Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter

~ Your family will be licking the plate! Yes – it’s that good! This recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter maximizes big flavors from roasting the beans, and from just a tiny bit of indulgently delicious browned butter. Perfect when you’ve got a bumper crop of summer beans, and also a healthier alternative to traditional green bean casseroles for the holidays (psssst … it’s a total Thanksgiving game-changer)! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Vegetarian    Gluten Free  

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

We’re gonna cause you deep embarrassment with this recipe, so we’re just apologizing right up front. Your family and friends will be unabashedly licking their plates. Oh, Miss Manners would be so appalled! Truly, it’s worth it, though … you’ll see …

Browned butter is magical stuff. It’s like the yumminess of butter to the millionth power. (Ha! A little math fun for you!) And for health-conscious people like our THKers, the beauty is that a little decadent browned butter goes a long, looooong way. And, it makes pretty much anything – like these green beans (or probably even shoe leather or bicycle grease!) taste irresistible.

We’ve witnessed this amazing phenomenon firsthand. If your kids gulp down their green veggies, we know you won’t mind if they lick their plates, too! (Now, when your best friend’s hubby starts licking his plate – ewwwww! – you’re kinda on your own … remember – we already apologized!)

With just a handful of ingredients and almost no prep time for this recipe – we’re done apologizing. From here on out, we’re just sticking with “You’re welcome.”

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

What’s your preference? Cut the little tails off, along with the stems, or leave them on? We’ve seen both ways in magazines and restaurants! Gretchen prefers to cut them off, Shelley leaves those cute tails on!

Years ago, back in 2001, Cooking Light magazine first ran their recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter. It’s since become legendary. As in, probably the single most fantastic recipe Cooking Light has ever published. In fact, six years ago when the magazine celebrated its 20th anniversary by publishing its top recipes of the first 20 years, that recipe was selected as their Best Vegetable Side Dish ever! And just last month, it was once again featured in Cooking Light’s article “Our 25 All-Time Favorite Recipes”! See … totally amazing!

That asparagus recipe has become a mainstay at pretty much any holiday meal Shelley’s family serves (Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving …). It’s the recipe that taught her kiddos to love asparagus. Really. LOVE asparagus … and then it taught them to lick their plates. *SIGH* Oh, well … worth it!

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

Lately, though, she’s adapted the browned butter sauce for other veggies. Mmmmmmm … broccoli (with pine nuts!) … her family actually liked it even better than the exalted asparagus! With just a tiny bit of this browned butter, the four of them ate nearly 2 pounds of broccoli at dinner! We’re not kidding when we say that this could just be the thing to get your kids eating their veggies!

Bottom line: this browned butter sauce is amazing!

When we were planning our THK Thanksgiving posts, Gretchen suggested we try the sauce with green beans. Ah-MAZING! And, since green beans are such a traditional food on America’s Thanksgiving tables, we’re gonna share this version of Shelley’s browned butter veggies with you first.

It’s SOOOO much better than that traditional green bean casserole that nestles itself (and its extra calories) right around your midsection.

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

Sure, it’d be fantastic with fresh summer beans (hint … hint … you’ll want to bookmark this recipe for next August!), but this is also just perfect at Thanksgiving with the beans we’ve still been finding in our local markets. In a pinch, you can even use the pre-washed, pre-trimmed, bagged green beans you often find in the produce section. Just don’t use frozen.

Make-Ahead Tip: You can rinse and stem the green beans earlier in the day, or even the day before. You can get even further ahead by spreading all the beans out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and wrapping the whole thing in plastic, refrigerated until go-time. Then simply fire up the oven, hit those beans with a quick spray of olive or canola oil and a little salt and pepper. While they roast, you can get the butter browning.

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

Making Browned Butter: If you’ve never done this before, don’t be nervous. You can SEE and SMELL when the butter is getting brown and toasty, and although you don’t want it to actually burn, this recipe is very forgiving. Just keep a vague eye on it while you’re prepping the rest of the meal – it’s really not that finicky!

As you can see in the photos above, there is a specific progression that’s easy to watch. First, your butter will melt, and then it will foam. Finally, the milk solids will begin to fall to the bottom of the pan, at about the same time that you begin to smell a lovely, nutty aroma and see a gorgeous browned color. That’s the perfect time to pull the butter off the heat.

Now, for most browned butter recipes (and after tasting this recipe, you’ll be dying to try others!), you would ideally pull your butter off the heat before the milk solids get quite as dark as they are in our fifth photo. If left too long, the butter will actually begin to blacken and lead you past making a browned butter sauce to a different sauce called beurre noir.

What we want you to see here, though, is that this particular browned butter recipe just isn’t that picky. Even if you’re busy basting the Thanksgiving turkey and the butter gets a little too brown – don’t panic! Once the flavors of balsamic and soy sauce have been added, it’ll still be absolutely delicious (although we wouldn’t recommend letting the butter go much past how ours looks in photo 5).

Also, some recipes will suggest that you strain the milk solids out of the browned butter, but for this recipe, that’s not necessary either!

So simple – really!

One tiny word of caution – once you’ve browned your butter and turned off the heat, stand back a bit as you add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Especially as you pour in the first spoonful, your butter will sizzle and splatter up, so you want to be sure it doesn’t burn your hand or stain your carefully-chosen Thanksgiving ensemble!

Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}

And remember: this isn’t just a recipe for Thanksgiving. It’s for every day, especially in the summer when green beans are really at their finest. Make it for your holiday gathering next Thursday, and then tuck it away … this is a recipe you’ll make again and again.

Oh, and the plate-licking? You’re welcome.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

THK Signature Gretchen & Shelley cropped

We’d Love to Hear From You!

So the big Thanksgiving meal … Does your family always go the totally traditional route (like Gretchen’s) with turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans? Or do you sometimes color a little outside the lines (like Shelley’s family, who’s been known to have a Tuscan feast or even a seafood buffet)?

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Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter

Preparation 12 min. 2017-07-22T00:12:00+00:00 Cook Time 14 - 16 1/2 min. 2017-07-22T00:00:00+00:00
Serves About 4-5 cups     adjust servings


  • 1 - 1 1/4 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and dried
  • canola or olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 475°. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper.
  2. Arrange green beans in a single layer on baking sheet. Don't overcrowd them (use a second baking sheet if needed), or they won't roast properly.
  3. Spray beans lightly but evenly with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast beans for about 13-15 minutes, until crisp-tender with nicely browned, seared spots, stirring them once about halfway through.
  5. When you remove the beans from the oven, place almonds, spread on a fresh piece of parchment, onto the baking sheet and roast them for 1 - 1½ minutes. Check them and watch closely – at this high temperature they toast very quickly and can burn easily.
  6. Meanwhile, as beans are roasting, begin making browned butter sauce. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, gently swirling the pan or stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted, foamed and turned a rich golden-brown with little specks of milk solids in the bottom of the pan. This will take anywhere from about 5-10 minutes, varying greatly depending on how powerful your burners are.
  7. Remove butter from heat and add the soy sauce and vinegar. (Lean away from the pan as you add them because they will cause the butter to splatter up.)
  8. To serve, place beans on a serving plate, drizzle browned butter sauce over top and toss the beans lightly to coat, then sprinkle with almonds.


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Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}
Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter Recipe {}
Our Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter recipe has been mentioned or featured in:
75 Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes at Happy Deal – Happy Day!
10 Delicious Vegetarian Options to Add to Your Thanksgiving Dinner at Celebrate Woman Today
Butter Balsamic Green Beans at Roses and Sycamores
Thanksgiving Foods at Quasi Renaissance Man
100 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Recipes at Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes at The Gracious Wife
The Great Thanksgiving Side Dishes Round Up at Pastry Chef Online
Elegant Christmas Dinner Recipes at My Life, Blogged


Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter — 31 Comments

  1. I always use extra fine frozen green beans on the skillet cooking them in some evoo was wondering if I can do the same here and make the Sauce to drizzle over it?

    • Hi, Indira! I definitely think if you’d like to use your typical method for cooking the green beans, and then drizzle the sauce over top, that will be delicious and just fine! If you haven’t ever tried roasting green beans, though – give it a shot sometime. Roasting is one of my very favorite ways to prepare lots of veggies – it’s easy and delicious and imparts a wonderful flavor! Please pop back and let me know how your skillet method worked – I can’t wait to hear if you love the browned butter sauce as much as I do! Happy, happy holidays – so glad you stopped by today! 🙂 ~Shelley

  2. I used THK’s recipe for roasted green beans with balsamic-browned butter to take to a recent family gathering.
    A great hit!!
    I did not have any left overs!!

    • Oh, thanks so very much for letting us know! We’re always so thrilled to find out that recipes worked well and were a hit! We really appreciate that you took the time to pop back and let us know! Hope you have a wonderful holiday season! 😀 ~G&S

  3. Pingback: Unique spins on traditional Thanksgiving sides

    • Oh, Denise, I really have to apologize to just now be replying to you! I hope you went ahead and gave this green bean recipe a try for Thanksgiving this year, but let me go ahead and answer your question, in case you’d like to make them again and try doing them as a make-ahead recipe. First, I don’t think I’ve ever made them ahead myself, so I can’t vouch for this personally. But, my mom has taken these as a make-ahead dish to a gathering with her siblings, and she tells me that it worked beautifully. She made them the night before, and stored the beans and sauce separately in the fridge overnight. Then, at the family gathering, they rewarmed them just gently and briefly in the microwave and poured the sauce over top of the green beans prior to serving. If I had to guess, I would say that it would also probably work just fine to refrigerate the beans and browned butter sauce together, as well. I think the key is just not to overcook the green beans when you reheat them. Again, I’m so sorry not to have responded sooner, but I hope that your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that you do try these beans again soon – they really are just delicious! 😀 ~Shelley

  4. These were so delicious I had to make more before my husband got home from work because I ate too many! I added some julienne organic carrots that I had in the fridge and also used a raspberry balsamic because it’s what I had on hand. There is no question that these are a new favorite and a super GoTo. We LOVED them! Thank you!

  5. How do you keep thse warm for a trip to a family gathering. Can you reheat these easily? Big family gathering……lots needed. Thanks.

  6. Sounds delicious…what would you think about using brown butter as part of the crust on a prime rib? To help keep all of the seasoning stuck to the roast?

    • Hi Jodee! These green beans more than just look good – they taste amazing! We found ourselves munching away while we were doing the photo shoot! Seriously can’t get enough! The balsamic is phenomenal with the browned butter – yes! – please try!! ~G&S

  7. Oh, wow! I love simple additions that bring things to a new level. My grandmother used to makes eggs with browned butter (if we begged hard enough) and this is a great use for that. Looks like a winner! Will bookmark this one!

    Thanks so, so much!

    • Eggs with browned butter?!?! That sounds amazing – absolutely something I’ve never tried (but need to!). A little browned butter is just such magic, isn’t it? Mmmmmmm … hope you love these beans, too! 😀 ~Shelley

  8. Hello Coincidence! I am also experimenting with a browned butter recipe 🙂 These beans look incredible. One of my kitchen jobs as a kid was to ‘top & tail’ the beans from our garden. I guess my Mom did not like the ends! I don’t mind them.

    • Ooooohhhhh! What are you making?? Can you send us some?? 🙂

      Yes – my grandparents had a farm. And we always had to pull the tops and ends off, too! I guess it’s all in how we were raised!

      Seriously though, about that new browned butter recipe?? Can’t wait!! ~Gretchen

  9. First, Brown Butter Greek Yogurt Cake!!?? When is THAT recipe going to make its appearance on THK? YUM!
    Second, It’s no wonder that Shelley leaves the tails on the green beans; her grandma and great-grandma both swore that all the vitamins were in the tails because they hung down!

    • So funny about the extra vitamins in the tails! You know, my grandparents on the other side of my family had similar food “guidelines”! I remember my grandmother telling me not to throw away the bruised parts of a banana (ewwwww) … that was supposedly where the most vitamins were! And my grandfather used to encourage me to eat things like bread crusts by helpfully (lol) suggesting that they would help grow hair on my chest! (Ummmm … yeah … I’m just really glad that piece of advice didn’t pan out to be true!) 😀

      Oh – and seriously – check out Consuelo’s cake!!! ~Shelley

    • Liz, gotta tell ya – all of our kids (ok, ok, we were too!) were eating these green beans off the plate. No silverware. I mean, we possibly looked a bit uncivilized, but these are so good we didn’t care. Nope. Not one bit! We were not ashamed at all! 🙂 ~Gretchen

    • It’s just the time for green beans (even though this technically isn’t their season!) – in any dish, isn’t it?!? What is it about the holidays that makes everyone want green beans?? We’re not complaining, we both could just eat and eat (and eat!) green beans – so delicious and nutritious!!

      And you are totally right – the hot splatter is no fun, no fun at all! ~G&S

    • Oh, Consuelo! I do totally know how much you loooove brown butter, and I seriously thought of you so many times as we were testing and retesting this recipe, shooting the pics, writing the post, etc. I’m so excited for you to try this, and I really want to know what you think! Tell ya what … how ’bout I airmail you some of these beans, and you FedEx (SUPER-FAST!) some of your Brown Butter Greek Yogurt Cake to me?!?! Deal??? 😀 ~Shelley

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