I happened across some incredibly fresh and beautiful green beans yesterday that were also ON SALE, so I just had to have them. The lemon butter treatment is my absolute favorite way to prepare green beans. The creamy butter with the bright freshness of lemon pairs so perfectly with the tender-crisp green beans. This is truly one of those “goes with anything” side dishes, so learn how to make them and make them often! :)
Fresh Steamed Green Beans with Lemon Butter
See this recipe in my Easy Thanksgiving Dinner for Beginners meal plan.
The “Perfect” Green Bean
The trick to making these green beans out-of-this-world good is to not over cook them. The beans should still have quite a bit of “tooth” to the texture, without having that raw flavor. The color should be a bright vibrant green rather than a dull olive color. This is how you do vegetables right.
How Long Do you Steam Green Beans?
The total cooking time will vary quite a bit with the size of the green beans, the type of cooking vessel you’re using, and other factors, so this is something that you want to keep an eye on and check often. I find that I usually have to steam my green beans for about 3-5 minutes once the water starts boiling. It goes quickly!
Do I Need a Steaming Basket?
While using a steaming basket can help, I don’t bother using them anymore. I use an inch or two of water in the skillet and place my green beans right in the water. They kind of half-steam, half-boil. As long as you don’t over cook them, it doesn’t matter if they are actually in the water or just above the water getting hit by steam.
Add Lemon Butter Sauce to Other Vegetables, too!
This “lemon butter treatment” works well with other vegetables, too. Give it a try with broccoli, asparagus, kale, peas, and carrots!
Lemon Butter Green Beans
- 1 lb. green beans ($0.98)
- 1 Tbsp butter ( $0.09)
- 1 lemon ($0.59)
- Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste ($0.05)
- Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside. Remove the stems from the green beans and, if you prefer shorter pieces, snap them in half. Place the green beans in a colander and rinse well with cool water.
- Transfer the rinsed green beans to a deep skillet. Add about one inch of fresh water (the water will not cover the beans). Place a lid on the skillet and turn the flame on to medium-high. Allow the water to come up to a boil. Let the beans simmer and steam for 3-5 minutes, or just until the beans are bright green and just slightly tender. Test the texture with a fork.
- Once the green beans are bright green and slightly tender, turn off the heat and drain them in a colander. Return the drained green beans to the still-warm skillet with the heat turned off.
- Add the butter, about 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, a quick squeeze of the lemon juice (about 1 tsp), a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Toss the green beans to distribute the seasonings and allow the residual heat to melt the butter.
- When the butter has melted fully, taste the green beans and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lemon zest to your liking. Serve immediately.
Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.
How to Make Lemon Butter Green Beans – Step by Step Photos
Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside.
Snap the stem ends off of one pound of fresh green beans. If you like smaller pieces, you can also snap each bean in half. Place the beans in a colander and rinse with cool water.
Add the washed green beans to a deep skillet and add about one inch of water. The water should not cover the beans. The water is just there to generate steam. You can use a steaming basket, but I find it unnecessary. The cooking time is so brief that the beans at the bottom that are IN the water don’t seem to cook any more than the beans on top that only get steam.
Place a lid on the skillet and then place it over a medium-high flame. Let the water come to a boil, then let the beans continue to simmer/steam in the skillet for 3-5 minutes, or until they are bright green and just barely tender.
Test the texture with a fork. They should be slightly softer than the fresh beans, but still have quite a bit of “tooth” or crunch. You don’t want to over cook them here because they will continue to cook a bit from the residual heat. The color should be bright green. If they’re a dull olive color, they’ve cooked too long.
Drain the cooked beans in a colander and then return them to the skillet with the heat turned off. The beans and skillet should still be quite warm, though. Add 1 Tbsp butter, about 1/2 tsp zest, a squeeze of the lemon juice (about one teaspoon), and some salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Toss the beans to distribute the seasonings and to allow the residual heat to melt the butter.
Taste the Lemon Butter Green Beans and add more lemon juice, zest, salt, or pepper to your liking.
Serve immediately and enjoy their fresh, vibrant, and snappy flavor and texture. ❤️❤️❤️ My fav!
(And I know you’re going to ask about that chicken… It’s part of a rotisserie chicken that I impulse bought, so sorry, don’t have the recipe for that one! BUT I do have a recipe for Oven Roasted Chicken Legs that are quite good. )