You’ll only need 5 simple ingredients to make these perfectly browned citrus chili air fryer green beans! Plus, I’ve included instructions on how to prepare both fresh and frozen green beans in an air fryer.
One of the Easiest Vegan Air Fryer Recipes
I took one forkful of these air fryer green beans and wondered why I hadn’t always been making green beans this way.
Ben took a bite and decided he’d be calling them citrus-chili green bean fries from now on. And that’s a pretty appropriate name for them.
This easy vegan green beans recipe has equal parts bright and savory flavors – with a texture similar to these umami Asian dry-fried green beans with garlic sauce.
And, whether you make them as an appetizer, snack or side dish, you’ll love how easy they are to make in your air fryer.
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
Here’s a super unscientific explanation:
- An air fryer uses a fan to circulate very hot air from a heating element around your food at a high rate of speed. Since your food is held inside a suspended cooking basket, the hot air can reach all sides of the food easily.
- The main benefit is that you get excellent browning on your food (like you might get from deep frying) while using a very small amount of cooking oil.
And an air fryer does way more than simply cooking vegetables like green beans, broccoli and (of course) french fries. You can use it to make a protein like salmon, shrimp or even chicken fingers.
Air Fryer Green Beans Ingredients
Scroll all the way down for the full recipe.
- Fresh Green Beans: You’ll want about a pound of fresh green beans for this easy recipe. The lion’s share of your prep time will be spent simply trimming the ends off the beans. Like I said: easy. And, while I firmly stand by fresh beans being the best vegetable to use – I do have instructions on how to use frozen green beans below as well.
- Olive Oil: Use the good stuff. Extra virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold pressed olives – and I think you can taste the difference in quality over the blended, more processed stuff.
- Salt and Black Pepper: I use kosher salt for cooking and finishing plates most of the time. The larger crystals make it more difficult to oversalt a dish than with the smaller salt crystals of (inferior tasting) iodized table salt. Fresh cracked black pepper is awesome – but the stuff from the shaker works in this air fryer green beans recipe super well too.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh squeezed juice is best. But I realize that the local grocery store will be peddling less than fresh lemons from time to time. Go with the plastic squeeze bottle if necessary. Two tablespoons is all you’ll need. I actually combined the lemon juice and red pepper flakes into a mixture I could easily spoon on as needed.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Use these for a hint of spice that dances around the periphery of the dish – without sending anyone stumbling for a glass of water. 1/4 teaspoon will get the job done.
How to Cook Green Beans in an Air Fryer
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380°F.
- Place your trimmed fresh green beans in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss well, until evenly coated. Season them with salt and pepper and toss again.
- Brush the air fryer basket with a little olive oil (or a thin mist of cooking spray) and add your green beans.
- Air fry for 6 minutes. Then remove the basket and toss the green beans or stir with tongs (this is especially important for even cooking if all of the green beans don’t fit in a single layer inside the basket).
- Next, place the basket back into the air fryer and allow to cook for an additional 4 to 6 minutes – until the green beans are tender and beginning to brown.
- Finally, transfer the cooked green beans to a serving bowl or plate. Drizzle with lemon juice, sprinkle with red pepper flakes – and add a finishing touch of salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
Can I Cook Frozen Green Beans in an Air Fryer?
Short answer: yes. And although I find that this recipe works best with fresh green beans, I also realize sometimes you’ve gotta use what’s handy.
For frozen green beans, you can thaw and cook the green beans in two steps. After a bit of experimentation around the cooking time, I found the following to work well when working with frozen green beans:
- Preheat your air fryer to 340 degrees F.
- Place your frozen green beans inside the cooking basket and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes to thaw and partially cook (same idea as parboiling pasta for example).
- Next, remove the air fryer basket, drizzle the green beans with olive oil and toss with tongs until the beans are evenly coated.
- Then place the cooking basket back into the air fryer and cook for 4 to 6 minutes – until the green beans are tender and beginning to brown.
- Remove, plate and serve with lemon juice, red pepper flakes and a touch of salt and pepper to taste.
** A note on cooking: If you’re making huge amounts of air fryer green beans for a holiday meal or large gathering, it’s probably best to cook the green beans in multiple batches. If your air fryer basket is too full, the beans will cook unevenly.
What if I Don’t Have an Air Fryer?
No air fryer? No problem.
You can still make this simple green beans recipe using two more traditional cooking methods:
- Broil / Roast them:
- Set your oven to the broil setting.
- Place your fresh green beans on a cooking tray covered with a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Toss the beans in a little olive and place the tray on the highest rack closest to the flame. Broil for 3-6 minutes. The green beans are done when they’re slightly charred and wrinkled. Keep a close eye on them – they can burn quickly (and so can your parchment paper!).
- Deep fry them:
- Heat about 1/2 cup oil to 350°F in a deep skillet or frying pan.
- Slowly add the green beans to the hot oil. Watch out for splatters! Fry for 2-3 minutes until the beans are wrinkled and starting to brown a bit.
- Turn off the heat, remove the beans from the oil, and allow them to drain on paper towels.
How to Store Leftovers
Store any leftovers of this easy air fryer green beans recipe inside an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Serve any leftovers hot or cold – your choice. Just keep in mind that the green beans will likely be a little wilted after their odyssey in tupperware. Still delicious though!
Other Delicious and Easy Air Fryer Recipes
Did you like this air fryer green beans recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share? Share your tips and recommendations in the comments section below!Print
Air Fryer Green Beans
You’ll only need 5 simple ingredients to make these perfectly browned citrus chili air fryer green beans!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 sides 1x
- Category: Side
- Method: Air fryer
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat the air fryer to 380ºF.
- Place the green beans in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss the beans using your fingers or tongs to coat them evenly. Season with salt and pepper and toss again.
- Brush the air fryer basket with a little oil and add the green beans.
- Air fry for 6 minutes and take out the basket to toss the green beans.
- Air fry for an additional 4 to 6 minutes, until the green beans are tender.
- Transfer the green beans to a serving bowl or plate, drizzle with lemon juice and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Store these air fryer green beans in an airtight storage container. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Serving Size: 1/4 pound
- Calories: 67
- Sugar: 0.2g
- Sodium: 596.9mg
- Fat: 3.7g
- Saturated Fat: 0.5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 8.5g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Protein: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg