Ever wonder how to French-cut green beans?
French-cut is just a fancy term for julienne or thinly sliced. Because of their slender shape, they cook faster than whole beans and offer a unique visual presentation. So what’s the secret? The magazines make it look so stylish and simple…
But it’s not.
The problem is they’re not all the same size. Some green beans are straight, some curvy, and then you get the odd bent one (or two). I’ve never been able to achieve good results by hand. The end result is a big pile of uneven, funky looking beans.
I lose sleep over stuff like this.
Eventually, I got my hands on an actual green bean cutter. Clearly not a popular item; it was on a bottom shelf about 1 inch off the floor covered in dust. I bought it anyway (only $3!). It would be the perfect solution to my problem. The package said so: pull the beans through the blades and for gorgeous, thinly sliced strands. It worked!
You have to do it one-by-one and after about 10 of them, the novelty wears off. Because you have 50 more to go. You get distracted. You discover your child flushing play-doh (mock poo) down the toilet. You realize that this obsession of yours is a complete WASTE OF TIME and no one in their right mind wants to slice green beans by hand.
I lose even more sleep.
And then, the ah-ha moment we’ve all been waiting for…
THE FOOD PROCESSOR!
Didn’t I just use my processor to slice a whole mass of veg. for my cheat’s lentil soup?
The secret is the slicer blade. To begin, cut the green beans to fit the mouth of your feed tube. Stack the beans horizontally (not sticking straight up) and gently press them through. In less than 5 seconds your job is done. French-cut success!
I like mine sauteed with butter and shallots.
Try this method and you’ll see that it works. No more struggle. No more canned or frozen beans. No more drooling over glossy magazines. It’s an incredible timesaver that transforms ordinary to extraordinary. This is how to French-cut green beans like a pro! Green bean casserole anyone?
Now go on with your bad self.
George Hamilton says
I use the cutter. Does not take that long if making for two. There’s no clean up like with a food processor. You don’t want to buy beans with large obvious seeds. They jam the cutter.
Hi Emilie, a bought your Artisan Sourdough cookbook. I made the pita and cranberry pecan rolls today. My husband loved the rolls. They were soft and flavorful. I would put the chopped pecans on top instead of sunflower seeds the next time. I also made the pumpkin sourdough. It was sticky and my parchment baked onto the bread. I now butter the parchment if the dough is especially sticky. The bread was very tasty. I have always done 4 stretch and folds with every recipe. I noticed you don’t in many of the recipes. I’m afraid to not go it.
can I use a blender to make french style green beans
Emilie Raffa says
Hi Nancy! I wouldn’t use a blender, it won’t work. The food processor is best.
I’m so excited! I jus made these usin ur tip and is brilliant! I will be makin sure everyone knows how awesome I am with my casserole tomorrow, lol Thank you!
Laurie Bundy says
Thank you for the post. I love French cut beans and usually buy frozen which the store was out of. I bought fresh and was not looking forward to trying to cut them correctly. I already had my food processer out, so I gave this idea a try. It’s a little slow to load the chute each time, but over all goes pretty fast and the results are excellent. No more frozen for me!
Thank you . My old hands do not work like they use to and I love this style of cut. you have made me and many people very happy. See the small things in life bring much joy.
Emilie Raffa says
Michelle, I absolutely agree! You are very welcome :)
I may have missed it, and may be a ridiculous question, but do you cook the beans after you use the processor?
Emilie Raffa says
Hi Sarah! Not a ridiculous question ;) You typically cook the beans after using the food processor.
kim Bemis says
Tried it today but my slicing blade opening is too wide so most of the beans just slid thru I tried the chopping blade and just made green mush!!!!!!
YOU are fabulous! Saved my bacon after many years of dreading this time of year……………I’ve had that stupid KA food processor for 12 years and had never found a truly practical use for it……..thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!! Instead of taking hours or even days, it took seconds. I’m waiting for the water to boil now……..so I can bag ’em and tag ’em. I always plant too many beans and my neighbors are even tired of them so this is a perfect solution. And I think Frenched string beans freeze better than whole ones, even if they’re not perfect – they’re great in green bean ‘old school’ casserole which my husband loves. Keep up the good work saving our butts!
I was inspired to learn this technique after seeing this recipe on Food Network’s The Kitchen
Wow! This was a genius tip! I make egg rolls and use green beans as part of the filling. You saved me tons of time! Gracias!
Where did you get your silverware? White handled flatware photographs beautifully..
gmail login says
This is brilliant! No more hours of slicing it by hand :)
Brian Solomons says
I’d been searching all afternoon for a bean slicer on the internet and none looked any good. I came across this tip and instantly the problem was solved. Such a brilliant idea. Thanks very much.
Ava Bynum says
I cannot believe it could be so easy. I have tried so hard to cut the green bean just so perfectly to end up with a mess! Thanks for the tip. And yes, I do lose sleep over such things.
Hi Ava! Isn’t it a fun tip? Thanks so much for your feedback!
NancyLee IL says
I could kiss you. Really. I NEVER would have thought of using the food processor for French Cut Green Beans which I always preferred but for some reason can no longer find in the frozen vegetables any more. It’s like they’ve disappeared from the earth. I went right out to Aldi’s and bought their package of green beans cut them in half (the chute in my food processor required it) and I was thrilled. Just a quick tip for anyone reading this, I found it easier to fill the chute with the beans horizontally and use the pulse feature for a few seconds till the beans were about 1/3 down the chute, then add some more pulse 1/3, repeat fill, etc. At first I did the whole chute and it was a little hard to keep ending up straightening the beans at the bottom as I filled it..as some ended up vertically no matter how careful I was. By doing it in little “pulses” it was easy to add the 1/3 at the top horizontally. Thanks so much Emilie. I had never heard of your site and I love how you write (and think). I laughed out loud!
Hello Nancy! Thank you for this comment. You made me laugh! I’m happy to hear that this tip worked out for you (and your feedback is ace, too!). Enjoy!
Denyse Ferrell says
Thank you! I was just wondering if I could French my green beans this way. Now I’ll not waste my money on a hand-crank frencher.
Peggy Bullock says
In answer to a couple of other posts, use a foodsaver to freeze and the beans don’t get soggy because there is no oxygen. And I find that the food processor on my kitchen aid mixer was a fantastic investment. 2 minutes and the beans are perfect with little or no waste. Saves time money and energy. Thanks for your wonderful posts. Happy holidays
Colette Norton says
What if you only have a mini-chopper. Just cut them in half or thirds and lay sideways?
If your mini chopper has a slicing blade attachment then it might work. But if it just comes with the regular blade, then it won’t produce the same results.
Do you blanche the green beans prior to slicing?
Hi Debra! No, I slice the green beans raw. They would be too soft for the food processor otherwise. You can blanch them afterwards.
Carla Geovanis says
That was SUPER HELPFUL. My mother-in-law is coming over for dinner, and she really likes french-cut green beans. But I was kind of at a loss as to how to approach this, and rather reluctant to try to halve them, and then halve them lengthwise, which seemed . . . tedious at best, if you’re serving 5 people who eat a lot of veggies!
Can I freeze French cut green beans?
I’ve never had luck with freezing French cut green beans- they were always too soggy. However, maybe you’ll have bette ruck than me- blanch quickly in boiling water (they should still be crunchy) and shock in ice cold water. Pat dry and freeze ziploc bags.
Ok….I have figured it out, with the safety mechanism that has to be taken apart between “batches” in order to access the large tube…. it is irritating but still better than doing it all by hand!
So how wide is your feed tube? Your beans look long….. my tube is only 2″wide at the most…..is it an optical illusion? Are your beans just 2″? If they are that’s ok but yours look longer.
I have 8 people coming for dinner tomorrow and I think I will do a trial run today.
This is so old school fabulous, thin-cut green beans are straight outta my childhood! Though Mom always used frozen Bird’s Eye brand or whatever the grocery had. So funny I was thinking about these just the other day and asked my wife, hey remember those thin sliced green beans everybody ate as a kid? She said you mean the ones cut into inch-long bites? I said no, the ones sliced super thin the long way like green bean zoodles…she looked at me like I’m nuts and said she’s never heard of such a thing. Well I’m making these tonight and she’ll finally know the magic of the French Cut Green Bean!
