Easy Grilled Green Beans with Lemon Recipe – Ditch The Foil
Nov 04, 2019, Updated Oct 12, 2023
Can you grill green beans? The answer is yes! This Grilled Green Beans recipe is super easy to make, and the flavorful green beans are topped with grilled lemon adding a fresh twist to this classic side dish. It’s a great way to get nice flavor from the char and the perfect texture.
Table of Contents
I grew up on green bean casserole during the holidays. You know, the one made with canned green beans and a can of condensed mushroom soup. That heavy dish is not really my thing anymore (though I admit it is still super nostalgic).
Instead, I prefer fresh green beans cooked simply. And it doesn’t get much easier than grilling green beans and brightening them up with some grilled lemon.
This is a great use for those summer garden green beans or an easy side dish for your holiday meals.
Everything should be easily available at your local grocery store.
- Fresh Green Beans – These can be classic green beans or French beans (haricots verts). You may also see them labeled as string beans or pole beans.
- Olive Oil – A good extra virgin olive oil helps with the sear and allows the seasoning to stick. Alternatively you can use other high heat oils like avocado oil or grapeseed oil.
- Seasoning – We like a very simple mix of kosher salt and coarse black pepper.
- Finishing Flavor – Grill Lemon and then squeeze juice over the top of the finished grilled green beans for some nice acidity. We also like to add a nice finishing salt – specifically Maldon finishing salt. If you want even more flavor shave some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top like our grilled green bean bundles.
Buying Green Beans
Buy the freshest green beans you can find.
- If buying bulk be sure there is still a snap if you snap in half versus a limp bean.
- If buying in prepackaged 1-pound bags be sure they have good color and no brown spots. Use a fingernail to see if they still feel firm.
Green bean recipes have a variety of methods, from blanching to boiling, in terms of prep. We like to grill direct without blanching to make it easy.
- Be sure the green beans are rinsed and dry. Remove the stem at the top of the beans with your fingers or a sharp knife. You only need to remove the stem end, not the pointy end.
- On a charcoal grill prepare your grill for direct grilling using lump charcoal. The internal temperature of the grill should range from 400 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit. You want charred green beans with a nice texture. Any hotter and you run the risk of burning them.
- Place the dry green beans in a large bowl. Toss green beans with the olive oil and the seasoning as the grill warms up. Once seasoned they are ready to grill.
- Cut up lemon into halves or fresh lemon wedges prior to grilling. Or just use the fresh lemon wedges.
This refers to an aluminum foil pouch that is wrapped around the beans will steam the beans and can give a chewy texture. Even if you make small boats, the bunched up beans will still steam. Not recommended for this recipe.
Our goal for this green bean recipe is to get a nice flavor from the char and a nice texture. So we do not wrap in foil packs or crowd the beans.
If you want to use foil we recommend instead adding a piece of heavy-duty foil in one sheet onto the grill grates and poking some holes in the sheets. Let them warm up and then add the green beans to the foil sheets. Alternatively we recommend you invest in a good grilled vegetable basket.
How to Grill Green Beans
Grilling green beans on an outdoor grill is very simple, whether a gas grill or a charcoal grill. You need a direct heat source (hot), and you need to stand by the grill to be sure they don’t burn. No need to blanch them first in water. The details:
- Grill Direct – Place the seasoned green beans directly over the heat source. Because green beans are so narrow, place them perpendicular to the grates of the grill using long tongs. Alternatively you can use a specialized vegetable grilling basket (like this). These prevent the beans from falling through the grates but still get a nice char. Grill for five minutes and flip the charred green beans over. Continue to grill direct until the other side has nice grill marks.
- Lemon – As the green beans are cooking, grill a lemon, halved or in wedges.
- Serve – Add the finished green beans to your serving dish. Squeeze grilled lemon juice over the finished green beans. Top with a small bit of finishing salt or freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
If you are looking for a different take on how to grill green beans then check out our recipe for Prosciutto wrapped green bean bundles.
Gas Grill Modification
Light two burners on your gas grill and target a medium heat. Follow the same directions. If your gas grill has wider grill grates then consider using a vegetable basket or layer aluminum foil with some holes poked in it.
Frequently Asked Questions
About 10 minutes tops – Stay by the grill and flip once after about 5 minutes carefully making sure they don’t fall through the grates. Grill another 3 – 5 minutes and remove. That’s it for a flavorful easy grilled vegetable side dish.
This is the perfect side dish because you don’t need the oven or stovetop. You can cook vegetables on the grill, leaving the oven open for other things. And if you are already preparing other dishes on the grill, then it’s easy to add a little more to your grill. Plus everything tastes better when grilled 🙂
There is no need to soak green beans in salt water. If the grill is hot enough and you picked fresh green beans, there is no need.
Other Grilled Side Dishes
Here are a few of our favorite grilled side dishes to complement this green beans recipe.
- Roasted and Grilled Garlic – Grill the garlic until soft and spread over bread.
- Grilled Brussels Sprouts – Perfect for the dinner table or a holiday spread. Finished with a balsamic glaze.
- Grilled Romaine Lettuce – Whether a Grilled Caesar Salad or a bruschetta, grilled romaine makes for a perfect grilled salad.
- Grilled Smash Potatoes – This is best if you have a plancha or grill pan.
And if you are wanting to grill more fresh vegetables check out our guide on how to grill vegetables.
What To Serve With Grilled Green Beans
Whether for a holiday meal or a weeknight dinner, here are a few of our favorite main dishes.
Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.
Now on 2nd edition
Fire + Wine Cookbook
“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
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Easy Grilled Green Beans Recipe with Grilled Lemon
- 1 pound fresh green beans, , (stems removed, rinsed, dried)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 teaspoon Maldon finishing salt (optional)
- Prep Grill: Prepare grill for direct cooking using lump charcoal. Target an internal grill temperature of 400 – 450 degrees F. For a gas grill, prepare two burners at medium to medium-high heat.
- Season: In a large bowl, combine green beans, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Grill Direct: Place green beans perpendicular to grate over direct heat for 5 to 6 minutes or until a slight char and then flip. Cook over direct heat another 3 – 5 minutes and remove.
- Grill Lemon: At the same time as green beans, place the two halves of lemon flesh side down over the direct heat and grill for 10 minutes or until slightly charred.
- Serve: Add the finished green beans to your serving dish. Squeeze grilled lemon juice over the finished green beans. Top with a small bit of finishing salt or freshly shaved Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.