"Best Ever" New Potatoes & Green Beans ♥ a Kid-Friendly Recipe

Best Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans, a classic summer combo ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Budget Friendly. Gluten Free. Rave Reviews.
One of my very favorite summer vegetable combinations, new potatoes and green beans cooked together in a single pot with a touch of sugar and then tossed with butter and garlic. That tiny bit of sugar somehow makes all the difference! This simple but sumptuous side dish definitely belongs on a summer must-make list.

Fresh & Seasonal, a Summer Classic. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Scales from Small Plates to Large Platters. Kid Friendly. Budget Friendly. Weight Watchers Friendly. Naturally Gluten Free. Rave Reviews.

Classic Summer Vegetables: the Magical Combinations

What're your favorite summer vegetables? the ones you can't wait to appear each year in their sweetest, ripest forms? Corn! Tomatoes! Okra! Green Peppers! Eggplant! That's probably our short list. Yours?

But what about the summer combinations, the magical marriages that grace our plates a few weeks of the year? Strawberries and rhubarb. Peaches and cream. Corn and butter. Tomatoes and fresh mozzarella. Tomatoes and cucumbers.

Well, let me suggest you jump right on a combination that definitely belongs on the summer list: new potatoes plus fresh green beans, cooked in the same pot. The pair just might knock your socks off – if, it being summer and all, you're even wearing socks – so let's make that figuratively not literally.

What Are New Potatoes?

Our global food distribution system keeps us supplied with potatoes year-round. That makes it easy to forget that there's a potato season just like there's an asparagus season, a tomato season, etc. But anyone who's visited the Nordic countries or northern Europe in June knows how coveted and revered that new potatoes just dug from the ground are!

New potatoes are the first potatoes from the ground, harvested before they mature into larger potatoes. New potatoes are small, tender and almost sweet. They are amazing! In the U.S., they're hard to find (maybe impossible?) except at farmers markets or through a CSA.

But the good news is, while official new potatoes are amazing in this simple side dish, small potatoes will do and they're easier to find. You might need to pick through the potatoes at the grocery store for the small ones, either white or red will do fine. Also keep your eyes peeled for mesh bags of mini potatoes, some times in a single color, some times in rainbow shades. There are also fingerling potatoes, also a good choice.

You Might Be Wondering ...

ARE ALL SMALL POTATOES NEW POTATOES? No. New potatoes are both small and just out of the ground. It's a combination of size plus freshness that defines "new" potatoes.

WHERE DO THE BEST NEW POTATOES COME FROM? The terroir of Scandinavia and northern Europe produces famously good potatoes! Are there other terroirs? Leave a note in the comments!

WHAT TO MAKE IF YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF NEW POTATOES This recipe, for sure but also Finnish Summer Potato Salad, another favorite for followers of A Veggie Venture. Another classic combination is New Potatoes with Browned Butter. New potatoes make excellent kabobs, see Grilled New-Potato Kabobs and Potato Bites with Smoked Salmon are quick little appetizers, a good reason to cook a few extra potatoes!

How This Recipe Got Named "Best Ever": Taste Testing Vegetables for the Neighbor Kids

My favorite seven-year old Kate has a knack for opening the back gate at the right moment: she knows when the dog needs a romp. Plus, she often catches me mid-cooking and is happy to sample. She loved the raw asparagus salad we made together; she and her BFF Elena moaned that glazed turnips & carrots were "delicious".

Over the weekend, Kate and her sleep-over friend Jillian showed up just as I was snapping pictures of still-untasted potatoes and green beans. I handed Kate a bean and she munched right in, then announced, "These are the best beans ever!" (Yes, Kate got a hug.)

I handed Jillian a bean and she scowled. "I only eat canned beans." Tough cookie, that Jillian! The house rule is, You don't have to like it but you do have to try it and applies equally to grown-ups and kids. So after snapping off the objectionable curlicue at the end of the bean (I think when we talk about "topping and tailing beans", she took off the "tail"), Jillian took a tiny tentative bite. Her face brightened, "These beans are the best beans I've ever tasted. They're sweet!" (Yes, Jillian got a hug too.)

The three of us proceeded to polish off all the beans straight from the bowl. Then I handed the girls forks to sample the potatoes.

