What are runner beans?

Runner beans have been growing in South America for over 2000 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.

Learn how to grow your own runner beans from the experts at Gardeners’ World.

How to prepare runner beans

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.

How to cook runner beans

Boil runner beans until al dente.

If you need to use up a glut of veggies from the garden, try our best ever runner bean recipes. Turn this glorious green bean into salads, pasta dishes and exotic curries. Below we have five seasonal dishes to get you started.

1. Runner bean & prosciutto pasta

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

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 meal is deliciously creamy and full of flavour.

3. Runner bean & prawn paella

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 or weekend feast.

4. Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta

Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta

This vibrant veggie side is perfect for barbecue season. Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta are finished with edible flowers, a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of sea salt to enhance the flavours.

5. Cacio e pepe with runner beans

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 simple sauce is made with butter, black pepper and cheese. The runner beans add texture and bite.

How to store runner beans

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.

When are runner beans in season?

You’ll find runner beans in the UK from June until November.

Choose the best runner beans

Look for young, crisp, tender beans inside firm, fresh-looking pods.

Alternatives to runner beans

Try broad bean or pea.