A platter of green beans topped with parmesan cheese.

Last October, when green beans were still arriving in our farm share, I deeply regretted not sharing months earlier one of my favorite ways to prepare them.

I learned the recipe seven years ago, and it’s possible you know it, too, because Kristen Miglore wrote about it in her Genius Recipes column on Food52.

The genius of this recipe is that it doesn’t call for boiling or blanching or shocking the green beans. Rather the beans enter a skillet with a bit of butter, crushed-but-not-peeled garlic cloves, water (or stock), and a pinch of salt and pepper. After 8 minutes covered over medium heat, the green beans emerge cooked but not mushy, glazed in a light, buttery sauce infused with just the right amount of garlic. To finish, you shave parmesan over the top and shower with more freshly cracked pepper.

Every time I make this recipe, I am astonished by how effortlessly it comes together and even more, by how quickly it disappears — children and adults alike love this one.

Friends, the summer green beans are so good right now, and if you haven’t given this one a go, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s maybe the lowest-effort, biggest-reward recipe I know.

PS: Blistered, Garlicky Green Beans

Simple Glazed Green Beans, Step by Step

In a skillet, combine 1 pound of green beans, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup of water (or stock), 2 cloves garlic (crushed but not peeled), salt, and pepper.

A skillet filled with green beans, butter, garlic, and water.

Cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn the heat to low. Cook for 8 minutes.

Cooked green beans in a skillet stovetop.

Serve just like this …

A skillet filled with cooked green beans.

… or shave parmesan over the top if you wish. (And you do!)

A skillet filled with cooked green beans topped with shaved parmesan.
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5-Ingredient, 8-Minute Glazed Green Beans

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4.8 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Alexandra Stafford
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Adapted from Kristen Miglore’s recipe on Food52: Michel Richard’s Glazed and Glistening Haricots Verts 


  • 1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup water or stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed but not peeled
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • freshly grated Parmesan to taste, optional


  1. Combine the green beans, butter, water, and garlic cloves in a large skillet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cover the pot, place over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer, then immediately turn heat to low once water is simmering.
  2. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the beans are cooked through but not mushy. Uncover. Toss the beans in their sauce and taste. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer the beans to a serving dish. Shave parmesan over the top if you wish. Crack more pepper over the top if you wish, too.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, French