Kate took one bite and said, "These are the best potatoes I've ever eaten!" Jillian peeled the "red stuff" (the skin) off hers but once that was gone (and we'd had that talk about how all the energy that makes strong bones and quick minds is stored right under the skin and gets thrown away if we peel the skins), she too loved the potatoes. Kate and Jillian went home with a big batch for their supper table, carrying some caraway beets, too.

I must say that I agree with Kate and Jillian. To my taste, these are the "best ever" beans and potatoes too. That tiny bit of sugar really makes a difference, although the girls were more sensitive to the sweetness than I.

All Grown Up, Those Girls

Kate and Jillian are so grown-up and off to college now. It's a shock to see them around town so tall and confident. Some time, I need to ask if they remember the potatoes and beans! Because they are memorable!

I make them on the fly often during the summer whenever the beans look pretty. Kids love 'em. Adults love 'em. Even those who usually avoid carbs will indulge in a tater or two or three. Or four. (They’re small, after all.) Last summer, we made a couple of big pots at a condo on the beach to serve with fresh-grilled fish. Heaven!

"... beautiful, simple and oh-so-tasty recipe. " ~ Janis
"... awesome recipe!" ~ Simply Complex
"... my husband and I loved it." ~ Amy
"... I made this, it is delicious!" ~ Jennifer
"... they were FANTASTIC!" ~ Claire

Best-Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans Made the List!
Best Recipes 2008
Plus Pinterest Loves it!

Summer Easy, a special collection of Less Cookin' and More Livin' recipes especially for summer ♥ KitchenParade.com all summer long.
This recipe is so quick and easy that I'm adding it to a growing collection of easy summer recipes published all summer long ever since 2009 at Kitchen Parade, my food column. With a free Kitchen Parade e-mail subscription, you'll never miss a one!

Best Ever New Potatoes & Green Beans, a classic summer combo ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Budget Friendly. Gluten Free. Rave Reviews.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 8

Water to cover both the potatoes and beans
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (don't skip, it really makes the difference)
1 pound very small red or white potatoes, washed well, skins on
1 pound fresh green beans, stem ends snapped off, broken in half or thirds if long
Garlic to taste, a clove or two minced very small
2 tablespoons butter
Additional salt to taste

START THE POTATOES Start the water, salt and sugar to a boil while prepping the potatoes, estimating enough water to cover both the potatoes and beans. Add the potatoes as soon as they're prepped, cover and let cook at a slow simmer until nearly done, the actual time will vary based on the size and density of the potatoes but start checking at about 15 minutes, the potatoes are usually ready after about 20 minutes.

ADD THE BEANS Add the beans, return to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes or until the beans are well-cooked but still bright green. Drain the potatoes and beans, then return them to the hot pot to toss with garlic and butter. Add salt if needed.

TROUBLE FINDING SMALL POTATOES? Tiny potatoes are rare at the grocery store though the earliest new potatoes at the farmers market can be just this small. For larger potatoes, I would pick out the smallest red-skinned or light-skinned potatoes available, of similar size so they cook evenly. Cook them whole, then cut into halves or quarters when tossing with the butter and garlic.
FOR ST LOUISANS The tiny potatoes are from Summit Farms, the produce dealer who anchors the Kirkwood Farmers Market. They're not local since it's still too early for Missouri potatoes. But they're really small, just 1 - 2 inches in diameter, perfect for eating whole in one or two bites and also excellent for stuffing for appetizers.
TRY SEPARATELY? I loved the potato-bean combination but you could cook them separately with a bit of sugar, too for "best ever" beans and "best ever" potatoes.

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Still Hungry?

More Favorite Potato Recipes for Summer

~ Finnish Summer Potato Salad ~
~ Mom’s Potato Salad ~
~ Farmers Market Quiche with Crispy Potato Crust ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Grilled New-Potato Kabobs ~
~ Those Pink Potatoes ~
~ Finnish Summer Soup ~
~ more potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

More Favorite Green Bean Recipes for Summer

~ Falling In Love with Green Beans: Favorite Recipes ~
~ Chilled Green Bean Salad with Rosemary & Garlic Oil ~
~ Garlicky Romano Beans ~
~ Fresh Three-Bean Salad ~
~ more green bean recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Green Bean Garden Salad ~
~ Eggplant & Bean Thai Curry ~
~ Tourlou Tourlou (Greek Baked Vegetables) ~
~ more green bean recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade

Do you suffer from lachanophobia? Are you looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2008, 2014 (repub) & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    I grew up on something very similar - a variation being swapping a touch of balsamic vinegar for the sugar - it lends it the same sweetness with a bit of a kick, maybe more for adult tastes (but hey, I loved loved it as a kid). Yum yum!

