French Green Beans with Shallots

Tested & Perfected Recipes

These simple French green beans make an easy and elegant side dish.

These easy and elegant French green beans go with just about everything. And the nice thing about the recipe is that it requires only pan. You gently cook the shallots with oil or butter in a large skillet, then simmer the beans in a bit of water in the same pan.

Note that the recipe calls for French green beans, which are thinner, sweeter and more tender than most American varieties. They are usually labeled haricot verts — haricot meaning beans and vert meaning green — and you can usually find them bagged and pre-trimmed at the supermarket.

How to make French Green Beans with Shallots

adding shallots to oil in skillet

Begin by thinly slicing the shallots into rings and cooking them slowly in olive oil until soft, sweet and mellow.

cooked shallots

Next, add the beans, salt, pepper and water.

adding the beans, salt, pepper, and water

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for about 8 minutes.

simmered beans

Remove the cover and continue cooking until the pan is completely dry, the shallots are jammy, and the beans are tender, about 6 minutes.

cooked beans

Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

You may also like

French String Beans with Shallots

These simple French green beans make an easy and elegant side dish.

Servings: 4
Total Time: 20 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 pound (12 ounces) French string beans (haricots verts), trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch sugar


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add the beans, salt, pepper and water; bring to a boil. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 8 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is evaporated, the beans are tender, and the shallots are jammy, about 6 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Serve warm.

Nutrition Information

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  • Calories: 116
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 302 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Loved this method!! We didn’t have shallots so used sweet onions and it was perfect (about 1/4 cup thinly sliced). Definitely our new go-to for French green beans.

    • — Evan—Shiny Time Kitchen Blog on June 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • These green beans are wonderful! I’ve made them twice so far. My family gobbled them up!

    • — Teresa Valeri on June 9, 2021
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  • DE-LICIOUS !! Great, easy to follow recipe. A new fav !!

    • — Martha C Smith on May 24, 2021
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  • Amazing easy recipe that makes a great side dish. Since we had a bunch of fresh veggies, I substituted the French Green Beans with Brussels Sprouts and it worked out like a charm.

    • — Stan on April 29, 2021
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  • I’m currently dieting and trying to balance my carb, fat and protein intake, as well as calories. I really appreciate that most of the recipes on this site have nutritional info included with the recipe! However, I noticed that the nutritional information was not included for this recipe. Is there a reason for this? I was reaaally hoping to try this recipe lol.

    • — Corrine on March 3, 2021
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    • Hi Corrine, That’s a pretty old recipe so I may not have been adding nutritional info to recipes when I initially developed it. I’ve just added them. Hope you enjoy if you make them! 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 3, 2021
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      • I did enjoy them, they were very elegant and simple!

        • — Corrine on March 25, 2021
        • Reply
        • 👍

          • — Jenn on March 25, 2021
          • Reply
  • The best and easiest recipe ever!

    • — Veronica on February 28, 2021
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  • Thank you so much Jenn. This dish is simply delicious . I used butter and olive oil ( from habit ) and followed your directions to the “t”. I had to hide some for me to have later.

    • — Nona on February 18, 2021
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  • I’ve never really been a fan of fresh green beans. They’ve always come out too tough or soft, but gosh the beans I did with this recipe came out perfect. Thank you!

    • — Samantha on February 7, 2021
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  • This has now become my go-to way to cook fresh green beans. No more plain steaming for us!! This is easy, and turns out high end.

    • — Terri Hall on February 1, 2021
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  • This recipe is a keeper! I love green beans and this recipe really creates a new and vey tasty way to enjoy this vegetable. I saw the dish vanish when served to the family which is usually not the case with my green bean dish. Thank you Jenn for sharing your delicious recipes. You have been my go to website when I am looking for a new way to prepare a typically ordinary ingredient.

    • — Rosaline Boehm on January 29, 2021
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  • Hi
    I have made so many of your recipes and they are so delicious! This recipe I have to double each time I make it because it disappears!!! My family loves it and it is so easy. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. I am a huge fan and save all of the emailed recipes that I receive..
    Thank you !!!

    • — Theresa Kearney on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is my all time favorite veggie recipe! Every time I make it the first thing that my fork goes into are the green beans. When I serve it to company, they love it as well. The only adjustment I would make to the recipe is to add more shallots, because who doesn’t love more shallots? Definitely make this fool proof recipe!

    • — Sharon Lowe-Chapman on January 28, 2021
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    • Sorry I meant to indicate this is a 5 star recipe. Please adjust my review if you can!

      • — Sharon Lowe-Chapman on January 28, 2021
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  • Are you using fresh green beans in this recipe, or canned?

    • — Wanda Hollon on January 21, 2021
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    • Fresh. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2021
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  • I made this recipe with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Rack of Lamb. Absolutely delicious! The pinch of sugar gave it just that hint of sweetness. I used brown sugar. Loved by everyone.

    • — Annie on January 13, 2021
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  • Yum! Made this for Christmas dinner with your Maryland Crab Cakes – delicious.

    • — Mary on December 30, 2020
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  • Made these for Thanksgiving and again tonight. This simple, but delicious recipe is definitely going into heavy rotation.

    Sometime when I’m feeling naughty, I’m going to throw some chopped bacon on top :p

    • — Kirk Yo. on December 15, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn!

    This recipe looks great! For the sugar, how much is a pinch? Less than 1/8 teaspoon? Thanks!

    • — Leigh on November 18, 2020
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    • Hi Leigh, A pinch would be less than 1/8 teaspoon. It’s literally the amount that you can pinch between your fingers. (A tiny bit more or less won’t have a big impact on the recipe, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.) 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 18, 2020
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      • Loved it was a big hit on Thanksgiving.

        • — Georgina Baez on December 8, 2020
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  • I made these green beans last night to serve with the chicken marsala. So delicious! I was worried that they would be overcooked with all the cooking time, but they were so good and a big hit with the family. Easy to make, results are great!

    • — Valerie Stanford on October 8, 2020
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  • This is such a simple preparation, but so flavorful. I made it exactly as the recipe detailed, and it was perfect with a fried chicken and potato salad dinner. These haricot verts are widely available in my area, already cleaned and washed. We usually have frozen green beans, but these are a huge improvement.

    • — PaulainVA on September 3, 2020
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    • I just reviewed this recipe (awesome), but a question came up discussing it with my sister. Could you adapt the preparation to use pearl or cipiollini onions? Same cooking time? Thanks!

      • — PaulainVA on September 4, 2020
      • Reply
      • Glad you like it! You could use pearl or cipollini onions here. You’ll just need to cook them for a bit longer than you would the shallots before adding the beans. I’d love to hear how it turns out with this tweak!

        • — Jenn on September 10, 2020
        • Reply
  • It was just okay for me! Followed the recipe to a T, but overall it is bland for my taste. The shallots get boiled essentially and somehow you lose all their flavor in the cooking process.

    • — Mary on August 21, 2020
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  • Delicious! Best way to have green beans, imo; however, I did make a few modifications …

    Prior to the reduction stage (i.e. the final 6 mins):
    1. Added 3-4 cloves of garlic in with shallots
    2. Instead of water, I did 1/2 cup of chicken stock
    3. In a separate pan, I toasted 1/4 cup of sliced almonds with some butter over medium heat for 1-2 mins, stirring frequently and making sure to not burn the almonds.

    During reduction stage:
    1. Squeezed about 1/2 a lemon over the beans and continued to stir. I did this about 3 mins before finishing.
    2. 3-4 mins before finishing, I added in the almonds and stirred.

    • — Amanda Smith on July 27, 2020
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    • Hi there! Are you able to use regular green beans in this recipe or do they have to be french beans

      • — Janine on December 11, 2020
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      • Hi Janine, You can use regular but they will take a bit longer to cook.

        • — Jenn on December 12, 2020
        • Reply
  • I made this and it’s the easiest, most delicious side I’ve ever made with green beans. Thank you so much!

    • — Maria on July 21, 2020
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  • Jenn,

    I’ve made these so many times I have in memorized. This is my go-to side dish. They are so delicious! Love your recipes! On a side note, can you tell me where you got the white porcelain serving dish in the picture?

    • — Ray Moore on June 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ray, So glad you like the recipes! The dish is from Sur La Table. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 26, 2020
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      • Thanks so much!

        • — Ray on June 28, 2020
        • Reply
  • These green beans are so good and easy to prepare. An excellent side dish, and they taste even better the next day!

    • — Danielle on June 12, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn – Are any of the online recipes in your cookbook? If so – is there any way you could identify those that are? I’m always grabbing the cookbook to check, although I haven’t found any that are yet. Thanks

    • — debbie on May 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, 30 recipes are favorites from the site. I actually have a “stamp” in the bottom left corner of the main picture for any blog recipe that is also in the cookbook. See the Peruvian Chicken as an example. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 23, 2020
      • Reply
  • First off- LOVE love love your cookbook Jen, and your wonderful blog! Foolproof and delicious recipes. I have gifted your book to family, and recommend your site to anyone who compliments me on a dish that I prepare, which is typically one of your recipes.

    Tonight I needed a side dish and had some fresh green beans in my fridge. When I thought of steaming them and realized how bland that would be, I immediately came here and sure enough, an easy foolproof recipe was at my fingertips! These were easy to prepare and elevated my humble green beans to a delicious new level!

    • — Peggy on April 16, 2020
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    • So glad you enjoyed these! And thanks for spreading the word about the blog and for your support with the cookbook. 💓

      • — Jenn on April 17, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn-

    Has this recipe been revised? Do you find the addition sugar necessary with the shorter cooking time? Is the same texture found with this cooking method vs open pan, double water method? I only ask because we try not to eat added sugar, given that the shallots and cooking of vegetables generally increases their intrinsic sugar levels.
    Thanks much,

    • — A.M. on April 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi A.M., Yes this sugar has been revised slightly (If you’d like the old version, let me know — I’d be happy to email it to you). And feel free to omit the sugar if you’d like. They’ll still be delicious!

      • — Jenn on April 13, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just discovered your recipes while searching for ricotta cheesecake. One recipe led to another, to another. Will go to Trader Joe’s to find haricot verts and excited to try this recipe. I love the white bowl. Can you provide info on the serving bowl until I can get out to shop? Thanks so much for all the wonderful recipes. Stay well, we will be fine.

    • — Patricia Shaffer on April 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Patricia, Glad you happened upon the blog! I don’t know the exact model of that serving dish, but it came from Sur la Table. Hope that helps and that you enjoy the green beans when you’re able to make them! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2020
      • Reply
  • Waste not……..
    Just discovered a package of “not as green as when ‘I must buy these’ ” French beans in my vegetable draw and wondered whether to throw out or use. Thought I would check OUAC and found this recipe. It was very quick and very simple so decided to use the beans. Only had one shallot so added a white onion. The final color was not so vibrant but the taste was delicious. So glad I didn’t waste my beans. Thanks, Ms Segal for another wonderful recipe. This time just for one….ME😋
    PS The vidéo playing as I follow this recipe reminds me that I have your book but have never made anything from it; always turn to my iPad. Guess old habits die hard, but won’t “waste” the book so wondering if there’s anything for (free range) chicken livers.

    • — Janice on April 5, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed the green beans (and thanks for your support with the cookbook)! No, unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for chicken livers to share. If I come across anything that looks worthwhile, I will send it your way. 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2020
      • Reply
  • While I did try the beans first (and they were great!) I whisked in some unsalted butter at the end, because, butter. Rave reviews. Served topped with pan-fried salmon filet and jasmine rice on the side. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Happy I bought two packages of green beans as there were no leftovers 🙂

    • — Cheryl H on February 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • This is a very delicious recipe. I added a bit more salt, but I use Diamond Crystal, so that’s probably why. Plus, I am a salt addict.

    Thanks for sharing! Probably would be delicious too with a little dash of some acid 🙂

    Erika from Maryland 🙂

    • — Erika on January 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made these for a big dinner party at my house and I doubled the recipe. The Q&A was really helpful as I cooked the beans first in salted water and quick chilled then in ice water, sauteed the shallots in butter and oil (yes, both), and then added the beans for a short while 3-4 min so that they were partially warmed in the shallots but I didn’t want them to resume cooking. I transferred them all to a covered casserole dish and rewarmed them in a 200 degree oven prior to serving. They were delicious and I got to enjoy conversations with my guests.

    • — Ronda Dever on December 15, 2019
    • Reply
  • I doubled the recipe and it seemed like too much water as the beans were done before all the water was evaporated. Should I have kept the water the same?

