a side dish. With green beans in season and more widely available right now than, say, in mid-January (jealous if you are actually getting them from your own garden!), this recipe just plain makes me happy.

It’s not a stretch to say we eat these with any variety of main dishes several times a week and sometimes I whip them up for lunch because…well, it feels weird to say I crave green beans but I guess just really like them and think about them all the time…you know, because that’s not a strange thing to confess at all. Plus, no better way to justify carrying around pockets full of dark chocolate chips the rest of the day for instant indulgence than eating a skillet loaded with green beans for lunch.

These simple green beans are definitely not cutting edge or rocket science but that’s ok, because squid and chia seed smoothies are pretty highly overrated or so I hear. And if you love fresh green beans, you must (absolutely must) at some point in your life try this Balsamic Fresh Green Bean Salad. Ah, green beans. I’m so glad you are in season.

The Best Green Beans

One Year Ago: Fresh Green Bean Salad with Balsamic Dressing
Two Years Ago: Salted Chocolate Toffee Pretzel Bark
Three Years Ago: Turkey Burgers with Romaine and Carrot Slaw

Simple Skillet Green Beans

Yield: Serves 4-6

Simple Skillet Green Beans

After trimming the ends of the green beans, you can cut them into 1- or 2-inch lengths, but I usually leave them long so I can maybe, hopefully teach my kids the importance of cutting up food on their plate before shoveling it into their mouths.


  • 1 teaspoon oil or butter
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil or butter over medium heat. Add the green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, to crisp up the edges of the beans just slightly.
  2. Pour in the broth and bring the beans/broth to a simmer. Cover the skillet and cook anywhere from 6-10 minutes, depending on how tender you like your green beans. Keep an eye on the skillet - if it is simmering too vigorously and the liquid evaporates out, add a bit more as needed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

45 Responses to Simple Skillet Green Beans {The Best Fresh Green Beans Of Your Life}

  1. Josey says:

    Mel I just did the same last night lol they are yummy but I added fresh garlic chopped up in my small food processor really fine just a few minutes before serving. It takes those beans to a whole new level.

  2. Becky says:

    Thanks for another great recipe. I combined green beans and yellow beans and my husband and children actually had 2nds! That is very rare for a vegetable in our house.

  3. Michelle says:

    I know this recipe is old but I looked to you for my Easter dinner green beans yesterday (in addition to your au gratin potatoes) and as I suspected, you had just what I was looking for. What a treasure and blessing you are to so many of us home cooks, Mel. These green beans were simple, fast and incredibly delicious. Several of my guests commented on the deliciousness of this “new” cooking method and I gave you full props. 🙂 My kids even liked them which is a grand slam. Thanks again!

  4. Kiley says:

    Mel we had this for Easter dinner tonight and it was amazing!! We had a lot leftover though…do you think we could freeze it? If so, how would you reheat it?

  5. Becca says:

    I bought green beans yesterday determined to find a simple way to use them. Tada. Thanks!!!

  6. Madison says:

    Well it is mid January and I tried these tonight for the first time. They were a hit! My three year old girl loved them. She even asked for seconds. I was able to use them as bribery to get her to eat more quiche. I love your site. I haven’t made one recipe from you that we haven’t all loved!

  7. Sally says:

    I make green beans in a similar way. The biggest difference is that I start with the liquid and butter in the pan and let the liquid cook off. They can brown in the pan at the end of the cooking. As others have mentioned, the addition of garlic Is a good thing.

  8. Katy says:

    I have to share that my 17 month old SCARFS these! I make them a lot in huge batches so I have leftovers for a day or two. I tend to make those with frozen beans from Costco, but they still taste great! Thanks for a great veggie recipe my picky eater loves!

  9. Aileen Cooks says:

    I finally tried this recipe last night (after pinning it over a month ago) and it did not disappoint. I used green beans freshly picked from my gardens and crisping them up in butter before hand was perfect. Thank you for another great recipe!

  10. Sharon says:

    Yum! These are so quick and easy and delicious! Thanks for being my go-to recipe guru when I need a recipe.

  11. RHonda says:

    these were awesome!! So simple but delicious!!

  12. jen says:

    These turned out great and my crew loved them. Thanks again for another hit!

  13. Lindy says:

    Amazing! *

  14. Lindy says:

    These were so amaIng!!!!!! Thanks for the delicious recipe!

  15. Alizabeth Szilagyi says:

    We do a similar recipe, but saute about four cloves of garlic in the butter/oil before adding the beans. We take the garlic out and exchange them for the beans, but add them back in during the last minute of cooking. It is wonderful (but we really love garlic).

  16. Stefanie says:

    I want to make these for someone else to warm up later. How would you suggest doing this? I am going to put them in a foil throw away pan . Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Stefanie – I’d probably make them according to the recipe but undercook them by a minute or so. Then if you put them in the foil pan with a couple tablespoons of broth then the person you are giving them too could warm them up in the oven on 325 or so for 10-15 minutes.

  17. Kandace says:

    Absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing a recipe that is simple and healthy, without sacrificing flavor. This will be a new go-to recipe in our house.

