How to Blanch Green Beans

Two Methods:Blanching Your BeansOther Blanching Techniques

Blanching green beans involves two main steps: boiling the green beans for about two minutes, then putting them in ice water immediately after and until completely cooled.[1] When done correctly, you can achieve a crunchier texture, brighter color, and delicious flavor.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total time: 30 minutes

Method 1
Blanching Your Beans

  1. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 1 preview
    Prepare your green beans. Rinse your beans thoroughly with water and snap the ends off of each bean.
    • Only snap about a quarter inch off of the ends. Try to leave as much of the bean intact.
    • Snapping too much off the ends leaves the inside of the bean exposed. This can cause a loss of flavor and crunch when boiling them in water.[2]
  2. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 2 preview
    Salt a large pot of water. Salting is crucial for seasoning the beans as well as preserving their natural taste.
    • Though you do not have to include salt in your water, doing so will help prevent nutrients and flavors from seeping out of your beans.[3] Salted water has a higher density than the water inside the beans. This helps keep most of the taste concealed in your beans rather than having them leak into the boiling water.
    • Salt your water liberally. The general rule of thumb is that blanching water should be "ten times saltier than the sea." If you have trouble judging by taste, simply add a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt for every quart of water in your pot.[4]
    • Salting your beans generously helps maintain that bright green color, which is great if you intend on presenting a colorful dish.[5] It also ensures that the beans will be seasoned evenly.
    • Don't worry about your beans tasting too salty. They will only be in the boiling water briefly and won't soak up as much salt as you think.[6]
  3. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 3 preview
    Place your pot of water on the stove to boil. Make sure the water volume is at least twice as much as the amount of beans you intend to blanch.
    • Though you may be blanching only a few green beans, using a big pot is ideal because it minimizes the length of boiling time. The goal of blanching is to cook the beans as quickly as possible to avoid losing crunch and color.[7]
    • Keep your water at a steady boil. Pay attention to the bubbles in your pot. Small bubbles forming at the edges of the pot are just air bubbles from the water and don't necessarily mean your water is boiling. When big bubbles begin to steadily stream from the bottom of the pot, your water is ready to go.[8]
  4. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 4 preview
    Prepare an ice bath. An ice bath is essential for the second main step of blanching, which is "shocking" your beans in cold water to stop the cooking process.[9]
    • Fill a large bowl with water that is cold or at room temperature. Grab some ice cubes from your freezer and distribute them evenly throughout the water.
    • Avoid preparing your ice bath early in your cooking process. The goal of shocking your beans is to stop the cooking that is still taking place inside the bean. Leaving your ice bath out at room temperature may decrease the effectiveness of shocking your beans.
    • Don't prepare the ice bath after the cooking process. Shocking needs to occur immediately after beans have been boiled so that they do not become overcooked in their own steam.[10] Also avoid preparing an ice bath while your beans boil. Since it is a quick process, you can easily lose track of time and overcook your beans.
  5. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 5 preview
    Place your green beans into the boiling water a few at a time. Let them sit in the water for about 2 minutes.[11]
    • Don't overcrowd your beans. Steadily distributing them will ensure even seasoning and cooking.
    • Taste a green bean a minute or so after boiling. It should taste crisp yet cooked.[12]
    • If your green beans are tender, you have overcooked them.[13]
  6. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 6 preview
    Remove the green beans from the pot. Use tongs or a strainer to carefully scoop them out of the boiling water.
    • Don't feel rushed. Although blanching requires speed, it also requires care. You don't have to scoop out all of your green beans in one go.
  7. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 7 preview
    Place your green beans in the ice bath immediately. As you scoop out the beans from your water, immerse them evenly in the bowl of ice water.
    • Avoid setting your beans down on a surface before shocking them in water. The longer your beans sit, the more they continue to cook.[14]
    • Keep your beans in the ice water until they have cooled down completely. Removing them before they have fully cooled allows cooking to continue from the inside out, which can result in a mushy final product.[15]
    • Also avoid keeping the beans in the ice bath for too long. If you can't feel any more warmth with your fingertips, the beans are likely cooled. Keeping the beans in the water for too long risks making them heavy and soggy.[16]
  8. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 8 preview
    Wrap the green beans in a paper towel. Allow them to fully dry before eating or mixing them with other foods.
    • Pat your green beans while they are inside the paper towel. This will help speed up the drying process.[17]
    • Skipping the drying process risks making the beans soggy and defeating the purpose of blanching, which is to achieve a crispy texture.

Method 2
Other Blanching Techniques

  1. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 9 preview
    Blanch your green beans in the microwave. Substitute a casserole dish and microwave for a pot and stove.[18]
    • The steps are generally the same as blanching on the stove with a few minor tweaks. Instead of keeping your green beans whole, chop them into small pieces. Put salt on them directly instead of in the water.
    • Fill a casserole dish with 3 quarts of water. Place two cups of green beans into the dish and cover. Microwave the casserole dish for 5-6 minutes, stopping to stir at least twice throughout the cooking process. Shock and dry the beans as you normally would after boiling.[19]
    • This technique is best for smaller quantities of green beans and for when you may not have access to a pot or stove. Know that microwaving may not be as effective as boiling when trying to achieve crunchier and brighter green beans.[20]
  2. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 10 preview
    Use steam to blanch your green beans. Replace your pot and water with a basket and steam.
    • Use a pot with a tight lid and a steam basket that holds food at least three inches above the pot. Put an inch or two of water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Place your green beans in a single, even layer so that the steam reaches all parts quickly.[21] Cover the pot with the lid and keep the heat on high for about 3-4 minutes. Shock and dry the green beans how you typically would.
    • Steam blanching, while a nice alternative to water blanching, is not as efficient. It takes approximately 1 1/2 times longer to steam blanch green beans than to water blanch them.[22]
    • Using steam is typically advised for specific vegetables, such as broccoli or sweet potatoes. Though you can blanch all vegetables in steam, water blanching green beans is quicker and more effective.
  3. Image titled Blanch Green Beans Step 11 preview
    Sauté your green beans in a skillet after blanching. Though this is not a substitute for water blanching, it is a nice flavor supplement to your already crispy green beans.[23]
    • After drying your beans, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter and Sauté the mixture for about 30 seconds. No exact measurements are required; just add enough oil and butter to fully coat your beans. Add the beans and continue to Sauté until they are coated in butter and heated through. Remove the beans from the skillet and add lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
    • For even greater flavor, mix red pepper flakes and garlic into your butter before sauteing your beans.


  • Summer is green bean season. This is when you will find the most flavorful beans.
  • Support local farmers - get your beans from a co-op or a store that sells local goods. Local produce is better for the environment, your community, and your body!


  • Of course, be careful with boiling water.

Sources and Citations


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Categories: Blanching Food | Rice and Beans