String beans and green beans are very common names that often get used interchangeably to refer to the same long, skinny, green pod vegetables. But there are some distinct differences between specific varieties that the names can represent.

Botanical Names

String beans and green beans belong to different taxonomic groups. String beans are classified as Phaseolus vulgaris, while true green beans are Phaseolus vulgaris var. nanus. They belong to the same genus but separate species.


String beans and green beans can look identical – long, slender, bright green pods. But some varieties have subtle appearances that set them apart. Italian flat beans are considered string beans and have a broad, flat shape.


True green beans have a fibrous string running along their seam that must be removed before eating. Most modern string bean varieties have had this tough string bred out of them through selective cultivation.


Green beans and string beans have a very similar flavor when cooked – a pleasant, mild, grassy, and slightly earthy taste. However, heirloom string bean varieties can develop more pronounced flavors.

Preferred Cooking Methods

For both string beans and green beans, steaming, sautéing, roasting and stewing are excellent cooking methods that highlight their flavors and textures. They both hold up well to a range of preparations.

Nutritional Profile

Green beans and string beans are nutritionally similar, with the same amounts of vitamins A, C, K, folate, manganese, and fiber in a typical serving. Both are considered nutrient-dense, low-calorie vegetables.

Common Uses

In recipes, green beans and string beans can be used interchangeably without impacting the dish. They work equally well in salads, casseroles, stir-fries, side dishes, and anywhere their crisp bite is desired.

Availability and Seasonality

You can find fresh green beans and string beans year-round. But their peak season in most regions is throughout the summer months when they are bountiful, inexpensive, and at their best flavor.

In summary, while green beans and string beans share many qualities, true string beans have a tough string that distinguishes them. But modern cultivation has bred this trait out of many beans making the names interchangeable in recipes and menus.

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Julia Jane is a home cook inspired by her mother's cooking. With the desire to share my cooking experiences with everyone, she created this website

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