    • — Ann J Conroy on November 29, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Ann, This is one of those recipes that doesn’t well because of the cooking technique. To make a larger quantity, I would blanch all the beans in boiling salted water and then shock in ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cool, drain the beans. Heat the oil/butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat and cook the shallots until soft. Then add the drained beans and seasoning to the pan and cook a few minutes more. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 30, 2019
      • Reply
      • My previous haricot vert recipe included cooking them in vast quantities of heavily salted water. I like this recipe better because the technique requires much less water, no cold water shocking, but the flavor remains delicious. It is my new favorite way to cook French green beans.

        • — Carol K. on October 25, 2020
        • Reply
  • Jenn, this looks amazing! And green beans are my favorite 😉 I’m just wondering if I could make them a day in advance and then reheat in a crockpot versus the microwave? It would serve the dual purpose of being able to make ahead (important during the holidays) and keeping the beans warm throughout the meal. What do you think?
    Love all your recipes!!

    • — GirlAlex on November 24, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Alex, Glad you like the recipes! I’ve never reheated these in a crockpot but suspect it should work. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • — Jenn on November 25, 2019
      • Reply
  • made last night. Great and simple recipe. Like a little sweetness at the end. turned out great in non stick pan . Thanks for your lessons. Always wanted to make vegetables in a quick and tasty way. do you think zucchini will turn out the same way? love peas and asparagus recipe from your book.

    • — Edith on November 8, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked these. Yes, I do think this could work for zucchini too. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it! 🙂

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • These tasted great! I love shallots. My shallots didn’t caramelize as nice as yours in the picture, but they still tasted good. I used a stainless steel pan. Should I cook them longer in the beginning?

    I’d like to make this for Thanksgiving. I was thinking on Wednesday I would quickly blanch the green beans and then shock them in ice water to keep them bright green. If I do that, how can I adapt the recipe?

    Thank you so much!

    • — Ell on November 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Yes, Ell, I’d cook the shallots a bit longer if you’d like them a little more caramelized. And if you want to retain that green color, blanching sounds like a good way to go. If you do that, when you’re ready serve them, I’d fully cook the shallots and then add the green beans, salt, pepper, and sugar at the very end to warm them through. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • I prepared these in a nonstick pan. No issue with the browning and no major issue water evaporation. I cannot say if it took longer than it should have as I was quite busy with the chicken and mashed potatoes. I also turned up the heat to get the water finish evaporating at the end.

  • What brand/type of saute pan did you use? I cooked this in a non-stick saute pan and the shallots did not brown and the water did not evaporate.

    • Hi Lisa, I think the issue may be the nonstick pan. I use stainless steel, which is not nonstick. Hope that helps!

    • I used a 10” skillet from a Rachael Ray™ Hard Anodized Nonstick 14-Piece Cookware Set.

  • So I did the “unthinkable” – I used frozen haricots verts in place of fresh beans. THEY WERE DELICIOUS! I simply put the frozen green beans in with the shallots at the point in the recipe where you add the fresh beans, then cooked them on low until they were thawed. I then added the water and cooked on low until the water evaporated. It definitely took longer than the description in the recipe, but the beans turned out perfect – not soggy, and not squeaky. Even my daughter, who hates green beans, liked this recipe.

  • I have made these several times and every time I need to cook MUCH longer than the recipe suggests. Any idea why? I’ve read the other reviews and no one else seems to have this problem. I always use haricots verts, also. Never thick green beans.

    • Hmmm… that’s a bit of a head scratcher…are you cooking them over medium-low heat and using a large saute pan? If your pan is not large enough and the beans are crowded, it could take longer. Also, perhaps you cooktop runs a little cooler than most. While they take longer to cook, do they turn out okay?

  • This is my “go-to” favorite recipe for cooking French Green Beans! Cook plenty because they keep well to serve later.

  • Thought I had pressed 5 stars!! YES, I loved it!! Never thought I could get addicted to green beans!! LOL!!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply
  • So very easy and delicious……I just made a pound to try the recipe and ate the whole thing!! Luckily I have enough French green beans left for Christmas dinner….hands down this is now my favorite green bean recipe….My family and guests also love the curried carrots…can never make too many of those!! Thanks again, Jen!!

    • — Wendy Schoenburg
    • Reply

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