How to Cook Garden-Picked Wax Beans may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
Bags of yellow wax beans at the farmers' market.
Image Credit: mmeburke3/iStock/Getty Images

If you have a home-grown supply of wax beans, consider yourself lucky. Wax beans -- which are commonly yellow but can also be purple or green -- are low in fat, high in dietary fiber and rich in nutrients like vitamin A. With a milder flavor and firmer texture than their green bean cousins, wax beans can be cooked in a variety of ways. To preserve water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C, however, you should choose methods that don't involve much contact with water, advises the University of Maine.

Prepare the Beans

Step 1

Place the wax beans in a colander or strainer. Rinse them thoroughly under cool running water.

Step 2

Snap or cut off the stem ends of each bean. Slice the beans into smaller pieces, if desired.

Step 3

Set the beans aside on a large plate. Pat them dry with a paper towel.

Steaming the Beans

Step 1

Fill a large saucepan or stockpot with 1 to 2 inches of water. Put a steamer insert into the pot.

Step 2

Place the wax beans into the steamer insert. Bring the water to a boil over high heat.

Step 3

Steam for four to six minutes. Remove a bean and check that it is cooked to your desired level of tenderness.

Roasting the Beans

Step 1

Place the prepared wax beans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the beans with salt, pepper and a small amount of olive oil.

Step 2

Arrange the beans so that they are in a single layer on the baking sheet and don't overlap. Roast the beans for 25 minutes.

Step 3

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Allow them to cool slightly, then check several beans to ensure they've been cooked to your desired level of tenderness.

Microwaving the Beans

Step 1

Put the beans into a microwave-safe bowl. Add water, using approximately 2 tablespoons for every 1 1/2 pounds of beans you plan to cook.

Step 2

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Microwave the beans on the highest setting for two minutes.

Step 3

Uncover the beans and stir them. Replace the plastic wrap and continue to microwave on high in one-minute intervals, stirring after each minute, until the beans are as tender as you like them.

Stir-Frying the Beans

Step 1

Heat a small amount of oil in a large skillet or a wok. Put the prepared wax beans into the oil.

Step 2

Stir the beans constantly using a spatula or wooden spoon. Stir-fry them for between two and three minutes.

Step 3

Add your choice of seasonings, spices or sauces, if desired, such as salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, vinegar or soy sauce. Continue to stir-fry the beans, stirring them constantly, for approximately four more minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander or strainer

  • Knife, optional

  • Cutting board, optional

  • Large plate

  • Paper towels

  • Stockpot or large saucepan with tight-fitting lid

  • Steamer insert

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Microwave-safe bowl

  • Plastic wrap

  • Spoon

  • Spatula or wooden spoon

  • Seasonings or sauces, as desired


After cooking, wax beans can be placed into a bowl filled with ice water, then drained and refrigerated for two days.

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