Microwaving fresh green beans is the quickest and easiest way to cook them. Steam them using a little water and a covered bowl to ensure they stay crunchy.
How to Steam Fresh Green Beans in a Microwave
Steamed fresh green beans make a delicious and healthy side dish. I especially love it when they are in season and can be found at my local farmers market. Cheap, fresh, and you know your money is going to support local producers!
Microwaving fresh green beans is easy, you just need to take a little care to ensure that they retain their flavor and texture (no one wants over-cooked green beans!).
The easiest way to do this is to steam them rather than attempting to boil them.
What beans to use and how to prep
All varieties of fresh green beans can be microwave steamed using the method below.
Green beans, string beans snap beans, wax beans and haricot vert just need a wash, trim the ends, and I usually cut them in half so the pieces are a couple of inches long.
For Romano beans, Italian green beans, flat beans or runner beans (different names, same bean), give them a wash, trim the ends and then cut them into pieces around 1-2 inches long.
What else do you need?
To steam green beans in your microwave you will need a microwave-safe dish with a close-fitting lid. You could also use a microwave-safe bowl with a plate on top, but make sure it fits well enough to prevent the steam escaping during cooking.
You just need a small amount of water in the bottom of the bowl. The right amount will boil quickly and fill the bowl with enough steam to cook the beans. I usually find around a half inch of depth works.
You may find the beans in the bottom of the bowl that are sitting in the water get a little overcooked. They will still taste delicious, but may be a little soft and look a little wilted.
You can avoid this by using a microwave-safe trivet to raise the beans up out of the water before cooking. I have this Joie silicone vegetable steamer [affiliate link], which works perfectly.
How long to microwave green beans
You will need to microwave the bowl of beans until the water is boiling and the bowl has filled with steam. It need to boil continuously for around a minute, and then should be left for at least minute with the lid on to allow the beans to finish cooking in the steam.
The total length of time you will need to microwave the beans for depends on the power of your microwave. The times in the recipe below are perfect for my 1000W microwave, so if you have a lower wattage you may need to increase the times a little.
You can estimate cooking times for a different wattage microwave using the chart below:
|Wattage||Cook time||Steam time|
|500W||7min 20s||1 min|
|600W||6min 40s||1 min|
|800W||5min 20s||1 min|
|900W||4min 40s||1 min|
|1100W||3min 20s||1 min|
|1200W||2min 40s||1 min|
You may need to use a little trial and error to get it exactly right. I would recommend printing off the recipe card below and making a note of how long worked for your microwave to make it easier next time!
How to steam fresh green beans in a microwave.
- 12 oz green beans
- 1/4 cup water
- Wash green beans, trim the ends, and cut into ~2inch pieces.
- Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid (use a microwave trivet if you have one).
- Microwave beans on high for 4 minutes, then allow to steam for an additional 1 minute (do not remove the lid from the bowl during this time.
- When you remove the lid from the bowl, please be very careful as a lot of hot steam will escape.
- Serve beans with a sprinkle of salt, or topped with butter. Enjoy!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
You may also like: