Caramelized Green Beans with Pecans

Caramelized Green Beans with Pecans
Rate it!

caramilized green beans with pecans
No boring steamed green beans for us!

We were searching around for a recipe for those yard-long green beans we picked up yesterday and this one, in particular, stood out. It was just different from the blue-jillion, cook the beans with garlic/ginger, recipes that you’ll find on the Internet. And, after having tested it here in the SITK (Scratchin’ It Test Kitchen), we knew we should write it up for you to try in your test kitchen.

To be fair, you could read the original version on Epicurious, which will have professional, slick photographs, or you can read a scaled-down-for-two version with photos of the green beans that we had for dinner right below. Either way, you’ll have the same recipe.

Caramelized Green Beans with Pecans

Yield: 2 servings

Caramelized Green Beans with Pecans


  • 1/2 Tbs salt
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs finely diced onions or shallots
  • 1/2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Abbreviated Instructions

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add salt and green beans and boil for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain completely.

Toast pecans in a medium skillet over medium heat until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from skillet to cool.

Melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, stirring until bubbling and glaze-like, about 1-2 minutes.

Add green beans and pecans, toss to coat and cook until heated through, 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Ingredient discussion:

trimming green beans
We had to cut our yard-long beans down to size.

Don’t have any pecans on hand? Use another nut, perhaps walnuts, or even almonds. Just make sure they’re chopped. You might think that the brown sugar will make these beans too sweet. Just trust us and try it before you decide. Oh, and we use fresh green beans — it might work with frozen, but, if we were to try it, we’d go for the small green beans known as haricot verts.

Procedure in detail:

draining green beans
Blanching and shocking not only cooks the beans, but ensures a nice bright green color, too.

Blanch and shock. The beans won’t be in the glaze long enough to ensure that they’re cooked through, so you’ll have to cook them a bit beforehand. If you’re making this with frozen beans, they’ll already have been blanched, but they need to be thawed, so you’ll probably want to do this, anyway. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, add the salt and green beans and boil for about 3 minutes — long enough that they turn bright green and are tender. Of course, taste one. Drain in a colander and immediately run cold water over the beans until they’re cool. The boiling was the blanch, this is the shock, which stops cooking and locks in that bright green color. Let the beans drain completely.

toasting nuts
For small amounts of nuts, we just toast them in a skillet, rather than turning on the oven.

Toast nuts. Place the pecans in a medium skillet over medium heat and toast until golden and fragrant, about 8 minutes. The toasting will bring out more nutty flavor, but don’t toast too long, or you’ll get burnt-nut flavor, which most people don’t think tastes all that great. Once toasted, remove the nuts from the pan and let cool.

Cook onion. in the same skillet (or another, if you wish) over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted, add the onions and cook until they’re tender, about 5 minutes.

adding brown sugar
Our brown sugar always ends up with hard lumps; we pick one that looks about right size.

Make glaze. Add the brown sugar and stir until it melts and mixes in. Continue cooking until it’s bubbling and looks delicious; about 1-2 minutes should do it.

adding green beans
You can see some of the glaze on the right, and, yes, it tastes as good as it looks.

Add beans and nuts. Stir in the beans and nuts, tossing to coat. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring often until everything’s heated through and coated with brown sugar glaze.

adding salt and pepper
You can add salt and pepper now, or after plating. Your call, because you’re the chef.

Serve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper — the larger grains of kosher salt will give you nice little bursts of saltiness — and serve immediately.

Wonderful. We can’t imagine why we haven’t had beans like this before now. A super easy recipe that will delight everyone and match any dinner from simple to elegant as a perfect side. We’re going to be keeping this recipe around as we head into the holiday season. Five sweet stars!

Worth the trouble?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *