How to Parboil Green Beans

Cyd Converse

Learn how to parboil green beans to keep them fresh, green, and full of flavor to use in your favorite dishes.

Learning how to parboil green beans is a great way to soften them a little so that they are ready to use in dishes like soups, casseroles, pies, and even salads.

It can also be a useful step in preparing green beans ready for freezing, although in that case, it's a good idea to follow up with an ice bath using a process known as blanching.

Baked Eggs and Green Beans Photo

In this how-to guide, we'll take a look at exactly how to parboil green beans and why parboiling is a great technique to use with a wide variety of foods.

We'll also explain the difference between parboiling and blanching.

What is Parboiling?

Parboiling is the process of gently simmering a particular food in water or another liquid in order to partially - not fully - cook it.

It's a technique used with a lot of different foods, for a lot of different reasons.

Baked Eggs and Green Beans Picture

Parboiling brown rice, rice, and potatoes is popular because it drastically cuts down on cooking time.

Parboiling chicken or chicken wings helps render down the fat, so they are more crispy when fully cooked.

Parboiling sausage or brats helps stops their casings from splitting, whilst parboiling ribs creates the most amazing, fall-off-the-bone texture.

Why Parboil Green Beans?

People usually parboil green beans before adding them to other dishes. This ensures that they are fully cooked when the dish is ready, instead of a little too crunchy!

In this Thai Red Curry Chicken recipe, for example, parboiling the green beans cuts down on the simmering time and ensures that the beans are fully cooked along with the rest of the ingredients.

File 3 - Baked Eggs and Green Beans

The same would apply to these Grilled Green Bean and Onion Tarts, or these gorgeous Turkey Puff Pastry Pot Pies.

Some people parboil green beans before freezing them, although technically that is considered blanching them instead.

This is because the beans are usually simmered only very briefly, then plunged into an ice bath to immediately halt the cooking process.

With parboiling, the beans are simply removed from the water.

File 2 - Baked Eggs and Green Beans

How Long to Parboil Green Beans

Green beans cook very quickly, so the process of parboiling them takes just two to three minutes.

They go from partly cooked to fully cooked very quickly, so keep a close eye on them throughout the process!

How to Parboil Green Beans

How to Parboil Green Beans Photo

Place the green beans in a saucepan, then fill it with water until the green beans are fully covered.

How to Parboil Green Beans Picture

Add a large pinch of kosher salt, then heat over medium-high heat until the water comes to a low boil.

How to Parboil Green Beans Pic

Boil the green beans for around two to three minutes until they are slightly softened.

How to Parboil Green Beans Image

Carefully remove the saucepan from the heat, drain the beans then pat them dry.

Continue to cook the green beans as desired.

File 1 - Baked Eggs and Green Beans

How to Use Parboiled Green Beans

  • Parboil green beans before adding them to soups or green bean casseroles.
  • Parboil green beans before adding to cold dishes such as nicoise salad - it gives them the perfect, snappy texture without being too crunchy.
  • Parboil green beans before sauteéing in butter with garlic to create a simple but delicious side dish.

Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.