Skillet Garlic Green Beans

Garlic Green Beans are a super simple and quick side dish you can make in a skillet in 20 minutes or less. Garlicky green beans with butter and salt is a weeknight staple!

Easy green bean recipe in a skillet

The Best Garlicky Green Beans

There are two kitchen tasks I truly hate: trimming green beans and peeling and mincing garlic. 

Lucky for me, this Garlic Green Beans recipe includes them both. Womp. womp.

So why, you might ask, am I torturing myself with my two least favorite tasks?

Well, because Garlic Green Beans are worth it, that’s why. 

This quick side dish transforms the humble green bean into a caramelized mess of buttery, garlicky goodness. It’s the kind of recipe that makes you want to eat vegetables for a midnight snack. I’m not even joking. 

Despite the fact it includes two of my least favorite jobs, this one is going to be on regular rotation in my house. It pairs beautifully with main dishes like Italian Dressing Chicken and Cast Iron Ribeye, and takes only 20 minutes (even with aforementioned trimming and chopping), and the reward far exceeds the effort.

Of course, I’ve included some shortcuts to avoid the more dreaded tasks and make this recipe even faster and easier.

I think once you try them, you’ll agree this recipe is worth as much or as little effort as you have to give it!

Sauteed Green Beans up close

Key Ingredients

This recipe is adapted from Food52’s Genius Recipes cookbook, a collection of recipes that uses surprisingly simple techniques to get the most out of every day recipes and ingredients. Despite my distaste for trimming green beans, I couldn’t resist trying their four ingredient recipe, and I was definitely glad I did. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Green Beans– You’ll need fresh, trimmed green beans. You can trim them yourself, or, if you want to save time, buy them bagged and pre-trimmed.
  • Butter– Could you sub olive oil? I suppose, but garlic butter is one of life’s great pleasures, and I recommend you stick with it for this recipe.
  • Garlic– You’ll need two large cloves for this recipe. You can substitute a teaspoon of pre-minced garlic, but I find the flavor isn’t quite as pungent. To save time, invest in a garlic press
  • Salt– Finish the green beans with a nice coarse sea salt, or my personal favorite, Maldon sea salt flakes. It’s texture and flavor all in one simple ingredient!

How to Make Skillet Garlic Green Beans

The genius behind this green bean recipe is in both the simplicity of its ingredients and the way it’s cooked. While most skillet green bean recipes call for garlic to be sautéed in butter and oil then cooked with the green beans, this one turns that process on its head.

With this recipe, you’ll:

  1. Saute the green beans in butter for a few minutes, until they start to brown.
  2. Cover the pan, and lightly steam the beans until they’re crisp/tender.
  3. Toss them with garlic and saute until just fragrant.
  4. Finish with flaky salt.

This simple switch allows the green beans to develop their own slightly sweet, caramelized flavor before getting glazed in a pungent bite of fresh garlic. It makes a shockingly simple side dish that allows the flavor of the green beans to really shine.

Garlic Green Beans being served out of a skillet

Tips for Buying and Making Fresh Green Beans

  • The peak season for fresh green beans is from May to September, but you can find them in most supermarkets year round. Look for green beans that are mostly free from brown spots or gashes and are firm. Avoid beans that are too bendy or floppy. They should snap apart easily when bent.
  • Pick green beans that are a similar size so they cook evenly and for about the same length of time. 
  • Using a garlic press makes me hate chopping garlic slightly less. It’s worth the investment.
  • Test the green beans a few minutes before the cooking time is over. You want them to stay a little crisp. Over-steaming results in floppy green beans.
Garlic Green Beans in a Skillet

What goes with green beans?

These garlic green beans are a great quick side dish for busy weeknights, but they would also be right at home on your Thanksgiving menu. They make a fine accompaniment to Panko Crusted Chicken Piccata, Garlic and Herb Roasted Turkey, or Amish Chicken and Noodles.

We also love them with Mom’s Easy Meatloaf and Crock Pot Swedish Meatballs.

What can I add to green beans for flavor?

Butter, garlic, and salt are all you need to make this delicious recipe, but you can add several other ingredients for variations in flavor and texture:

  • Add toasted almond slivers for crunch.
  • Add French fried onions for flavor and crispy crunch.
  • Add Parmesan cheese for umami.
  • Add red pepper flakes for heat.
  • For a hint of sweetness, add a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

More Easy Side Dish Recipes

Looking for more versatile and easy side dish recipes? We love this Easy Carrot Saute and Sauteed Spinach and Onions.

If you’d rather be hands off, try these roasted veggie sides: Balsamic Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms, Roasted Teriyaki Green Beans and the Best Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower.

Garlic Green Beans in a Skillet

Garlic Green Beans

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Garlic Green Beans are a simple, four ingredient side dish you can make for a busy weeknight or a special holiday.


  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Coarse or flaked sea salt, to taste


  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans and allow them to cook, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. Toss the beans and allow them to cook again, undisturbed, for 1-2, or until they're starting to brown on multiple sides.
  2. Lower the heat to low, cover the skillet, and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, stirring every few minutes. When the beans are crisp-tender, stir in the garlic and saute for 20-30 seconds. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.


Want to dress these up? Try tossing the beans with toasted almond slices, French fried onions, or finish the dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. You can also add red pepper flakes or Parmesan cheese.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 198mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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  1. I absolutely hate trimming green beans and mincing garlic, so I was hesitant to try this Garlic Green Beans recipe. But let me tell you, the end result is worth it! The beans are caramelized and buttery, with just the right amount of garlic. This dish is now a staple in my household.

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