Become a Better Cook in 4 Days!

These Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans are some of the most delicious green beans ever!

Milk Street’s Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans


Last winter, I attended a recipe development class at 177 Milk Street in Boston, the new venture that Chris Kimball started after he left America’s Test Kitchen. In addition to being curious about the new cooking school and studios, I was also eager to learn new tips and tricks from other culinary professionals who develop, write and publish recipes.

During the class, each attendee was given a recipe to prepare which was to be published in an upcoming issue of Milk Street’s magazine.  Various Milk Street staff observed us preparing our assigned recipes, then questioned us afterwards about challenges we had in following the directions, cooking the food, and asking if we would make the recipe again. Once everyone was done with their assigned dish, we all ate!

Milk Street’s Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans

This Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans recipe – prepared by another student during the class – was one of two standout recipes I tasted that evening. (And I’m not really a big fan of green beans!)

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the Milk Street cooking show on television featured this Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans recipe. After remembering how much I loved this recipe, I decided to prepare it for dinner – and Jack loved it too!

To make this dish, fresh green beans are cleaned and trimmed then allowed to brown and blister in a super-hot, oiled skillet. (Don’t be put off by the dark brown, almost-charred color – it adds great flavor!) After a quick steam, fresh ginger and red pepper flakes are added to the beans – then a simple sauce of brown sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce is added to the beans, and simmered until it thickens.  Finally,  rice vinegar and ground white pepper is added in the end.


Milk Street’s Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans

On the Milk Street cooking show, Mr. Kimball pronounced these ‘the best green beans’ he’s ever had – and I have to admit, he’s 100% correct!  The flavors are complex and absolutely perfect together.

Adapted from this recipe.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Milk Street’s Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons light oil such as grapeseed, divided

1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved with bias cut

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

¼ teaspoon ground white pepper


In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.

In a large non-stick skillet with high sides and a lid (or a Dutch oven), heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high. Once the oil begins to smoke, add green beans and do not stir for three minutes or until they are starting to sear on the bottoms. Add water and cover.

Cook until the beans are just under tender, about two more minutes. Remove the lid.

Move the beans to the outside edge of the pan and add the remaining oil and stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.

Pour in the reserved brown sugar mixture and cook for about one minute until the mixture has thickened a bit.

Off heat, stir in the vinegar and pepper and serve immediately.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

You may also like:

Mario Batali’s Green Beans (Fagiolini in Padella)

Mario Batali’s Green Beans (Fagiollini in Padella) - A Family Feast


Milk Street Sweet Spicy Ginger Green Beans

  • Share
  • Pin
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Meet The Author: Martha

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe rating

    What type of comment do you have?

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Nina K Wargel wrote:

    One of the best recipes for green beans ever! My green beans were not the best quality and a bit tough so the next time I made this I parboiled the beans 3-4 minutes, and dried them very well before adding them to the veg oil. I love this recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoy the recipe as much as we do Nina!

  • DEBRA wrote:

    There is a typo in this recipe. There should only be 1/4 cup of water. 3/4 cup is way too much
    These are my favorite green beans!
    thank you

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Deb – we’ll get that fixed.

  • Susan wrote:

    I was very inspired by that episode too! These beans are absolutely amazing. Who knew veggies could be elevated to this level. We made these beans, plus the Japanese Fried Chicken with the Tamari Dipping sauce – delicious, seriously!. I wanted one other dish to go with it and while it is not Japanese, we did the Kale/Mint salad with the smokehouse almonds and toasted bread crumbs. Words cannot describe how good that was with the shallot vinaigrette. Here’s the link.. give it a try.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the recommendation Susan! It sounds fantastic!

  • Jim wrote:

    Quick, and ROBUST. I sent my taste buds into a TAILSPIN. Chicken and 40 cloves of garlic, green beans, plain rice, how do you CLEAN your taste buds after that. Good. EXTRA SPECIAL GOOD. Many thanks. Any suggestion for dessert. Lime sorbet???

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like you had a fantastic meal Jim! So glad you enjoyed the green beans as much as we do! Jack and I agree – something cool, creamy, refreshing and simple after all of that flavor – sorbet, vanilla ice cream, etc.

  • A Family Feast ® is a registered trademark of A Family Feast, Inc. All content, including recipes, text, visual elements, and photographs are copyright © A Family Feast, Inc. 2012-2020, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.