Spicy Szechuan-Style Green Beans

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cooked green beans in a white bowl

Spicy and crunchy, when it comes to green beans, it’s hard to beat serving them Szechuan-Style. These dry fried green beans will quickly become your favorite way to use this green veg. Serve it with rice and your favorite Asian-inspired main dish and dinner is served!

This is an update of a recipe that I first shared in 2013 and has long been one of my favorite ways to serve green beans. I’m updating it today with new photos and a few tips and tricks. 

What’s So Special About Szechuan-Style Green Beans

Szechuan-Style Green Beans are spicy green beans that are made by dry-frying. This method of cooking fries them in a skillet or wok over high heat in a small amount of oil. The moisture evaporates from the beans, resulting in super crisp green beans that are tender and deeply browned in spots. 

Traditionally this style of green beans are made using the uniquely spicy Szechuan peppercorns (“Sichuan peppercorns”) that cause a numbing sensation in your mouth, but this recipe uses easy-to-find red pepper flakes for spice. This recipe also strays from the traditional by using Hoisin sauce for added flavor. 

These green beans are:

  • Fresh
  • Spicy
  • Flavorful
  • Crisp
  • Gluten-Free

dry fried green beans in a cast iron skillet

Simple Summer Sides

All this week we’re celebrating simple summer sides! It’s hot outside and beautiful produce is in-season, so I know we’re all looking for more ways to prepare those vegetables. 

Follow along as I share my five current favorite summer sides that use one vegetable, pantry staples, and maybe a few herbs or aromatics to round things out. It will include:

Ingredients

  • Green Beans – You can leave the green beans whole, but I love to chop these into small bite-sized pieces which gives them maximum surface area to turn golden brown and soak up flavor. 
  • Garlic and Ginger – Even though it takes a little time to prep these, don’t skip them – they add so much flavor. 
  • Hoisin Sauce – Hoisin sauce is sweet and savory. It’s a sauce that is common in Chinese cooking, and can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores. (Kikkoman makes a great gluten-free version.) 
  • Rice Vinegar and Soy Sauce – These pantry staples are great for a variety of Asian and Asian-inspired recipes. Use Tamari if you need a gluten-free option. 
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – A little goes a long way to add savory flavor to the dish.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Use more or less for the amount of spice you prefer. 

adding sauce to green beans in a cast iron skillet

Recipes to Serve with Szechuan-Style Green Beans

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4.80 from 5 votes

Spicy Szechuan-Style Green Beans

Spicy and crunchy, when it comes to green beans, it’s hard to beat serving them Szechuan-Style. These will quickly become your favorite way to use this green veg. Serve it with rice and your favorite Asian-inspired main dish and dinner is served!
To adjust the servings in this recipe, click on the number next to servings.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Skillet or Wok

Ingredients 

  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced Fresh Ginger
  • 2 tsp Hoisin sauce (be sure to use gluten-free if needed)
  • 2 tsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Soy Sauce (use Tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (more or less depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp Water
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil (use any high-heat neutral cooking oil like grapeseed, vegetable, or avocado)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt (see note)

Instructions 

  • Whisk together garlic, ginger, Hoisin Sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add green beans and water beans, stirring frequently, until the water cooks off and the beans are bright green.
  • Add cooking oil and salt and continue cooking until beans are starting to brown in spots, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over green beans and continue cooking until sauce reduces slightly and green beans are coated and tender, about 2 minutes more.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Kosher Salt - I use Morton’s Kosher Salt to test recipes. If using table salt, reduce by about half. If using Diamond Kosher Salt, increase by about 25%. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to salt, so be sure to taste and adjust as you go. 

Nutrition

Serving: 3g | Calories: 82kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 507mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 931IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $3.00
Calories: 82
Keyword: easy side dish, summer, vegetable side dish, vegetarian
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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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39 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made these a few times and they are terrific. I don’t always cut the beans in pieces…saves a little time. The preparation gives the beans a great consistency and the sauce strikes the right balance of flavors.

  2. Is the sunflower oil absolutely necessary? I don’t keep that in the house, but all the other ingredients are staples.

    1. Hi Heather – any cooking oil that works with high heat will be just fine (canola or vegetable oil, for example)!