The best canned green beans can’t hold a candle to fresh green beans or frozen green beans, but there’s a definite nostalgia factor. Canned green beans don’t taste like green beans—they taste like canned green beans, and if you grew up genuinely enjoying cafeteria food (hi), then you probably have a soft spot for these mushy things.
For this taste test, we stocked up on brand name and store brand canned green beans in various styles—cut green beans, French style green beans, Italian style green beans—and tasted them head to head to find the best can of green beans of them all. They may lack crunch and they may lack farm-fresh flavor, buy, hey, they have their virtues.
- Del Monte Cut Green Italian Beans
If you are eating canned Italian green beans, I truly hope you are eating them with diced tomatoes, bits of bacon, and sauteed onions (I told you I like cafeteria food). These Del Monte Italian beans are perfect for that preparation. They lean salty and they have a nice texture that can hold up to some simmering. If your recipe happens to call for Italian green beans, these are the best canned green beans.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Great Value French Style Green Beans
Del Monte is the brand that makes the most appearances on this list, but if you’re looking for French style green beans, go for Great Value. They’re less salty and more substantial than Del Monte. They’re shredded, but they aren’t shredded to oblivion. And since they aren’t super briny, you get more from the experience of eating them. It’s like eating green bean spaghetti or something. Again, these are not massively flavorful, but it’s the best can of green beans if you need green bean spaghetti on the fly.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Green Giant Kitchen Sliced Green Beans
“Kitchen Sliced” is a trademark that’s registered to Green Giant. I can’t tell you for sure what it means (if anything; I sort of doubt these were sliced in a kitchen), but my guess would be that “kitchen sliced” means “cut into itty-bitty pieces.” To be honest, I kind of love it! Green Giant beans are small and dainty and cut on a bias. They’re very short compared to other cut green beans, and they’re also less salty. I can see these canned green beans being good for kids and also good for tossing in a pot of soup if you don’t want big, long green bean pieces mucking things up. They’re perfectly bite sized. Next time you’re making a pot of minestrone, these are the best canned green beans to toss in your cart.
Credit: Merc / Ralphs
- Del Monte Cut Green Beans
These Del Monte cut green beans are pretty much perfect, at least in terms of canned green beans. They have a slight sweetness that hints at the fact that they were, in fact, grown in the earth, plus just enough salinity. They’re meaty and a good length—basically bite size, but probably a little long for soups and stews (if you’re looking for the best canned green beans for soup, see #2). Mostly, I appreciate that they have a totally inoffensive and neutral flavor. You’re not gonna get a big, fresh green bean flavor from any canned green beans, but these are high quality and don’t taste overtly of can. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for when you’re seeking out the best canned green beans.
Credit: Merc / Target
Best Italian Beans
Best French Style
Best for Soup
Best of the Best
Other canned green beans we tried: Del Monte No Salt Added, Del Monte French Style, Great Value Cut Green Beans, Great Value Cut No Salt Added Green Beans, Glory Southern Style, S&W Cut Green Beans, Great Value Italian Beans, Libby’S Cut Green Beans, Glory Seasoned Southern Style Green Beans, Kroger Cut, Kroger No Salt Added, Kroger French Style, Kroger Italian Style