These Buttery Garlic Green Beans are cooked to tender perfection, then coated in a rich and flavorful garlic butter sauce. With just a few simple ingredients, you can have this easy vegetable side dish ready in only 20 minutes. It's a versatile option that pairs well with a variety of main dishes, whether it's a weeknight dinner or holiday feast.
I grew up thinking green beans were meant to be mushy, boring, and flavorless. When I was a kid, we often had unseasoned, boiled green beans with dinner. And for a long time, I thought I just didn't like green beans.
But, once I started cooking for myself, I realized that green beans actually can be delicious! It's all about how you cook and season them.
In my opinion, the best way to jazz up fresh green beans is with a little butter and garlic. Simple, yet flavorful, butter and garlic elevate these sautéed green beans to the next level.
They're so good, in fact, that they're sure to please even the pickiest eater in your family.
Today, I’m walking you through how to make the best sautéed garlic green beans, including which ingredients to use, tips that will guarantee you make them successfully the first time, and some of my favorite dishes to serve with this easy vegetable side dish.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Simply Delicious- With just 6 simple ingredients, you can make this flavorful vegetable side dish that will have everyone wondering how you made green beans taste so delicious.
- Ready in 20 Minutes- Green beans cook quickly so you only need a few minutes to prepare this easy green bean side dish.
- Beginner-Friendly- Sautéing fresh vegetables is a simple cooking technique that is great for beginner home cooks.
- Versatile Side Dish- The mild flavor of green beans pairs well with a variety of main dishes, from roasted and grilled meats to hearty pasta dishes and more.
- Perfect for the Holidays- Garlic butter green beans are the perfect Thanksgiving side dish to add to your holiday menu. They're flavorful, pair well with turkey, and are easy to throw together at the last-minute.
Here are some notes on the key ingredients. For the full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Green Beans- Opt for green beans that are bright green, firm, and uniform in color. Trim the stem end of each green bean and remove any soft, mushy ends as well.
- Butter- Gives the dish a rich, buttery flavor that pairs well with the garlic and green beans. I prefer to use unsalted butter for better control over the saltiness of the dish.
- Garlic- Fresh minced garlic sautéed in butter takes the green beans from just another side dish to the best dish on your plate.
- Garlic Powder- For additional garlic flavor, I like to add a little garlic powder to these buttery garlic green beans.
- Kosher Salt- I prefer to use kosher salt in all of my cooking because it doesn't contain added sugar or anti-caking agents like table salt often does.
- Black Pepper- Use freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.
🌱 Sustainability Tip: Nothing tastes better than garden-fresh green beans. Plus, they're super easy and fun to grow both in a garden and in a container.
How to Store Fresh Green Beans
What's the best way to store fresh green beans until you're ready to use them?
- Keep them unwashed. Keep the green beans unwashed to prevent moisture from promoting bacterial growth.
- Choose the right container. Place the unwashed green beans in a plastic bag or airtight container.
- Store. Store the bag or container of green beans in the refrigerator's vegetable crisper drawer for up to 5 days.
🙅♀️ How do you know if your fresh green beans have gone bad? Look for discoloration, wrinkled or slimy texture, foul odor, mold or fungus growth, browning or dryness, excessive softness, or an off taste.
Substitutions and Variations
Here are a few ways you can try customizing this buttery garlic green beans recipe to fit your diet and taste preferences.
- Green Beans- Substitute fresh green beans for frozen green beans if fresh isn't available. Keep in mind that you may need to steam frozen green beans a few minutes longer than fresh and may also want to use less water.
- Butter- Swap butter for olive oil to make this dish dairy-free. Dairy-free butter may also be used.
- Garlic- Use garlic paste or minced garlic from a jar in place of fresh garlic if preferred. Alternatively, use one teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Garlic Powder- Replace garlic powder with an additional 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic.
- Kosher Salt- Sea salt or table salt can be used in place of kosher salt.
- Black Pepper- Opt for red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper if you prefer your green beans with a little more heat.
- Herbed- Add a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs, such as parsley, thyme, or rosemary, to the green beans for a fresh, herbaceous flavor.
- Lemon- For a bright, citrusy flavor, toss the green beans with a little lemon zest and lemon juice after sautéing.
- Balsamic- Drizzle balsamic glaze over the cooked green beans to balance the dish with a hint of tangy sweetness.
- Parmesan- Grate parmesan cheese over the top of the green beans after sautéing to give them a cheesy flavor.
- Bacon- Crumbled bacon pairs well with garlic green beans and gives the dish a rich, salty flavor and satisfying texture.
- Spicy- If you love spicy food, sprinkle red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper over the green beans for a bit of heat.
Here are some notes on any special equipment I used to make this recipe.
- Skillet with Lid- Using a skillet with a lid is essential for this recipe as it allows you to steam the green beans properly. Opt for a stainless steel skillet or cast iron skillet over non-stick options, as non-stick coatings do not develop flavor as well and can release harmful chemicals when heated at high temperatures.
