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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-c00ked 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.

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    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

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    1. In the green beans. Better then bouillon there are different flavors will the season vegetable work or does it’s have to be the beef base ? Thank in advance

      1. Hey Pat, I’ve not used anything other than the beef in these so I can’t be sure. You are welcome to try the vegetable one if you’d like. –Rachel

    2. 5 stars
      Seriously, SO good! Don’t skip the step where you cool them down. I pop it in the freezer if I don’t think to do them early enough. My kids loved them. We actually have to double the recipe for my family of five because we enjoy them so much!

    3. Hi Rachel. Can’t wait to try your canned Green Bean version. My husband loves them better than fresh, but I do prefer fresh. I do have one question for you. Your picture appears to have chopped onions included. Do you add them? Just wondering. I usually add onions and garlic too. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe!

      1. That was just a few for the camera so it didn’t look like, well, a bowl of beans. LOL. They aren’t part of or necessary for this recipe. –Rachel

    4. I have a question. Do you just add a teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon beef flavor to the liquid with the beans or do you add a cup of bouillon either homemade or made with BTB?

    5. My new go-to canned bean recipe! My grandmother used to can half runners, so I never had to eat canned green beans. She passed away several years ago, and I have been missing her beans a lot, especially at the holidays. I found this recipe and made them for Christmas this year. While not identical, this recipe gives canned beans a similar consistency and texture to her home canned beans. Thank you!

    6. 5 stars
      I have to be honest and say I do not like green beans. When I make them for my family, I make another vegetable for myself. However, I tried this recipe, and I ate all my green beans and another helping as well. These are great! And if you don’t believe it, just try it. I use Better than Bouillion as well so I can’t say what using another type might be like, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say to try using that specific brand. Thank you for making my life easier and better!

    7. I decided to try this recipe because I had canned green beans and really wanted them to taste better. They turned out ok, but to salty for me. So I drained the cans and added some of my homemade stock and continued with your instructions and they turned out wonderful. Thanks!

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