FoodLink - Purdue Extension

snap bean

Phaseolus vulgaris
Other Name(s): green bean, string bean
Available from June to October


Green, purple, and yellow (wax).


Here are a few tips about preparing green beans.

Green beans are generally eaten cooked. Snip off the stem of each bean with a paring knife. The skinny tip end does not need to be cut off. You can leave beans whole or cut them in halves or thirds, depending on what size you need for your recipe.

Boil: Cook prepared beans in boiling water with a pinch of salt for 10 to 15 minutes, checking for doneness.  For soft and tender green beans cook up to 20 minutes. For tender crisp beans cook closer to 10 minutes.

Steam: Fill a pan with about 1 inch of water and boil and a steamer basket. Place beans in steamer basket and cover with lid. Turn heat down to medium, and cook for 2 more minutes or so. Beans should be tender and crisp when done.

Microwave: Place prepared, cut green beans in a microwave-safe dish with a half cup of water and salt to taste. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Season and serve.

Sauté: Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste to a skillet. Add beans. Cook and stir often on medium heat until golden brown and crisp.

Blanch: Whole green beans can be blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunged into cold water to stop the cooking process. These beans can be eaten cold with a dip or chopped into a salad.

Grill: For best results use a grill tray to prevent the beans from falling through the grates. Brush whole beans with olive oil and salt to taste and arrange them in a single layer on the hot grill tray.  Turn them a few times with a tongs until they are cooked through and slightly charred.


Short-Term Storage

Keep snap beans refrigerated in a plastic bag in the crisper and use within 5 days. 

Long-Term Storage

Snap beans can be canned, frozen, or dried.

Learn how to freeze and can snap beans.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Find more tips for canning snap beans, freezing snap beans, and drying vegetables.

Quick Fact Sources

Snap beans are sometimes called string beans. The word "string" harks back to a time when most varieties had long stringy fibers along where the pod splits in half. The strings are removed before cooking by snapping off the ends of the bean and pulling them down the length of the bean, pulling off the string in the process. 

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 Cup (110g)







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 37 mg



6 mg



 1 mg








Vitamin A

 35 ug


Vitamin C

 12 mg








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Snap beans are in the Fabaceae family, which makes them related to peas. Snap beans are a warm-season annual grown for its immature fruit.

Green snap beans were previously called string beans because of stringy fibers that ran along the front and back of the pod. Modern cultivars no longer have strings. Yellow wax beans are a color variant of green snap beans with a slightly waxier pod. Purple beans (which turn green when cooked) and flat-pod beans (Romano beans) are also available.

Plant seeds directly in garden 1-2 weeks after average last frost date. The soil should be at least 60°F.

Bush-type: These are short plants (18 inches) with a short harvest period, so plant repeatedly until midsummer for continual harvest (minimum of 50 days needed before first frost). Space 2-3 inches, rows a minimum of 18 inches apart, spacing within a wide row is 4x4 inches. First harvest 50-60 days after seeds planted. Estimated yield per 10 feet of row is 6 pounds.

Pole-type: Thease are tall plants (up to 6 feet) with a longer harvest period than bush-types, so only one0 or two plantings are needed. Space 4-6 inches, rows a minimum of 24 inches apart. You can use long linear or tepee-like supports. First harvest 60-70 days after seeds planted. Estimated yield per 10 feet of row
is 3-4 pounds.

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