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Air Fried Green Beans with Crispy Fried Onions: Green Bean Casserole Alternative

This Air Fryer Green Beans recipe uses only 3 ingredients. 4, if you count the bonus crispy fried onion topping! It is a simple, light, and tasty side dish that will complement any meal. These delicious string beans are a tender, al dente bite topped with onion strings for added crunch. Easy, delicious, and perfect for the holidays or any weeknight dinner!

If you love these you’ll also want to check out Air Fried Brussel Sprouts and Air Fried Baked Potatoes.

bowl of fresh green bean casserole with onions
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The holidays are always a time to gather with loved ones and share a delicious meal. More often than not though it’s a heavy meal! And as much as we like to indulge in all things yummy, sometimes it’s nice to bring a little balance back to our eating.

Green bean casseroles are a hit and for good reason. But sometimes we need alternatives that are equally as tasty, but a little lighter, easier and let’s face it, faster!

This recipe uses beans, oil, or spray and salt. It really is that simple. Of course, you can season it the way you want, or toss with additional ingredients, but this basic recipe celebrates the flavor and texture of green beans and is a lovely healthy green bean casserole alternative.

These air fried beans save oven space most of us desperately need when cooking up a storm with traditional family favorites. Easily double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd or make just enough for a dinner for two!

This week’s posts are all a part of Holiday Side Dish Week! Be sure and check out all of the other ideas below the recipe!

What kind of green beans to buy  

There is nothing exceptionally fancy needed in this recipe. Whichever beans you prefer will work just fine. Keeping in mind, traditional green beans are thicker looking and French green beans tend to be thinner and more delicate.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is adaptable to using all sorts of beans. They all taste the same and can be used interchangeably. Throughout holiday markets, you can find yellow, green, and purple or even spotted ones! Using any of these or a combination will result in a very pretty presentation.

I try to always use the skinny french style green beans around the holidays because, to me, they look more special and tend to be a little bit more tender since they are thinner. 

You can also get away without trimming them because they are that much more tender. That being said some people have huge issues with leaving the ends on (my husband will not eat them with the ends on) so I do always go ahead and trim them.

Ingredients

  • Green Beans (French or regular)
  • Oil – I used olive oil, but sunflower, grapeseed, or canola oil will also work. The oil helps with browning and to prevent the beans from drying out in the process.
  • Salt
  • Crispy Fried Onions – French’s Storebought will work, but you can whip up your own in no time. Making the french fried onions ahead of time saves cooking time on a busy day. If you store them in an airtight container you can just reheat them right before serving. Alternatively, storebought will work as well.

How to make them in the Air Fryer

  • Preheat the air fryer and trim ends from the beans. Rinse away any dirt.
  • Place beans in a bowl and cover with water. Add oil to the bowl and stir. Use this water bath method so they are completely coated. The beans are coated but a lot of the oil is washed away.
  • Using tongs, remove the beans from the water and place onto a paper towel. Drain excess water and allow the oil to remain on the beans and coat completely.
  • Place in the basket of the air fryer and cook for 6-8 minutes. Approx halfway through, open the air fryer to jostle the green beans. Close and continue cooking.
  • Once beans are al dente and starting to brown, remove to a serving bowl. Season to taste with salt.
  • Place premade fried onions (storebought or homemade) into the basket and heat for 3-5 minutes to re-crisp.
  • Serve immediately.
bowl of air fried beans next to an air fryer

Tips and common questions

Can I use an olive oil spray instead of all of the oil? You can, but be sure and generously spray them. This will also mean you will be unable to use the water bath method.

Can I make these ahead of time and let them sit? These really are best served close to the time you are ready to eat them. They can be reheated, however, but I find they are fresher and better-tasting made when you are ready to serve. You can save time by making the onions a few days ahead of time.

pinterest image with air fryer green bean titles

Recipes to Serve these with

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Yield: 4-6 Servings depending on how many sides you have

AIr Fryer Green Bean Casserole (healthy alternative)

close up of green beans in a bowl with onions on top

This Air Fryer Green Beans recipe uses only 3 ingredients. 4, if you count the bonus crispy fried onion topping! It is a simple, light, and tasty side dish that will complement any meal. These delicious string beans are a tender, al dente bite topped with onion strings for added crunch. Easy, delicious, and perfect for the holidays or any weeknight dinner!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Ingredients

Green Beans

  • 1 Pound Green Beans (French or Regular)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Crispy Fried Onions

  • 1 cup Previously made Crispy Fried Onions (these can be made up to 5 days ahead of time)

Instructions

  1. Preheat Air Fryer to 390°
  2. Trim ends from green beans and rinse to wash away any dirt.
  3. Place green beans in a bowl and run water to cover. Add olive oil to the bowl, stir.
  4. Using tongs, lift the beans from the water and place onto a paper towel. Let the water drip off for 5 minutes. The oil will coat the beans evenly by using the water method.
  5. Place the green beans into the basket of your air fryer and cook at 390 for 6-8 minutes. At 4 minutes, open the air fryer and shake the basket to jostle the green beans.
  6. Close and cook until beans are al dente and starting to get browned edges.
  7. Remove to a serving bowl, season with salt to taste.
  8. Place premade fried onions into the air fryer basket.
  9. Heat for 3-5 minutes at 390° to re-crisp the onions. (Alternatively sprinkle storebought French's French Fried Onions over the top.
  10. Serve Immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 321mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

More Holiday Side Dish Recipes:

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Jeff

Tuesday 24th of November 2020

Wonderful update on a holiday classic!

Jeff

Tuesday 10th of November 2020

These taste great and and are super easy to make!

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