Awesome Garlic Green Beans

Update: See recipe at end for red pepper flakes and grill option!

garlic green beans

This is one of our favorite ways to eat green beans when they’re fresh from the garden. Well, it’s also our favorite way to eat our frozen garden beans, too, but right now the beans are coming on strong, and we’re eating our weight in Garlic Green Beans pretty much weekly.

This easy recipe is deceptively tasty. Seriously. I know it has, like only 3 or 4 ingredients, but I can’t just have one helping…or even two. And since I can’t possible have a third helping of anything, I just pick the beans out of the serving bowl.

I know, uncouth. But it’s not a third serving. Or forth, but we’re not going there…

I grow a couple of types of beans, but my favorite that I have grown every year for more than 10 years is a pole filet-style bean called “Emerite.” You can pick it short and skinny for the true filet style beans (which I do at the beginning of the season), or leave them to grow longer and thicker. Either way, they stay tender and yummy and never have any strings. And once it starts producing it will produce until frost.

I can’t be bothered with “snapping” one bean at a time- I lose more bean than I want and it takes longer- so I pile up a bunch of similar lengths and cut just the tips off all at once.

For this recipe, cut the beans in the length you’d like to serve. Sometimes I leave them long for that restaurant look, but most of the time I cut them into 1 to 2-inch pieces because they are easier to eat.

Use a shallow pan large enough to hold the amount of beans you’ve got. I had picked a lot (about 8 cups cut), so I used my 12-in fry pan here. Melt a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil for each 4 cups of beans (so I’ve got 2 of each in the pan) over medium-high heat. Add all of the beans and cook, stirring for about 4 minutes.

pouring water on beans
Add minced garlic (and optional red pepper flakes for a bit of spice), stir, and then pour in about 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes depending on how you like your beans. I like them crisp-cooked, not mushy, so 4 minutes is usually good.

garlic green beans cooked
When the lid is lifted, there will be liquid on the bottom of the pan, so I like to turn the heat to high and quickly cook the liquid away until the beans are sizzling in the pan.

garlic green beans in bowl
That way, the beans are nicely coated with buttery-garlicky goodness. Then simply add salt and pepper to taste.


Awesome Garlic Green Beans (with a Fantastic Grill Option!)

  • 4 cups trimmed fresh* green beans (cut as desired)
  • 1 Tb. butter
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 Tb. minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste (I use about 1/4 tsp.)- optional

Stove-top method:

  1. Prepare green beans.
  2. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large, shallow pan.
  3. Add beans and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes, if using, and stir.
  4. Add water and cover. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.
  5. Remove lid and, turning heat to high, cook liquid away, stirring constantly.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Alternate grill method:

  1. Coat beans with olive oil and toss with garlic, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using.
  2. Using a high-sided grill pan (wok? what are they called?) with holes, grill the beans over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until done, tossing frequently. Make sure to let some of the beans get a little charring on them…oh they are SO good.

Makes 4 cups

*If using frozen beans, adjust cooking times by cooking only a minute before adding the garlic and water, and testing the beans after covering at about the 4 minute mark.


This is linked to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Real Food Wednesday
Delicious Dishes


  1. says

    These look fantastic, Jami. thanks for sharing. You really are inspirational for making me want to cook and eat at home! I just shared your recipe and web site address with my two sisters.

  2. says

    “Add a tablespoon of minced garlic for each 4 cups, stir, and then pour in about 1/4 cup of water.”
    Jami has this after the beans are added and before the water. It is in between two pictures.

  3. Sherri B. says

    These sound like the ones I have been trying to duplicate from our favorite Chinese buffet. I couldn’t get it right but I think if I add a pinch of red pepper flakes and follow your instructions I will finally have it. A big Thanks!

  4. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says

    Hah! I decided to leave out the picture of when I added the garlic and just write it in- seemed like too many pictures of a pan of beans!- guess I should’ve left it in? :-)

    Thanks, Native Texan, for the kind comments and helping Chris!

    Sherri B.- Yes! I’ve done that, too, but I also add a bit of soy sauce along with the pepper.


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