YOU ARE brilliant!!!… I hate regular cut green and canned… but french cut just taste better… i am going to plant green bean next spring and have french cut the green beans when ever I want
thanks a bunch
Hello Darlene! Thank you! I’m not a fan of the canned French cut green beans myself (why are they swamp colored green, by the way?). Using a food processor to French cut your green beans will make your life so much easier. Plus, when sliced this way, they cook faster. Enjoy! xx
My friend Margi gave me a green bean recipe to make for her party—French cut—what is that? Thank God for your obsessions on the green bean!
Yay! I love it when things work out that way. I hope you enjoy :)
which slicer blade? I have them in 4 ‘thicknesses’ 1 mm, 2mm, 3mm, and 4 mm.
Hi John! You know, I’m not sure of the exact thickness (my food processor is old and only came with 1 blade!). I would start somewhere in the middle and do a small test batch to see if you like the size. They shouldn’t be too thin! Hope this helps :)
Michelle Sprouse says
You said the secret is the blade, but never say what blade to use :/ Thanks
It’s mentioned after the 2nd to last photograph. Use the slicer blade ;) PS- it’s the slicer disc, if that helps.
You are a life and marriage saver!! I just harvested a load of beans from the garden. My extremely picky husband will ONLY eat French cut green beans! I used to think he was nuts, but after reading your post I feel that I understand his pain a bit more, lol! I was mentally preparing myself for the chore of hand julienning all those beans when I thought maybe a google search was in order. Thank you so so so much for this post!!! Hubby will be so happy, and so will I!
I was just telling a friend of mine how i liked french style green beans more then regular green beans and she said ‘you mean out of the can. that’s gross.’ Now I can make them fresh and make her eat them and tell her they are all natural! Thank you so much! Score one for me!
Hi Janette! I know exactly what you mean. This is so, so easy and way better than the mushy green beans from the can. Plus you get fresh green beans with all of the health benefits. Happy to know that you stumbled upon this- cheers!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
This is brilliant! No more hours of slicing it by hand :)
I’m not usually a fan of green beans, but if I am subjected to them, french cut is the way to go! Thanks for the tip! Maybe I’ll turn over a new leaf and give them another try!!
Yes! Do it! You’ll be amazed at how fast the food processor works and I’m telling you, they taste different. Nice and thin, minimal squeak ;) Thanks Laura!
Great tip. Makes me want to sautee a bunch with butter (yes butter!) and slivered almonds. A little himalayan salt and pepper to finish. Love the photo with the funky shapes.
Can I eat at your house? Sounds delicious. Love the idea of slivered almonds too ;)
Rachael | Spache the Spatula says
Ah perfect! You’re a genius!
Aww thank you Rachael! You are so sweet ;)
Celia Becker @ After Orange County says
Brilliant! I can’t wait to try your method. Frankly I had forgotten how much I used to love French Cut beans.
Right? Bringing back the old school! I’m a firm believer that things taste differently depending on their size and shape. I always think of green bell peppers: big chunks can be quite aggressive whereas tiny diced pieces have more of a subtle flavor (I think I had too many bad macaroni salads in my day!). What I like about French-cut beans is that they are quick to cook and fun to eat. You can prepare them all different ways too :)
The Blonde Chef says
Seriously, what a great post! I love discovering little helpful tricks like this! It saves so much time!
Thank you! I never knew how handy the food processor was until I started experimenting with all of its functions. It is a HUGE timesaver! I use the slicer blade for many things including vegetable soup. At least you can throw it in the dishwasher once you’re done too (who likes to clean that thing anyways?). Enjoy!
Have you ever tried to slice Okra? I hate slicing Okra’s.
Hi there! I know what you mean about okra ;) Unfortunately, I haven’t tried slicing it this way. Keep me posted if you try it!
How do you freeze them? Blanche before cutting or afterwards?