Runner beans have been growing in South America for over 2,000 years, and are a popular garden vegetable in Britain too. Stronger in flavour and coarser in texture than green beans, they are also much longer and have attractive purple beans inside the pods.
Choose the best
Look for young, crisp, tender beans inside firm, fresh-looking pods.
Top, tail and string runner beans by carefully sliding the knife into the top of the bean without cutting right through it; if a thick thread comes away, the beans will need to be stringed. The beans can then be sliced horizontally.
Use runner beans as soon as possible after buying as they don't keep long. Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for 2 - 3 days.
Take a look at our guide on how to freeze runner beans if you want to preserve a batch.
Boil runner beans until al dente.
How to cook runner beans:
Use up a glut of veggies from the garden with our best ever runner bean recipes. Turn this glorious green bean into salads, pasta dishes and exotic curries. Try our top 5 filling seasonal dishes to get you started.
1. Runner bean & prosciutto pasta
Take just five ingredients and create our creamy runner bean & prosciutto pasta. This simple recipe is a quick-fix midweek meal at its finest. It's also easily doubled if you need to feed a crowd in a flash.
2. Sri Lankan runner bean curry
Serve up this Sri Lankan runner bean curry with rice and rotis for a top-notch family dish. This spiced vegan hotpot is deliciously creamy and full of flavour and takes just ten minutes to prepare.
3. Runner bean & prawn paella
Embrace the very best summery flavours with our easy runner bean & prawn paella. This impressive looking dish is easy to make but special enough for a dinner party with friends or a Saturday night feast.
4. Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta
This vibrant veggie side dish is perfect for barbecue season. Take just ten minutes to prepare our charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta, then scatter a few edible flowers on top for a final flourish. A final drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of sea salt will bring out the flavours of your veg.
5. Cacio e pepe with runner beans
Turn an Italian classic into a fresh, summer pasta dish with our cacio e pepe with runner beans. The super simple sauce is made with butter, black pepper and cheese. The runner beans add texture and bite to this traditional dish with a twist.
Try broad bean or pea.