  18. Marla says:

    Mel, we tried this green bean recipe yesterday and even the pessimists (the guys) couldn’t believe they would be good. We fixed over 2 lbs, of them for four people and there wasn’t a single bean left. Thanks for this great recipe.

  19. CjR says:

    We also love green beans! One of our favorite ways is to wash/trim and microwave beans for about 3-4 minutes, then toss them in a wok or fry pan with olive oil and garlic. Sprinkle with kosher salt before serving. Yum!

    I’m anxious to try your recipe, Mel. You never disappoint!

  20. Becky says:

    I love green beans! I love them about any way, but I love to roast them. I will definitely be trying this recipe!

  21. Aneta says:

    HI MEL, What brand of stock do you use? or do you make your own? I tried so many brands but they all have so many additives in them, I feel like it ruins a healthy meal.
    I am looking for a good chicken or beef stock homemade recipe but a lot of them requires simmering for 24 hrs and I just don’t feel comfortable leaving my oven on all night. For the past couple of weeks I have been making one of your recipes everyday and everything turned out great, except for the cream puff cake, but I will try that one again.Thank you!!!!

    • Mel says:

      Aneta – Homemade stock is a great choice but I don’t always have it in my freezer/fridge and can’t make it every time I need it so when I’m using storebought, my very favorite brand is the Natural Goodness Low Sodium brand by Swanson’s.

  22. Liz says:

    I am going to make your key lime bars reciepe. I see you make it in a 8-inch square pan. Have you ever “doubled” the recipe and it so, does it go in a 9×13? Does it set up ok by making a double batch OR should I make two 8-inch pans? Also, I want to make this on a Friday night for a Sunday afternoon event – possible ??

  23. Maureen says:

    Yum! Love green beans! I stopped snipping off the ends years ago — why waste it when it’s the most tender part? Besides, I think it makes them look prettier. :o) Thanks for another great recipe!

  24. Linda says:

    I fry green beans in olive oil and sprinkle them with a bit of kosher salt. I also add sliced onion with great results! Good baked in the oven as well. I have used frozen beans and they are great too.

  25. Carla Riggs says:

    I just finished feeding six hungry missionaries tonight. They scarfed down these beans, and two of them mentioned how delicious they were! One asked if there was a sauce on them which made them so good. ha!
    I added in a few cut up raw Roma tomatoes and added them to the cooked green beans for color. So quick and easy!
    Thank you, Mel! 🙂

  26. Sherry says:

    For a little Asian flair, try adding a dollop of oyster sauce to the broth. I’ve been cooking broccoli that way for years and it’s seriously delicious!

  27. Bri says:

    Excited to try this! I love the idea of adding fresh garlic too.

  28. Annette says:

    Can this work with frozen green beans? You know, for when they’re not in season?

  29. Ruth says:

    These looks great. I have never tried this method. Note to self: MUST DO! Like you, I do not tire of the little green darlings. Hot or cold…..breakfast, lunch or dinner……so good!

  30. Ginger says:

    Great!! I literally just came in from the garden with a huge bowl full of green beans and thought, “Great, now what?”

    Thank you!

  31. gary says:

    Toss them in (garlic infused) olive oil, spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with your choice of seasonings and roast them at 450 – 500 for about 10 minutes. Roasting veggies makes them more flavorful for two reasons. It steams off some of the water content in the veggie flesh which somewhat intensifies the flavor and it carmelizes the natural sugars on the outside somewhat. Broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, squashes, corn, snap peas, whatever – just different cooking times. They’re done when black on the edges.

  32. elly says:

    You know, the way I make my green beans 90% of the time is to blanche them/boil them for about 3 minutes and then add them to a pan with melted butter/sauteed garlic. I don’t know why I never thought to just combine the steps!

  33. What a great idea! I love the chicken broth addition. I can’t wait for our green beans to start {bad weather up here so the garden planting had to be post-poned.}, but it will be soon! I will have to try to give this recipe a go and post my version up on my blog.

    From your whole foody!
    Janie Lynn

  34. Danica says:

    Oh man, have you tried adding garlic?? It’s a game changer. I find every excuse to make that side dish

  35. Stefanie says:

    I’ve used this method for great tasting green beans. Also, when we are eating oriental type dishes, I will splash a little low-sodium soy sauce in.

  36. So simple, so good!

  37. Sheila says:

    Hey, green beans are great but chia seeds are certainly not overrated. 🙂 Both are favorite foods. Great simple and clean recipe. But my childhood has taught me bacon in green beans makes all the difference. 🙂 I wonder if I can clean up my act and make this yummy recipe resisting the temptation of adding at least a pound of bacon! I’m making the spinach and cheese enchiladas tonight for supper.

  38. Kim in MD says:

    I crave green beans, too! I usually blanch them and shock them (to set the bright green color) before sauteeing them in a little butter or olive oil. Your method is so much easier, and I can imagine the chicken broth gives the beans so much flavor. This is a must try recipe for me!

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