How to cook runner beans

Runner beans have a bad rep, but when in season and prepared well they are something rather special.
  • We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
  • Everything you need to know about preparing and cooking runner beans, plus ten of our favourite recipes using them.

    Here are our top tips and ideas to make the most of these brilliant beans.

    Runner beans have a short season. In the UK runner beans are in season from July until September. And, as any keen gardener will know, they taste even better when you grow your own.

    When buying runner beans select young small pods that are still firm. The old ones can be stringy and tough and not very nice to eat. Fresh beans will still have a snap when broken. They keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.

    How to prepare and cook runner beans

    Wash the beans then top and tail and string. To top and tail cut off a couple of mm from each end of the bean. Then use a peeler or knife to strip off the stringy edges.

    Cut the beans into either oblique shapes by chopping diagonally, or cut lengthways three or four time, to create long strips. To make this task easier you can use a bean slicer tool to do this.

    If you have lots of beans to prepair it can be faster to hold the blade of a small knife between your thumb and top of your forefinger. Pinch the top of the bean against the knife and twist your hand to snap the pointy top of the bean. This way the top will stay attached to any stringy bits and you can peel them off.

    You can boil or steam runner beans.

    To boil: bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the prepaired beans and cook until tender, about 5 – 10 mins.

    To steam: steaming runner beans will take longer, about 20 mins. Add them to a steaming basket with the lid on the pan.

    To stiry fry: you can also stir fry runner beans or add to stews are casseroles.

    How to freeze runner beans

    Runner beans are seasonal and often tricky to get hold of out of season. So storing beans in the freezer is a great way to ensure that you have a supply all year round.

    We recommend washing and cutting the runnern beans, then blanching for 3 mins in boiling water. Freeze the cooled beans in a freezer bag. The frozen beans will keep well for about three months.

    You can cook the prepared beans from frozen. Just add to boiling water, bring back to the boil, and cook until tender (about 5 mins).

    For more advice read our guide on the best way to freeze foods, including vegetables, meats, cakes and other items.

    Our top 10 runner bean recipes

    Make the most of these seasonal beauties with these top 10 runner bean recipes.