Microwave green beans are a delicious and healthy side dish that can be made in just a few minutes. They are a great way to get your daily dose of vegetables. But, you need to know how to cook green beans in the microwave the right way to retain their crunch.
Why you’ll love this recipe
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 raw 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 easy way to do this is to steam them in the microwave rather than attempting to boil them. Steaming vegetables helps to retain their texture, along with nutrients, both of which can be lost if they are cooked directly in boiling water.
Scroll down for the printable recipe card for these microwave green beans, or read on for all the details!
What do you need?
To cook fresh 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.
If you don’t have a dish with a lid, you can cover it with plastic wrap, just remember to pierce it a few times with a sharp knife.
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*, which works perfectly.
All varieties of fresh green beans can be microwave steamed using the method below. You can also use frozen green beans, though the cook times will be a little longer.
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.
You also 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 an inch of depth works – this is around 1 cup in the bowl that I use.
How to steam fresh green beans in the microwave
Place the steamer basket (if using) into the microwave safe dish, add the water and trimmed green beans, and cover the container (ensure the lid has holes to let the steam escape).
You will need to microwave the bowl of beans until the water is boiling and the bowl has filled with steam. It needs to boil continuously for around 3 minutes, and then should be left for at least 1 minute with the lid on to allow the beans to finish cooking in the steam.
How long to microwave green beans
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!
Serve steamed beans topped with butter, or season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Storage and reheating
Store leftover microwaved green beans in the refrigerator in an airtight container, and use within 3 days.
To reheat in the microwave, place the beans in a microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap (pierce a few times). Microwave on high for around 1 minute until piping hot.
Microwave Steamed Green Beans
- 12 oz green beans
- ¼ 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 [Note 1], 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!
- Cook time for a 1000W microwave. You may need to adjust the cook time higher or lower for a different wattage (refer to cook times chart on the recipe webpage).
You may also like: