Steaming is a great way to cook green beans and maintain their beautiful green color. In all cases, the beans are being cooked by the heat of steam from boiling water. The moist and relatively gentle heat cooks the beans evenly, softening their hearty texture while allowing them to hold onto their impressive levels of vitamin K (as well as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, folate, and iron).
Method 1: Steam Green Beans In a Pan
Hands-down this is my go-to method for steaming green beans.
It uses minimal equipment and results in evenly cooked, vibrant, flavorful green beans:
Bring a scant 1/2 inch salted water to boil in a large frying pan or saute pan. Add green beans, cover, and cook until green beans are tender to the bite and water has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes (depending on how crisp you like your cooked green beans).
Method 2: Steam Green Beans In a Steamer Basket
The classic method of steaming uses a steamer basket or insert:
Bring about an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot into which your steamer basket or insert fits. Put trimmed and cleaned green beans in the steamer basket, set over the boiling water, cover, and steam until tender to the bite, 3 to 5 minutes (depending, again, on how crisp or tender you like your green beans).
Method 3: Steam Green Beans In a Microwave
Steaming green beans in a microwave is certainly quick and convenient. Yet it is more difficult to get vegetables steamed to a precise and even level in a microwave, and beans steamed in a microwave may require a bit of draining or drying depending on how much liquid you used and how powerful your microwave is:
Put green beans in a large bowl, with a scant tablespoon or so of water on the bottom (freshly washed green beans and be used with the water clinging to them), cover beans with a microwave-safe lid or plate (avoid plastic wrap in microwaves), and cook on high power for 1 minute. Test for doneness and repeat at 15-second intervals until beans are steamed to your liking.
How to Serve Steamed Green Beans
No matter how you've steamed your green beans, either serve them immediately (I like them simply with butter, salt, and freshly ground black pepper), or maintain their green color by quickly dunking them in ice water to cool them down, dry them on paper towels, and use in one of these easy, delicious recipes:
You might also like these other easy green bean recipes: