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One-Pan Lemony Green Beans Recipe

Updated: 8/14/21 2:00 amPublished: 5/14/19
By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 8 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 20 minutes

Total time: 20 minutes

This recipe turns out the most perfectly tender, perfectly buttery beans you can imagine. Plus, the method is kind of brilliant: basically, by the time the water has evaporated, the beans cooked through – which means they’re pan-to-table. No colander, no serving dish, no extra washing up. This method works for asparagus too, but they take less time; use 2 tablespoons of water, and start checking them at 3 minutes.


1 pound green beans, stem ends pinched off if they’re still on (I like haricot verts for this – those are the skinny little beans – but any kind will work fine)

3 tablespoons butter

¼ cup water

1 clove of garlic, crushed and peeled

½ teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)

Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of ½ lemon (or to taste)


1. Put everything but the lemon in a very large skillet over medium-high heat, and cover it with a lid.

2. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down so that it simmers steadily, and use tongs to mix the green beans around occasionally, so that everything gets a chance to be where the butter is.

3. Eventually, the liquid will evaporate and the beans will be buttery and done – start checking them at around 6 minutes and turn the heat off when they’re cooked to your liking. (If it seems like they’re in danger of overcooking before the water boils away, just take the lid off for the last few minutes.)

4. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a few scrapings of lemon zest, and taste the beans for salt and lemon. Serve hot right away, or at room temperature, or cold.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »