Ceramic pot of cooked green beans next to salads and breads

How to steam green beans in a microwave

A microwave is a versatile kitchen tool to get things done quickly. Not only does it help you reheat food for your family, but it can also help you steam vegetables and prepare meals for the week. This helpful guide will show you how long to steam green beans in the microwave along with tips to ensure you get delicious , steam fresh green beans every time.

Can you steam green beans in the microwave?

You can steam green beans in the microwave. It is a simple process, and you can add any flavorings or seasonings your family prefers. Steaming fresh green beans gives you a tender side dish or garnish to your main course. Whether itʼs lunch or dinner, you and your family can enjoy this delicious meal option.

How long to steam green beans

The amount of time it takes to steam green beans in the microwave depends on whether they’re fresh or frozen. Follow the instructions on the packaging to achieve the best results if they are frozen. Typically, frozen green beans can take about 7 minutes to cook. Steaming fresh green beans can take about 5-7 minutes. Be sure to consult your user manual, as your microwave’s wattage may affect the cooking time.

Closeup of a green bean casserole Closeup of a green bean casserole

Microwave steamed green beans: step-by-step instructions

All it takes is a few minutes to cook green beans in a microwave steamer. This easy recipe can give you delicious green beans for you and your family to enjoy.

Prep time
  • 4 minutes

Cook time
  • 6 minutes

Total time
  • 10 minutes

  • 4 servings

  • Water, 1 cup per pound of green beans

  • Butter, optional and to taste

  • Garlic clove or more to taste

  • Salt, to taste

  • Green beans

Open stick of butter next to cooking oil, eggs and seasoning

Step 1: Prep your ingredients

Wash your green beans thoroughly and trim off the ends. Peel and crush your garlic and slice the butter and set aside.

Open microwave door showing pot of green beans in a glass dish

Step 2: Put ingredients in microwave-safe bowl

Place your ingredients in a steaming container and add a cup of water. Season with salt to your preference and cover with a lid. This is also a good time to add butter, garlic or other preferred seasoning for taste. If you use a microwave-safe container without a lid, you can cover it with microwave-safe plastic wrap.


The Whirlpool® Microwave Steam Cooking feature can be used with the Steaming Container. Simply add ½ cup water to the container, then place your vegetables in the vessel insert and close the lid over the vessel.

Person making a selection on the microwave

Step 3: Cook Green beans

Cook in the microwave for 6 minutes and remove the steaming container with oven mitts. Be careful, as there may be hot water and steam in the container. Add a minute or two for a microwave that’s less than 1,000 watts.

Cooked plate of green beans garnished in walnuts and cilantro Cooked plate of green beans garnished in walnuts and cilantro

Can green beans burn in a microwave steamer?

It is possible to burn green beans, but generally steaming vegetables—including green beans—is one of the easier ways to avoid burning them. When you steam beans in the microwave, they retain their nutrients and typically take less time to cook versus boiling. You may notice some sparks when cooking your green beans. This is due to minerals found in the green beans that can sometimes spark when heated. Although this won’t harm your food, it could damage your microwave. If this happens, stop your microwave right away.

Be mindful of the dish you are using to steam your green beans, ensuring it is microwave safe and does not include metals.

Tips for steaming fresh green beans

  • Always wash your green beans to remove dirt and debris.

  • Choose green beans that are plump, green and free of spots.

  • Cut or snap off the ends before steaming.

  • Store cooked green beans in airtight containers or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.

  • Sprinkle on your favorite seasonings before placing the beans in the microwave.

Shop Whirlpool® Microwave Ovens

Explore what Whirlpool® Microwaves have to offer with powerful and convenient features to meet your family’s needs. You can opt for Whirlpool® Microwaves with Sensor Cooking that adjusts cook times depending on the progress of your food. You can also prepare fresh steamed foods like rice and vegetables with the Steam Cooking1 feature for a quick and delicious dish. Find the perfect microwave for your home to help streamline mealtime.

Learn more microwave facts and tips

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Ready for more tips, home hacks and appliance guides?

1. Steam accessory available separately.