If you’re looking for a simple yet delicious way to cook fresh green beans, look no further.  Italian green beans with garlic and oil is a classic side dish, that’s so simple, yet so good.  It only takes about 20 minutes to prepare this flavorful and vibrant green veggie side dish.  You’ll wonder why you don’t make this one more often.

Sauteed garlic string beans in pan with wooden spoon.

Italian side dishes shouldn’t be a hassle.  These fresh Italian garlic green beans are the epitome of simplicity. 

Just like this sauteed Italian broccoli, the whole dish only takes about 15-20 minutes!

Of course, you’ll need fresh green beans.  The other ingredients needed are olive oil, extra virgin olive oil (optional), garlic, and kosher salt. 

I almost always finish all of our pasta recipes and veggies with extra virgin olive oil.  It adds the perfect finishing touch to both pasta and veggie dishes. 

If you have some great-tasting extra virgin olive oil, use it.  

Fresh green beans and garlic head on cutting board.


How to make sauteed Italian green beans

Each numbered pic corresponds to the numbered written instructions below.

  1. Begin by snapping or cutting the ends off of 1 pound of fresh green beans.
  2. Slice or chop 5 cloves of garlic into smallish pieces.

Italian green beans with garlic and oil process shot collage group number one.

  1. Bring about a 1/2 cup of water (the exact amount doesn’t matter) to a boil and add the green beans in.
  2. Cover with a lid and let them steam for 2-3 minutes until bright green.  Strain them in a colander and wipe the pan of any residual water.
  3. Heat the pan to medium-low and add a 1/4 cup of olive oil.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 1-2 minutes until lightly golden.

Italian string beans process shot collage group number two.

  1. Add the green beans to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Mix the beans around in the garlic and olive oil to thoroughly coat.
  2. Season with 1 tsp of kosher salt, and if desired add crushed red pepper or black pepper.  Turn the heat off and remove the pan from heat.  Taste test and adjust salt levels if required.  Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on top of the garlic green beans and serve.

So that’s how to make fresh green beans with garlic. 

I hope you enjoy this super versatile side dish!

What to serve with it

Garlic green beans on white plate.

Substitutions and additions

  • Crushed Red Pepper – Use crushed red pepper to give a nice kick to the green beans.  About a 1/2 tsp should be sufficient, but use as much or as little as you like.
  • Pancetta – Saute 4 ounces of pancetta for 5-10 minutes, before adding the garlic for a delicious green beans and Italian bacon dish!
  • Anchovy – Love this!  If you like anchovy flavor saute 2 chopped filets with the garlic until they mostly dissolve, then continue on with the rest of the recipe.
  • Lemon – A fresh squeeze of lemon right at the end adds a wonderful flavor.  My grandmother would make these Italian green beans, squeeze some lemon on top and refrigerate until cool.  They were amazing served cold!

How long to cook fresh green beans?

Green beans only need to be lightly steamed for 2-3 minutes, prior to the sauteing process. 

If you like them on the softer side, saute in the garlic and oil for a few additional minutes.

In some dishes like green beans with tomato sauce, the green beans are cooked for a very long period of time to make them extremely soft.   

If that sounds like something you’re interested in definitely check it out.

String beans with garlic and oil in pan on blue background.

Top tips

  • Finishing with extra virgin olive oil is optional.
  • Buy firm, crisp green beans that snap easily.
  • Lightly saute the garlic until golden then toss the green beans with the garlic oil, thoroughly coating them for 1-2 minutes.  If you like the beans really cooked down, just increase the time by another 5 minutes or so.

More great sides

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We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well. Thanks!

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Italian Green Beans

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Recipe for fresh green beans sauteed in garlic and olive oil.


  • 1 pound green beans
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt


  • Trim or snap the ends off of the green beans. Slice or chop 5 cloves of garlic into small pieces.
  • Bring a 1/2 cup of water to boil in a shallow pan and add the green beans. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green. Drain beans and wipe the pan clean.
  • In the same pan on medium-low heat saute the garlic in a 1/4 cup of olive oil until lightly golden (about 1-2 minutes).
  • Add the green beans to the pan and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes longer and add 1 tsp of kosher salt. Taste test and adjust salt, or add pepper if desired. Turn off heat and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top before serving. Enjoy!


  • Finishing with extra virgin olive oil is optional. 
  • Buy firm, crisp green beans that snap easily.
  • Lightly saute the garlic until golden then toss the green beans with the garlic oil, thoroughly coating them, to achieve maximum flavor.
  • If you prefer green beans on the softer side just saute for a few more minutes to achieve desired consistency.
  • No pepper was used, but can be along with crushed red pepper flakes.


Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.3g | Protein: 2.3g | Fat: 19.1g | Saturated Fat: 2.7g | Sodium: 590mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 1.6g | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Drew says:

    I made this dish to accompany your meatloaf with mushroom gravy, at your suggestion. They were delicious and a great pairing. Thank you.

    1. James says:

      Hi Drew, great to hear you enjoyed this one as well, thank you!

  2. RL says:

    5 stars
    Excellent as always!

    1. Jim says:

      Thank you, and so happy you liked it!

  3. Maria Skalko says:

    Sorry forgot to say it was a red sauce

  4. Maria Skalko says:

    My grandmother used to make like a fish sauce and spaghetti and top it off with toasted bread crumbs. She used to call it, excuse my spelling, malinese. I loved it but never learned how to make it. Do you know of this dish and how to make it?

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Maria, thank you for your comment. I’m not familiar with this dish but will definitely investigate it, so thank you for the idea. I have done a tuna in red sauce with pasta as well as a swordfish with pasta and both recipes are on this site.

  5. Catherine Dilworth says:

    5 stars
    I just finished cooking this green bean recipe and I liked the way they tasted. Hopefully, I’ll make your other vegetable dishes because I need more veggies in my life! Next will be your garlic and spinach recipe.

    1. Jim says:

      Hey, Catherine. Glad it was a hit. I hope you like the garlic spinach just as much!

  6. A@4U says:

    5 stars
    We really enjoyed this side dish served alongside Maple-Dijon glazed grilled salmon and jasmine rice. I added a thinly sliced shallot and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes to the sliced garlic and 1/2 pound of haricot verts. Blanched the beans and plunged in ice bath before sautéing in the oil just until hot. Finished with a pat of butter and several grinds of black pepper. Thank you for a great recipe – looking forward to trying all the variations.

    1. Jim says:

      Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the comment!

  7. william j marshall says:

    5 stars
    Easy! Will make it tonight!

    1. Jim says:

      Hope you enjoy it, William.

  8. Brigs says:

    5 stars
    Looks great as is
    But if you added canned tomatoes what king would you add and how long would you cook

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Brigs. I have the tomato version right here: https://www.sipandfeast.com/green-beans-tomato-sauce/. You can cook for as little as 15 minutes or let the beans get very soft for up to an hour or so. Really depends on your personal preference.