Spicy Garlic Green Beans: A Tasty, Healthy Side Dish

This recipe was a tiny bit elusive. We first had these green beans down at P.F. Chang’s in the Spectrum in Orange County. It was actually one of our first dates! Mastering this copycat dish has been one of my goals ever since.

A white plate of green beans with a red sauce and lots of minced garlic, on a light green folded napkin with a fork, on a distressed white wood surface.

Two weeks into seeing each other, I had to go spend a couple weeks helping to run my parents’ businesses while they were on a vacation. I was pretty bummed because, who wants to leave their new boyfriend to go work for two weeks? All alone?

I jokingly (kind of) told AJ that he should drive down to visit on the weekend, and he was pretty meh about the whole idea. But little did I know that he was planning to surprise me, and on a Friday afternoon I got the call letting me know that he was an hour away and needed directions (ha, yeah). Super stoked new girlfriend!

Top-down view of a white plate of green beans with a red sauce studded with bits of minced garlic, beside a board topped with a moss-colored napkin and a plate of green beans and brown rice, on a distressed white wooden surface with a glass bottle of red hot sauce.

So, that night we went to meander around the Spectrum and find some food to eat. We landed at the bar at P.F. Chang’s and the place was packed, which was definitely okay because it meant cuddling together over a couple plates of food was imminent.

The Spicy Green Beans were among the dishes we ordered, and they totally blew us away. I tried for years to get the recipe just right, and I could never figure it out. I tried baking, barbecuing, broiling, and sauteing, but the results were never quite right.

Closeup of a half-full glass bottle of Pico Pica hot sauce, on a distressed white painted wood surface with a board topped with a moss green napkin in the background, and a white plate just barely in the frame at the bottom right in the foreground.

Eventually, something clicked. I finally figured out that the missing piece was not in the method of cooking them, but in the sauce. How to get that sweet, tangy, and spicy sauce that would perfectly coat the beans?

A few more tries, and I had it right. The secret? Stop getting all fancy with your spices and just use the best dang hot sauce you can find, and use a lot of it. We like Pico Pica.

A white plate full of green beans with a red garlic sauce, with a bottle of hot sauce, another plate, and a green napkin in shallow focus in the background.

As it turns out, sauteing is the best method to cook these, because the sauce gets all up in them green beans. And if you cook them quickly over high heat, they will stay crunchy and crispy. As much as I love how quick and easy they are to prep in the pressure cooker, I love the texture of a good sear!

Oh yeah, and add a BUNCH of garlic. The more, the better.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Closeup of sauteed green beans with hot sauce and minced garlic, on a white plate.

The Best Spicy Garlic Green Beans (P.F. Chang’s Copycat)

  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Total Time: 13 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


An incredibly easy recipe for Spicy Garlic Green Beans, inspired by a dish served at P.F. Chang’s restaurant.


  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz green beans, trimmed
  • 23 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 12 Tbsp hot sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp cornstarch


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and cook, stirring every minute or so, until they get little blackened spots all over, about 8 minutes total.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a measuring cup. If you like it HOT, add 2 Tbsp or more hot sauce. If you like it a bit more mild, just add 1 Tbsp.
  3. When the green beans are almost done, carefully pour the sauce into the pan. It’ll sizzle viciously and make lots of angry noises. Just stand back and let it do its thing for a bit. Then stir and stir until the beans are totally covered in the sauce. Remove from the heat and serve right away!
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

These make the perfect flavorful and healthy side to serve along your favorite protein. They’re even great on their own, as a tasty appetizer. Any time fresh green beans are available, this recipe is definitely at the top of my list!

A white plate of green beans with hot sauce and minced garlic on a folded napkin with a knife, on a gray wooden surface with flaking paint, next to a bottle of hot sauce and a board topped with another napkin, a stemless glass of red wine, and another plate of beans.

What’s your favorite restaurant copycat? Have you tried these tasty legumes? Let us know in the comments below, and please give our recipe a rating!

And for more of the best green bean recipes around, you can try some of our other favorites:

Don’t forget to Pin It!

 A collage of photos showing different views of a spicy garlic green beans recipe.

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 27th, 2014. Last updated: July 14, 2021 at 16:30 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).

7 thoughts on “Spicy Garlic Green Beans: A Tasty, Healthy Side Dish”

  1. Hi! This looks great–can’t wait to try. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see when you add the garlic, and approximately how much? Thanks.

    • Woops! Add it before you add the sauce and cook for about 30 seconds. I’ll add that into the recipe. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Sounds like a delicious flavor combo, Mike. You might try adding a packed tablespoon of brown sugar to the sauce before you stir it in, or use a sweet chili sauce. Sprinkle the finished beans with large-flake salt (like Maldon) to taste just before serving.

  2. I was looking for a healthy, spicy recipe for green beans. My husband can’t have much sodium and this recipe fit the bill. He loved it! I added onions and prefer my green beans soft, so cooked the onions and green beans in the oil for over an hour (covered, simmered). Very tasty!!!


Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.