Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions Recipe

Green bean casserole is a popular holiday side dish for good reason—it feeds a crowd and is comforting as it gets. But sometimes you're in the mood for a change of pace, which inspired this light but flavorful recipe that is still fancy enough for your Christmas table. Tender blanched green beans are combined with pearl onions that have been lightly caramelized with butter, garlic, tangy balsamic vinegar, and a touch of sugar. This fragrant, syrupy mixture forms a glaze that coats the beans. The recipe calls for regular green beans, but you can also use French green beans (or haricot verts), which are skinnier. Just make sure to not overcook them. You'd never guess that this sophisticated side dish comes together in about 20 minutes. Serve Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions alongside your favorite holiday main course—it works just as well with beef, turkey, chicken, pork, duck, or ham. This side dish is one that we created for the holidays, but with such a short prep time and such a delicious result, you'll be using this recipe for busy weeknights and fancy dinner parties all year long. Once you try this recipe, you might be tempted to retire your trusty green bean casserole recipe!

Balsamic Green Beans with Pearl Onions Recipe
Photo: Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: William Smith
Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
20 mins
8 serves


  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions (about 7 oz.), thawed and patted dry with paper towels

  • 1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 tsp.)

  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Cook beans in boiling water to cover in a large saucepan until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Plunge beans into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain well.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add pearl onions; cook, stirring often, until lightly caramelized and tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar, and cook until reduced to a light syrup consistency, 3 to 4 minutes. Add beans, salt, pepper, and remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon butter, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

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