Microwave Fresh Green Beans

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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.

Microwaved fresh green beans in a bowl
Microwave Steamed Vegetables

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.

Green beans in microwave bowl
Green beans all prepped, ready for the microwave

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:

WattageCook timeSteam time
400W8min1 min
500W7min 20s1 min
600W6min 40s1 min
700W6min1 min
800W5min 20s1 min
900W4min 40s1 min
1000W4min1 min
1100W3min 20s1 min
1200W2min 40s1 min
Estimated green bean cook times for different microwave wattage

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!

Microwaved fresh green beans in a bowl
Yield: 4 servings

Microwave Steamed Green Beans

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes

How to steam fresh green beans in a microwave.


  • 12 oz green beans
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Wash green beans, trim the ends, and cut into ~2inch pieces.
  2. Place beans in a microwave-safe bowl with a lid (use a microwave trivet if you have one).
  3. 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.
  4. When you remove the lid from the bowl, please be very careful as a lot of hot steam will escape.
  5. Serve beans with a sprinkle of salt, or topped with butter. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

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