- Tongs- Using tongs helps you move the green beans around in the pan easily, ensuring they're cooked and seasoned evenly.
How to Make Buttery Garlic Green Beans
Here is how to make sautéed garlic green beans.
Step 1: Prepare the green beans. Wash the green beans under cold water and trim off the tough ends.
Step 2: Steam the green beans. Add the trimmed green beans and water to a large skillet. Cover the skillet with the lid and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the water come to a simmer and steam the green beans for about 5-7 minutes or until they turn vibrant green and start becoming tender.
Step 3: Sauté the green beans. Once the green beans are done steaming, increase the heat to medium. It's okay if there's a small amount of water remaining in the skillet. Remove the lid and add the butter and minced garlic to the skillet. Sauté the green beans and garlic in the butter for 3-4 minutes.
Step 4: Season the green beans. Sprinkle the garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper over the green beans. Toss together to make sure the seasoning coats the green beans evenly and let them cook for an additional minute. When finished, they should be tender with a slight crunch, but not overly soft.
Step 5: Serve and enjoy. Transfer the seasoned green beans to a serving dish and enjoy!
Tips for Success
Make these easy garlic green beans successfully the first time using these tried and true tips.
- Fresh is best. Whenever possible, use fresh green beans for the best flavor and texture. Look for beans that are firm, vibrant, and free from blemishes.
- Watch the water level. When steaming the green beans, keep an eye on the water to ensure it doesn't completely evaporate. There should be a small amount of water remaining when you add the butter and garlic.
- Cook to your desired tenderness. Taste-test the green beans with butter and garlic before finishing the dish to make sure they're cooked to your liking.
- Serve immediately. These buttery garlic green beans are best enjoyed as soon as they're finished cooking.
What to Serve With Buttery Garlic Green Beans
Whether they're part of your holiday meal or just a quick weeknight dinner, these sautéed garlic green beans pair well with a variety of main dishes and are sure to become a new family favorite.
If you're looking for a quick and easy vegetable side dish for your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter feast, these green beans are a great option. They pair well with turkey breast, roasted chicken, braised beef, meatballs, lasagna, and more.
You can also serve these garlicky green beans alongside your favorite proteins for an easy weeknight dinner. Some of my favorites include grilled chicken, pan-seared chicken, braised chicken breast, grilled steak tips, grilled shrimp, and seared pesto salmon.
Finally, pair this sautéed green bean recipe with a hearty pasta dish for a well-balanced meal. Pasta bolognese, roasted garlic alfredo, creamy pumpkin pasta, Cajun salmon pasta, and pesto rigatoni are all delicious choices.
Storage and Reheating
How to Store
- Refrigerator- Store leftover sautéed green beans with garlic and butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer- Freeze leftover green beans in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Keep in mind that freezing cooked green beans may alter their texture once reheated.
How to Reheat
- Stovetop- Heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Add leftover green beans and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until hot.
- Oven- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread leftover green beans out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Heat for 5-10 minutes or until fully warmed through.
- Microwave- Place green beans on a microwave-safe dish. Heat on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring between each, until fully warmed through.
- Air Fryer- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Place leftover green beans in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Reheat for approximately 2-3 minutes or until warm.
While sautéed green beans are best served fresh, you can still get a head start on preparation by trimming the green beans up to one day in advance. Trimming the green beans ahead of time is especially helpful during the busy holiday season.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use frozen green beans instead of fresh. Frozen green beans will take a few minutes longer to steam. And since they release water as they cook, consider using less water than called for in the recipe.
This garlic green bean recipe is loaded with buttery, garlicky goodness. However, lemon zest, fresh herbs, parmesan cheese, and bacon also make tasty additions.
Yes, this buttery garlic green bean recipe is naturally gluten-free. Still, I always recommend double-checking the ingredient label for any ingredient that is new to you.
Buttery Garlic Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans ends trimmed
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Wash the green beans under cold water and trim off the tough ends.1 pound green beans
- Add the trimmed green beans and water to a large skillet. Cover the skillet with the lid and turn the heat to medium-low. Let the water come to a simmer and steam the green beans for about 5-7 minutes or until they turn vibrant green and start becoming tender.½ cup water
- Once the green beans are done steaming, increase the heat to medium. It's okay if there's a small amount of water remaining in the skillet. Remove the lid and add the butter and minced garlic to the skillet. Sauté the green beans and garlic in the butter for 3-4 minutes.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 cloves garlic
- Sprinkle the garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper over the green beans. Toss together to make sure the seasoning coats the green beans evenly and let them cook for an additional minute. When finished, they should be tender with a slight crunch, but not overly soft.½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Transfer the seasoned green beans to a serving dish and enjoy!
- Quick Tip: Taste-test the green beans before finishing the dish to make sure they're cooked to your liking.
- Storage: Store leftover green beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Make Ahead: Trim the ends of the green beans up to one day in advance.