  2. The tiny red potatoes and green beans are a beautiful color combo!

  3. So interesting -- I never think about adding sugar to beans, or to any vegetables except tomatoes. But if you say "best ever", you know I'll try it.

  4. My mom always added one teaspoon to the water she boiled corn on the cob to. She only boiled it one minute. It was always the sweetest and best ever corn on the cob.
    You'd think a teaspoon wouldn't be enough to notice but it must just give the right boost. I'll give it a go.

  5. When my daughter was that age she would touch an unfamiliar food with the tip of her tongue. If the sweet receptors said yes, she would eat it. Now she has a daughter who loves to eat naked green beans -- there's hope! Maybe (at 2 1/2) she's ready for the balsamic version?

  6. This looks like something we would love. Red potatoes, nicely parboiled and then grilled or broiled find their way to our plates often, as do green beans. We had a gorgeous Asian inspired salad last night, but it's in the wings so to speak as things often are in bloggsville, right? I've not added sugar to much of what I cook that's savory, but recently have noticed that with Mexican cuisine, it is. As least as far as Rick Bayless is concerned. It's interesting...

  7. YUm!! I've made a recipe very similar to this and just loved it!! I can only imagine how good this recipe is. I'm gonna have to give your version a try...thanks for sharing:).

  8. AnonymousMay 29, 2008

    These are lovely - can I say that we think your glazed turnips and carrots are great as well!

  9. I like to use new red-skinned potatoes and green beans in my potato salad and I think our potato salad is the "best ever" potato salad - no sugar in it though, but there are onions and a bit of garlic, which may lend the requisite sweetness.

    These green beans and potatoes sound fantastic though. We'll have to try it soon.

    If it's any consolation, wikipedia says: The notion that "all of the potato's nutrients" are found in the skin is an urban legend. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, the majority (more than 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. Of course, you don't have to tell your daughter's friend. Eventually, peer pressure will probably cause her to try the skin and she'll discover that she likes it after all.


    P.S. How are we going to choose which of your green bean recipes to have?! We were JUST saying last night that if this cool weather keeps on, we must comfort ourselves with your stellar green bean casserole.

  10. Ha! Thank you for setting ME straight, Elizabeth. I'll tell Jillian to check with you from now on!

  11. wow...thts an amazing blog there...being an indian its a little difficult though to understand that people find it so difficult to stay vegetarian..

  12. Thank you for this beautiful, simple and oh-so-tasty recipe. This is what I call a "stone soup" type of recipe - start with just a one or two great ingredients, then - if you feel like it - add a few bits and bobs of other things to take it in another direction. For instance, when I made this last night, I roasted a red pepper, which I then chopped into large chunks and added at the end with the last bits of some feta cheese that was hanging 'round in the fridge (crumbled), and some minced lemon thyme from my garden. Oh, and I sauteed the garlic in olive oil (because I wouldn't burn it the way I would the butter) and used half the called-for butter because of the olive oil. Yum!

  13. just what I've been looking for, trying it tonight!

  14. Thanks for the awesome recipe! I just made it tonight, and my boyfriend loved it too.
    The sugar makes it taste just right.

    +1 for it being vegetarian!!

  15. I made this tonight and, while my 4-year-old wasn't a fan, my husband and I loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. This sounds delicious. Do you think it would work with sweet potatoes instead?

  17. Claire ~ Hey there, y'know, this isn't the right recipe for sweet potatoes. What's cool here is how the jacketed potatoes and the green beans work together. If you're looking for sweet potato recipe, though, I've got lots of them, here are my favorites.

  18. Thanks so much! I'm going to cook the "best ever" beans by themselves :)

  19. ...and they were FANTASTIC! Thanks for a great recipe. I just made the beans, but I used Earth Balance vegan butter and 1.5 cloves of fresh garlic.

  20. I make these beans once a week. Now my favorite way to have them is with 2 cloves freshly minced garlic, a shake of oregano, black pepper & tony chachere's

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna