Chinese Buffet Green Beans are the perfect side dish that goes with just about any meal! The tender green beans are simmered slightly in a tangy, spicy sauce that tastes just like the restaurant version and are ready in less than 30 minutes.
Is it just me or do Chinese restaurants always have the best green beans? I mean we can’t order from our favorite Chinese restaurant without a batch of these! So when the craving hits, but I really don’t feel like leaving the house, I have to make them myself! Honestly, while these have that distinct Asian flavor, we enjoy them with air fryer filet mignon and grilled shrimp skewers as nontraditional as that sounds.
As I mentioned, Asian green beans sure do make a tasty side dish! More traditional meals we like serving these beans with include Panda Express Kung Pao chicken, instant pot teriyaki chicken or teriyaki steak bites with instant pot jasmine rice, or Panda Express beef and broccoli. For a healthier Asian meal, serve with instant pot brown rice or cauliflower rice.
- fresh whole green beans – we do not recommend using canned.
- minced garlic – the fresh garlic adds lots of flavor, but if desired use garlic powder.
- peanut oil – you can also use vegetable oil or olive oil. We want an oil with a higher smoke point since we are going to be cooking over medium-high heat. Sesame oil will also add more flavor to the beans.
- soy sauce – we like to use reduced-sodium soy sauce.
- oyster sauce – this sauce is salty and mildly sweet. Hoisin sauce could be used but it has a sweeter flavor, is a little thicker, and less salty. You can find both of these in the Asian section of your grocery store.
For a complete list of ingredients and their measurements, please refer to the printable recipe card 📋 at the bottom of the post.
Sesame seeds, shallots, or green onions
Large skillet – we really like using the cast iron pan, but any large skillet or wok will work.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add a little spice – kick it up a notch by sprinkling red pepper flakes in the sauce.
- Sweeter – if you enjoy the sweet flavor, you may want to whisk in a little honey with the soy and oyster sauce.
- Gluten-Free – tamari or coconut aminos can be swapped for soy sauce.
- Air-fried Chinese green beans – to make this recipe in the air fryer, coat the trimmed green beans in the sauce (add the garlic to the sauce as well). Add them to the air fryer basket and cook for 7 minutes at 380 degrees. Adjust the time based on your desired degree of tenderness.
Step 1: Rinse and dry the fresh green beans with paper towels. Trim the ends.
Step 2: Over medium heat, add a little oil and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Pro Tip: These are meant to be garlicky, but feel free to adjust the amount.
Step 3: Add the fresh beans to the hot skillet. Stirring occasionally, cook until they are crisp and slightly blistered.
Step 4: Combine the regular soy sauce and oyster sauce in a small dish, then pour over the beans. Cook for another minute.
SERVE: Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately!
Recipe Tips for Chinese Green Beans
- Do not burn the garlic, or else it will ruin this green beans recipe. You just want to cook it until fragrant.
- Avoid cooking the beans over low heat. That will give them more of a steamed texture, versus somewhat crispy.
- If you like them softer, once they blister over medium-high heat, reduce to medium and cook until they are tender enough for you.
- If desired and for a different flavor, toast the sesame seeds. Spread them on a baking sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 5 minutes or dry saute them in a skillet over medium heat for a minute or two.
Did you know that the third most popular vegetable grown in home gardens is green beans?
Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the air fryer.
Yes! Some just prefer to use these terms interchangeably.
If you try these Chinese Buffet Green Beans or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Chinese Buffet Green Beans
- 1 pound fresh green beans rinsed with ends trimmed
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Heat the oil and garlic over medium heat, sautèeing for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the green beans to the pan and cook, stirring regularly until beans are tender crisp and slightly blistered (about 10 minutes).
- Mix together the soy sauce and oyster sauce and pour over the green beans. Continue cooking 1 minute more.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Notes: Be careful not to burn the garlic, you’re just toasting it quickly and then adding the green beans. The green beans are best if they are cooked over medium-high heat. Blistering the outside gives them flavor and leaves the beans tender-crisp. Cooking vegetables over low gives more of a steamed effect and will result in soggier beans. If you prefer your beans cooked softer, go ahead and turn the heat down to medium after they blister and let them cook until desired tenderness. Toasted sesame seeds have a different flavor than untoasted sesame seeds. Sesame seeds can be toasted dry in a saute pan over medium heat for just a minute or two. You can also spread them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F for about 5 minutes until toasted.