Lemon Butter Green Beans

$2.02 recipe / $0.34 serving

It always amazes me how a recipe so simple can be so bursting with flavor. The fresh, lively flavor of these beans along with their quick preparation makes this a “go to” side dish for week night meals. Try this once and you’ll never eat the canned kind again!

Lemon Butter Green Beans

I served these beans with my Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops.

Print Friendly and PDF
Total Recipe cost: $2.02
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Cost per serving: $0.34
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 10 min. Total: 20 min.

1 lb. string beans/green beans $1.29
2 medium lemons $0.43
2 Tbsp butter $0.26
to taste salt and pepper $0.05
TOTAL $2.02
COMPARE TO 6 restaurant sides, $2.49 ea $14.94

STEP 1: Place your beans in a colander and rinse well. Snap off the end of the bean that connects to the stem. If your beans are very long, you can also snap them in half.

STEP 2: Place the beans in a medium pot with about 1 inch of water. Heat the pot on high with a lid until the water boils heavily. Steam the beans just until they are slightly tender and their color is bright green. Once they turn bright green, test the texture with a fork to see how tender they are. Check them every two to three minutes until they have reached your desired level of tenderness. Keep in mind that if you like them very soft you will need to cook them longer and the color will turn from bright green to a darker olive color (and therefore will be less pleasing to the eye).

STEP 3: While the beans are steaming, melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a small skillet. Zest both lemons into the skillet (use the smallest grade on a cheese grater or a “zester” to shave off the very thin bright yellow part of the lemons’ rind). Reserve a small amount of the zest for garnish, if you wish. Let the zest simmer slightly in the melted butter (medium heat) for about 2 minutes.

STEP 4: Drain the beans in a colander. Return them to the pot (with the heat off) and add the lemon zest infused butter. Squeeze the juice from half of one of the lemons over the beans. Stir well then add salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Plate up the beans and garnish with any left over zest.

NOTE: This “lemon butter” method also makes steamed broccoli go from bland to BA-BAM! Steaming can also be accomplished in the microwave although the veggies tend to be just a little softer and rubberier. To steam in the microwave, put your veggies in a microwave safe dish along with 1 inch of water. Set a lid on top but DO NOT clamp it down (it will explode if you do). Microwave on high to bring the water to a boil and continue for about two minutes. Check the texture at that point and microwave more at 1 minute intervals until you have the veggies the way you like them.


  1. Teresa says:

    Hello, I’ve been trying your recipes slowly but surely and I love every one so far! I’ve made the pesto-chickpea salad at least 4 times now, and I most recently made the golden jasmine rice.

    I usually don’t have fresh veggies around, since they go bad before I can use them all, so I’m wondering if this recipe will work with frozen green beans? What changes would I need to make in that case?

    Thank you for any information. Your blog is basically how I’m learning to cook, your instructions are so helpful.

    Take care!

    • You can just let the beans thaw at room temperature (or microwave very briefly), then add them to the lemon butter mixture as if you would have with the steamed fresh beans. Let them warm up in the lemon butter over medium-low heat until they’re heated through. Frozen green beans are blanched (dunked in boiling water) before freezing, so they’re already slightly cooked. :)

  2. Just finished up this dinner it was a big hit with the fam!! I am sooooo happy

  3. I love you.

  4. haha, yes, my roomies are always sniffin’ around when i cook :D

  5. yumm!! haha you would be the best flat mate!!

  6. These look delicious.

Speak Your Mind