Home » Side Dishes » How to make canned green beans taste better

How to make canned green beans taste better

Reality is that most people don’t have a garden. And if you want to get even more real, it’s probably safe to say you haven’t so much as stuck your pinky finger in any dirt to grow anything, ever. But you like yourself some good green beans and would love that home-grown, slow cooked taste on your dinner table.  You can actually get it from a canned green bean. Here’s every tip you need to make canned green beans taste better–or dare I say–good enough you won’t even need a garden. 

a plate of green beans with bacon on a napkin

The secret to make a canned green bean taste better isn’t the least bit difficult, I promise.

And while my grandmother and even my mom still use the bacon or ham-hock approach to their beans, I’ve gone a different route over the last year or so and I have to say, they make some pretty fabulous green beans–leaving them tender and full of slow-cooked flavor when they didn’t take very long at all.

You can use my great bean approach with any style you like.

The trick here is simple: you need canned beans, some beef bouillon and two cooking times. Now don’t die…let me explain.

A note on salt and bouillon

You start by dumping your canned beans into a pot (don’t drain them).

Then I use my favorite beef bouillon called Better Than Bouillon or you can use a cube of it if you’d prefer.

You can find either of these in the soup section of your grocery store.

Certain brands of bouillon are very salty. Powdered ones are terrible. Please keep this in mind and start with half as much if you are afraid of over salting.

I’ve never had any issues with Better Than Bouillon being too salty but I cannot speculate on the others–some can ruin a dish easily so try to get what we know works.

a shallow bowl of cooked green beans with a serving spoon on a napkin

Then you turn your beans on high heat and bring them to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high and then cook about 90% of the water off.

When there’s a 1/2 left in the bottom of the pan, turn your beans off and walk away.

If you can, leave them sitting on the stove top for several hours. It’s fine to leave them there all day while you’re gone to work or you can put them in the fridge if that freaks you out and do the second step when you get in.

The final step is to bring them back to a low simmer and cook off the rest of the liquid and serve–that takes about 10 minutes or so.  

A long rest between cooking gives the bouillon time to really get in to the beans and they take on a soft, slow-cooked flavor.

No one will ever know you don’t have a half-acre of them in the back yard.

I’ll attempt to make this in to a logical recipe you can follow.

a plate of green beans with bacon on a napkin

How to make canned green beans taste better

Just because your beans come canned and from a grocery store doesn’t mean they can’t have that classic slow-cooked flavor you crave. Easy steps and no-fuss. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 2 14.5 ounce cans green beans of your choice canned in water
  • 1 teaspoon beef bouillon base 1 cube beef bouilon would also work but watch the salt!


  • In a medium sauce pan, empty in the cans of green beans with their water. Add the beef bouillon. 
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until the water reduces by 3/4. Turn off heat and set beans aside on the stovetop or in the fridge for one to two hours or overnight is fine. 
  • When ready to eat, bring the beans back to a simmer on the stove top and cook to remove the remaining water. Serve warm. 


Calories: 63kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Similar Posts


  1. 5 stars
    Tried for the first time last night! They were amazing and the family loved them this way. I used only the Better Than Bouillon for seasoning as directed and they were great! Thanks for the recipe. So simple!

  2. 5 stars
    Finally had to comment because this is my go-to page every time I cook canned green beans. Which is OFTEN. Better Than Bouillon is my favourite brand too, and I always have at least 2 kinds in my fridge, so this is pure serindipity, and it makes my budget beans taste INDULGENT. Thank you forever Rachel ♥️

    1. Eh…big maybe Kelly. Frozen beans are so rubbery when they thaw and cook. If you don’t mind that, you could try simmering them and see what happens. –Rachel

    1. That’s what I would do Beverly. Just add enough broth to bring it almost over the top of the beans but not quite just like the water in the can would be. –Rachel

  3. have you ever tried sauted onion in a small amount of bacon drippings then add a dash of tarragon vinegar and add small.amount of crumbled bacon all poured.over your 3/4 drained green beans

    1. Wonderful way to make a can of green beans not just a can of green beans! Delicious!

    2. Hoping for some advice- I have to make green beans from 6 cans for a girl-scouts Friendsgiving tonight, @Sidney can you give a little more detail on your modification recipe? If I use 6 cans- how much Tarragon vinegar and do I still use the beef bouillon as originally posted? and how much crumble bacon & (Sauté) onions should I put?

  4. I make very good and flavorful canned green beans on the stovetop. The problem I have is that the bean comes out of the pod and I don’t like that. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Well, depending on what part he feels is unhealthy Pam, he’s probably partly right. In the years since I wrote this recipe I have given up all bouillons because of their junk ingredients. Now I just use homemade stock (chicken or beef) in place of the bouillon and it works great but using those concentrates and certainly any kind of dry pressed bouillon cube isn’t the kind of food we want to eat a lot of on a regular basis. 🙂 –Rachel

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe/trick! I did it exactly as you wrote AND added some bacon bits during the resting period. They even look like home snapped and cooked. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating

About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.