chinese stir-fried green beans
Side Dish, Vegetables

Savory Chinese Stir-Fried Green Beans Recipe

Hey everyone! It’s Kevin here today with a delicious yet simple recipe for Chinese stir-fried green beans!

At the end of a long day, all I want to do is eat green beans.

Sierra Park

Sierra LOVES green beans. So much so that since I started making this recipe, we’ve eaten green beans every day for a week straight. To be honest though, I hated green beans as a kid. Unlike bok choy, green beans were one of those vegetables I’d never touch unless my mom forced me. However, working on this recipe completely changed my perception of green beans. These Chinese stir-fried green beans are so simple, but I used a few techniques to try to make them as flavorful and authentic as possible.

chinese stir-fried green beans

How to Make Green Beans Taste Good

After I started working on this recipe, I quickly realized that the reason my green beans didn’t taste good was because they were lacking seasoning. While I was adding soy sauce at the end, the green beans just didn’t have enough flavor. Luckily, I was reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat at the time which gave me a few ideas as to how I could improve the flavor.

In particular, I realized I needed to add a non-trivial amount of salt to the water during the boiling step of cooking the green beans. This way, through diffusion, the salt would make its way through the skin of the green beans. This simple change vastly improved the flavor of the green beans. Now you could taste the salt throughout the entire green bean, not just on the surface.

Another simple change I made was adding the soy sauce along the sides of my wok (instead of straight in the center) and letting it sizzle a bit before mixing it into the beans. I remember reading this tip in an article by J. Kenji López-Alt, where he suggested that adding soy sauce like this would impart that Authentic smoky soy sauce flavor commonly found in hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants (a large component of the elusive wok hei flavor). I tried it for myself in this recipe and found that it really did make a world of difference!

Adding the soy sauce directly to the center of the green beans resulted in green beans that tasted like soy sauce, whereas adding it to the sides yielded green beans that tasted distinctly “stir-fried”. A bonus of this method is that your house will also smell like a Chinese restaurant.

With just these two tips, I was able to transform my bland and one-dimensional green beans into a flavorful dish. The best part was that it didn’t require any additional ingredients or equipment, just a simple change in technique.

Now you’re ready to make your own savory Chinese stir-fried green beans!

chinese stir-fried green beans

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Savory Chinese Stir-Fried Green Beans

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Kevin Lee Course: Side Dish, VegetablesCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



These Chinese stir-fried green beans are super flavorful and easy to make. If you don’t like green beans, this recipe will change your mind! They are a perfect healthy side dish for a busy weeknight.


  • 3/4 pounds green beans (ends removed)

  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced)

  • 2 tablespoons oil

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • Equipment
  • Wok (or large pan)

  • Spatula


  • Heat up a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s smoking hot, add the oil and swirl around to cover the entire bottom. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  • Add the green beans and quickly swirl around with a spatula to coat each one with oil. Keep cooking while swirling for 2 minuteschinese stir-fried green beans beans in pan
  • Reduce heat to medium and add the water and salt. Cook covered for 3-5 minutes, stirring once per minute. Remove the lid once the green beans have softened a bitchinese stir-fried green beans water added
  • Raise heat back up to medium-high and cook off the excess water. Once all the water is gone, add the soy sauce to the edge of the pan and let it start sizzling before mixing in with the green beans. This will give that authentic Chinese stir fry flavorchinese stir-fried green beans water evaporated
  • Cook for about 1 minute, until the soy sauce is almost fully gone. Remove from heat and serve!

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These Chinese stir-fried green beans are super flavorful and easy to make. If you don’t like green beans, this recipe will change your mind! They are a perfect healthy side dish for a busy weeknight.

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