Grace your table with these delicious Buttery Green Beans. It starts with blanching the green beans and then sauteeing everything together in butter, garlic, and lemon zest.
Green beans are a fantastically versatile vegetable.
It's no wonder the internet is vast with great recipes for this popular year-round vegetable. Everything from classic green bean casserole, to vegetable soups featuring string beans, to this super easy delicious side dish.
Why you'll love this recipe
These buttery green beans are jazzed up with garlic and lemon. It's an easy way to take a humble vegetable and give it big flavors.
- Taste: rich butter melded with pan-fried garlic and a little lemon zest for bright flavors
- Texture: green beans are tender with just the right amount of crunch
- Level of difficulty: easy! this great side dish comes together relatively fast and you can even blanch the green beans days ahead of time
- Less is more: with only 4 basic ingredients but maximum flavor, this is a perfect side dish for busy kitchens.
- green beans: look for bright green beans - farmer's markets will have the best quality but grocery stores are a good option. You can use round string beans or thinner varieties like Haricots Verts. Just remember, the thinner the are, the less cooking time is needed.
- unsalted butter
- fresh garlic
- lemon: we'll be using both lemon zest and lemon juice so fresh lemon is always best
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Substitutions and Variations
These buttery green beans with garlic and lemon are good on their own. But if you wanted to change up flavor, consider these easy additions:
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes into the garlic butter for some extra heat
- Herb - add fresh thyme or sage leaves into the butter to influse some of that herbal flavor
- Parmesan - toss with shredded Parmesan cheese for the ultimate flavor
- Mellow garlic - if the fresh garlic is too pungent for your liking, consider using garlic confit (roasted garlic) instead of the fresh variety.
And if you haven't seen these yet - check out these Oven-Roasted Green Beans with Bacon on my site!
These sauteed green beans are very delicious with butter but for a dairy-free version, ghee will work. Ghee also has that rich, velvety texture that mimics the butter flavor in this green bean recipe.
- 🕐Time Saving Tip: purchase already trimmed green beans if you have access to them. This will cut time on green bean preparation.
- 🗓Make-Ahead Tip: blanch green beans up to 5 days ahead of time (great time saver!) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Crunchy green beans: to avoid mushy green beans, make sure to dry them after blanching before adding to the pan with garlic butter
💭Pro tip: For green beans to retain that bright green color and crist-tender texture, it's important to halt the cooking process by plunging the beans into an ice bath as soon as they are al dente.
The complete printable recipe is below in the recipe card for your convenience.
This lemon garlic green beans recipe calls for these ingredients: green beans, unsalted butter, garlic, lemon and sea salt.
Step 1. Blanch green beans
Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Generously season with salt (like pasta water). Add clean and trimmed green beans and cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on size of green beans.
Step 2. Ice bath
While the beans are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water. Immediately after the cooking time, transfer the green beans to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Using a spider strainer like this may help.
💭Pro tip: Boil small and/or thin green beans for 2 minutes, medium size beans for 3 minutes, and large green beans need to be boiled for 4 minutes.
Step 3. Brown garlic
Meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until slightly golden. Grate a little lemon zest and stir to combine.
Step 4. Add green beans
Add the green beans to the skillet and turn up the heat to high. Cook for 1 minute just to warm everything through. Squeeze a little lemon juice and season with salt. Take off the heat immediately.
💭Pro tip: While garlic is cooking, strain the green beans and pat dry with a paper towel.
Helpful Tools & Links
Below are some affiliate links that may be helpful to you as you make this buttery green beans recipe. You can find some of these items cheaper at your local store but it helps to have a link so you know what you're looking for.
- Tools: stainless steel pot, spider strainer, large ice bath bowl
- Ingredients: real salt
- Storage Supplies: glass snap containers
These are also great as leftovers with breakfast eggs.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
To store: Leftover green beans can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. After that, the garlic will have an off flavor and lemon will turn bitter.
Storage containers: these glass snap containers are perfect for leftovers
To reheat: Heat stainless steel pan over medium-high heat. Add the leftover green beans to the pan and cover with lid. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through, remove lid and cook on high for pan fried green beans.
💭Pro tip: With green beans, less is more. Blanching in hot water will require less time than you think you need. Likewise, reheating green beans in a pan will also need less time than you may think.
Blanching means to par-boil something. In the case of green beans, we want to blanch them for 2 minutes if using small, thin variety of beans. For medium beans, blanch for 3 minutes and for large beans, blanch for 4 minutes.
Blanched green beans without the buttery garlic and lemon mixture will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Sauteed green beans with the lemon garlic should be consumed within 1-2 days. The lemon will give a bitter aftertaste after that time. It will still be safe to eat just not as tasty.
Looking for more related recipes? Here are some ideas:
Did you make this? Please leave a ⭐ recipe rating in the recipe card below and leave a review in the comments. Thank you!💚
Buttery Green Beans with Garlic and Lemon
- 1 pound green beans washed and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic approximately 6 medium garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice approximately ½ small lemon squeezed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add green beans and cook for 2-4 minutes depending on size. Immediately after cooking time, transfer the green beans to an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Remove from ice bath once chilled and pat dry with paper towel.
- Meahwhile, melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes or until slightly golden. Grate lemon zest and stir to combine.
- Add the green beans to the pan and turn up the heat to high. Cook for 1 minute or until warmed through. Squeeze lemon juice and season with salt. Toss to combine and take off heat.
- Blanched green beans without the butter, garlic, and lemon can be made up to 5 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
- For green beans to retain bright green color and crisp-tender texture, it's important to stop the cooking process by plunging into ice water.
- To avoid mushy green beans, dry them after ice bath before adding them to garlic lemon butter.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1-2 days.
- To reheat: heat a pan over medium-high heat. Add leftover green beans to the pan and cover with lid. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until warmed through, remove lid and cook on high for pan fried green beans.