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Why I Always Have Green Beans in My Produce Drawer

The conventional jade type is just the beginning: The green bean family is richly diverse and endlessly accommodating.
By Published Aug. 8, 2022

Green beans, also known as snap beans or string beans, are my ultimate go-to. When I need a vegetable that can be steamed to crisp-tender perfection in about 5 minutes? Green beans. One that braises to silky, dense succulence in the oven while I get on with other tasks? Green beans. When I’m craving the deep browning of roasted vegetables but have only 20 minutes? You see where I’m going here—green beans are endlessly accommodating.

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Like chickpeas and lima beans, green beans are legumes, but their edible pods set them apart from the rest of the family. You’d think that a jade hue would also be a defining feature, but no: Pale‑yellow wax beans are green beans that have had the chlorophyll pigment bred out of them, and purple varieties, which contain an anthocyanin pigment that masks chlorophyll when the beans are raw (it recedes when cooked), are available in bean season. Shape and size vary even more widely than color. A cross section of a Blue Lake bean, the most common commercially grown green bean, is round, while a Romano bean is broad and flat. Haricots verts are delicately slim and petite, while Chinese long beans, also called yard-long beans, can grow to a length of 3 feet.

These three recipes all come together quickly, but the steamed haricots verts, with a less-than-5-minute cooking time, have to be one of the speediest cooked vegetable dishes going; they’re simple, but a sprinkle of shallot and mere slick of butter give these elegant beans a distinctly French flair. For our shrimp and long bean stir-fry, we borrow a technique from our skillet-charred green bean recipe: Steaming the beans in the microwave softens them, and then a stint in a hot wok blisters them, leaving them with an appealingly dense, satisfying chew and deep color and flavor. And our bean salad features Romano and wax beans that have been blanched briefly and then chilled in ice water so that they retain their bright colors and crisp textures, making the salad a refreshing addition to any late-summer cookout. 

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.